From the Headmaster
The final week of term has been characteristically busy and highly rewarding. On Friday evening, A Block children took their ‘Curtain Call’, showcasing a wide variety of musical and dramatic performances. These ranged from Jazz to Classical music and from Shakespeare to a very cleverly crafted Mastermind sketch, all of which gave us a final opportunity to enjoy the talents of the children about to depart for their senior schools.
On Saturday, there were two prize-giving ceremonies. In the first, we celebrated the achievements of the whole of C and D Block, including a memorable ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed review of the year by Ma Riley. Representatives from the Middle School Council also very kindly presented me with what they described as a ‘Headmaster survival kit’ which contained many useful items, including some ‘eyes for the back of my head’ and some sweets for when I need a burst of energy. In the Upper School ceremony, the A and B Block prizes were presented by Edmund King, OD. He delivered a truly inspiring speech not only emphasising the importance of hard work, but also sharing with us how his time at the Dragon had helped shape his future. On Sunday, our Leavers’ Service in Chapel was a reflective and moving occasion accompanied by some fine music on the harp and from our ‘Idris’ choir.
On Monday evening, we enjoyed the company of A Block prefects at a BBQ to thank them for their service to the school this year, and on Tuesday the whole school enjoyed the A Block Review, followed by an evening performance for parents. Not only was this a very entertaining occasion, but it also raised awareness and money for WE Day and a number of water charities. Earlier in the day twenty-six Dragon school athletes participated in the National Prep School Athletics finals in Birmingham, with some outstanding performances in track and field events. There was also a visit from the children's author Jeremy Strong, who proved highly popular and who in turn complimented the children of D Block on their excellent questions.
On Wednesday the E Block Music Concert and Prize giving took place with a remarkably high standard of singing and instrumental performance, which is very exciting for the years ahead. At the Pre-Prep this week, children have been enjoying some outdoor water play and Year 3 parents held a Barn Dance yesterday evening to mark the occasion of their children leaving the Pre-Prep to join E Block at Bardwell Road in September.
The Leavers’ picnic and punting trip takes place later today, with the final Boarders’ Supper and Sing Song on Friday evening. Our summer athletics events will take place today and tomorrow, leading up to our Sports Day Finals on Saturday. This is the final official event of term before we say a fond farewell to A Block and also to a number of Staff. All our leavers carry with them our very best wishes for the future and we very much look forward to keeping in touch.
As I said at our prize-giving ceremonies and at our Leavers’ Service earlier this week, the year has passed remarkably quickly. All of our Staff and pupils can be proud of what they have achieved this year and I am sure they are looking forward to some well-deserved rest over the summer. However, I realise that Dragons rarely sit still and we spent Monday’s assembly this week considering all the possibilities that lie ahead for summer ‘projects’. I look forward to hearing about new skills learned, new places visited as well as new interests and hobbies, on our return in September.
Many people have asked me this year about my ‘first impressions’ of the Dragon. During the course of the year, I have come to appreciate that the most striking impression I have formed of our school community is the remarkable energy of the people who live, work and study here. Dragon children I have come to know this year are tremendously capable, enthusiastic, hard-working and kind. They are also remarkably proud of our school. Exactly the same can be said for our Staff in all areas of school activity and also our School Governors- everyone at the Dragon is happy to go the extra mile for the school and the children.
I would therefore like to end this final weekly mailing of the year with some very grateful thanks. Firstly, I would like to thank the Staff for their tremendously hard work throughout the year. I would also like to thank our Governors for their support as we seek to put in place a School Development Plan which will shape the future of the Dragon in the years ahead.
Finally, and very importantly, I would also like to thank all of you for your support, encouragement and engagement with the school this academic year. It is our privilege to guide your children through these important years of their education. We share your pride and happiness in watching them learn and grow and we share your joy in seeing them discover and develop their talents. Although the end of any academic year is always a poignant moment, with each new academic year comes new opportunities.
I wish all of you a very happy and restorative summer break and to those who are leaving us, I know I speak on behalf of our whole community when I say firstly, thank you for your contribution to our school, and secondly, when I remind you that once a Dragon, always a Dragon...
With all best wishes,
Sports Day Parking
Please note that on Sports Day Saturday, 7 July, on-site parking is for pre-booked disabled visitors and parents of boarders, and is on a first come first served basis. Thank you for your understanding.
The Alexander Technique
Reading With BAT
New York Exchange
The Dragon Ski Trip to Davos
Daily Bus Service starting September 2018
We are delighted to announce that we have joined the Oxford Schools Bus Partnership (OSBP) effective from September 2018, which we hope will provide a solution to school transport requirements.
Coaching Opportunities for Sport
For the Oxford Junior Rowing Course please visit their website.
Make it a Summer of Stories
There are still a few spaces remaining on The Story Museum’s summer story skills courses for ages 8-12. The courses run from Monday 23 July – Friday 3 August with both week-long attendance and individual days available. From budding comic artists and stand-up comedians to song writers and stop-motion animators, there’s something for everyone. Full details at www.storymuseum.org.uk
What strikes me first, as in any Dragon theatrical production, are the costumes: when the children walk onstage and assemble in their places, they are resplendent in finery, wearing moustaches and beards, their eyes highlighted with bright colours. These costumes have been made by teachers and volunteers who sit and sew together, devoting many hours. Thank you! Indeed, thank you to everyone who works so hard putting the shows together, that is, the music, the words, the scenery, for it is a labour of love.
It’s a symbolic time of year for the Leavers of the Pre-Prep; they are moving up, growing up; their confidence has blossomed over their years at the Pre-Prep with the help of their devoted teachers and also their parents and caregivers, their guardians: there is an ethos at work here and it really works—evident in Year 3’s final performance, a panto, Aladdin Trouble.
As to be expected, there were lots of songs and jokes. The children were utterly engaged; they seemed to love all the fun that the script offered, and the singing, too, which was tuneful and exuberant. The Dragon Band is one to be reckoned with - an opportunity for the teachers to show us their stuff.
Then there was the romance and conflict of the story itself. Various lines stuck out: “That’s not who I am,” when Jasmine objected to being labelled a princess. “I have to be who I am.”
Thunderous applause concluded the show and so, with that sound in their ears, and the memory of putting on a terrific performance for us in their heads, and love in their hearts, off they go to E Block! Molly McGrann
Year 2 Music Makers Concert
What a musical feast this was from our youngest instrumentalists for their Year 2 Music Makers performance! The stunning strings, playful percussion, pitch perfect pianos and glittering guitars enthralled the audience. The children demonstrated their knowledge and skills of reading music and playing together with great determination and a sense of performance. Singing also featured in the concert and the children treated us to an education in musical terminology through song and sound. It was a fun and joyous occasion and a display of wonderful music making.
A Block Challenge
A Block successfully completed their water relay on Tuessday: every form carrying 20 litres of water for 6km! They are 93% of their way to reaching their fundraising target of £3000, please give them a helping achieve their goal! Donations can be made here.
A Block Leavers’ Programme
Since returning from Expeditions, A Block have been fully involved in the Leavers’ Programme during their final three weeks at the Dragon. Some highlights have included:
* Future Schools morning, attended by representatives from 25 senior schools
* Q&A session with four ODs currently in Year 9 on transition to senior school
* Alcohol & Drugs awareness talk
* Online safety/cyber-bullying session
* Talk by Anastasia Chitty (OD) for girls on female aspirations
* “Great Men” workshop for boys on positive masculinity
Parents might like to see the following links for further information on some of these topics:
On Wednesday, the Colts Cricketers took the short trip up to St Edward’s for the inaugural TeddiesTENS tournament, and returned triumphant, adding this title to the Wellington T20 in May. Julian excelled with the bat during the day, scoring 69* in the opening game as Dulwich Prep were outclassed, including a partnership of 53 with the innovative Bertie. James knocked Dulwich’s best player’s off stump out of the ground, before Michael Samuelson and Merlin Kavenna helped complete the win.
The Oxfordshire Broncos, a combined State Schools side, were next, and a tidy all-round bowling and fielding effort kept the opposition to a low target, with Cosmo and Henry keeping calm to effect some of the seven run-outs during the day. After a steady start, Captain Gus and Will raised the tempo and Dragon cruised home.
The final game against Parkside Prep was effectively a final, with both sides unbeaten. The Surrey school suffered stage-fright on “Upper One”, the Teddies 1st XI pitch, crashing to 5/3 and 31/5. Oscar got Dragon’s reply off to a flying start, hitting a very rare “all-run” four, before Jack hastened the end with a flurry of boundaries and Julian, appropriately, hit the winning runs.
Tips for Budding Writers
The Dragon were delighted to welcome well-known author Jeremy Strong. His visit was the first prize in a National Story Writing contest, won by Kaia.
C Block were fascinated to hear how he organises his writing ideas and the constant redrafting to make every sentence interesting. Jeremy then read aloud Kaia's winning story, ‘The Little Lost Girl’ , which has been illustrated and published in a little book.
D Block heard all about his shed/studio with its necessary fridge and guard cat, as well as critiquing a story he wrote when he was 6, with fifteen spelling mistakes in the first 3 lines! Jeremy then had lunch with Kaia and Hugh who was also Highly Commended, and passed on even more tips about the craft of writing a really exciting story.
He finally addressed the whole of the Pre-Prep with anecdotes about growing up as a middle child, how some events in life can be 'added to' to create a wonderful story, such as the Flying Baby, and reading extracts from his books.
All the children were spellbound, and were inspired by his stories, and we look forward to the impact he will have had on their Creative Writing. Well done to all who entered and especially Kaia and Hugh.
Quiz National Finals
Last Sunday, the Dragon School’s Quiz Team (the two Caspars, Arthur, and Patrick) travelled to the Perse School in Cambridge for the National Finals of the Schools Challenge Quiz. They had won seven matches to earn their place in the final stage of the competition, including eliminating long-time rivals MCS and HABS to retain the Home Counties regional title for the fourth year in succession.
Against Hampton School, South-East winners, Dragon came from behind to seal their place in the quarter-final and a comfortable win over Pilgrims’ School.
Unlike in the World Cup, there was no option to lose a game and line up an easier route to the final, and the semi-final saw a Varsity clash with the hosts from the Perse, who had steamrollered their way to the last four. In a titanic struggle, characterised by the speed of both teams’ answers and the intuition of their interruptions, the lead changed hands more than once before the Perse – and their lightning-fast captain – stretched into a small lead that they never relinquished.
The Perse proved comfortable winners of the competition and it was Dragon’s third consecutive semi-final defeat, but one filled with pride. With two of this year’s side still eligible next year, maybe Quiz is coming home…?
Thank You Foodies!
We are very grateful to the School Food Committee for all their commitment, and for the energy and enthusiasm they have put into so many different projects and initiatives throughout the year. The photo shows a group of them working on their most recent project which aimed to raise awareness of the effect of disposable plastics in our oceans. Thank you Dragon School Food Committee!
A Note to Cherwell from Ma and Sir
It was a pleasure to share the last In-School weekend of the year with 2017-2018`s Cherwell girls. The entire weekend was full of fun, kindness, friendship and the perfect opportunity for all to live and bask in the moment (as well as the amazing weather!) Too often we are worrying about the past or looking ahead to the next exam, next school visit, next race or adventure but seldom we live for the moment. To do so means letting go of the past and not waiting for your future. Whether you were slipping 'n' sliding, water zorbing, roasting marshmallows, camping, hover boarding, or simply enjoying that moment to chat with a friend, we hope you had a weekend to remember. Well done one and all – you are a special group. Live your life now, aware that every moment is a gift. Thank you, it has been a pleasure. Ma and Sir.
The Wilson boys and family had the most fantastic final weekend all together – the perfect way to end the year and the junior boys boarding house known as ‘Wilson’s’. Lunchtime on Saturday, we all headed out to the Cotswolds for a weekend of bushcraft and camping. We all learnt how to make campfires, build dens, whittle, catch crayfish and build rafts in and amongst games of cricket, capture the flag, swimming, archery and a visit from 50 beagles! We all camped out in large bell tents in the most glorious setting and weather! The boys had a weekend that they will never forget and were even happy to go to bed early on Sunday night!
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