'Tis the season to be jolly
The countdown to Christmas 2019 has started at Deer Park.
Like doors on our very own advent calendar, each of the 15 December school days before we break up for the festive season reminds us of the real meaning of Christmas. We aim to spread goodwill through acts of kindness and generosity.
Mrs Hannis, our Year 7 Year Leader, was overwhelmed when donations came in from staff following a plea for an additional hamper for a family in need: ‘You are all brilliant! We have already been gifted some great present items for the children which is wonderful too. Please keep it coming. Thank you.’ Our Pastoral staff work closely with other agencies, including The Salvation Army, to ensure those in difficulty don’t miss out.
During the first week of December Miss Lillington, Associate Assistant Head, used her assemblies to artfully bring together different Christmas traditions and climate change by focusing on a piece of coal. Ask your children what they learned.
On Monday 2 December decorated Christmas trees appeared around the school, including two for the stage in the Main Hall and one in English. We also took delivery of a real Christmas tree, kindly donated by The Nursery at Miserden for our school library.
On Tuesday 3 December the Miserden tree in the PLC was brightly lit and decorated with navy blue and gold decorations to match our school logo. Our Librarians have also resurrected their Wish Tree and pupils can share their Christmas wishes. There is a Pastoral Postbox in Reception for pupils who wish to send cards to friends within school
On Wednesday 4 December at their weekly meeting, the school’s leadership team decided to abandon their usual ‘Secret Santa’ gifts in favour of a reverse advent calendar. This means they will each be bringing in gifts for Cirencester Foodbank.
On Thursday 5 December Year 7 pupils had the opportunity, as a whole year group, to practise the song, ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’, which they have been invited to perform at our Carol Service in the Parish Church on Tuesday 10 December. A further mass rehearsal took place on Friday afternoon.
On Friday 6 December 37 pupils and 3 members of staff had a very early departure when they set off before dawn for the Christmas market in Lille, France. Hopefully they weren’t too tired to practise their language skills! The 24 hour excursion promised to introduce them to different festive traditions and a highlight not to be missed was the visit to a waffle factory.
This week has been a continuation of our English Faculty in Focus and, building on their successful Literary Villians’ Quiz, the English team dressed up on Friday 6 December as some of their favourite literary characters from books our pupils study in Year 7 and Year 8. Year 7 pupils had also been encouraged to dress up if they wished too and it was fun to work out who they were! Various characters in school served to remind us of Charles Dickens' ‘A Christmas Carol’, a version of which is currently being performed locally at Cirencester’s Barn Theatre.
Looking ahead to next week and the last week of term, there are more doors to be opened...
On Monday 9 December various pupils will come together in school to rehearse for our Carol Service the following day. This year the retiring collection will be for Watershed RDA in Coates, where children and adults with a wide range of disabilities are able, through their interactions with the ponies and horses, to have lots of fun while learning new skills and achieving personal goals.
The doors of the beautiful Parish Church in Cirencester's Market Place will open at 6.45pm on Tuesday 10 December for our annual Carol Service, which starts at 7pm. We invite you to join us. This event always heralds the Christmas story and our pupils generously share their talents in celebration of the season with singers, instrumentalists and even some rap! This year our pupils will be joining forces with other schools across the globe for the premiere of a new song about climate change.
On Wednesday 11 December Ms Henson, Headteacher, plans to choose this year’s school Christmas card and will congratulate the artist. Each year a piece of one of our pupils’ artwork created as a part of our curriculum is selected as the basis for a festive design.
On Thursday 12 December our pupils will have the opportunity to participate in a Mock General Election, with voting taking place at lunchtime. This has been the focus in their recent Global Citizenship and PSHE lessons. Many pupils have shown interest and curiosity and a readiness to engage in debate. They have shared their passions on the issues that will affect them and concerns for the future of humanity. Read more...
On Friday 13 December our Ghana 2020 team will be keen to ensure bids continue to come in for their fundraising Online Promises Auction which will close on Sunday 15 December and when the winning bids will be confirmed. It is not too late to make a bid for one of the great experiences on offer! To support our Ghana volunteers, Miss Bluett is also selling raffle tickets for a hamper filled with festive gifts. Read more...
On Monday 16 December our Pastoral team launch our Christmas assemblies. These will feature festive-themed quizzes. Our Librarians are hosting a Christmas tea party for some residents of Elm Grove, a local care home, and pupils who have been involved in making Christmas cards for the elderly. This project was originally inspired by a move to beat loneliness in the community.
On Tuesday 17 December our own elves will be delivering Christmas chocolates to our staff teams across the school. There is already a sense of anticipation about the accompanying Staff Christmas Quiz which has become part of our annual traditions thanks to Mr Doidge, our Finance Director, and always generates tremendous competitive spirit!
On Wednesday 18 December pupils from Deer Park will be taking Christmas into the community - a group of Year 8 pupils will be singing carols to and with the residents of Aura Care Living in Stratton. Miss Bluett also plans to draw the Ghana 2020 raffle. Who will be the lucky winner of the Christmas hamper?
On Thursday 19 December pupils will have the opportunity to wear their Christmas jumpers if they bring in either an item for Cirencester Foodbank or a donation for Save the Children. This year we encourage them to upcycle and decorate an existing jumper. Our Christmas Jumper Day is always a popular day in our school calendar and coincides with our Christmas Lunch. Staff in our canteen always go the extra mile and provide an excellent spread which includes all the trimmings. This year’s menu offers a choice of Roast Turkey, Carrot and Cashew Wellington or Nut Roast, plus mince pie or Christmas pudding.
Friday 20 December 2019 will mark the end of a busy term. Our Year 11 pupils will have completed their mock examinations. They will receive their results on Friday 10 January 2020.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
The Action for Happiness movement publish a downloadable monthly calendar and this month is Kindness... Kindness changes everything. Join in with their alternative advent calendar and help spread a bit more happiness this December.