My question to pupils this week has been: “Tell me something new you have learnt today”. I have very much enjoyed listening to their responses. I have been told all about the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish with the largest recorded one having 40 metre tentacles, the interesting properties of Protons and that the spiral shapes of a sunflower follow a Fibonacci sequence. One pupil was excited to tell me all about exoskeletons and she was fascinated to learn more. One great pleasure of being a teacher is witnessing the joy of learning, particularly when children learn something for the first time or make a connection between several facts. It is this excitement which leads to curiosity which, in turn, leads to a drive to find out more. I wonder what, as adults, we would say if asked the same question? Food for thought!
You will see below that we are Finalists for an ISA Award. Performing Arts is fundamentally transformational at Duke of Kent School and central to our pupils’ wellbeing and we are delighted this has been recognised. We look forward, with excitement, to the Awards ceremony.
I wish you a very happy weekend.
ISA AWARD NEWS!
We are delighted to announce that the school has once again reached the finals of the Independent Schools Association National Awards 2020 in the category of 'Excellence and Innovation in the Performing Arts'.
These annual awards are open to all 541 schools that make up the national membership of the ISA and having won this award in 2018 we are very proud to have made the finals once again this year. The judges mentioned how high the quality of entries was and were particularly impressed with the work taking place in the school.
The award ceremony is due to take place in February and whatever the result we are incredibly proud of all the staff and children who are part of our wonderful Performing Arts Department and have contributed to its ongoing success.
Design Technology - STEM Challenge
Year 8 Design Technology students have completed their first STEM challenge this term. Their challenge was to build a buggy that would travel as far as possible from a stationary start. Once set up, students could only release their buggy. They were not permitted to push, shove or flick their buggy. Well done to Bobby F, Sam S and Jack B, winners from 8Y. Also, to Charlie G, Pippa S, Violetta P, Alessandro P and Henry P, winners from 8X. Next project is an eggciting, egg launcher.
Reception and Nursery visit Painshill Park
This term Nursery and Reception have been looking at traditional tales and fairy tales including Little Red Riding Hood, The Elves and the Shoemaker and The Three Little Pigs. On Tuesday we set off to Painshill Park with two minibuses full of excited children, ready to become characters in our own fairytale adventure. We were greeted by the wonderful Adam who had the children in giggles from the minute we arrived! Adam was the most amazing storyteller and we began our story with Little Red Riding Hood (Lottie F) and the big bad wolves (a role happily played by the teachers!). As we made our way to ‘Grandma’s House’ we came across a woodland where we found Goldilocks (Willow B) and Baby Bear.
There were plenty of sticks, stones and grass and we were challenged to create our own little house for Baby Bear. Then we made our way through the woodland and had to help the Naughty Fairy (Florence H) create the smelliest potion from the smelliest plants we could find, but we had to watch out for the ‘stingy thingys’! “I liked seeing the smelly garden and making the smelliest potion”- Ottilie H. We stopped for a rice cake on a hilltop with a beautiful view, and watched the parakeets have their snack of grapes from the vines below. The children also had to find the ingredients to make their own Gingerbread Man to take to Grandma before the Fox could catch them!
The children were very excited as we made a visit to the folly overlooking the lake, which we imagined to be Sleeping Beauty’s castle. “I like going around and around the castle”. As we drew closer to Grandma’s house we imagined we were Hansel and Gretel and followed the breadcrumbs, sweets and stones, but wait… what BIG eyes grandma had! Oh no! It wasn't Grandma, it was the Big Bad Wolf (Finn H). He had beaten us there and we had to hide! However no fear, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (Elsie S) helped us run away by transforming the children into carriages, pumpkins, rockets and planes to get away quickly. “I liked being the fairy and said ‘abracadabra’ and turned them all into cars, rockets, pumpkins and things”- Elsie S. She helped save the day and everyone lived happily ever after…
The fairytale walk ended with a lovely packed lunch and a play in the woodland before we made our way back to school. Angus D said “I love Painshill Park, I wish I could live there, then I could play all the time”.
Saturday 26th September was European Day of Languages, which exists to celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of our continent. At Duke of Kent School, we celebrated it last Friday, kicking off the day with a special assembly. Madame Fellous told us about her early culinary experiences in England; she was somewhat horrified to discover that Marmite is NOT a type of jam, and was intrigued by what toad-in-the-hole might be and why Yorkshire PUDDINGS were served with the main course! She shared with us her favourite French food combinations and Reuben D regaled us with tales of the gastronomical delights on offer at a Taco restaurant he discovered on the French Exchange earlier this year. Next, Miss Francis shared her favourite words in many of the languages with which she is familiar; the French word for dustbin in particularly beautiful! Señora Cabanes told us about a variety of anglophone celebrities who speak additional languages well and how this ability has aided their careers. Finally, Mrs Knox wrapped up with a quiz testing some prefects' and Year 7s' general knowledge of European languages. Chichester house was victorious, greatly aided by Xander S's encyclopaedic knowledge of flags!
The festivities continued with a European-inspired lunch comprising coq au vin, paella and gnocchi. Thank you very much to the catering team for decorating the hall so beautifully with flags and putting on this special menu.
Prep School pupils joined with millions of children across the UK in pledging to tackle bullying. The BIG Anti-bullying Assembly 2020 was launched by the Diana Memorial Trust to remind pupils of the impacts bullying can have and the importance of speaking out so that something can be done to stop it. Our pupils listened intently to testimonies from children and grown-ups who have lived through bullying experiences, showing remarkable compassion and understanding. Crucially, those victims of bullying also spoke about how they found comfort by talking to friend or managed to solve the problem with the help of a grown-up, underlining that by speaking out, things can get better.
To help show our commitment to putting a stop to bullying, all Prep pupils made a hand-print on which they named their own support network of five trusted people (or pets!) they would speak to if they needed help. The children have also been encouraged to volunteer as Anti-bullying Ambassadors, and the response has been overwhelming. Those children selected will receive training on how to support their peers if they feel vulnerable, and we hope that they in turn will train up more of the children to become Ambassadors themselves.
The Prep School Council
The Prep School Council met for their inaugural meeting this week. The main focus of this first meeting was to discuss the results of the survey on Remote Learning. The Council looked at the summaries of the responses from each year group and discussed what the overall response should be from the Prep School. There were some excellent ideas proposed for making sure there is a good balance of work during Remote Learning and some helpful suggestions about the timetable structure. The Council members had also been busy asking their peers about changes they would like to see this year and ideas for future projects. An excellent start to the year.
The Poppy Appeal
When you reach your mid 40s, it is good a time to look back and remember your roots. Duke of Kent School was founded at our current site in 1976 and our history is indelibly intertwined with that of the armed forces, in particular the RAF. This important part of our history is one that we often reflect on, especially during our Remembrance Day commemoration. In the run up to this important day in the School's calendar we have traditionally sold Remembrance Day poppies in our foyer. However, this year, under current restrictions, we are unable to do so. If you would like to purchase poppies for your family and friends, The Royal British Legion has suggested making use of their 'Poppies in the Post' campaign. To support The Legion in their work with veterans and their families simply follow this link:
This Sunday 4th October is going to be a particularly busy day for at least two members of our school community. Mr Finill will be running his 40th London Marathon and it will be my first ever marathon. Keep an eye out on Sunday morning for the BBC Marathon program - you might just catch a glimpse of Mr Finill starting and finishing as there should be coverage of his epic achievement.
Mr Finill ran the first 10 London marathons for the sheer joy of taking part- the others since then have been run perhaps more out of a sense of keeping the streak going. Certainly, as time has gone by the streak of all the Everpresents (10 of whom have run all London’s to date) has attracted more and more attention – the Club you can never join but only leave. His motivation until 2014 was to run each in under 3 hours, which he managed to do from 1981 to 2013. 33 successive sub-threes for the same marathon is a world record and you will find his name proudly listed in the Guiness Book of Records.
This year, under the circumstances a virtual race is the best alternative, and we are running the virtual London Marathon at the Top Gear Track courtesy of the Rutland Group. It will offer different challenges to normal, but challenges are what we all have to rise to. Some things will remain the same however - the intense relief and satisfaction when crossing the line at 26.2 miles.
If you would like to sponsor me (I will not be completing the marathon in under 3 hours!) I'll be running/shuffling for our school charity this year Access Adventures. Click on the link below for details:
Thank you so much to those of you who have already kindly sponsored - every penny counts.
A Message from the School Nurse
I wanted to pass on a huge thank you to those of you who have undergone the Covid testing system in order to rule out potential symptoms. I completely understand the frustrations involved in the current guidelines, particularly with regards to ascertaining what exactly classifies as a "new continuous cough", and when I know it's not always easy to get hold of Covid test. Your patience and compliance with the guidelines are very much appreciated for the on-going protection of our school community.
Thankfully at the time of writing, all Duke of Kent School tests this term have so far come back negative, but with 21 state schools in Surrey now having experienced positive cases, and with national numbers continuing to rise, your continued vigilance and compliance is very much appreciated.
May I please direct you to a letter from the government which explains a bit more about symptoms and Covid testing (link below). If you could continue to remind your children about the importance of social distancing too, I'd be very grateful.
Apologies if this feels like it has the makings of a weekly column.
Firstly, please can you try not to arrive too early for pick-up. Secondly, the particularly busy pinch points are at 4.00pm on a Wednesday and 4.45pm on a Friday. We do not want to prescribe a staggered end of the day, but if you could spread out the pick-up times that would be most useful! Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Pre-prep Stars of The Week
Nursery - Harry S for displaying good listening skills and using imaginative language during role play activities.
Reception - Fin H for being a wonderful wolf in our ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ role play on our trip to Painshill.
Clemmie R for enthusiastic engagement with the stories on our trip.
Year 1 - Savannah L for her lovely attitude to English and especially her spelling tests.
Year 2 - Rufus S-C for improved sitting on the carpet and a healthy approach to yesterday’s Maths challenge.
Performing Arts News
The Performing Arts Department is operating well in the current circumstances and we are proud and delighted to once again be finalists in the National ISA Awards, as mentioned at the top of this bulletin.
You will also have received an email this week reminding you about the Duke of Kent School Album Vol III. If you have not yet had a chance to do so, please pop over to our website and have a listen to this fabulous collection of school ensembles and soloists, representing the full range of our brilliant musicians all raising money for the charity Music for All.
As the term continues however, conspicuous by their absence are the offsite opportunities we can offer the pupils. Throughout the year we often take the pupils to see concerts, recitals, shows etc, and sadly we currently cannot. However, thanks to the wonderful technology there are some wonderful online virtual tours and opportunities currently available which I though may be of interest to both pupils and parents. Below are just a few but there are loads out there at the moment - highlighting once again the importance of the Performing Arts during times of adversity.
I cannot recommend highly enough the BBC Proms 2020 virtual programme that is available on the BBC iPlayer.
Do they know what they share online can hurt others?
Talk about peer pressure and how screens and anonymity can lead to behaviour that is hurtful. Remind them that there is a fine line between sharing content because it's funny or might get lots of 'likes' versus the potential to cause offence or hurt.
On Friday 25th September, PADoK hosted a virtual coffee morning in aid of Macmillan.
Throughout the morning year group’s met for coffee on Zoom, while others met at coffee shops or were hosted at their year rep’s home (all strictly adhering to the rule of six). Even though numbers varied it was a successful and more importantly fun event.
The most important part of the day was to fund raise for Macmillan, a charity that does such important work. As always, the Duke of Kent School community were incredibly generous and we raised a whopping £880 for Macmillan. A huge thank you to the PADoK team and parents for making it happen and all those who got involved and donated to such a worthy charity.
We hope that by next year the tables in the Meeting Room (off Old Hall) will be once again laden with delicious cakes and treats to tempt parents and grandparents.
Introducing the Duke of Kent School, Battle of Hastings! Thank you to Mr Seeley for an amazing reenactment and for catching it all on camera ⚔ #BattleOfHastings #TheDoKWay #GoingToBattle https://t.co/iqd10nMXzT
Year 6 travelled back to 1066 with Mr Seeley to reenact the Battle of Hastings this morning. It was a well fought battle by all and great fun for the Prep School to watch! ⚔ #History #Battle #BattleOfHastings #Saxons #Normans https://t.co/pTSLhtKigL