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D R A G O N S T O D AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 7


D R A G O N S T O D AY S U M M E R 2 0 1 7

The Dragon Christmas Sale - in its 73rd

year - is the School’s biggest community

event; 250 children, volunteer parents

and staff raise money for charities to

help children and families locally,

nationally and overseas. Over the

last ten years, the Sale has raised and

distributed over £1 million and over the

course of the last 73 years, donated over

£2 million.

Children at the annual Dragon Sale help to raise

funds for BAT, by selling Dragon Nectar (honey),

chocolates and decorations

Children from eight state schools in Oxford joined

us for a percussion concert


Philanthropy in Action

P r o f i l e

Mark Edwards


Since joining the Dragon in 2006 as

Head of Classics, you have had several

roles, from a Houseparent to a Learning

Innovation Leader. Talk us through your

roles and how your career has developed

at the Dragon?

I joined the Dragon in 2006, after

spending the first six years of my teaching

career at Stowe School. I enjoyed

heading up the Classics Department for

seven years, running this side-by-side

with the Head of A/B Block for a while.

In September 2013, Marykate and I were

appointed Houseparents of Cherwell,

and it’s been a delight to share our family

life with 45 girls for the last four years. In

this past year, I have been one of three

‘Learning Innovation Leaders’, where I

have instigated the ‘Disco’ programme

for Upper School, created classroom

extension tasks and led both staff and

parent training.

Over the past 11 years, what have been

your best experiences at the Dragon?

I love the Dragon’s bustling, informal

nature, yet with its heart of steely drive.

Highlights of the year for me are always

(in chronological order!) refereeing

rugby, D Block Roman Day, the Carol

Service, the C Block Greek Plays, Form

Cross Country, the PEG plays, Summer

Serenade and the final Sing Song. I could

list so many more – it’s great to see the

children throwing themselves into the

wealth of opportunities they have at the


As newly appointed Deputy Head

(Academic), what plans do you have to

grow and develop this role?

The relationship between pupil and

teacher is proven to have a huge impact

on a child’s academic progress. We

are fortunate at the Dragon to have a

committed and professional staff body

who always put the child first. A large part

of my role will be to support, equip and

enthuse the staff to enable them to focus

on providing excellent teaching which

always ‘looks for the learning’ in their

classes, with themselves as models of

lifelong learners. I intend to restructure

our staff development programme to

ensure the highest possible teaching

standards, giving opportunities for

colleagues to further their own practice.

At the same time, I would like to develop

the children’s independence, such as

self-organisation, taking responsibility for

work, and consistent focus in lessons. We

have a wonderful school; there is so much

to do. Watch this space.

How do you feel you can enhance the

School and encourage the children to

grow in your new role?

I want to maximise every child’s academic

development. By ‘academic’, I mean

not just test scores, but every child’s

intellectual ability to engage with and

change the world around them. Many of

the jobs our children will do haven’t been

invented yet, and we need to prepare

them for life in the mid-21st century

with the skills to succeed. Skills such as

creativity, flexibility, problem-solving and

teamwork are vital, and there are many

ways we can nurture these in both our

approach to lessons and our everyday

school life. I look forward to working

with Clare Strickland and others to

develop a broad school curriculum built

around a core of rigorous teaching in the

classroom, and which looks to equip our

children to forge their own individual

lives beyond.

D e p u t y H e a d ( A c a d e m i c )

Since September 2016, the Dragon community has raised

over £135,000 for charity. The Dragon Charity Christmas Sale

held last December raised £102,500 and a further £6,930

pounds was raised by Dragon children through their social

impact programme. In addition, Dragon children working on

their own initiatives raised a further £28,000.

anny Gill, Director of Social Enterprise at the

Dragon explains more about the powerful Dragon

Social Impact Programme:

“Dragons are encouraged to become leaders in

philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, to become the

visionaries who will set the future agenda for beneficial

social transformation. One of the ways Dragons can do

this, is to teach our pupils to give of their time, skills and

resources intelligently and effectively.”


Children selling bracelets and toys at Governors’ Challenge Market Day

The Governors’ Challenge Market day enabled Year 7 to

show how enterprising they are. The £9000 they raised was

distributed among 28 charities chosen by philanthropy

ambassadors in each form. The Year 8 charity challenge,

organised and led by the post exam group pupils, raised

almost £5000 for

Free the Children’s

work in Sierra Leone,

providing education for 100 children and health care

training for 60 mothers. The D Block Summer Fair raised

around £700.

Singing Day involves children from state schools joining Dragon

children, for a day of upbeat song and dance

Dragon children presenting Leonard Cheshire Disability with a

cheque raised from a sponsored ‘swim the channel’ relay event

Group of children take part in WE Day, to march

against climate change

A Block children take part in a

Charity Challenge activity. The

children experiences what it would

be like to carry water on their heads

when near by water sources are