It was a magnificent English summer’s day for this year’s DCPS Speech Day. The sun shone over the beautifully presented marquee and a welcome breezekept everyone just about cool enough.

The morning started with a beautiful chapel service followed by the traditional French Café that, this year, had been relocated into the Centenary Hall to accommodate the growing demand for French cuisine.

The classrooms looked wonderful with Mr Shelly’s Year 8 War Poems, colourful art displays, Viking longboat races and an archaeological dig in Rickerby.

After enjoying all the displays, the Latin play and some wonderful pastries, everyone headed to the marquee for speeches.

Chair of Trustees, Kathryn Carden, opened proceedings by offering her gratitude to parents and guardians for choosing Dean Close. The Headmaster, Mr Paddy Moss, then gave a very entertaining speech with several football anecdotes, which had everyone laughing. In the main Mr Moss’ message was one of helping pupils develop skills for the future. To make his point he told a very poignant story about predictive texting:

A pupil received a text from a parent asking, what did they want from life? To which the pupil pondered; wealth, exam success, love. The parent then retexted saying…ooh, sorry, apologies, actually just wanted to know what you want from Lidl!

Head Boy and Head Girl Speech

After encouraging the entire audience to ‘floss’ the Head Boy and Girl’s message was one of gratitude to their friends, teachers and parents. They shared what Dean Close Prep School meant to them, using the word ‘Close’.

  • Choose your own path
  • Life’s too short to worry. Have fun!
    Other people – be considerate and open-minded
    Seize the moment; you can be anything you want to be
    Earn respect by being respectful

Finally, the Warden, Mrs Emma Taylor gave an inspirational
speech, building on Mr Moss’ message about preparing
children for the future. Explaining that to be effective teachers
we have to teach pupils for a future 20 years from now. She
asked pupils, parents and the Headmaster to participate by
sharing what they hope to be doing 20 years from now… some
of the answers:

  • I will be 32
  • Sipping a Pina Colada, on a beach somewhere, reading the
    latest copy of the Young Decanian (Headmaster)
  • Marine Biologist
  • Famous Musician
  • England Ruby Player
  • I will own my own house and hopefully have a boyfriend

Mrs Taylor went on to quote Franklin D Roosevelt “We cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.” She explained that at Dean Close we offer a rich all-round education that not only prides itself on the finest academics but also provides children with diverse opportunities to develop independent thinking, team skills, creativity, kindness and respect.

These characteristics (as well as building character, confidence and consideration) according to Jack Ma, Founder of the world’s largest e-commerce organisation – Alibaba, will be the essential skills for tomorrow’s workforce in a world where humans will compete with computers. Young adults will need to set themselves apart by offering the world more than just academic aptitude.

Mrs Taylor also gave a brief outline of the School’s plans for the future:

Campus: An ongoing programme of enhancement and development, starting with the new Day House Village and 21st Century area for academic excellence.
Community: Creating a generous means-tested bursary for talented, financially deserving pupils.
Curriculum: Enhancing our academic offering, starting with the new 7-9 curriculum and abolishing Common Entrance to better prepare children for the GCSE syllabus.

This year’s Speech Day was a very special occasion indeed. There was a real sense of community and warmth in the marquee. The children accepted their​prizes gracefully and where exceptionally well-behaved.