Friday 22 January

Dear Parents

Another week of lockdown has seemingly flown by, and although our young Dragons cannot physically be together in school there is a very positive and enthusiastic feel in the virtual classrooms. Pupils continue to engage keenly with the remote curriculum and are demonstrating great creativity in their approach to learning.

Scholars have been debating the complex question of whether one has to be a good person to be a great leader, giving rise to some interesting and well-argued viewpoints. In E Block the children have learned about evacuation during World War II and have written letters as if they were evacuees, while in C Block Music lessons the pupils have started to look at Tudor Music: seeing and hearing Tudor musical instruments, trying some Tudor dance moves, and writing their own fanfares fit for a king. In English, Middle School are focusing on story writing, building story openings, creating exciting characters and forming plots. Meanwhile Upper School are working on poetry, both analysis and creative writing. Several classes in C Block are entering the Shrewsbury School Essay Competition, writing essays with the title: “What is the difference between what is real and what is not?” A high standard has already been set, as this competition was won by a Dragon last year!

Saturday saw another busy morning of QUEST, from learning about the Seven Kings of Rome in Classical Dragons to designing bespoke letters in Dragon Doodles. Even the wet weather did not dampen enthusiasm, as the Dragon Scavengers chose to use the rain as their theme, which ensured some rather muddy but entertaining adventures. A new element has also been introduced to this week’s DUCS League challenge.  For the first time Dragons pitch themselves against not only one other in friendly competition, but also against Winchester House School. I very much look forward to seeing the results in the coming days, and if last year’s challenges were anything to go by, there should be some very energetic entries!

Despite the geographical distance our boarding community have been finding ways to stay connected and this week the boarders have enjoyed catching up in their House meetings. In No. 26 the girls have been discussing future senior schools, looking at websites and planning to visit some virtual Open Days. The girls in No. 28 have been enjoying a physical workout with the Boarding Coach, our energetic Houseparent Mr. Jennings, as well as connecting with one another in social Zoom drop-in sessions.  In the Senior Houses, the girls in Cherwell have enjoyed a Winnie the Pooh tea party to celebrate the birthday of the author A. A. Milne, plus some relaxing yoga sessions with their Boarding Assistants. Meanwhile, the boys in School House have been challenged to complete a 2.5km run this week.

Monday 18 January was both International Martin Luther King Day and National Winnie the Pooh Day, and appropriately, this week’s assembly was on the theme of ‘Words’. We considered the power and impact of encouraging and inspirational words using quotes from both of these diverse characters – from the simple, joyful words about friendship spoken by a toy bear to the challenging and moving words of a renowned civil rights leader. We heard how words can be used to bridge divides and bring reconciliation, as well as to give much-needed reassurance, and we were encouraged to use our words to spread kindness and hope to those around us.

My closing words this week are to commend our young Dragons upon their most impressive ongoing application and commitment to their remote learning. As well as those learning at home, I have also been impressed by the efforts of children of keyworkers at both the Prep and Pre-Prep who have shown great adaptability and tenacity in engaging with their ‘new normal’ at school. I would also like to thank all Dragon parents for their continued support and encouragement as we strive to provide an exciting, stimulating and rewarding experience for their children. While this latest period of lockdown may be scheduled to continue for some time yet, the outstanding remote teaching and learning taking place is very uplifting to see – although  of course we all look forward to that day when we can welcome every young Dragon back to school in person.

With all best wishes,

Crispin Hyde-Dunn

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