Today was the culmination of a fantastic term as we acknowledged some outstanding performances in the classroom, on the stage and on the pitch from pupils from Nursery right the way through to Year 11. We were entertained by Prep pupils singing a song from their production as well as a surprise visit from Mr Seeley's Australian cousin playing the didgeridoo! The Senior choir left bright and early for their trip to Liverpool. I am joining them for a few days and can't wait to hear their voices soar in the cathedral. May I take this opportunity to wish you a wonderful Easter break and I look forward to seeing the children back on Wednesday 20th April.
Reminders for next term
Wednesday 20th April - Summer Term begins @ 8:20am
PADoK Uniform Shop open 3:00 - 4:00pm
Thursday 21st April - Activities and Prep begin
British Science Week
British Science Week celebrations at Duke of Kent School started with an assembly from the Science team. Mr Kulczyk talked about fish found in UK waters, many of which he would be dissecting with the students during Biology lessons in Science Week. Mrs Lwambo talked about the importance of recycling whale poo to sustain our oceans through the fertilisation of algae to make more food and help the environment. Mr Wyllie linked the ocean theme to sound and the echolocation of sperm whales and introduced the speaker making activity he would be running in Physics for Science Week. To close, Mrs Tattan-Robb introduced the idea of alcohol as a fuel, burning money and demonstrating the energy produced by alcohol vapours with a whoosh!
Monday began with the smell of the sea coming to school for the Year 9-11 fish dissections with Mr Kulczyk and Mrs Lwambo. This proved to be hugely popular and saw the children dissecting mackerel, squid, herring and scallops and seeing the anatomy of a lobster. The students were fascinated by finding the ink sack in the squid, the digestive system and reproductive organs in the mackerel and herring and the little blue eyes in a scallop. They have learnt how squid and scallops move around using a pump system which has evolved differently to suit the particular creature and how to age a plaice by analysing its scales under the microscope.
In Physics, Years 9 to 11 gained a deeper appreciation of how speakers work through electromagnetism. I was particularly delighted to hear from Mr Wyllie that Josh N and Fraser R linked their speakers together to make headphones - great innovation in action! Years 7 and 8 have had an enjoyable time investigating flames and learning about how metals give fireworks their colours by heating metal salts in a bunsen flame - firm favourites were the vivid red from lithium and greeny-blue from copper. Finally, we held a House Chemistry Competition with the four House Captains assembling their best Scientists to compete. Each year group carried out a practical that goes beyond the specification and pupils enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate their chemistry skills in an attempt to bring home the win for their House. Congratulations to Peregrine House which came Top of the Chemistry Bench.
My thanks go to all of the Science Department for their hard work this week. None of this would have been possible without the fantastic organisation and support we have from our wonderful Science Technician, Mrs Shaw. It has been a pleasure to see pupils engage so enthusiastically with the range of activities and I am sure that memories of the week will last even longer than the lingering fish smell in the Franklin lab!
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
On Thursday night the Year 10 Drama GCSE cohort went to see a performance of the acclaimed production The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. Directed by Michael Fentiman, based on the original production by Sally Cookson it was a wonderful example of the power of puppetry, physical theatre and experimental use of set design. A train is miniaturised as a small model gliding through the air manipulated by the actors, wolves prowling on stilts and the imposing puppet for Aslan were impressive feature pieces.
With flakes of snow gently tumbling down from above, white lighting and members of the cast wearing all white with parasols to appear as snowy trees, you could almost feel the crunch of snow under your feet.
It was a perfect example of the power of ensemble acting for our students, as they prepare to devise their own work for GCSE Drama.
Year 7 Gurdwara Trip
On Monday morning Year 7 travelled with Mr Macdonald, Miss Francis and myself to a Sikh temple, the 'Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha', in Southall, London. This was to reinforce their learning of Sikhism which we have been learning about in Religious Studies this term. We were hosted by Navraja Singh (which means 'lion') and WO1 Chauhan MBE. This was a terrific opportunity for Year 7 to see their knowledge 'come alive', no more so than by experiencing the communal 'langar' or food, available to any visitor at any time. The food is always vegetarian so anyone can eat it, and is enjoyed by everyone while sitting in rows on the floor. This shows how everyone is equal, a key part of Sikh beliefs. While wearing their headovers ('patkas') The pupils also paid their respects in the prayer room and could show off their own knowledge of, for example, the meaning of 'guru', which means 'spiritual teacher'.
Bole So Nihal.
Year 3 Assembly
On Wednesday morning, Year 3 treated their parents and the rest of Prep School to an assembly all about rocks and soils. They hooked everyone in by singing ‘We Will Rock You’ before explaining how long rocks have been around using the story, ‘The Pebble in my Pocket’. They also described how the three types of naturally occurring rocks happen. The children did a wonderful job of remembering their lines and were able to entertain the audience with jokes and puns. Well done Year 3, you ROCKED!
On Tuesday morning the Student Council met with the Operations Manager of our catering company Holroyd Howe, Callum Curtis-Bennett and our in-house Head Chef, Rob Hanvey, to discuss the feedback gained from our recent meetings and the food survey which was completed by all students. Rob explained that a weekly 'treat day' at Friday morning snack had been agreed when the requested biscuits, waffles and sweet items will be made available. More bread is being cooked by the kitchens each day, in line with demand, and the suggested theme days will continue with recent Ukraine Day and St. Patrick's Day celebrations being quickly followed up by Chinese Day yesterday.
Packed Lunches are changing in line with suggestions and a new menu for snack breaks is being compiled over the Easter holidays ready for the new term, with summer fruits such as watermelon and orange slices available alongside voted-for favourite savoury items such as cheese straws. An increase in smoothies was also discussed and the separation of vegetables to allow for specific choices is being implemented immediately. The adventurous Student Council also discussed their preference for more spice and Rob is looking at making more spicey versions of, for instance, curries so as to have a mild and spicey option available for all. The Student Council felt positive knowing that nearly all suggestions have been implemented in some way, although a few proposals (such as the 'Year 10 & 11 wine and cheese course') were felt to be a step too far!
Plenty of food for thought.
Commendations this week were awarded to Ozzie H and George P (Y9) for their exceptional effort working on their media projects in English this term and to Rhys W, Charlie L, Monty L, Ethan K, George C, Alice B (Y7) for their exceptional effort in French speaking. Also being commended are Lucy M, Matilda R and Henry C for their excellent continued effort in History. Well done to all of you.
I wish you all the best for a restful Easter.
Today's Final Assembly gave us a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the children's many achievements this term. Congratulations to all who received a Stellar or Ambassador Award for their hard work and kindness, respectively; a trophy for their sporting, artistic or musical brilliance; or a certificate for their Attitude to Learning. I would also, however, add my congratulations to all of the Prep and Pre-prep pupils; awarding prizes to everyone devalues them, but every step forward, every hurdle overcome and every single act of kindness, no matter how small, is something we genuinely treasure and of which every pupil should be equally proud.
Final assemblies really do bring home just how much we cram into a term! Yet this week alone, we've hosted a swimming gala victory, been entertained by Year 3's super 'rocking' assembly, marvelled at a fantastic array of Easter Bonnets and welcomed many mums into Pre-prep to be pampered by their children ahead of Mother's Day. And that's all beyond the ever-present sense of endeavour and progress in the pupils' classroom learning. Watching the Pre-prep children present the fruits of their creative labours to their mums this week has been a highlight of the academic year so far, for me. You could see they were immensely proud of what they'd painted, written or baked, and it was just lovely to be able to do such social events again - on the two-year anniversary of the first School lockdown, no less!
And so we end the term on a sunny high, but appropriately tired and ready for a break. Next term will be no less busy, I'm sure, but in the meantime, I wish all of our Prep and Pre-prep families a relaxing and fun-filled Easter holiday.
Effort - Mac Y and Ben W
As the Spring term comes to an end it is a time to reflect on all the pupils have achieved as well as looking forward to all that is to come. For the Year 11s it is the culmination of all their hard work as they prepare to sit their exams. Whilst this may not feel like a complete ‘break’ for them as they continue with revision and preparation, it is important that they take time to rest, have fun and renew their energy levels.
Easter is a period that signals rebirth and new life. Springtime in general is a season when life springs anew from a period of repair and renewal. The opportunity to take a break from the rigours of school work, before returning to what will undoubtedly be a period of sustained focus and hard work for them, is vital and shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, taking a break has numerous wellbeing benefits.
Improves the memory
Allows energy to be boosted
Improves physical health
Boosts performance and creativity
Opportunities for quiet, fresh air, movement, new challenges and favourite hobbies all allow us a break from what we may find challenging. This is true for us all and is important to remember when planning how to spend these three weeks. As in many things; balance is the answer. I truly wish everyone a restful (and hopefully sunny) break and a Happy Easter!
The Spring term has been filled with a wide range of House events for the Prep and Senior School pupils to get stuck into! There has been everything from general knowledge quizzes about New Year's trivia to House Music and Cross Country. A big thank you to all of the teaching staff who have organised and supported the competitions, as well as the pupils who have taken the time to partake and created a number of memorable moments.
All of the House points earned by all of the Prep and Senior School pupils in the Spring term have been counted! Buzzard and Hawk continue to battle it out for 1st place, with Buzzard’s recent progress allowing them to just sneak a minute lead! Kestrel remains in 4th place but continues to maintain consistent pressure on Peregrine in 3rd. The Summer term will be filled with competitions and opportunities for the students to earn more points for their Houses, so these positions could easily change again!
On Saturday, a selection of pupils from Years 7, 8 and 9 made the journey up to Worksop College in Nottinghamshire to represent London South Region in the National Cross Country Championships. Each pupil finished in the top 10 at the Regional Event held at Duke of Kent School in February in order to secure their place in the National Finals. We made it to Worksop College in good time and so after registering and walking the course, the pupils had time for lunch and to soak up the amazing atmosphere. With around 45 pupils in each race, it was a huge event with hundreds of supporters! First up were the Year 7 boys; Ollie C, Felix C and Sam R, they ran 2.7km and did a fantastic job! The next race was the 3k race for Year 8 and 9 girls, Emily B and Jess I both ran a great race, particularly as Jess was running up an age group! Finally, it was time for Rufus B and Will R to run their slightly longer 3.8km race including an extra lap. The boys were in a highly competitive field of runners and finished within a couple of places of each other in the top 20, well done boys! We were extremely lucky with the weather and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and blue skies throughout the day! A huge congratulations to all of the pupils involved for being so brilliantly behaved throughout the day. Miss Vickers, Mr Green and Mr Herbert are so proud of you all for representing the school and the London South Region. A particular thanks should go to Mr Herbert for doing a brilliant job organising our runners but also leading the London South region as the Senior Manager on the day. Well done everyone!
U8-U14 Swimming Gala v. Belmont
Duke of Kent School's Swimming Squad hosted a gala against Belmont on Monday afternoon. This was the first inter school gala that we have hosted in quite some time and it was incredible to see so many swimmers and parents in attendance. The younger swimmers were helped superbly by the older and more experienced team members who gave them advice and reassurance when needed. The standard of swimming was very good from both teams with Belmont narrowly leading after the individual events. Duke of Kent School came back strongly in the relays with both schools only one point apart as we started the final race. The noise from the swimmers and parents was so loud that teachers and pupils could hear the cheering from the top of the school. The U14 freestyle relay team of Rufus B, Emily B, Helena K and Violetta P swam a great race to give Duke of Kent School victory by three points.
Well done to all who swam and to the parents that created a marvelous atmosphere.
Girls' Football: U16 v. Box Hill
On Tuesday afternoon, the U16 girls' football team travelled to Box Hill for their first football match of the term. The girls have been working really hard in their netball and hockey lessons and matches and so were excited to have the opportunity to play some football. Initially, some of the girls were a little unsure about the match but they soon got stuck in. It was fantastic to see the whole team pull together and improve throughout the match. Towards the end of the first half, the girls had begun to create more opportunities and defended well. Aoife W and Hannah S played brilliantly in attacking roles and managed to feed the ball through for Amelie W-B who took her chance fantastically and scored our first goal. After a quick half time talk (and a hello to Mrs Vermeulen with baby Casper and toddler Max - our supporters!) the team were back out for the second half. The standard of football really improved as the girls demonstrated some quality passing. Our second goal was crossed in and then scored by Aoife W, another great finish! Izzy B, Lucy P and Kora W all took shifts in defence and did a sterling job with the help of Zoe L and Molly G who played a half each in goal. The team managed to keep a clean sheet! Well done to all the girls involved for a fabulous 2-0 win and most importantly for a great afternoon!!
Girls Football: U15 v. Box Hill
On the lovely sunny Tuesday afternoon, the U15s girls travelled to Box Hill for a football match. The girls hadn’t had much football practice but that didn’t seem to matter! Box Hill got an early goal but the girls kept on working hard and before too long Audrey W scored our first goal, with Amber C scoring a second not long after. Despite the heat, the battle continued. Box Hill scored two more but the girls just didn’t stop running and their hard work was rewarded with Macy B scoring a goal to bring us to 3-3. The excitement didn’t stop there, in the final minute Audrey W made a great save and Maddie I was so close to scoring! The girls should all be very proud and a special thank you to Jasmine K, Tilly C, Amber and Audrey W who all did a stint in goal.
Girls Football: U14 v. Box Hill
On Tuesday our U14s went to Box Hill for a football match in the gorgeous spring sunshine! The girls were apprehensive but excited and started the match strong. There was great possession of the ball and Pippa S was making some excellent tackles in defence. Alex, K, Eva L and Emily B had some great shots on target but not quite getting it past the goalkeeper. Fleur S was certainly tested in this game as Box Hill had some exceptionally strong forwards, but she had a brilliant success rate of saving the ball and wowed us all on the sideline with her determination to stop Box Hill scoring.
In the second half we approached the game with a different focus of attack, attack, attack. Every player was determined to make a great run or tackle any ball coming their way, and it showed. Eva L, assisted by Alex K, scored a brilliant first goal closely followed by a hat-trick from Alex K. Ava W, Helena K and Violetta P worked so hard in defence, but we could quite catch up with Box Hill. The final score was 8-4 to Box hill. Well done girls, you all played so well and worked brilliantly as a team!
Girls Football: U12/13 v. Box Hill
After a very wet tournament last week the girls were very happy to be playing in the sunshine! The girls got off to a very good start with lots of pressure during the first half. Just before half time Sydney R played a lovely ball to Iona H in space who then crossed it for Tildy C to finish. Going into the second half after a break in the shade the girls were ready to go again. Isla B scored two goals in quick succession and the end of the half saw Sydney and Isla both hit the post! Well done to all of the girls, especially Isla for being awarded Girl of the Game.
U11 Girls' Football Longacre Tournament
On Wednesday afternoon, the girls in Years 5 and 6 travelled to Longacre to play in their second football tournament in as many weeks! The sun was shining and the girls were in good spirits, it was set to be a wonderful afternoon! The U11s first match was against one of the Longacre teams, it was a close game with chances for both sides but finished 0-0. The next game was set to be the hardest of the afternoon, with the eventual winners of the tournament, Farlington, proving too strong for us. The girls were not disheartened and managed to get another draw and a 1-0 win in their next two games against Longacre and St Edmund's respectively. The results put the U11 team into the 5th/6th play off, it was another close game and Poppy F continued to play brilliantly in goal. Towards the end of the game, Duke of Kent School managed to get the crucial goal to finish with a 1-0 win and meaning the girls placed 5th out of the 10 teams at the tournament. Well done to all the girls involved for great effort and demonstrating a positive attitude throughout the afternoon. The girls watched the final match whilst eating their hot dogs and banana cake in the sun - what could be better!!
Boys' Hockey: U15 v. Box Hill
On Tuesday saw the U15s travel to play Box Hill School at hockey. Duke of Kent School got off to the brighter start with Will P just being outside of the D to score the first goal of the game. Ben E made some fantastic saves in goal to reduce the score. Unfortunately, Box Hill School were too strong for us and made their possession count, scoring a couple of goals before half time. The second half continued how the first finished with Box Hill having most of the possession. However, good tackles from Toby C allowed us to create some attacking chances. Max K carried the ball well from the back and was able to find Will P unmarked in the D for a lovely first time deflection into the goal. Well done to all the boys involved as you showed good determination and strength throughout the game.
Boys' Hockey: U14 v. Box Hill
On Tuesday, the U14 Hockey team played against Box Hill. The match started evenly with both teams playing some quick attacking hockey and both teams scoring early goals. Jack B made some big saves to help the defence keep the score even. After Box Hill scored a couple of good team goals, Duke of Kent School had to work hard to get the score to 4-4. Near the end of the match the team were starting to get tired and unfortunately conceded a couple of late goals. Well played to everyone involved, it was great to see the high energy levels throughout, especially while playing on a small pitch in the sunshine.
Supporting Children to Deal with Upsetting Content
Raising children in the digital age seems to be getting tougher, with the world currently experiencing so many uncertainties. From the continuing impact of COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine, right now children across the globe can scarcely go online without being exposed to unsettling stories, images and ideas. Reassuring a concerned child can be difficult, especially when bad news feels omnipresent. We’ve put together some advice to help you in discussing upsetting events with young ones.
In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of tips such as encouraging your child to ask questions, setting limits and to emphasis hope.
George Floyd Short Story Writing Competition (5-18 years)
Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Nottingham Writers’ Studio launched the ‘George Floyd Short Story Competition’ in remembrance and in protest against his senseless death. Entrants are free to write in any genre, even take contrarian views, but it must be original work. This competition is open to all as we welcome the experiences of advocates and allies as well as voices from the black community. For more information visit - https://www.nottinghamwritersstudio.co.uk/the-george-floyd-short-story-competition/. Closing Date for Entries is 31st March 2022
Robert Louis Stevenson Fable Competition (10-18 years)
Some say he was Scotland's greatest author. Some say his fables were amongst his greatest work. So here is YOUR chance. In no more than 350 words enter our Fable Competition to write a 21st Century Fable in the style of the great master, Robert Louis Stevenson. Entries must not exceed 350word. For more information visit - https://www.mrrls.com/fable. Closing date for Entries 2nd April 2022
Author of Tomorrow Adventure Writing Competition (4-18 years)
The Author of Tomorrow is designed to find the adventure writers of the future. Part of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, it is an annual competition open to young people across the world who have completed a short piece of adventure writing in English. For more information on competition details - https://www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org/awards/author-of-tomorrow-2019. The closing date for entries is 22nd April 2022.
Thank you to everyone who has stayed at home for Covid reasons this term in order to manage the spread of Covid at school as much as possible. We are very hopeful that the change of government guidance due from 1st April will mean that next term, no one will need to test for Covid (no free of charge tests will be available from 1st April), and no one will need to isolate at home when feeling well enough for school. We believe it will be a case of just staying at home if you're feeling ill, and coming to school if you're well, like the good old days! Mrs Sarjant will be checking government updates during the Easter break to confirm this. In the meantime, do continue to go to our Covid 19 area of the school website for updates:
Looking ahead to next term, this week's sunny weather has already demonstrated how quickly children can dehydrate and feel unwell when running about in the warm sunshine. Please can you ensure all pupils attend school during the summer term with the following items for safety in the sun (fingers crossed the weather continues to bless us!):
1) A full named water bottle
2) A named bottle of suncream (please apply before school and top up regularly throughout the day)
3) A named sunhat/baseball cap
4) Those who suffer from hayfever should take their antihistamine at home before school
Thank you, and enjoy a restful and relaxing Easter holiday.
The School Nurses
It has been a busy term and it has flown by. This term we have enjoyed many PADoK walks, singing sessions with Mr Rye and introduced a new running technique group. We have hosted an Afternoon Tea for Macmillan and had lots of fun at the PADoK Quiz Night. Most importantly we raised £3,454 for the Red Cross Ukraine appeal, so thank you for all you generous donations.
As a parent association we are keen to hear of any group activities that might be of interest to parents so please do get in touch if you have any suggestions. email@example.com
Next term we expect singing to start again, the running technique club will start a new six week course, PADoK walks will be on every other Friday and watch out for a "save the date" coming soon!
PADoK Book Club
The PADoK Book Club got together last Thursday evening to talk about The Promise by Damon Galgut’s that charts the decline of a white family during South Africa’s transition out of apartheid and is centred around a promise which Amor, the youngest of the three children overhears her father Manie make before her mother Rachel dies. The story moves fluidly, flying into their dreams, their inner thoughts and what drives them and is incredibly detailed in the observation of the characters in the book, whether they have a small or large part to play. And as the country moves from old deep divisions to its new so-called fairer society, the lost promise of more than just one family hovers behind the novel's title. We all agreed we recommend the book to friends and family; however, it is a book you need to settle into, not one to dip in and out of, but it is worth taking the time to read as it is a fascinating and unique story.
Switching tone completely …. Our Summer Term PADoK book is Again, Rachel the long-awaited follow up to Marian Keyes' bestselling Rachel's Holiday finds the titular heroine having hauled her life back on track, only to suffer a spectacular setback when an old flame arrives in her life once more. We are looking forward to seeing lots of parents in person in the summer term to catch up and talk about the book together. Mrs Newman
Running Technique PADoK Parents Group
Running class this week was fantastic in the sunshine on the Astroturf and all the parents found that the skipping they had practiced over the fortnight had improved their pace and technique on their runs they had done. The group progressed their focus onto traction to create more propulsion in the push off phase of the running stride and worked on jumping up the steps by the Astro on single legs to improve their upwards and forward momentum. Everyone has worked really hard in these sessions and will be restarting in the summer term from the beginning for a full 6 week block. We stay within the sports hall and Astro so there is not an expectation of running any distance.
If you have small folk accompanying you are welcome to also join if they can be under your supervision/in a buggy- please don’t let childcare stop you joining us!
The 100 Club
The winners of the 100 Club this term are:
Jamie P- Year 8, £225
Oscar H - Year 8, £135
Daisy R - Year 8, £90
Mrs Smith and Mrs Phillips
Optional Senior School Hoodie
The Senior School hoodies have been redesigned by members of the School Council and the finished product can be seen above. They have done a fantastic job at putting this design together and now finally getting to see the finished product.
This new hoodie is available from Stevenson's on their website: https://www.stevensons.co.uk/. There is also the option to have your child's initials printed onto the front of the hoodie for a slight additional cost, something we would advise to avoid mixing up tops with other pupils. This hoodie is not an essential item of School uniform, so there is no expectation for pupils to have it.
If you wish to see the sample, please pop into the Main Office to see me and have a look at the new hoodie.
School Social Media
At Duke of Kent School we have three social media platforms;Instagram (dukeofkentschool), Twitter(@DoKSchool)and Facebook(Duke of Kent School).
Our Twitter and Facebook accounts are public however, our Instagram account is private to keep it strictly for the Duke of Kent School community only. To follow the School Instagram account you will need to request to follow the account.
We recommend following all three accounts to receive push notifications with news, updates, educational articles, interactions with other schools, communities and public figures.
Two photos, six years apart, same tie for Mr Rye! Lovely to see Oscar B popping back into School to see Mr Rye and his younger brother Harley. Wow, how time flies! #TheDoKWay #ThrowbackThursday #ThreeOfAKind #NothingChanges #Alumni https://t.co/8E6LbFs0cl
Well done to pupils in Years 9 and 10 who achieved certificates in the @UKMathsTrust Intermediate Challenge. Pupils received 2 Gold, 8 Silver and 10 Bronze certificates. Well done to Josh N, Sam S, Ozzie H, Pippa S and Charlie G who qualified for the follow on Kangaroo round. https://t.co/NpyFMH4Z6n