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Music at the Heart of the Dragon

A new Music School will be built at the heart of the Dragon’s

Bardwell Road site.

As many of you will remember, the current music facility was

built in the 1960s, when few children took up an instrument.

Today, 80% of Dragon children take part in active music-making;

there are 820 instrumental lessons taught each week by 50

specialist teachers; children perform in 41 ensembles and 270

pupils practise their instrument for 15 minutes four times a week.

Demand and interest in music continues to grow and we want to

make sure that this opportunity is available to every Dragon child.

Music is central to the Dragon for the many benefits it brings

to all children, not just the most able players. The patience of

practice, the focus of the goal of performance and the thrill of

shared endeavour develop perseverance, listening skills, discipline

and team spirit. A body of evidence demonstrates that music

supports spatial, mathematical and language learning and

improves focus, concentration and team skills. Integrating creative

arts with academic studies develops higher-order thinking skills:

analysis, synthesis and communication.

Last year we announced that the Governors had appointed

Oxford-based Architects, Berman Guedes Stretton (BGS) to design

the new music facility at the centre of the Dragon (Bardwell Road

site) Campus. The Governors have now approved plans which

have been submitted to the Planning Department of Oxford City

Council. The proposed building aims to attract, motivate and

inspire generations of children and staff. BGS’ design reflects local

domestic architecture in scale and size; the two story brick-built

building will be situated behind Lane House and adjacent to the

Lynam Hall. The internal spaces have been designed to feel warm

and welcoming to even the youngest children.

BGS have a reputation for delivering high quality architecture

and have won a number of competitions and awards, including

the RIBA National award, RIBA and RICS Regional Awards

and RIBA Conservation and Sustainability Awards. They were

finalists for the Building Design Education Architect of the Year

2013, and their recent projects in Oxford include Wolfson College,

Pembroke College, Queen’s College and St Clare’s.

As soon as planning has been approved we will update you

through the

Arduus ad Solem

: Dragon Community e-newsletter

and add an announcement to the Dragon School Website.

To achieve the goal of building a new Music School, we will

be launching a campaign to secure donations and support and

look forward to updating you. If you wish to discuss this project

or our fundraising plans in person, please contact Head of

Development, Jane Pendry on

or 01865 315415.

Flashback Friday

Flashback Fridays appear regularly

on the OD Facebook page, and are

always popular posts.

Dragons dusted off their splurge

guns from Bugsy Malone, and

their tea sets from the 1977 Jubilee

and re-lived glorious moments of

sporting endeavour and dramatic

success. Skating on the ice-covered

lawns of School House in the

1960s seems unthinkable now. The

excellent School pool of today is

far removed from the outdoor pool

of 1971. Dragon grins and sparkle

remain the same, then as now. We

also remembered Robin ‘Lofty’

Houghton in his new purpose-built

science lab in the Tin Can as he

taught ‘the life aquatic’ in 1968.

‘Like’ the Dragon School Old

Dragons Facebook page to enjoy

Flashback Fridays and other Old

Dragon news.

John Crow

(OD 1967) currently working at the British Embassy in

Beijing, wrote, “I have no access to Facebook. To be honest I haven’t an

account and it is blocked in China anyway. However, I do see the Old

Dragon publication from time to time and I almost fell off my chair as

I was leafing through Issue 5 and saw the Flashback Friday picture of

the production of HMS Pinafore in 1966 in which I played Sir Joseph

Porter KCB. I remember the photos of the production very well as

they were taken at the dress rehearsal and one of my stockings (right

leg, I think) was slightly wrinkled! I remember being irritated at the

time, but such is the vanity of the performer.”

Sir John Betjeman (OD 1920) opening the Dragon

Fete in 1963.