Festival of Learning
Our annual Open Evening is a great opportunity to really showcase our school and it is a team effort.
We were delighted to welcome so many prospective pupils and their parents to our Open Evening on Wednesday 26 September 2018. This year, this event, along with our Open Mornings on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 September, formed an integral part of this term’s ‘Festival of Learning’ which also features our Learning Conferences for pupils and their parents in each year group and our curriculum standstill World Peace Day!
In keeping with the festival theme, each Faculty produced their own programmes for Open Evening and these activities enabled our visitors to sample what life and learning is like at Cirencester Deer Park School.
We are very grateful to our pupils who generously gave up their time to volunteer alongside their teachers to show off our school, including the buskers who shared their musical talents in the Atrium and foyers. They demonstrated leadership as they engaged and challenged our guests to take part in games, competitions and experiments and encouraged participation in making music or ordering food in a foreign language!
‘It was absolutely lovely to return home with a son who was raving about how fabulous the school is. He not only loved Science but was excited by the Maths department. It has also been difficult to stop him talking about the PE Faculty and a decathlon of some sort in which he took part. He loved the fact that, even when he didn't score gold in an event, the pupils were congratulating him and encouraging him for the next activity. My husband was equally impressed with everything he saw and commented repeatedly on how knowledgeable, kind and helpful the pupils were and how engaging he found various faculties to be.’ Year 5 Parent.
At Deer Park we are committed to challenging all members of our community to achieve more than they first think is possible and we aim to develop and nurture growth mindsets so that our pupils are able to become resourceful, resilient and confident independent learners. Our Pastoral Team is made up of full time Year Leaders, who as specialists in guidance and support, provide ‘wrap around’ care to ensure our pupils can make progress.
‘Thank you for giving my daughter the opportunity to be involved in Open Evening tonight. Thank you for enabling her to continue her learning journey, it will have had a big impact on her and her self-confidence.’ Year 7 Parent
Chiquita Henson, Headteacher (and Chief Executive of The Corinium Education Trust), and James Johnson, Assistant Head, were immensely proud to share the stage with four pupils who bravely volunteered to reflect on their experiences at the school and their recommendations were powerfully complemented by those of a Year 8 parent. With their permission, we are thrilled to share their speeches with a wider audience as testimonies of what we can achieve by working together. They are all excellent ambassadors for the school.
Darcie (Year 7)
Before I came to Deer Park I went to a small primary school with just over 11 pupils. I was worried before I started at Deer Park that everything was a much bigger scale. I needn’t have worried though - right from the Primary Challenge Day through to the Induction Days at Deer Park, I was able to get a feel for the school and become more familiar with the buildings, staff and pupils. Everyone has been very supportive and friendly trying to help me.
I am really enjoying my time at Deer Park. I have made new friends and have been able to find my way around the school easily. I am very happy that I have chosen to come to Deer Park; despite being much bigger than my primary school, it has an intimate feel to it. It’s a great school.
Theo (Year 9)
This school has been an amazing place for me to learn and progress, but also do the things that I enjoy, like music and sport. School is great at helping you put your ideas into action. For example, my mum is French, so the school helped me take my GCSE French early and then let me do Spanish and German. I also always wanted to be part of a band but never really had the chance... now, not only am I part of a band, but we also have many opportunities to perform because there’s always something going on for everybody; last week we had a World Peace Day event and the Talent Show is coming up, so we’re planning to do something for that.
There are many trips you can be part of:
- Going to Belgium in Year 7 was a great experience academically and socially. It gave us a great insight into the book 'Private Peaceful' which we were studying.
- Every year we also have a week off timetable to do Enrichment Week. Lots of different activities are available to each year group, including trips abroad, so there is something for everybody.
If you would like to take on a responsibility there are many chances to do so. For example, I am a Young Sports Leader, which means we help out in the primary schools events at Deer Park.
Whether for my parents or myself, the teachers are all very easy to contact or to see, so if I have a question about homework or my mum wants to check how I’m doing, it's all very straightforward and they are always willing to help.
As I am in Year 9, I will be choosing my options at the end of this year. It is a very important time as they will help direct what I do in college and university. I am very excited to focus on the things I enjoy the most, while trying to achieve the best grades possible.
Thank you for listening and I hope you have a good evening.
Charlie (Year 11)
Good evening. I am currently in Year 11, my final GCSE year. I can’t quite believe how quickly my time at Deer Park has gone. It only seems like yesterday I was sat where you are now trying to make the right choice for me. Well, 5 years on, I can say yes, I made the right choice.
Right from Day 1, I have been made to feel part of the school community. There is always someone who will help you if you need it. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I’ve been given from my family, friends and, most importantly, my teachers.
Back in Year 9 I needed some help when I had to decide on my GCSE options. After a few weeks of deliberating, I chose History, Combined Science, ICT, DEC and German. I chose these partly because of my interest in the subjects, but also because of the great teachers I would get to work with. I’m pleased with the choices I’ve made and I’m looking forward to sitting my GCSEs in May and June. Alongside my options I am continuing to study English and Maths, plus PSHE and PE. I also sat the RP Short Course GCSE exam back this summer and got a Grade 6. The teachers and my parents helped make this options experience a lot less stressful.
Deer Park has been really helpful in assisting me to find the best way to study and revise for my GCSEs. I have been given a lot of support from all the staff at school. They are willing to sit with you during breaks as well as arranging booster sessions after school. Last week, Mrs Lang organised a workshop session with Tim Benton, co author of 'The Brain Box'. He came in and talked through revision tips as well as doing a variety of activities with us.
My next step will hopefully be going on to college next year to study A levels in English, History, Media and possibly German. From there I would love to go on to university to study a degree in Sports Journalism.
Deer Park has helped me in my academic studies and has given me the opportunity to do a variety of extra curricular activities that have helped to me develop as a person. I have been lucky enough to take part in a number of trips: I went to Belgium in Year 7 and Holland in Year 8. In Year 9 I did my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. In Year 10 I went on the History trip to Berlin and then the highlight so far: I travelled to Ghana for 2 weeks in July this year volunteering with a local community.
Izzy (Class of 2018)
Hi everyone, my name is Izzy and I attended Deer Park up until last year. Since then I have sat my GCSEs, received my results, and I now attend Cirencester College where I take History, Psychology, and Drama A Levels.
My experience of Deer Park was brilliant. From Year 7 all the way up to Year 11, I honestly don’t think I could have had a better time - which I think is pretty good going considering I spent five years here! Every single member of staff, whether that be senior management, teachers, or receptionists, were enthusiastic, kind, and always on standby to help you whenever needed.
During the run up to exams, the amount of support provided was immense. I did not think I could manage to get through GCSEs with so little stress (I only cried once… which is unusual for me!) but I guess it is possible thanks to all the help provided. Every Faculty had a constant open-door policy, so you could receive guidance at any time, whether that be before or after school, or in breaks (I’m sure Humanities and Expressive Arts must have become pretty tired of my head constantly popping round the door by the time I left school!). Every single day there were after school and lunchtime top up and booster classes for all subjects, where teachers basically taught you extra lessons in their own spare time. They would mark exam questions or any other work you had completed for revision, give you exam technique tips, and any other little pointers to boost your grade.
For example, the effort the History Faculty put into us achieving the best we possibly could was unbelievable. Aside from all the booster classes, the open-door policy, the textbooks and mindmaps they wrote, and the bribery of biscuits when working, the relationship they built with all of us as pupils made us feel confident and that we could reach the high expectations they set. We could see how hard they worked and how much they cared, which made us want to work hard for them and make them genuinely proud of us. I even know friends whose passion may not have been History, but they said they just wanted to succeed to repay the all the time and effort that clearly went into ensuring our success.
I have to say Maths and I didn’t get off to a very good start before I joined in Year 7. I was pretty bad at it. However, the teachers never ever gave up on me (thank goodness!) and I am extraordinarily happy to have come out with a 7 (which I am very pleased with, as at one point I wasn’t even sure I would pass). The fact that my Maths teacher managed to reach out to me after I received my grade to congratulate me is just one example of how amazing this school really is. Their door was always open to my endless questions and not only did they inspire me to get a good grade, I can honestly say now, I like Maths… although not enough to take as A Level!
One of the main reasons I chose Deer Park however wasn’t because of the support received academically (my Year 6 mind was not concerned about exams as they seemed very far away – that was for my mum to worry about), it was the vast, vast amount of extra-curricular activities on offer. From school trips to Holland, Germany, and Sicily, to theatre trips to the West End, and sporting trips to the Prince of Wales Stadium, I can say Deer Park definitely knows how to entertain. There are so many opportunities to become involved, for example from Year 7 to Year 9, I was on the Netball, Rounders, Hockey, and Athletics teams, and a Sports Leader, and I even managed somehow to end up dancing with Pixie Lott at Wembley Stadium. There is a huge array of clubs on offer, especially on the sports front, some of my favourites being trampolining, cross country, and badminton, and there is even an equestrian team.
However, in my opinion, the best extra curriculars Deer Park has to offer are from the Expressive Arts team. Every year there are several Musical Showcases, involving instrumental pieces as well as short acting sketches and dance routines (at one point, I even found myself performing a ukulele piece, and even though I could see my mum quite embarrassed with her hands in her ears, Deer Park encourages you to try everything). Competitions include Young Singer and Young Musician of the Year, and a Talent Show held every other year for anyone to take part in. There is also a Drama Club held all year round where you produce and perform your own devised pieces, which was so much fun.
The Expressive Arts faculty at Deer Park is honestly just so amazing. My favourite memory of Deer Park was last year taking part in Legally Blonde Jr., the Musical. Every two years, Deer Park puts on a musical for anyone to take part in, although, in my clearly non-biased opinion, the best one was Legally Blonde. After eight months of auditioning, rehearsing, and taking up much of the teachers’ time (sorry Miss Mulcahy, Miss Faux, and Mr Cook!) we managed to put together a show running for three nights full of singing, dancing, and a LOT of laughing. I loved it so much that every night after it had finished I cried because it was closer to ending (I clearly am quite an emotional person!). This truly helped to raise my confidence, hence why I am able to talk tonight without being a nervous wreck, at least on the outside.
Attending Deer Park I can genuinely say was a really happy experience, and I know I have memories that I will treasure forever. I have been told to share with you what my future dreams are: So, in my dream world, which are clearly never diminished here, I am going to be a Hollywood A List actor, with all the benefits that come with that. More realistically however, I hope to become a criminal defence lawyer (where at least I can act in the courtroom, although not with quite the same luxuries).
Walking back through the corridors today was a very strange experience as it made me realise how much I actually miss it here, and how fast five years can go. To sum up, if you so choose Deer Park, your son or daughter will be in a school full of opportunity, fun, and most importantly with teachers who care.
Zoe (Year 8 Parent )
Two years ago I sat and listened to Ms Henson and her team inspire me with their passion and vision for Deer Park. I listened to the wonderful recounts from Year 7 pupils, telling us how fantastic their teachers were, what wonderful friends they had made and how motivated they were to contribute and achieve. I was sold! My daughter was sold! We went home feeling very happy.
However, I'll admit... I did start to wonder whether it was all a slick sales pitch with no substance! I needn't have worried! I can assure you that it's not just rhetoric. My daughter Fleur started in September 2017 and has flourished. The focus on developing a growth mindset and the holistic approach to education is preparing Fleur to meet the challenges of life, as well as academic attainment.
I have watched a self doubting girl become confident and motivated to be more than she ever thought she could be. I have listened to teachers' feedback - encouraging and celebrating success, with equal clarity about where to focus in order to improve.
Whether it's enrichment activities, choir, library duties or sporting clubs, there have been so many opportunities for Fleur to engage in, and always fantastic support and encouragement from staff.
As a parent I feel confident that my child is safe, happy and well taught. I know that there is a brilliant Pastoral team, so, if she has a wobble there's always someone to help.
As she navigates her way through teenage years, I feel confident that the values and support at Deer Park will help her to develop the grit she'll need in life. To seek approval from herself rather than others, to make the most of opportunities and to develop a lifelong love of learning.
I have recommended Deer Park to many friends and colleagues and firmly believe that it is a brilliant school where all children can flourish.
Application deadline for September 2019 entry (current Year 6) is Wednesday 31 October 2018. We encourage parents to keep in contact with us and should you have any questions regarding admissions and the transition to Deer Park, please do not hesitate to contact Allison Boucher, our Admissions’ Secretary. She is able to arrange a personalised tour of the school throughout the year on request and can be contacted by phone on 01285 646558 or by email.