It has been wonderful welcoming Year 5 back to School this week and we look forward to greeting Year 3 on Monday. Our final week is action packed with with our Virtual Sports Day, Year 6 Final Assembly, Whole School Prize Assembly and our Parent's Day which will be released at 2pm on Friday 10th July. This also marks the end of the Summer term. Next week, we will also be announcing our Year 11 Prefect body for 2020/21 and our Head Boy and Head Girl. We are very pleased to be actively planning for a full reopening to all year groups on Wednesday September 3rd and more information will be sent in due course. Again, huge congratulations to all pupils for the wonderful performances in the Summer Concert. Whilst we were physically apart, the Duke of Kent School spirit was very much alive. Have a lovely weekend.
The Duke of Kent School Summer Concert
On Saturday at 6pm we held our first ever live streamed Virtual Summer Concert - and what a success it was! Performances were recorded at home by the pupils and sent in to Mr Rye who then broadcast them from his home studio via Youtube to the audience watching from home. With amazing performances from pupils in all three sections of the school it was a moving reminder of what we can achieve as a community despite being separated. There were ensemble pieces from the Senior Choir, the Year 11 GCSE Music pupils, the Year 9 trio and the Year 11 trio. We had original compositions, instrumentalists and singers. It was truly a magnificent event and all the pupils should be very proud of themselves. We certainly are!
If you would like to watch it again and do not have the Youtube link please email Mr Rye and he will provide it.
Photography is a powerful tool. We can use it to record, investigate, tell stories, and to express our feelings about places, people and situations. Through this year's House Photography our students have done all these things and more with the photographs they have entered. We often forget the power we hold in being able to capture a moment with a device that slips into our back pocket and sits neatly in the palm of our hands. This is demonstrated in no small way by recent events in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The power of photography is something that this year's judge of the House Photography Competition is all too aware of. Giles Duley was our Artist in Residence a few years ago. He began his career photographing rock stars and models such as Marilyn Manson, Oasis and Mariah Carey, however, he soon became disenchanted with the vapid world of celebrity and stardom. In 2000 he began using his photography to record the impact of war on the lives of ordinary people and in 2011, in Afghanistan, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). He was severely injured, losing both legs and his left arm. Despite these injuries he returned to Afghanistan in 2012 and continued working as a documentary photographer. As well as continuing his humanitarian work through his photography he also founded Legacy of War Foundation, a charity working with survivors of conflict.
Giles really enjoyed the spontaneity and excitement he found in the photographs our students took, as well as the quiet, contemplative side that came through in many of the images. "Every photograph is important and I want to thank you for sharing your photographs with me. Keep taking photographs, and keep telling your stories".
Thank you to every one who entered and put so much effort into this competition, the standard of entries is higher than ever. Our competition winners, as chosen by Giles Duley, will be announced during Final Assembly.
To see the finalist, please follow the link below:
On Thursday 2nd July Year 5 enjoyed a day of talks, presentations and discovery.
The day began with a presentation from Huw Williams, cameraman and director of the amazing series “Spy in the Wild”. Huw was kind enough to share some of the “secrets” involved in filming wild animals and the complexities of filming with the spy creatures! He recounted some of his hair raising adventures- including being in a jeep which was attacked by a rather grumpy leopard!
We also watched a video of Huw being interviewed very professionally by his nephew Rhys. Year 5 really enjoyed his presentation:
“Huw Williams was really cool because he made lots of cool robot animals” Felix C
“I liked the part when Huw showed us the sawing gorilla as it was soooooooo funny!” Wilfred K
There were also two live sessions on the day. The first with Ian Redmond OBE - Chairman of Ape Alliance and The Gorilla Organisation and UN Ambassador. Ian began his career working with the famous primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey ( The film Gorillas in the Mist is based on her life) studying mountain gorillas, and was even responsible for introducing Sir David Attenborough to gorillas for the first time. The pupils had prepared themselves by watching a talk that Ian had given at Southampton University and had created a list of questions which they enjoyed asking. Ian told the pupils lots of stories about how gorillas behave in the wild and also discussed how conservationists are trying to protect gorillas from being infected by the Covid virus. He was very, very entertaining and answered all their excellent questions with enthusiasm and in great detail.
“I enjoyed all the extra information that he gave after every question “ Myles C
“The meet was brilliant! Ian answered all of the questions really clearly and he made it so interesting, he has made me much more interested in his work and all the animals, even slugs!” Edie H
The second session which focused on “Precious Primates” was with Laura Gosset who is Head of Education at The Born Free Foundation. Laura shared a presentation about the rainforest and primates. Year 5 were able to demonstrate their knowledge of rainforests by answering lots of questions.
Pupils also had the opportunity to go outside ( we had to dodge the rain) and try out some of the 30 Days Wild activities created by The Wildlife Trusts. The 30 Days Wild activities consist of things like whistling with grass, listening for wild sounds, identifying wild flowers, finding creepy crawlies….. Super fun activities to try out for the summer holidays if you haven’t had the chance!
Many thanks to Mr Wright and Cathy Williams for organising our presenters and to Mr Gritton and Miss Higman (and Year 5) for being such enthusiastic participants.
This summer Ellis (Year 10) and Calum (Year 8) will be cycling the length of Scotland to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (with an adult or two in tow). The 470 mile route will take them from Gretna Green to John O'Groats on the National Cycle Network, which isn't the most direct route but has the advantage of being mainly off-road and (hopefully) more enjoyable - if that's possible. The plan is to complete the cycle in 12 days, from 29th July to 9th August. That's about 40 miles a day, although every day is different with some longer days and some shorter days - with lots of hills and unpredictable weather!
If you would like to sponsor Ellis and Calum there is a 'JustGiving' page here:
The family have been planning this event for about 9 months but the pandemic almost stopped them with lockdown measures putting the challenge at risk. Thankfully it's back on, as a result of the recent lifting of restrictions in Scotland. The pandemic has hugely affected those in the vulnerable category with existing lung conditions, making life even harder for sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis (CF).
It's also massively reduced the ability of charities to raise money over the last few months so we've been desperately keen to ensure that we could complete the challenge this year and help fund the Trust to support sufferers. The CF Trust is a brilliant charity that helps fund cutting-edge research, drives up standards of care and supports people with the condition. You can read more about CF on the Trust's website here:
On Tuesday a group of pioneering Year 11 pupils took part in an interactive leadership session, as part of the 'Leadership Course' kindly run and organised by parent, Neil Crofts. For this online role play the pupils were taken back to the the Village of Eyam in 1665, during the years of the Great Plague. Led by expert presenter, Kate Howard, who brought the history of 17th Century England to life, the pupils engaged in a lively, interactive and enlightening learning activity.
Prep and Pre-prep News
Value awards for this week are:
Effort - Charlie C, Jack P, all of Year 4 and Isla W, Patrick W, Eve M, Jack R, Elliott S, Isabella N, Levi L, Theo C, John B, Pip C-G, Erin C, Tansy-Bela T, Eddie C, Poppy F and Eddie P
Here is a link to the Prep and Pre-prep podcasts too, enjoy:
Nursery: Willow B, for her caring and sharing ways and friendly behaviour towards her peers.
Reception: Savannah L for persevering with making sure your number formation is correct when working independently.
Norah C for working hard on the process of understanding number bonds to 10.
Year 1: Seren G for having great focus all week and showing excellent understanding of place value
Year 2: Max M for putting a huge amount of effort into every task this week. Well done!
Performing Arts News
As we approach the end of term it feels appropriate to highlight the incredible work that pupils have managed to create and sustain during this strangest of terms. We have had contributions to the school Three Little Birds Project, House Drama entries, Summer Concert entries, radio plays, music videos, practice diaries and more. The power of the Performing Arts during lockdown has been obvious and the pupils in our school have been a huge part of that. Thanks you to them and you from all of us in the Performing Arts team.
Duke of Kent School Album - Vol III
This is nearly finished and will be available to download next week, via the school website. All proceeds will be going to the wonderful charity Music for All and there will be a Justgiving link on the download page. An email will go out next week with more details.
Duke of Kent School's Got Talent
It's not too late to get your entry into the school Talent Competition. With a £50 Amazon voucher on offer to the winner it's definitely worth having a go. Any talent can be entered - however random!
In the past I have written about the app Tik Tok and the risks sharing videos of yourself on the Internet can pose. Most concerns of its use revolve around the ability for random people to view, comment, or even collaborate on a video unless your account is set to private. However, a post by a software engineer recently went viral in the tech community as it described the sheer volume of information the app collects about its users and their phones. Most of us are used to stories of apps using our data for marketing and "personalisation" but Tik Tok appears to take it to a new level, collecting information on your phone hardware, other apps you use, your network information and gps. To quote the post it is a "data collection service that is thinly veiled as a social network".
Concerns over data security aren't new, as the United States have been investigating the app over its possible ties to Chinese security agencies, but this post brings to light a host of new issues alongside the existing ones. Whilst I believe that instituting a wholesale ban of the app in your household would be practically impossible, as the app is now embedded firmly into youth culture, it would definitely be worth discussing limitations to it's use - such as allocating a time of day when the app can only be used then. That being said, if you can get people to stop using it or stop using it yourself, I would do so.
I will link the article about the post below, as well some relevant news articles. I will also link to a separately written security analysis white paper that goes over the code of the app and the issues discussed here. It's very interesting if you are into that sort of thing (like me).
I love this picture. Partly because it reminds me of my cocker spaniel called Snoopy!
Living in gratitude is such an important quality to nurture. We are so fortunate to live where we do with access to such beautiful countryside. During the period of lockdown I think this has been re enforced for many of us as we look to those in crowded cities with no access to outside spaces. Interestingly the amount of people looking online to move out of London has increased by 400%!!
This is not to say it hasn't been tough but by counting our blessings and looking at what we have and can do rather than focusing on what we can't do fills us with a contentment and an attitude of gratitude.
Mr Rye is busy mastering the Duke of Kent School Album - Volume III! Here is a snippet of what's to come! It will be released next week as a download. Watch this space for details #Charity #Music #TheDoKWay #AllTogether https://t.co/XGWg9kW3f3
It's Conservation Day for Year 5 at school today. Here they are enjoying a live meet with Ian Redmond from @Alliance4Apes. They're discussing the effects of Covid on Conservation and gorillas Thank you to Ian Redmond and those at @Alliance4Apes for joining us #Conservation https://t.co/mJva9JoO0V