Daneshill Diary 29/11/13

Headmaster’s Notes

In my opinion, today’s Independent Schools are often far too proud of their marketing tools: glossy brochures and their often trite references to the unfailing excellent of their achievements.  The truth is that our pupils are the best examples of our worth; their hard work and dedication to learning, supported by good teaching and the provision of numerous opportunities for them to test themselves against the challenges we set for them, are the most tangible indications of a good school.  

This week the following things have happened:

Firstly, the U11A and U10A boys football teams (also known as Colts A and B) have completed an unbeaten season of inter-school matches. Their respective records are as follows:

Colts A – played 9, won 7, drawn 2, lost 0, goals for: 32 / goals against: 12
Colts B – played 10, won 9, drawn 1, lost 0, goals for: 54 / goals against: 8
An amazing achievement by both squads!

Secondly, Cressida Kennedy (Year 6) was chosen for the National Schools Choir of Great Britain: an extraordinary achievement, Cressida!

Thirdly, George Crave (Year 7) has been offered a definite place at Harrow School, subject to his passing Common Entrance. He will be the first boy to go directly from Daneshill to Harrow in September, 2015: Excellent and well done, George!

Lastly, and on a lighter note, the Year 1 pupils leaving the dining room this week informed me that they had had “Upside Down Pudding”. When I enquired how they had eaten it, the immediate response was: “By standing on our heads!” How reassuring that amidst all that happens within a busy term we can all manage to maintain our sense of humour: something we will definitely need to sustain us (along with the puddings) during the last two weeks of term!

As a cross-section of the successes of a broadly based curriculum, these are as good a reflection as any of everything that we all work hard to achieve at Daneshill.

Mr Simon Spencer


Creakebottom comes to Daneshill

On Tuesday night, pupils in Years 5 – 8 and their parents enjoyed a night of live theatre brought here to Daneshill. A very lively drama company, ‘Slingshot Theatre,’ entertained us heartily with a highly amusing performance of their own show, ‘Nativity in Creakebottom.’ The five actors depicted an amateur dramatic theatre company from a Suffolk village that was being entered into an important drama festival – and great hilarity was created by all their efforts. Their characters completely engaged the audience; indeed, their laughter must have been heard for miles around as adults and children alike simply could not control their giggles. In some cases, handkerchiefs were even required to mop up some of the tears of laughter! The teachers have since been plagued by renditions of moments from the play as the children have remembered and repeated many catch phrases, always accompanied with repeated laughter. It was a jolly way to begin the Christmas festivities. Many thanks to Mrs Dainton who helped so much with the organisation.

Mrs Suzy Dixon

Musical Notes

Another Christmas is upon us, and all the school, from Nursery to Year 8, are busy rehearsing songs for their respective performances.

Chamber Choir will be singing carols next week at St. Michael’s Church, Basingstoke, in aid of North Hampshire Medical Fund. We hope to see as many parents there as possible.

Year 3 pupils are singing at the Evergreens Old People’s Christmas party, and the Pre-Prep couldn’t be more excited to show off their vocal talents in the eagerly awaited ‘Christmas Nativity’. This is not to be missed!

What with all this going on, the school and department have been delighted to learn that Cressida Kennedy in Year 6 has been accepted into the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain. Choristers are hand-picked from across the four countries, culminating in an 80 or so strong choir. This is a super achievement, and we look forward to hearing more about how these events unfold.

I look forward to seeing as many parents as possible over the course of the remainder of what has been another busy musical term.

‘Fa la la la la, la la la la.’

Mr Tim Soper

The Eco School Committee

Over the course of the last few weeks, the School Council have been working alongside the Eco School Committee to develop an Action Plan for the school. This will give us direction in our work towards the Bronze flag of becoming an Eco School. Firstly, the School Council completed a survey of the school to work out the areas where extra environmental focus will help. We then recruited our first Eco Committee to work on the Action Plan – from the nine areas we had to investigate, we chose the following three: energy, recycling & the grounds. All the pupils contributed by giving environmentally friendly ideas at their House meetings this week.

Mrs Suzy Dixon

Science Quiz Success

The Year 5/6 Science team, comprising of Tom Swart, Harry Stevens, George Munn and Freddie Lappin, were successful in winning their way through to the semi-final of this year’s  Quiz Club National Science Quiz.  They travelled to Guildford to take part in the first round of the competition and were comfortable winners, winning 89% of the available points from some very challenging questions.  Well done to the team!                    

Mr Mark Mikurenda

News from the Pre-Prep

Pre-Prep children and staff have been busy bees this week with costume fittings, line learning and song singing. It really is coming together, and, to the great delight of all the cast, we did our first full dress rehearsal and performed to the whole school this week.

The children are managing to keep focused around all this excitement and they continue to produce some fantastic work when in the classrooms, despite being surrounded by donkeys, Angels, sheep … the list goes on!

We all can’t wait to show you the talent that we have here in the Pre-Prep and look forward to seeing you all next week at the performances.

Miss Bridget Bull

Nursery Corner

All rehearsals for the Nursery Nativity are now completed. On Wednesday we had a very exciting dress rehearsal, viewed by staff and astute Year 7 pupils, who deemed the show a huge success! We were lucky enough to have nearly a full complement of children and Mrs Innkeeper managed to arrive with minutes to spare: a great relief! We now look forward to Monday’s performances (9.15 & 9.45am) with great eagerness. A relaxing and enjoyable weekend for our budding stars will ensure that they are on top form first thing on Monday morning.

Next week we will be enjoying a range of creative activities – our time will be spent making Christmas decorations, festive treats and having plenty of merriment with music and dancing. We will still continue with our sounds work though as the children are making such progress with these. As promised, we will also take a trip back to the library in the “Big School”, which we are all looking forward to.  

Miss Kate Flood

Sporting Fixtures
Boys                                                                Girls:
Wednesday 27th November                                       Wednesday 27th November
U13 A vs. Thorngrove             L 1 – 3                         U13 A vs. Dolphin                                W 7 – 3
Colts A vs. Thorngrove             D 0 – 0                       U13 B vs. Dolphin                                W 10 – 4
Colts B vs. Thorngrove             W 8 – 1                      U11 A vs. Thorngrove                           L 5 – 8
Colts C vs. Thorngrove             W 9 – 1                     U11 B vs. Thorngrove                           D 3 – 3
Colts D vs. Thorngrove             W 2 – 1
Friday 29th November                                           
U9 A vs. St George’s                 TBC    
U8 A vs. St George’s                 TBC
U8 B vs. St George’s                 TBC
U8 C vs. St George’s                 TBC

It’s been another good footballing week. This week has seen matches against Thorngrove on Wednesday and St Neot’s on Friday. The St Neot’s fixture contributed to a wonderful day with teams playing both home and away. All the matches were very competitive and the atmosphere on the side-lines was electric. It all contributed to a great afternoon which was enjoyed by both players and parents.

The Thorngrove fixtures proved a little one-sided in some matches. The Colts A had a very tough game but hung on for draw, while the First IX lost 3-1. In Colts B, C and D we showed our progress with some well-earned results. Now we can look forward to the house competitions and enjoy a bit of friendly competition!

Mr Scott Baldwin


It has been another good week on the netball courts for the U13 and U11 teams. The U11 teams have been focusing on ball placement recently, using the back pass and giving the ‘long ball’ in our attacking play. The back pass is not a natural pass to use when attacking, but, as the girls have discovered, it really opens up attack and allows the players to set up suitably before driving the ball into the shooters. I was delighted to see all teams using both types of pass in their games on Wednesday against Dolphin and Thorngrove.

The U13 A & B teams stormed to glorious victory against Dolphin, which was undoubtedly the best I have seen them play. The girls were dominant from the start, taking control and working as attacking and defensive units instead of individual players. Defence was tight and attack was electrifying. I was thrilled to see their determination, focus and, above all, their camaraderie. They were wonderful games to watch and I’m delighted with the progress each and every player has made in the past few weeks, particularly those girls who are playing new positions. The final scores reflected their progress.

The U11 A & B teams knew their match against Thorngrove would be tough but they didn’t let it phase them. They started the game with confidence and fought hard for every ball, intercepting brilliantly all the way down court. They really held their own and worked hard for the whole game showing great energy throughout. The girls drew on their training and utilised the space on court to enable the ball to move quickly between players. 

I have been delighted with the effort these girls are putting into their training sessions and we’re really starting to see them evolve as mature and competent netballers. Well done girls.

The Pre Prep Christmas play rehearsals were still ongoing this week so some of our PE lessons moved around slightly again. The pupils were given the choice of sports they would like to play in their lessons and decided to play netball (the boys’ choice also!). I was impressed by how quickly the boys were able to pick up the rules and also with the level of support the girls gave to the boys, helping them understand their playing positions and the rules in more detail. The boys still have a few things to learn, however, such as not shouting at the ‘referee’ and that diving is not acceptable, regardless of how flamboyant it is!  

Finally, I’m delighted to report that the very talented Eloise Henwood in Year 2 has just achieved her Level 9 Trampoline award. Eloise has trained incredibly hard for this award so many congratulations from all at Daneshill.

Miss Kate O’Neill