Latest Dragon News
The Dragon, and its wide community of former pupils and teachers, is extremely active. Please find below a selection of stories from the Dragon and see also our Community News page. You may also be interested to follow our Facebook Page as well as Twitter
On Tuesday 9th May 2017, 80 young musicians (aged 8 to 11) from 8 primary schools joined children at Dragon School, Oxford to rehearse and perform an ensemble percussion performance piece in a single day.
The Dragon Philharmonic Percussion Workshop - a collaboration between the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra and Dragon School, Oxford - brought together pupils from the Blackbird Academy Schools; Pegasus, Orchard Meadow and Windmill, and children from St Barnabus, St Ebbes, Windale, St Andrews, and Wolvercote primary schools.
The children, most of whom had never met before, had to learn a wide variety of instruments including djembes, orchestral percussion/drum kit, mixed percussion, and instruments from the Indonesian gamelan orchestra. In the morning, working in small groups, children learnt a variety of percussion instruments and parts using short memorable phrases to help them remember the rhythms. "We had never seen some of the instruments before - I played the xylophone in the Gamelan orchestra" said Nate White from Windmill Primary School.
In the afternoon, James Godfrey, skilfully blended the instruments and rhythms from each of the small groups together. Within a couple of hours, all 80 children were ready to deliver their final rousing performance. Thomas Clarkson, also from Windmill, spoke with enthusiasm: "I've never done anything like it before. I have never played with so many people. It was really good."
Vicky Savage, Director of Music at the Dragon explained, "The Dragon Philharmonic workshops teach children to listen, concentrate, take instruction and work in a team with people they have never met before. Percussion is a particularly powerful vehicle for combining children together in music and all the children played with energy and focus to create a truly outstanding sound. They are so proud of what they have achieved."
Lisa Johnson, mother of Dragon pupil, Angus, who took part said, "It was like going to a stage show. The energy was infectious. I wanted to get up and take part." Sebastian 'Bubble' Hardy-Baker, from Wolvercote School, who mastered the huge bass drum said, "It was tiring but fun. I worked hard today."
Children taking part do so free of charge, thanks to ongoing generous support from The Woodward Charitable Trust www.woodwardcharitabletrust.org.uk. Many thanks to Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, which funds the professional services of the OP musicians.
Dragon to Host Major Art Exhibition
A major public exhibition of art by alumni and art teachers of the Dragon School, Oxford, is to be held at the School 21st - 25th May as part of Oxfordshire Arts Week. All are welcome, 11.30am - 3.30pm. No booking is required but please sign in at the white booth on the Bardwell Road zebra crossing. Read the full story at https://news.iaps.uk/story/11666
Reunions Mark the First Events to Bid Farewell to John and Wendy Baugh
Following last year's announcement that John and Wendy Baugh will be leaving the Dragon after 15 influential years, two very special reunions have been held, where John revealed unusual intentions for the traditional Headmaster's portrait. Read the full story.
Maasai Warriors Thank the Dragon
Maasai 'Warriors for Education', Wilson Meikuaya and Jackson Ntirkana visited the Dragon to thank the school for supporting education and practical initiatives in the Masai Mara in Kenya. It was a very exciting day for the children, who asked excellent questions about Maasai homes, families and hunting traditions. Read the full story.
On Monday 13th March, a team of four A and B Block children entered the Regional Round of the UK Team Maths Challenge, hosted at the Andrew Wiles Building by the University of Oxford Department of Mathematics, competing with 26 other schools for a place in the National Finals.
The competition spanned four rounds – the Crossnumber, the Group Round, the Shuttle and the Relay – involving group and pair problems testing their knowledge, reasoning and problem-solving skills, and the Dragon team ran out comfortable winners. The team now qualify for the National Finals, to be held in London in June as one of 88 teams from over 1,700 entrants to reach the final stage.
Leonard Cheshire Disability launched its founder’s 100th birthday year appeal at the Dragon School. Cheshire was a pupil at the Dragon, and his remarkable and generous life exemplified the school's values. The evening was led by Neil Heslop, CEO of the charity, and the children were especially entranced by his guide dog 'Storm'. Year 6 presented a cheque for £3,240, raised through a sponsored 'swim the channel' relay event.
The Dragon Hosts the IAPS Qualifiers
The Dragon was honoured to be the host school for the qualifying round for the IAPS swimming national finals. This helped inspire and motivate the Dragon swimmers. Eliot (Year 6) remarked, “I was excited and proud to belong to the host school,” whilst Araminta (Year 5) added, “I enjoyed swimming against schools we do not normally swim against.”
To celebrating Chinese new year, Dragon School catering department created an oriental feast complete with decorations.
Tim Conibear, who left the Dragon School in 1995, has received the 'Sport for Good Award' at the prestigious 2017 Laureus Awards held in Monaco. In an event that saw Usain Bolt and Nico Rosberg receive awards, Tim was honoured for his Surf Therapy programmes for township children in South Africa.
For many years surfers in Cape Town, like Gary Kleynhans, have given children from troubled backgrounds the opportunity to learn to surf and discover life, and success, beyond city streets and troubled townships. Some programmes, like 'Umthombo' in Durban, have successfully integrated surfing with programmes to help children escape homelessness.
Tim, an Ashoka fellow, has taken surfing as a route out of trauma to a new scale, working with 1000 children in five centres in South Africa and one in Liberia. The programmes have been positively rated through academic assessment and are receving internaional exposure.
The project has a twitter feed, or search social media for #SurfTherapy.
Fittingly, the patron of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was Nelson Mandela, who once said 'sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.' Tim has proven this to be true for hundreds of young people from traumatised township communities.
The Dragon Welcomes Back the Blackbird Academy Trust Schools
Building on the success of last year's event, the Dragon welcomed children from the Blackbird Academy Trust for a multi-school choral day with professional musicians.
Fifty children joined forces with choirs from the Dragon, as well as nine professional musicians, to perform a Rock ‘n Roll influenced choral repertoire in four-part harmony.
The children rehearsed in the morning to perfect the songs At the Hop, Barbara Ann, Blueberry Hill and Shake, Rattle and Roll in two part harmony with our visitors learning the soprano line and Dragons the alto part. After lunch, they were treated to a close harmony performance by nine professional singers whose repertoire ranged from Pop to Classical and included the appropriately titled ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles, as well as Christmas songs.
Further rehearsal added an element of polish in terms of dynamics and balance, two, three and four part harmonies, a cappella, texture, pitch-match, melodic line, articulation and an understanding of the etiquette of performance. The children were delighted to hear themselves singing four-part harmony.
The Dragon is lead sponsor of the Blackbird Academy Trust and the choral day is one of several joint Dragon/ BAT environmental and musical events over recent years, including an audience with Dalai Lama in 2015, that have been generously supported by the Woodward Trust. Our sincere thanks to them and to all who participated in this event.
Digital Future Forum
Our second Arduus ad Solem: Networking Event on Thursday, 24th November 2016, was a great success. Old Dragons Guy Gadney and Robin Wong led a fascinating evening in the Lynam Hall on 'the Digital Future'.
Guy and Robin are at the forefront of thinking about how technology is shifting our experience and strategies for life, and their presentations were thought provoking and wide ranging. Ibe Akoh, Head of ICT – Teaching and Learning, spoke on the impact of ICT on education, and the ‘Digital Dragons’ club showed an entertaining video reporting from their time-travel into the future.
Over drinks there was a chance to meet other Old Dragons and the speakers to discuss the ideas. Our next networking event for the Dragon community on ‘Insurance and Risk’ is in London, at Lloyds, led by Old Dragons David Howden and Andrew Barnes. If you are an Old Dragon and interested in leading a Networking Event, read here for details.
Pre-Prep Invite Alien To Tea
Strange things have been happening at the Pre-Prep recently; green slime was found on the desks after Bun Break and lessons were disrupted by an email sent from outer space by a stranded alien called Zog. Together, Year 1 children decided to invite Zog to a special ‘Alien Tea’ on the last day of half-term by writing invitations to him and leaving them in obvious places around the school. They followed a recipe to create biscuits, decorated cupcakes and made alien water in preparation. Zog surprised them all by making a special appearance, telling the children how his spaceship had crashed on the roof. He enjoyed trying all the party food before being led away by Ma McNeile to research on the internet how to mend his spaceship and return to his home on Planet Zum Zee.
Shoeboxes to Bring Christmas Joy in Bulgaria
Bring in a shoebox for Bulgaria! Jo Kele and the boys of Gunga Din have been filling Christmas shoeboxes full of practical and wonderful things for families in extreme poverty in Bulgaria.
Cosmo (Year 8) said "everybody should be allowed to have fun- no matter their situation. I hope they really enjoy getting to open the shoeboxes and finding their presents".
Children in Whitty’s and Stringer’s are also involved, and we have one week left before the boxes are sent. Please bring in shoeboxes and gifts to Jo at Gunga Din to support the children in their kindness. They want to send as many boxes as possible.
More details: Trussell Trust https://www.trusselltrust.org/…/overse…/christmas-shoeboxes/
Please drop off any gifts/ shoeboxes at Gunga Din house before the end of Monday 20th.
Dragons Enjoy a Roman Experience
A foray into Roman history, language and culture.
The Dragon travelled back to a bygone era on Tuesday, 18th October 2016, as Year 6 children dressed up in their finest Roman costumes for the day. They learned how to make a Roman mosaic, how to hold a conversation in Latin and heard about the custom of keeping slaves.They also enjoyed the thoroughly competitive world of chariot racing and ended the busy day with a trip to the Ashmolean Museum to handle real Roman artefacts. History, Latin and classical studies were brought to life as children enjoyed their unique Roman experience.