I can’t quite believe that we only have a week to go before half term. These past few weeks have just shot by. This week, I enjoyed talking to our Senior School Council, lead admirably by Zara H and Daisy M. Pupil voice is so important. It is a means for us to tell children that we trust them, that we take joy from their curiosity, that their ideas matter and that their opinions are justified. The Prep and Senior School councils have completed a thoughtful review of remote learning and made suggestions as to what we should continue to incorporate today. They also debated the snack menu which always creates a buzz! As we move towards our last week, thank you for your continued support of the School. Have a lovely weekend.
Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Practice Expedition
On a thoroughly damp Friday morning six groups of Year 10 students began their (COVID-delayed) Bronze DofE Practice Training Day by venturing into our local woods. Accompanied by one of Mr Wyllie, Mrs Tattan-Robb, Miss Anand, Mrs Vermeulen, Mr Southee, or Mrs Punter each group attempted to navigate clockwise (or anticlockwise) around a 7-mile course leading from Duke of Kent School to and from Winterfold Woods.
The course incorporated some sharp hills and challenging navigation suitable for this level. Luckily, filming for Jurassic World 3 had just finished so we were spared both rogue predators and awkward route diversions. Smarter groups also identified additional key features as part of a quiz: a poster appealing for the return of a missing black lurcher, a solitary wooden bridge over the path, and the 'beehive' viewpoint on the Greensand Way. On their return every participant created some spectacular culinary delights using the school trangia cookers - no mean feat in the rain and under the eagle eye of Mrs Knox!
This was a unique DofE day for two reasons. Firstly, every single member of the yeargroup took part. Secondly, every staff member emphasised the ebullient teamwork and success of the teams as groups rather than highlighting individuals. We now look forward to working out how to complete the qualification expedition - watch this space!
Introducing our new Year 11 House Captains for this year:
House Captain: Arthur B
Sports Captain: Poppy S
House Captain: Kiki B
Sports Captain: Alice S
House Captain: Tom S
Sports Captain: Kit J
House Captain: James H
Sports Captain: Ellis McK
Recently I met Dr Cameron, the previous head of the school. Dr Cameron was the head of the school for 12 years. Dr Cameron came to the school when it was just a prep school. However, by the time he left he had transformed it into the thriving school that it is today.
When I heard that he was coming in, I was curious whether they had had any royalty to come and visit. As it happened, in 2001 they had the Duke of Kent visit the school. He had decided to come on a visit to ‘his’ school. Dr Cameron was telling me that the royals sent out a security guard to check the route. He had been told 'the Duke might stop here'. So, they had to plan every single outcome of his visit. When he came to visit the Duke of Kent drove himself here instead of being driven in a motorcade, and he drove from Gatwick to the school.
Dr Cameron also changed a lot about the school. Originally this school was a boarding school with 180 pupils including 75 full boarders. I learnt that the Art block and the ILC used to be the girls’ dormitories and the boys’ boarding area was where the Modern Languages, History and Maths departments are now. It already had a big day element and Dr Cameron (and the governors) wanted to transition to a full day school. It was quite dependent on the RAF and they wanted to keep it as a boarding school. So, it was impossible to immediately cut to the school being a day school. Dr Cameron also wanted to keep the boarding sense of community for as long as it could work. From the 90's there was also a lot more pressure for the inspection of schools to check they were viable and workable, and it was time DoK moved ‘with the times’. That said, it took time and patience for staff, parents and, of course, the students to get used to the changes. It appears to have worked pretty well!
Dr Cameron told me that the structure of the day also changed. Originally there was evening school, followed by prep, and also time for activities after and during lunch with a range of activities. Dr Cameron was telling me that pupils were allowed to set up their own clubs, so, if they wanted a walking club or a chess club they could set it up. There were also some weekend activities, often arranged by a certain Mrs Ives. One of these activities involved whole year groups staying over with the boarders for activity weekends.
Finally, it was wonderful to see Dr Cameron on his old ‘patch’ and I was very grateful he could come and share his experiences with us!
Ben H-F, Year 11 (History Prefect)
Senior School Council
In the last Senior School Council meeting we were delighted to have Mrs Knox joining us. We discussed and fed back on the School's new snack menu. Using the feedback that the School Council gave, the School's chefs are working with us to create a snack menu that is not only healthy, but is packed with food that everyone enjoys. This included adding new snacks and ideas for the future, considering how existing snacks could be improved and making sure the things we really enjoy stay on the menu. If you have any ideas for healthy snacks that could be added to the menu, let your Student Council representatives know and we will pass your ideas on to the relevant members of staff.
Zara H and Daisy M, Year 11(Student Council Prefects)
Hope N, Year 3, loves her long hair and after hearing how her mum “braved the shave” when Hope was in Nursery, she had said that she would never do anything like that with her hair. However, one morning last month she said she had been thinking about doing something for charity and decided she was now brave enough to have her hair cut short and donate it to children who needed it. Hope chose The Little Princess Trust as they provide free real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions. We are so proud of her and this has spurred Hope on to talk about what her next challenge for charity could be!
The Virtual London Marathon - Sunday 4th October
It was wet, it was windy, it was cold - but it was a complete privilege to be there on the start line with 5 other runners, for 3 of us our first marathon, and for Chris Finill a record breaking 40th London Marathon.
Our supporters gallantly handed us drinks and sustenance as we came around the Top Gear Track at Dunsfold Aerodrome - each lap was approximately 3 miles and they were a very welcome sight.
Each runner ran their own race pace and it didn't take long to find yourself watching others disappear into the distance as you tried to keep to your planned 26.2 mile pace. All 6 of us feel a truly great sense of achievement completing this unique event in such an iconic spot.
Running past planes large and small, helicopters and film sets certainly helped pass the miles. We all now know the track pretty intimately - every tuft of grass and piece of tarmac.
Chris completed his 40th marathon in 3 hours 13 minutes. I was somewhat slower at 5 hours 49 minutes but the smile on my face was no less wide!
Thank you so much to all you amazingly generous Parents, Staff and Governors for sponsoring my London Marathon last Sunday. All the proceeds are going to Access Adventures - as small charity every penny really counts.
I'd have loved to avoid the Coronavirus topic this week, as I'm aware there's likely a building amount of "Covid fatigue" among all of us. However, the situation locally is beginning to cause some concern. I therefore felt it important to share with you the information I've received from Surrey County Council on Wednesday 7th October (the situation has likely evolved further by the time you read this), with regards to increasing Covid cases in our school catchment area:
"As part of the Local Outbreak Control Plan for Surrey we made a commitment to be open and transparent about our response to Covid-19. Therefore, it is important to communicate any increase in cases, which is out of step with that we would expect to see.
We are confirming today that we are seeing significant rises in people testing positive for Coronavirus in Guildford. This is in addition to similar warnings we have issued to Elmbridge, Woking, Waverley, Runnymede and Spelthorne, where cases are also rising.
Ruth Hutchinson, Surrey's Director of Public Health said: "I am grateful to everyone in Surrey who has listened to our advice and followed public health guidelines to help keep Surrey safe over the past months.
We are continually monitoring the data across the county, and we now need to ask residents in Guildford to help us stop the spread of the virus.
Rates of Coronavirus infections are rising fast across the country, and Surrey is no exception. Over the past few days we've seen significant rises in positive tests in Guildford. We have issued similar warnings to Elmbridge, Woking, Waverley, Runnymede and Spelthorne, where infection rates are also rising fast.
We're at a crucial point and now is the time to do everything you can to limit the spread of the virus.
I can't say it enough - keep washing your hands, wear face coverings when required, limit the number of households you are in contact with and don't get together in groups of more than 6. Social distancing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of the virus.
It has been a really tough year for all of us, and I know people are starting to feel 'Covid fatigue'. But things are changing quickly and we need to get our infection rates back down.
If we all follow the guidelines we still have the chance to get the situation in these areas under control and avoid any further restrictions.
Weekly data for Surrey, broken down by Districts and Boroughs can be found at:
If you have Coronavirus symptoms - a persistent cough, high fever, or a change in smell or taste - then you should book a test by calling 119 or visiting the NHS website.
Preventative measures are the best way to avoid local lockdowns."
Further to our local council's plea for support, on behalf of the entire Duke of Kent School community, I'd really appreciate the staff, student and parents' continued compliance with the government Covid-19 guidelines, and also our own school protocols for the health and safety of us all.
Thank you, and enjoy a restful weekend,
Prep School News
With only one week remaining until half term, the children would be forgiven for showing signs of flagging, but I have been hugely impressed with the energy and drive they continue to bring to School each day. In Assembly this week, pupils were treated to a talk from Mrs Knox that illustrated just what we can achieve with energy and drive, regaling us with tales of her family's rafting adventures in Australia. The message of 'life is an adventure', and the need to be brave in moving out of one's comfort zone is one we hold dear in Prep School, and we frequently encourage the children to grasp every opportunity to try something new, be it a different food at lunch , joining a new club or standing for School Council.
Values certificates for this week go to:
Kindness - Hope N for donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust.
Effort - William T for challenging himself in all aspects of his work.
Stars of the Week
Nursery - Maddie C for super speedy dressing, polite behaviour and her enthusiastic attitude to learning.
Reception - Charlie S for being kind, helpful and supportive to his friends.
Year 1 - Joey S for his amazing attitude to learning – it’s a real can do attitude.
Year 2 - Seren G For tackling Maths with a wonderfully positive attitude and for always being a super role model to the other children.
Have they been affected by content shared online?
Encourage them to think about why friends may share certain posts. Show them how to gently challenge their friends if they find their content offensive. Remind them they can always talk to you about things happening online.
School Social Media
At Duke of Kent School we have two social media platforms, Twitter (@DoKSchool) and Instagram (dukeofkentschool).
Our Twitter account is public however, our Instagram account is private to keep it strictly for the Duke of Kent School community only. You will need to request to follow the account.
Please do follow the accounts to receive the regular updates and to see highlights from each day at School. There is a link to the Twitter account below.
Due to the awful weather forecast on Friday morning, we decided to postpone the walk until 2pm. A group of five set off at the later time and despite variable weather, we all enjoyed a brisk walk around Pitch Hill.
Hopefully next month the weather will be kinder and we look forward to seeing more of you then.
Next PADoK Walk – Friday 6th November, 08.30 at Hurtwood Car Park 3.
Introducing our Year 11 House Captains: ARMSTRONG:House Captain: Arthur BSports Captain: Poppy S CHICHESTER:House Captain: Kiki BSports Captain: Alice S HILLARY:House Captain: Tom SSports Captain: Kit J WHITTLE:House Captain: James HSports Captain: Ellis McK https://t.co/mKT1k1dAzb