Daneshill Diary 20/09/13

Headmaster’s Notes

How quickly Summer changed to Autumn this week and sent us scurrying for our warmer clothes. The dust has well and truly settled but the recent rains have turned it into mud, hence the earlier than expected appearance of muddy knees. As a commuter I have a new found empathy for all those of you who have for years beaten a path to Daneshill via the leafy lanes, I have tried particularly hard not to be discourteous to the local residents thereby avoiding the embarrassment of being reported to the school office as “one of those drivers”! No longer for me the leisurely breakfast before setting off on the short walk between my house and the back door of the school. An earlier arrival at Daneshill is, however, rewarded by the good company of the Early Birds assembled in the Dining Room for pre-school banter. Much can be gleaned during this precious time.

I am very impressed that the younger pupils in the pre-prep have established who I am, albeit that there is a little confusion as to whether I am the old Headmaster or the new one. Needless to say this has not prevented us from exchanging friendly greetings and I will endeavour to know them all much better in the coming weeks. Being back at school is not such a hardship after all. On the contrary it is a happy and exciting place to be.


Mr Simon Spencer

Senior School Surgeries: Dates for the Diary

I am very pleased to confirm that we have visits from three leading Senior Schools this term, as follows:

Thursday 7th November Downe House & Radley College

Mrs Emma McKendrick, Headmistress at Downe House, and Mrs Vanessa Hammond, Registrar at Radley, will be joining us on this occasion in order to promote their single sex Senior Schools.

Thursday 28th November Canford

Mr Mike Owen, Registrar at Canford, will be joining us in order to discuss the Co-Ed experience available to pupils at Canford.

Both events will be held in the Dining Hall from 7pm and will offer parents the opportunity to hear more about the character of these Senior Schools as well as their respective admission processes. There will be a question and answer session at each event, as well as an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine and light refreshments with our visitors. I do urge parents to register their attendance with Mrs Dainton in the School Office and look forward to seeing a number of you at these events in November. Please feel able to attend even if your children are at a stage where you have not yet formulated any definite plans for their future schooling.

Mr Simon Spencer

National Science Quiz Final: Year 6

Having fought their way through two earlier rounds, Tom Swart, Ollie Beresford-Davies, Joe Stickland and Harry Hare journeyed to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Didcot for the final of the “QuizClub” National Prep Schools Science Quiz on Tuesday. The questions required collaboration and tactical decision-making when selecting answers, as well as considerable general knowledge on topics ranging from the moons of Jupiter to exo-skeletons or arthropods! The team were up against strong competition and managed to come 7th out of the ten finalists, not too far behind the eventual winners. This is quite some feat considering over 200 prep schools entered the competition. After the presentations the competitors were given a short lecture on the solar system and light by one of the scientific staff at the Laboratory.

Comments from the children: "The final was really competitive … I think it is a great achievement to even get to the final and we should all be proud of ourselves … After the quiz I got to hold a 3.5 billion year old rock and saw pieces of Mars and the Moon … I am really proud we came 7th in the country … It was a really good experience."

Mr Mark Mikurenda

Year 4 Trip to Ufton Court

On Monday 16th September Year 4 visited Ufton Court’s beautiful, secluded grounds which include medieval fishponds and extensive unspoilt woodland. The children took part in photo mapping, orienteering, team challenges, a Tudor banquet with dancing, campfire, net sweeping, stream dipping looking at animals’ habitats. The peaceful setting provided the children with opportunities to explore the natural world in an adventurous, stimulating environment. It was a memorable trip and certainly brought year 4 closer together as a team.

Mrs Cathy Barnes & Mrs Renate Fevrier

Year 3 Trip to the Gordon Brown Centre

Following the theme of ‘challenge’ and ‘trying something new’ Year Three enjoyed a day packed full of adventure at the Gordon Brown Centre. The pupils had to pit their wits against the low ropes course as well as having to work together tackling obstacles in the trim trail. After a brief rest to feed and meet the resident goats the weather took a turn for the worse. Battling the elements the children raced to erect their shelters and gather wood for the fire. With campfires blazing, fingers and toes warming, popcorn was cooked in billy cans. Children went home drenched, exhausted but beaming not only surviving but thriving.

Mrs Carol Jeffreys & Miss Emma Dolphin

News from the Pre-Prep & Nursery Corner

Playtime has been extra fun for all the children from Nursery to Year 2 thanks to lots of new equipment, which allows the children to practise their catching, skipping and hula hooping or, as many children have discovered, playing ‘trains’ with linked hoops. These new toys were given to school in exchange for the Sainsbury’s ‘Active Kids’ vouchers. We would like to say a very big thank you to all the parents who kindly collected the vouchers and brought them into school last term.

The Nursery has been overrun by ‘a’ ‘a’ ‘a’ – ants. We are hoping that the ‘s’ ‘s’ ‘s’ – snakes – will clear the problem up!! We have continued to look at ‘ourselves’ this week and next week we will be starting to look at ‘changes’. We are looking forward to the children bringing in photographs of themselves as babies and toddlers for our discussions.

Miss Bridget Bull & Miss Kate Flood


Boys (vs. St. Piran’s)                                         Girls

Colts A D 4 – 4                                                     U.13 A (vs. The Abbey) L 4 – 12

Colts B W 5 – 1                                                    U.13 B (vs. The Abbey) L 2 – 18

Colts C D 4 – 4                                                     U.11 A (vs. Yateley Manor) W 8 – 6

                                                                            U.11 B (vs. Yateley Manor) W 8 – 0

                                                                            U.10 A (vs. St. Joseph’s) W 4 – 0

                                                                            U.10 B (vs. St. Joseph’s) D 1 – 1

This week saw some great matches against St Piran’s who wished to play a ‘Colts’ format in the senior matches. Historically, St Piran’s have been very hard to break down. This year, however, saw some fantastic games. The Colts A drew with a St Piran’s side who had not lost in a long time. The Colts B won their match through some lovely passing and combination play. The Colts C also drew 4-4 in what was a thrilling match for all involved. The skills of ball control, game awareness and finding space will continue to be priorities into next week.

Mr Scott Baldwin

In girls sport, a special mention must go to the Year 6 girls who attended a rather rainy netball club on Monday. They all put in a tremendous amount of effort, zipping around the court in the rain, all with big smiles on their faces! Gym has also got off to a flying start this term. Mrs Doyle has already found the benefits of the fantastic new equipment which has arrived in recent weeks. The new box top has enabled all age children to develop their vaulting skills and it is very exciting to see so many children taking up gym club this term.

Miss Kate O’Neill