Dragons Today - Spring 2015 - page 8-9

D R A G O N S T O DAY S P R I N G 2 0 1 5
D R A G O N S T O DAY S P R I N G 2 0 1 5
How do you engage children to think about
The aim of the Social Impact programme is
to help pupils think about how people from
all walks of life are making a difference
to their communities by searching for
solutions to the social challenges they
wish to overcome. A particular focus is
on children around the world who have
already found change making solutions.
We also focus on inspirational individual
philanthropists and organisations whose
vision for a better world has delivered
change for the common good. Our pupils
are introduced to the different ways they
can be philanthropic- giving financial
support is not the only way, other assets:
their skills, resourcefulness, time can also
be given. Asking them what change they
would like to make is often a good place to
Why is it important for children to learn
about it?
It is important for children at the Dragon
to learn how to give. By most comparisons
we are privileged people, both individually
and collectively we have a responsibility to
put our education and opportunities to good
use. Children have a natural empathy which
given the opportunity to grow will certainly
do so and children who experience giving
also experience a sense of wellbeing.
How does the Dragon make a difference?
Since Skipper Lynam, the Dragon has at its
core of values the desire to make each of
our pupils hearts beat with the heartbeat of
mankind, the difference this value has made
to many generations of Dragons is beyond
measure. However it is a reality of life that
these days many metrics are employed in an
attempt to measure the impact donations
have on the recipients. Apart from the
financial value of many years of fundraising
by the Dragon community in providing
a platform for ideas with social impact,
nurturing those which can grow, sharing
the benefits to pupils with other schools
and collaborating with organisations who
can help scale projects we believe we can
make a long term difference to the nature
of education. We are cultivating change
makers and we encourage our pupils to take
the initiative.
What projects are the school involved in?
We are always looking for ideas and projects
which can help frame the education we
wish our pupils to have and whilst it is
currently not possible for all pupils to
experience all projects some of the most
developed projects include Dragon Nectar,
Café Dragon, the Philanthropy in Schools
project in collaboration with The Big Give,
the Latin in the Community project, the
music department collaboration with
Oxford Philomusica and the Eco conference
we stage annually. We have also been
instrumental in the establishment of 20
20 Education and have recently begun
work with Ashoka as one of the first
Changemaker schools in the UK.
How do you choose which charities to support?
Giving is not as easy as many think. It is
not possible for any of us to respond to
all the requests we may receive and so
extremely challenging choices have to be
made. Pupils are invited to vote for which
sectors of the charity world they wish to
support. We confront our pupils with these
tough decisions and help them to think
through the impact any donation may
make on the causes which motivate them.
Giving inevitably engages our emotions
we hope we can also make any decision an
intelligent one whatever the sum of money,
time or resources involved. That said our
track record illustrates we have given to
many and not a few.
What has been your best giving experience?
Evaluating my best giving experience is a
difficult one as often there are unexpected
outcomes and the ripples from certain
projects are longer lasting and reach further
than I had anticipated. The immediate
and long term impact of tens of Dragons
arriving in a Favela or Bustee or Township
to work with vulnerable children provides
many happy memories. If I had to choose
one then the opportunity the Dragon gave
to a former street child from Kolkata to
work as a Stooge for a year and the impact
this experience
had on his
life and on
the lives
of those in
the School
at the time
stands out.
t Prep School level, the definition
of sporting success should not
involve trophies, bragging rights
or marketing pull. Sadly, some schools do
place a lot of emphasis on these factors,
perhaps valuing elitism over inclusion, or
lacking vision elsewhere. To most schools,
however, and certainly at the Dragon, there
is a bigger picture and success is measured
not by the final outcome, but by the
The Dragon has two main principles within
its programme of sport: participation and
excellence. However, this is easier said
than done: by their very definitions, these
two primary aims conflict with each other.
On one hand, we want to allow those that
excel the opportunity to further their
skills and compete with the best, whilst
on the other we want to give as many
children as possible the experience of
playing competitive sport. Nevertheless,
Dragon sporting success is based upon
the marriage of these two aims and each
season’s statistics suggest that the two
targets are often achieved harmoniously.
Over 30 different sports teams regularly
represent the school on any given match
day and, what’s more, the vast majority
of the children, whatever their level,
compete with a smile on their face – and
the statistics from the Christmas Term 2014
speak for themselves:
– Impressively, 342 out of 387
(88%) boys represented the Dragon in one
of its 153 rugby matches this season. In
a school the size of the Dragon and in
a sport with the competitive, physical
nature of rugby, this is a great success. In
addition, all of the boys have featured in
our highly competitive Inters and Form
rugby tournaments, competitions designed
for mass participation and highly enjoyable
events that cover the full range of skill
There was no shortage of excellence too,
with 62% of the fixtures resulting in Dragon
victories. Colts A won the Port Regis
tournament for the fourth time in five
years, and the 2nd XV enjoyed an unbeaten
season against other teams at their level.
Our 1st VII have already secured their first
piece of silverware for the year, by winning
the Plate Competition at the Bryanston
Sevens for the third year running, whilst
the youngest crop of Dragon sportsmen
started their fledgling rugby careers with a
well-deserved triumph at the Marlborough
College U9 Tournament.
Individual success must also be highlighted,
and the Dragon certainly has its fair share:
Sean Ndiomu broke the 1st XV try scoring
record, amassing an impressive 28 tries in
13 games. This achievement is even more
notable considering that Sean joined the
School in Year 6 pupil with no experience
of the sport, and played for his House
Games Groups for two years: a success story
in itself. There were also representative
honours for Zach Lion-Cachet and Thane
Brueschke, who were chosen for regional
and county teams respectively.
Finally, success of a different kind: Dragon
history was made this term when the school
fielded a United Nations team featuring no
less than sixteen different nationalities.
They went on to win the game against
Spratton Hall 54-0, with eight nations
making their way onto the score sheet.
Girls’ Hockey
– The Dragon girls have also
had a successful season. Over 90% of all girls
in the school featured in at least one of the
101 matches played: furthermore, 80% of
these matches were either won or drawn,
with Dragon out-scoring their opponents by
a ratio of almost three-to-one overall.
After another highly constructive pre-season
tour to Holland, the senior hockey teams
led the way, playing with great flair and
success throughout the season. The 2nd XI
and 4th VII both went through the season
undefeated, an excellent achievement on
a very competitive circuit, whilst the U10
Girls hosted and won the Dragon’s own
tournament, showing that skill runs all the
way through the year groups.
As well as playing locally, Isabel Gibson,
Flora White, Maddie Dale, Nicola Green
and Tanya Scott have also achieved
representative success for Oxfordshire.
Other Sports
– In addition to the main
sports that we offer each term, there is
always a plethora of other sports available
all year round. As well as the depth on offer,
the Dragon recognises that breadth is just
as important, giving the children the best
opportunity to find their niche and in turn,
sample success:
Dragon swimming continues to go from
strength to strength as school history
was made when the U13 boys’ 4x50m
medley relay team of Christopher Tse,
Guy Nicholls, Ryan Ng, Conrad Flint-Wood
and Magnus Andrews finished 9th in the
country at the English Schools National
Finals. Not only did they get to swim in
London’s 2012 Olympic pool, they also
shaved an impressive four seconds off their
previous best time. Breaking boundaries
and raising standards is another sure way of
demonstrating success.
The profile of Dragon cross country also
continues to rise, with the masses of
numbers that run voluntarily, whatever
the weather, testament to that. With
afterschool clubs and fixtures, there are
regularly over 120 children pounding the
fields each week.
Dragons even excel on water, with the
school winning the IAPS Inland Sailing
Regatta for the second year in a row. This
year, Charles Fletcher and Oscar Mascunan-
Margetts have the honour of being the Prep
School world’s most successful sailors.
Furthermore, the Dragon also regularly
enters Sculling regattas, Judo competitions,
Chess championships, Fencing
tournaments, as well as Squash and
Badminton matches.
It is statistics like the above which
demonstrate why the Dragon is successful
at Sport, and in The Week’s “Best of the
Best” Independent Schools Guide, the
Dragon was voted the best for Prep School
Sport in the country. So, to answer the
question posed at the top of the page, the
fine balance and essential relationship
between mass participation and excellence
is what surely defines sporting success
at this level. Here at the Dragon, it is
something we do very well, and is exactly
why we have such pride in our sporting
P r o f i l e
Danny Gill
The Dragon has two
main principles within
its programme of sport:
participation & excellence
The ethos of sport at the Dragon
is something in which, quite
rightly, we take great pride. In an
age where sporting success is so
coveted, whether it be amateur or
professional, local or international,
sports teams and individuals are all
striving for that ‘S’ word: success!
But what is success in sport, and
how should it be measured?
Dragon’s Director of Social Impact
1,2-3,4-5,6-7 10-11,12
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