We have come to the end of our first full week. Some highlights from the children I have been speaking to today are: seeing my friends after so long, drama lessons, exploring Junior Jungle, Forest School and school lunches. Highlights for me have been our virtual assemblies, reading with Year 2, talking with our new Prefect body and listening to music lessons taking place outside in the sun. I would like to congratulate our new pupils on a successful first full week – they have settled in beautifully. Our new way of working has become less of a challenge for teachers and pupils but I think we are all looking forward to a break this weekend, enjoy the sun and I look forward to seeing the pupils on Monday.
Please could parents be aware of some inappropriate and harmful content currently circulating on the social media platform TikTok.
Blue Whale Challenge: This was in the media around three years ago but has since reappeared. The above image from 'Surrey Safeguarding Partnership’ provides more information on it.
If you are worried about your children or if they have been affected by either of these, please let me know if we can help with any support.
Year 7 Sayers Croft
On Friday 4th September we were delighted despite all the current restrictions to be able to take Year 7 to Sayers Croft centre in Ewhurst for our usual activity day. The day started with a brisk walk up and over Pitch Hill and then across our beautiful local countryside to the back footpath entrance to the centre. The students took part in a variety of activities including high ropes and boulder climbing. We welcomed 17 new students into Year 7 this year and this gave them an excellent opportunity to get to know each other and their form tutors. I was particularly impressed with how enthusiastic they all were at the end of the afternoon about the walk back to school. I think they were so busy talking they didn’t even notice the incline. Well done Year 7.
School Charity News
Every Summer Term the whole school vote on which charity they would like to support over the following academic year. This year the popular vote was won by Access Adventures. Access Adventures facilitate and run adventure activities for disabled people, giving them the opportunity and freedom to enjoy activities that it would otherwise be impossible for them to participate in. Their enthusiastic staff includes paralympic athletes, water-skiers, surfers and a host of enthusiastic volunteers.
Over the coming months, the Duke of Kent School Charity Committee will be raising awareness and understanding of the work that Access Adventures is involved in. They will also be working to design fundraising events for the year and generally overseeing the Schools charitable commitments.
Access Adventures is a really dynamic and exciting charity to be supporting and we look forward to welcoming them into the School. The work we do with them will make a tangible difference to the lives of the children and young people they support. Part of their mission is to raise awareness and understanding and this will certainly be of benefit to the School community.
If you would like to help us support Access Adventures there are a couple of simple, cost free ways you can do so. The first is to add 'Smile.Amazon' to your Amazon account and select Access Adventures as your chosen charity. This means that Access Adventures will receive 0.5% of any purchase that you make through Amazon. The second is to shop through the 'Give As You Live' website which works in a similar way to Smile.Amazon and even includes online grocery shops including Ocado, Sainsburys and John Lewis.
I would like to thank the whole School community for their generosity in supporting last years charities and we look forward to you joining with us in supporting Access Adventures over the coming year.
House Competitions and News
New school year and new challenges. Our House Leaders are back and ready to represent your House for this academic year.
Your house leaders are:
Armstrong - Mr Wyllie and Mr Boden
Chichester - Mr Green and Miss Vickers
Hillary - Mr Monk and Mrs Nicholson
Whittle - Miss Nott and Miss Fellous
This week's challenges have kick-started with a general knowledge quiz. Congratulations to Hillary who have won this week's Senior quiz - you have already won 200 House points!
A Message from the School Nurse
Common Cold versus Covid-19
As to be expected as we all return to school, some winter bugs have begun to circulate, and are causing some understandable confusion with regards to the Coronavirus protocols. Just to remind you, the 3 symptoms associated with possible Covid-19 are:
A temperature of 37.8 or higher
A new continuous cough (this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours, and if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
A loss or change of taste or smell
If your child or anyone in your household has any one of these symptoms, then your entire household must all isolate and arrange for a Covid-19 test for the person with symptoms (ring 119). Please be aware that there is very high demand for testing currently, and it may take a few days to get an appointment. (Same day slots become available at 10am and next day slots at 8pm, so these are in theory good times to try). Please be patient if you are struggling to access a test, and continue to follow the household isolation guidelines in the meantime.
Remote learning will be made available for any students who are at home isolating (unless they are poorly, in which case they are not expected to be doing school work).
However, do be aware that runny/stuffy noses and sore throats that are not accompanied by any of the above symptoms, do not currently require isolation or testing, and therefore, if your child has these symptoms only, but feels well enough to come to school, then they are allowed to do so (please remind them to adopt good respiratory hygiene: "catch it, bin it, kill it" approach).
On last reminder please, that senior students (who do not have medical exemption) must bring a clean face covering to school each day in a named resealable bag. We've had a few students forget to bring them in whilst still adapting to this new rule.
Many thanks for all of your continued support in following the Coronavirus protocols designed to protect our school community.
Prep School News
Prep School have come back very positively this week, blowing away the mental holiday cobwebs and leaving most first-week-back anxieties already well behind them. I have been especially impressed with how quickly our new pupils are settling, and delighted to see the kindness shown to them by thoughtful peers. Although we can't gather for our usual assemblies, we were able to assemble virtually this week. The children were encouraged to think about puzzles, and reflect on the importance of every piece fitting together to build the bigger picture - much like we all do in our different roles at School - with no one piece being more important than another. Many of the children have been thinking about standing in the upcoming School Council elections, to represent the views of their classmates, and we look forward to seeing the contribution they will make throughout the year. With Junior Jungle now reopened at lunch break and the full after school activity programme underway, the new normal is managing to feel reassuringly familiar and we are looking forward to another busy and fun-filled term.
Pre-prep Stars of The Week
Nursery - Lottie F for her friendly attitude and imaginative, collaborative play with her peers.
Reception - Jack M for a positive approach to new experiences; P.E. and wonderful brick work on The Little Pigs House.
Year 1 - Logan N for coming back to school with a wonderful attitude and great work ethic.
Year 2 - Jack C for an incredible start to Year 2. Your manners and work ethic are superb!
Performing Arts News
As we finish our first full week it has been gorgeous to hear the sound of music lessons coming from the Music Department! Our brilliant visiting Music and LAMDA teachers have all mentioned also how lovely it is to be back teaching, even though they are fully attired with visors, masks and teaching behind screens! Any teething problems with timetables etc we hope to have ironed out by next week and the half termly timetables will be up in the usual places next week.
We are really hoping to be able to perform somehow and via some sort of medium this term, so please watch this space for more information on the Year 11 production of Little Shop of Horrors, the Carol Service, the Prep Christmas Concert and the Pre-prep Christmas Show (quite possibly a Fizzy Christmas!) Be they virtual or not the show will go on!
Social networks are a great way for young people to stay in touch with their friends. As a parent, there are simple things you can do to ensure your children's experience is both safe and fun.
Do you find they are spending too much time on social media or gaming?
Talk together so that they understand your concerns.
Agree house rules on when and how long they can go online and what sites they can visit.
Set parental controls if necessary
Use social media or gaming as a reward eg. you can go online once you have finished your prep.
Hello and a warm welcome to all the new parents at the Duke of Kent School.
As the new Chairlady for PADoK, our Parent Association, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and the PADoK team. My name is Camilla Phillips and my two children have been at the school since January 2013. I joined PADoK as a Class Representative in 2016 and have very much enjoyed being part of such a happy and fun team. Claire Read is Secretary and doing a great job in supporting me. Sarah Smith is our all-important Treasurer.
We have a committee of thirty-two ladies at present and this is made up of Class Representatives “Reps” and those who run the Second-hand Uniform Shop, Netball, Singing, Book Club and Dog Walking clubs. They all play an important role in providing a point of contact for parents, whether they have questions regarding uniform or what time pick up is to arranging an evening out, a coffee morning or a whole school event. Our aim is to bring parents together, not only in their year group but across the whole school.
It is going to be an interesting year and even though we can’t work in the usual way, we hope that PADoK will be able to bring parents together in a virtual way!!
Dates for your diary:
Virtual Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 25th September.
PADoK Dog Walk on Friday 2nd October, Hurtwood Car Park 3 at 8.30 am. (Groups of six or less walking together).
Don't fall prey to internet trolls!
This week's #WakeUpWednesday focus is trolling and online abuse. With our free #OnlineSafety guide, parents can learn how to spot the warning signs, report hateful comments & tackle trolls.
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#ThrowbackThursday - Patrick Leverington worked at @DoKSchool as a Graduate Sports Assistant back in 2014. After @DoKSchool he completed teacher training & then moved to Dubai to become a PE teacher at @brightondubai! Good luck in your new role Patrick! #AlwaysPartOfTheDoKFamily https://t.co/m13KfCj0GT