Daneshill Diary 24/01/14

Headmaster’s Notes

In 1989 Daneshill founded the very first Friends of Daneshill School (FODS) as a link between the staff and parents but also to provide an opportunity for those who wished to take part in the organisation of social events.

In the early stages there was a good deal of confusion in some quarters about the actual role of the committee.  This was around the time when state primary schools were inviting parents to become members of their governing body.

Things were eventually placed on an even keel and what emerged was a very supportive organisation that provided opportunities for parents to meet each other through a series of social events and activities.

A whole range of positive events evolved, ranging from theme days to summer fetes.  The Daneshill Firework Night has survived as probably the most significantly enjoyable event on the school calendar.  Over the years we have had a number of exceptionally hard working and dedicated chairpersons supported by numerous committee and co-opted volunteers.

The school and its pupils has benefitted enormously from this extremely supportive institution.

This year Mrs Gavin takes over the role as Chair of FODS.  She will be well known to many of you with sons Hal (Year 5) and Seth (Year 3).  We all wish her the best of luck and I am sure that she will continue to enjoy the levels of support that have made our FODS the envy of other schools.

In the 25th Anniversary year we will have to think of a fitting way to celebrate.

 Mr Simon Spencer

Bonnes Vacances…?

In the Autumn Term Daneshill were invited to take part in the inaugural Prep Schools’ Modern Language Video Competition organised by Bradfield College.

With some trepidation (due to a complete lack of cinematographic knowledge on Mme Passmore’s part!) we confirmed our interest, and Year 8 began a hectic 5 or 6 weeks of script writing, line learning, costume creating, set planning, filming and editing.

Over 20 schools were invited to participate, with seven films being submitted. Our entry, entitled ‘Bonnes Vacances…?’, follows the fortunes of a chaotic family as they embark on their holiday abroad. The MFL Film Festival took place at Bradfield on Tuesday and it was fascinating to see the range of entries – competition was stiff, with The Oratory being declared the worthy winners.

I was very proud of our children’s efforts, the film was solely their own work and they will enjoy sharing it with the school in a forthcoming assembly and with parents later in the year. It was great fun and enabled the cast to use their language skills in a new and entertaining way. The whole year group rose to the challenge beautifully and I would like to extend particular thanks to Matthew Elphick, who, ably assisted by Carlota Schoendorff, did a fantastic job at producing and editing their production – féliciations et merci!

Mrs Emma Passmore

Subject in Spotlight: Geography

As part of Subject in Spotlight the whole school had the privilege to watch a show “in the dome” in the Sports Hall this week. Children in Years 1 and 2 travelled the sea for an hour with Reception joining to watch the last twenty minutes. Each year group from Year 3 upwards were allocated an hour to marvel in the wonders of our dynamic and ever-changing Earth. Our visiting speaker, Neil, took each group on a trip through the cosmic space, visiting the Moon and Mars. Although the main focus was on the water cycle, the children were also introduced to the rock and the carbon cycle. The show ended with a brief glance at super volcanoes and the possible destruction hidden inside the Earth. All the children thoroughly enjoyed this out-of-the-classroom experience.

On Monday Year 3 had a fantastic day with Action Aid, and I have been told that there are exciting plans for a Geography day in the Pre Prep.

Over the next few weeks I will be plotting how many different countries the children in Daneshill have visited on a world map (set up on the display board in the entrance hall of the school).  If anyone has visited an interesting place, please bring in a photo that will be put up on the display board – I’m sure we will cover a good many countries, and I hope the children might be inspired to visit new places as a result of having the world at their fingertips too!

Mrs Renate Fevrier

Art Success

Following Year 7’s visit to Blenheim Palace last term, we had a productive time, with pupils producing a piece of 2D or 3D work of their choice to enter for the The Duke of Marlborough’s Heritage Education Prize, 2013. The Duke was particularly impressed with the model of one of the Blenheim Eyes made by Elysia Rougier. Congratulations to Elysia who has been invited to attend a Prize Giving on Friday 9th May.

Well done to all Year 7 as the Duke was particularly impressed with the high standard of their work as well as their imaginative ideas. All the school work is on display in the Education Room at Blenheim Palace so if you visit the Palace please pop in and see their successful creations.

Mrs Clare Lock

“Wising Up” in ALS

6S knew they were in for a treat in ALS on Thursday afternoon when they were confronted by a field full of interesting bits and pieces designed to test their lateral thinking, teamwork and communication skills.  Wiseup Team Building came in to lead a fantastic session, and every child left at the end of the afternoon smiling, albeit shivering!  Having been split into two teams, each had to attempt several tricky challenges while being marked on communication, teamwork, motivation, planning and completing the task.  Tasks such as ‘The Bomb’, ‘Ski Walk’ and ‘Stop the Clock’ kept them busy, and it was wonderful to see both groups showing such perseverance, patience and enthusiasm throughout the day.  A Wiseup staff member, Will, said at the end of the day that 6S had been ‘better at working together and communicating than most of the 16 year olds he has worked with.’  A thoroughly successful teambuilding day!


Mr Jack Champness


Year 3 Run Wilde

The Selfish Giant is one of Oscar Wilde’s most beautiful stories and Year 3 are currently rehearsing a musical version of it to perform to their parents in February. This timeless classic is springing into life from the imaginations and talents of the children.

Getting to grips with Wilde’s literary style proved intriguing this week as, at a dramatic moment in the story, a Year 3 narrator read aloud from the script, “A great awe fell on the Giant,” and her friend piped up, “Ouch! That must have really hurt!”

Year 3 parents are in for a treat … but do watch out for falling awes!

Mrs Clare Mannion

A village called Chembakolli

Year 3 enjoyed a wonderful day learning all about India and, in particular, the small village of Chembakolli. The workshops included trying on traditional Indian costumes such as saris and shewanis alongside designing intricate mehndi patterns. Artefacts were studied and some boys and girls demonstrated their balance skills by carrying a pot on their head!  Everyone enjoyed learning about the Indian custom of Rakhi, giving and making some of their own.  The day ended with traditional Indian tea making, and the children sampled Chai: a sweet, spicy milk tea which has become popular throughout the world.


Mrs Carol Jeffreys & Miss Emma Dolphin


News from the Pre-Prep


The Pre-Prep went on an amazing adventure in the Geography Dome on Tuesday morning. They travelled around the world from the Antarctic to America and on to Australia. They looked at Earth from space as well as the shades of grey of the Moon. They explored the deep mysterious oceans of the world and the wonders and colours of the Barrier Reef.

We are planning to have our own special ‘Geography Day’ on Monday 3rd February – more details will be sent in an email next week.


Miss Bridget Bull


Nursery Corner

There has been great excitement in the Nursery this week with many adventures ‘to the moon’ – all made possible by a colander and large cardboard box!!

We are continuing with our ‘transport’ theme as we are still discussing where the children have been to on an aeroplane. We still have some destinations to plot on our world map but we are getting there slowly! Our ‘Whatever Next’ display is finished and is well worth a look.

Next week we will all become avid bird watchers in preparation for taking part in the RSPB Bird watch. Our role play will become a bird hide and we hope to spot many of our beautiful garden birds, which regularly come to feed on our Nursery feeders. For those children who made their own bird food, we hope that these treats are all in position within your gardens at home – we look forward to hearing which birds have visited your gardens next week.

Miss Kate Flood       

FOD Update

Thank you to all those that attended this week’s FOD meeting. We have come away with lots of great ideas for fundraising and social events for the coming year.  This term’s event will be a Quiz Night on Friday 7th March. Details will follow next week.

FODs will be running their first Secondhand Uniform Sale of the term next week. If you have any old uniform in good condition you would like to sell then please place it in the box in the School Reception before Thursday. All items must have a sales ticket attached (available on the school website) and are sold at the price listed on the FOD price list (broadly half of the Perry’s selling price).  Proceeds of each sale are shared 50/50 with the seller and FOD.  The sale will be held in The Headmasters’ House from 3pm to 4.30pm on Thursday 30th January, and we accept cheques or cash.  We also have new samples of all the current uniform from Perry’s for pupils to come and try on for size if you wish to buy online.

Mrs Jackie Simpson

Sporting Fixtures

Boys                                                                Girls:

RUGBY TERM                                                   HOCKEY TERM

Wednesday 22nd January                               Wednesday 22nd January

First XII vs. Dolphin     W 65 – 10                      U13 A vs. Dolphin                                W 3 – 2

Colts A vs. Dolphin      W 25 – 20                     U13 A vs. Dolphin                                W 10 – 1

Colts B vs. Dolphin       W 35 – 10                    U11 A vs. Dolphin                                D 0 – 0

Colts C vs. Dolphin      L 20 – 45                      U10 A vs. Dolphin                                D 0 – 0

                                                                        U10 B vs. Dolphin                                D 0 – 0

Friday 24th January                                                          

U9A vs. Dolphin           W 11 – 1                                  

U8A vs. Dolphin           W 10 – 6

U8B vs. Dolphin           W 7 – 0

U8C vs. Dolphin           W 6 – 0


The U13 hockey squads had a successful week of matches in fixtures against Dolphin School this week. The U13 A team dominated the game from the start managing to score 3 goals by half time, making the score 3-0. Dolphin stepped up their game in the second half and came back at Daneshill with two goals, but the Daneshill team dug deep and played brilliantly, holding onto the lead till the final whistle. The final score was 3-2 to Daneshill: a brilliant team effort.

The U13 B team had a spectacular win over the visitors too, hitting a spectacular 10 goals past the Dolphin defence to win the match 10-1. The girls had an impressive work rate and did not relax the pressure on Dolphin throughout. 

Great results all round and I am delighted to see how well the girls are transferring their newly acquired skills and tactics into their game play.   

Miss Kate O’Neill

The first round of matches have gone smoothly this week with the boys putting into practice all that we have learned. The foundations of good rugby – running forward, continuity and sound defence – are, I am pleased to report, in place. The boys are putting these concepts into practice and, combined with our natural skill and evasive running, it would seem we have some real talent within the school.  Now the challenge is to fine tune our skills and increase our depth of knowledge to become the best we can be.  

Mr Scott Baldwin