Weekly Bulletin 21/10/2016
An update from Mr Watson in Tanzania
As you may (or may not!) have noticed, I haven't been in school this term. On the off chance that I am being missed, and to keep you all in the loop, I thought I would let the Duke of Kent School community know what I have been up to for the last few months.
Shortly after the end of last term, me and my family travelled to Tanzania. We are spending our time here working with a charity called Heshima. Heshima means respect in Swahili. The charity is based in Kisongo, just outside Arusha, a predominantly Maasai area; although this mix is changing as the area becomes more developed. The charity has two strands; a school for 3 to 5 year olds and a textiles training and workshop for Maasai women. The children who attend the school come from some of the poorest families in the area, without Heshima they would have no access to education. The textiles workshop gives local Maasai women, a group who are heavily discriminated against, the opportunity to develop skills to earn an independant living. The area is very poor, with many families living in a single room, and often having to survive on as little as a dollar a day. The school itself has no running water, electricity or even a propper road to reach it. During the rainy season the dirt track used to access the school has a river running across it!
Since arriving at Heshima we have gone from being a huge novelty, to just part of the furniture. We have been made to feel incredibly welcome and we now feel a real part of this special community. Some of the children here want for the most basic things, but this doesn’t put a dampener on their enthusiasm for life, and indeed school, in any way.
We have mainly be focusing on working in the school. This is run by two wonderfully dedicated teachers, Constantine and Mwamvita. Constantine immediately reminded me of Mr Hubbard; he cycles the 15 miles to work, resplendent in a shirt, tie and jumper, through the heat and dust of the Savannah, to arrive at school perfectly composed and unruffled. Mwamvita begins her teaching day the moment she boards the school bus and squeezes herself in. 14 seats...20 plus children. The bus was donated to the school a few years ago and is shared with another local school. It's well past its best and requires regular resuscitation by the local bush mechanics. However, it is a God send, saving the children, some as young as 3, walking miles to school unaccompanied. Since arriving we have repainted classrooms, built storage areas, provided enough water cups for students to have one each (they previously had 3 between 25), added to their play area and helped out in class. We are now putting together basic teacher planners and introducing pupil assessment, something that seems an exciting novelty here; I daren't tell them how mundane it seems to me!
One of the first things we noticed when we got here was that many of the children were arriving at school hungry. To help with this we set up 'Breakfast Club' on the school bus. This costs under £1 per day to feed around 20 children. This really highlights how small an amount can make a big difference.
We have worked hard here at Heshima and will soon be leaving. However, there remains a great deal more to be done. We have asked Mwamvita, Constantine and Zack to put their heads together and think about what else Heshima needs. To fund this we have published a just giving page which you are more than welcome to have a look at through the following link:
However, it hasn't all been work, work, work. We have taken this opportunity to explore this stunning country, which is so wonderfully varied, both in its cultures and habitats. Among other things we have explored Maasai villages, The Serengetti and the Ngorogoro Crater. Most wonderful of all have been the people we have met here. Despite their obvious poverty they have been nothing but warm, friendly and generous towards us; we will miss this place terribly when we leave.
Pre Prep Science Day
On Thursday Pre-Prep had a Science Day. The children were off timetable and took part in many Science based activities in small, mixed-aged groups. The day kicked off with some spectacular demonstrations from Mr Kettle in the Jenner Laboratory. We saw a flame turn green due to the presence of copper, the impressive result of placing potassium in water, a Van de Graaff machine which created 'lightning' and made cup cakes cases fly and a magnificent chemical reaction which resulted in 'elephant's toothpaste'. The children then rotated in their groups (named after some historical scientists) around 3 areas: the Volcano Room, The Colour Chamber and Bubbles and Blobs. In these areas, Pre-Prep pupils utilised their prediction and explanation skills to take part in a variety of activities including watching water 'walk', exploring combinations that would result in a volcanic eruption and making their very own version of a 'lava lamp'. Thank you to all the pupils and staff for their excitement and energy, a great day was had by all!
Challenge Yourself at Duke of Kent School
On Saturday the School hosted another successful open event at which pupils and parents were encouraged to learn the value of qualities such as persistence, resilience and enthusiasm when faced with many difficult challenges that we can sometimes encounter in our lives. Our ‘Challenge Yourself’ event offered visitors the chance to test their mettle on a 24ft climbing wall, to try a new musical instrument, to produce a wonderful piece of art that they never thought possible and the opportunity to push themselves to the limit on our mini-triathlon course.
In addition to this we had a range of visiting speakers and workshops running throughout the School. Celebrated author Sally Gardner took us on a whirlwind tour of her stormy early life and reminded us of the importance of never giving up on your dreams however far out of reach they may seem to be. Edward Watson, from InnerDrive, used a range of interactive activities in order to show how we can communicate with each more effectively and provided us with some insights into the mercurial machinations of the ‘Teenage Brain’. Richard Hunt, from Saltwater Creations, provided a range of real life story-telling workshops based on the first-hand experience of overcoming adversity and disability.
The complimentary refreshments provided throughout the day in our ‘Maggot Moon’ themed dining hall were a massive hit, as was the delicious curry for lunch, a huge thank you to all of the catering team for that. We are already looking forward to our next event.
This Week's Featured Books
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan.
Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon – each of whom has lived among Earth’s mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle – are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they’ve got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he’s a really nice kid). There’s just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him . . .
White Fang by Jack London
A classic adventure novel detailing the savagery of life in the northern wilds. Its central character is a ferocious and magnificent creature, half dog, half wolf, through whose experiences we feel the harsh rhythms and patterns of wilderness life among animals and men.
A few match reports from this week's matches
Football: U16 V. More House
The Under 16 Football Team were in high spirits after back to back wins as they travelled to More House on Wednesday. It was clear from the off that the home team were going to be difficult to break down and a scrappy first half ended goalless. A change in formation followed allowing the visitors to begin to dictate the play. Noah T in particular was playing with a great intensity, terrorising the home defence from the left hand side and, along with the tireless Rory W and Mikey H, pressing players into making mistakes. Soon the deadline was broken by Bastien H with a rasping close range finish and the lead was quickly doubled as Jonah H pounced on a defensive error to finish hard and low across the goalkeeper. Bastien H added to his tally from inside the box before Lucas W evoked memories of John Barnes at the Maracana in 1984, picking the ball up in his own half and weaving through countless defenders before finishing with a rasping drive. A quite breath taking conclusion to a fine team performance. Well done Boys!
All girls in year 8 to year 11 played in House Netball matches on Wednesday afternoon. House captains organised their teams and played to their strengths across the court. A special mention goes to Year 8's who played in their first senior house netball matches and to Milly B and Daisy M in year 7 for stepping in to help out their teams! The final results were as follows:
1st place - Whittle
2nd place - Armstrong
3rd place - Hillary
4th place - Chichester
Well done to everyone that took part and earning points for your houses!
Report from Top Pitch:
Wednesday saw the annual year 7 and 8 house football tournament take place at school. The tournament kicked off with a thrilling first game on top pitch between Armstrong and Hillary with Armstrong winning 3-2 after scoring a dramatic late winner with 5 seconds left on the clock. The second game between Hillary and Armstrong was a closer affair, Hillary earning a hard fought victory, winning 2-1. The final game on top pitch between whittle and Hillary was a close game with a tough battle in midfield, whittle broke the deadlock with only a few minutes remaining to win 1-0.
Report from Front Pitch:
Chichester 1-1 Hillary
A hard fought match where both teams were guilty of missing chances. A simple finish for Scott to make it one nil to Chichester, then a cool finish by Dan D following in on the rebound for the equaliser.
Chichester 2-3 Whittle
A cracking game, never has 'a game of two halves' been truer. Chichester were two nil up at the half, one of those goals a stunning free kick by Raef. Then it all changed when two influential players had to leave the field injured. In the second half they came back and with the last kick of the game, Joe P hammered home a late winner for Whittle.
Chichester 5-2 Armstrong
Chichester needed goals to finish second, and they delivered. It was wave after wave of attack and the finishing was sublime...they even managed to miss a penalty!
Three great games, all played in the right competitive spirit; it was a joy to watch and referee!
Mr Green, Mr Herbert, Mr Burwood and Mr Southee
Have a wonderful Half Term everyone!
Prep School Reminders
Wednesday 9th November:
Yrs 4 & 5 visit to Notre Dame School to meet children's author, Matt Haig.
Thursday 10th November:
Yrs 3 & 4 Parents' Meetings from 4:45 - 7:00pm
Friday 11th November:
Yrs 5 & 6 Parents' Meetings from 4:45 - 7:00pm
After half term we will be beginning preparations for our school Christmas Fair during our Creative Curriculum lessons. Please could we ask you to keep any jam jars which you would otherwise be putting in the recycling and send them into school with your children once we are back. Also, if you should come across any pine cones we would be very grateful for these too.
Senior Production Reminder:
"Just So" rehearsal continues as normal this Friday 21st October (4:45 - 6:30pm)
"Just So" rehearsal on Thursday 3rd November (10:00am - 4:00pm)
"Just So" rehearsal on Friday 4th November (10:00am - 4:00pm)
"Just So" rehearsal on Sunday 13th November (10:00am - 4:00pm)
Pre prep celebrations
We would like to wish all the best to Sammie and her Fiancé, Lee, who are getting married over the Half Term break. Pre prep gave her a little good luck celebration on Friday afternoon and are already looking forward to hearing all about it! Congratulations again!
Miss Coady and the whole of Pre prep
The Prep School are going for Gold
Well done to Alfie C and Samir Z in Year 5 who have had fantastic achievements and were presented with the first Gold Stars of the year, in the Prep School.
Alfie worked with Mrs Lock to produce and edit a video which has been sent to Starfish Malawi about gardening and crops grown in the UK.
Samir's showed his great interest in the Planets by producing a booklet packed with information about our Solar System.
Well done to both pupils.
Arrival of the Bee-bots!
As part of the expansion of Computer Science throughout the school, the department recently purchased some "bee-bots" as a fun, interactive, way of getting to grips with Computer Science. So far, Year 4 have been using them to learn about algorithms, programming, and debugging by navigating rooms and guiding the bots around differently themed grids, and in the near-future, they hope to be used in both the Pre-Prep and Prep schools.
Year 4 getting hands on!
Year 4 Have been learning all about Bacteria and Viruses with the School Nurses during the last couple of weeks, and in particular finding out how best to stop them from spreading! We had lots of fun testing how well they washed their hands with the use of some special cream that glows under a UV light - the challenge was to see if they could wash all the glowing cream away.
There were mixed results to begin with, but after some tuition on proper hand washing techniques, they did much better, and now know how to get their hands sparkly clean! Many thanks to Annabelle R, Esme P, Arianne L and Ella S for their lovely "Good Hand Washing" posters which will shortly be gracing the Prep School loos to remind all their friends how to keep up their hand hygiene!
Chloe Sarjant & Jemma Davenport
Ben P Sails through
Ben P in Year 8 has been selected to join the RYA South East Optimist Sailing Zone Squad. This follows his performance at three recent selection weekends held at Papercourt, Weirwood Reservoir and Queen Mary Reservoir.
As one of the twelve squad members Ben will receive six weekends of RYA High Performance Training during the Winter at various locations across the South East of the UK.
Well done Ben!
A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed donations for the Cranleigh Food Bank this week. The entrance hall has been filling up nicely!
Final day for donations :
FRIDAY 21st OCTOBER
Pre prep Stars of the Week
Isabella for settling in so well and displaying a very positive and happy attitude towards all activities.
Martha for always trying her best to produce neat work and use of the correct letter formation in writing.
Johnny Evelyn for showing great interest and involvement on science and improve focus in carpet sessions.
Rollo for showing exceptional kindness and good manners to staff and pupils alike.
Music Department News
The Music Department was full of noise last Saturday as we provided the opportunity for visitors to the Challenge Yourself Open event to have a go on a whole range of instruments. At one point there were 11 people having drum lessons, 6 people having guitar lessons, 6 people having piano lessons and 4 people having woodwind lessons - it was wonderful! (Just as an aside, does anybody know who the elderly lady was that came to one of the drum workshops and spent 30 minutes having the time of her life, proclaiming she had never felt so good for years?!)
CelloBabies is going with a swing in Pre-Prep, with the cellists making great strides in their playing, working on bowing techniques and learning songs off by heart!
Parents, this week the e-safety tip is rather more focused on a trend that has been happening around the world. Below is a statement released by the NSPCC about the 'Creepy Clown' fad that is happening. Students in Year 8-11 have been briefed about what they should do should they have an encounter.
The NSPCC reports that Childline was contacted 120 times in one week by children scared by people dressing up as terrifying clowns in order to frighten passers-by. Cases of this trend which have been reported to police have involved clowns chasing children with weapons; clowns targeting schools; children being targeted by clowns online. Children are advised to: talk to a parent, teacher or trusted adult about their concerns; contact the police if they are threatened by a creepy clown in the street; call Childline if they want to discuss their worries or get advice and support; block and report abusive messages from people posing as clowns on social media.
More information can be found at: