Adventurous Dragons
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Life After Exams
Every year, after a concentrated
period of exams and assessments,
the Year 8 leavers experience a final
flurry of action and adventure – at
activity centres around the country
and abroad – before they say their
goodbyes to each other and the
Dragon School. The expeditions
offer exhilarating new challenges,
intentionally un-educational in the
traditional sense, and an immersion
into a range of outdoor activities.
Whether the special memories
include trying to keep afloat in sailing
boats and canoes, walking side by side
at the end of a long day whilst dripping
in mud and cold water, or eating
soggy sausages next to a struggling
campfire, these trips consolidate years
of friendship and reaffirm bonds.
“We were whisked from one activity
to another – enjoying every moment,
come rain or shine… half the party
disappeared to Widgery Cross on the
moor, to swim in the freezing river,
whilst the other half enjoyed a warm
camp fire in the garden.”
Some Dragons head for the Plas
Menai National Watersports Centre
in Wales to windsurf, kayak and sail
dinghies and keelboats in the chilly
waters. While the sailors learn to
navigate their boats along a section of
the Welsh coast, other daring Dragons
try their hand at rock climbing and
mountain bike riding.
Moorland Hall in Devon gives
Dragons the opportunity to try gorge
walking, abseiling and mountain
bike riding over rocky moorland
paths. Others prefer to appreciate
the scenic coastal path at a more
leisurely pace.
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Classics at the Dragon
• Largest prep school department of its
kind in the UK
• All children study Latin
• Scholarship papers at or above GCSE
standard
• Excellent scholarship results and a
high percentage of pupils study the
Classical subjects at GCSE, A Level
and beyond
• Degree-level Latin and Greek teachers
challenging the things
that young minds accept
as normal is a crucial
part of education
Stories to thrill
We all love a good story, and Classics abounds
in them! Giants, mermaids, ghosts, monsters,
heroes, goddesses and noble princes are
plentiful in Classical literature. From Year
4’s Greek plays and the spectacle of Year 5
‘Roman Day’ to Year 8’s in-depth study of the
Greek myths, the Dragon’s Classics curriculum
covers a whole range of fascinating stories,
histories and cultures. While it is rewarding
to see a class’s eyes open in wonder at the
exploits of Odysseus, the study of Classical
myths and civilisation gives an opportunity
to evaluate how we view the world and why
we do things the way we do. Investigating,
questioning and ultimately challenging the
things that young minds accept as normal is a
crucial part of education in the widest sense.
One of these preconceptions is that only
teachers teach: a few years ago, we contacted
a local primary school with a view to starting
a Latin club. The result has been eight happy
years of teaching by Dragon Year 6 pupils. This
opportunity for Classical peer-teaching, unique
in the UK we believe, was recently featured
in
The Daily Telegraph
. This project has
demonstrated that Latin can be a stimulating,
confidence-building and exciting subject for
all pupils, regardless of apparent ‘ability’ or
school background.
Gorge walking
was my favourite
activity – we got
into ‘delightfully’
wet wetsuits and
clambered upstream
for an hour and a half
Far from being a ‘dead language’ Latin is
very much alive at the Dragon. A fixture here for
136 years, it continues to inspire and challenge
all our pupils, giving them linguistic security,
asking them questions about their own lives.
Latin didn’t kill the Romans – far from it – and its
teaching at the Dragon continues to enliven our
pupils’ lives into the 21
st
century.
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A third group of Dragons
will sacrifice their dry clothes at
Newlands Adventure Centre in
the Lake District in a week spent
at the mercy of the elements.
Activities include canoeing on the
beautiful Derwent Water during
intermittent breaks in the weather,
ghyll scrambling, mountain
walking, archery and even a spot of
impromptu swimming.
The sights of the Umbrian
landscape attract some Dragons to
Italy, where they absorb the culture
and vistas through inspiring walks
and sightseeing in the countryside
and towns.
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