I have been re-reading “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse” by Charlie Mackesy this week. It is a gorgeous book and has struck a chord with many recently. I have been sharing some of the characters’ musings with my daughter who is now studying from home. We have had some really interesting conversations about the importance of inspirational phrases in our daily lives. It is true that when things get tough, many people turn to motivational quotes for inspiration. Indeed, many quotes have ended up becoming celebrated components of society’s vocabulary. I do love this one from the book.
We are hoping the internet will be restored to the School this weekend – thank you for your patience as we adapt to new challenges. A few changes are being made to timetables next week as we continue to respond to feedback from pupils, parents and teachers. Thank you to you for the many grateful emails we have received on our provision. We are working really hard to support the children and provide engaging and innovative lessons. I am also delighted to have inspired a new generation of Wasjig enthusiasts. Well done Grace! Finally, don’t forget to get ready for the screening of “Little Shop of Horrors” at 6pm tonight. It is a must-watch! Have a lovely weekend.
Senior School Updates
Another busy week of remote learning comes to an end with many successes across the subject range. Commendations this week have been awarded to Emily B for her ongoing outstanding effort in remote Geography lessons and to Rufus B, Harry A, Rose S and Ella S (all Year 8) for their excellent poems produced in English lessons this week.
Having gathered feedback from Student Council members, parents and pupils we have looked to tweak the timetables slightly so as to allow pupils to get outside during daylight hours. It is vitally important for their wellbeing that they get a chance to ride bikes, take the dog for a walk, go for a jog around the block, kick the ball against a wall or practice on their roller skates! We will therefore look to review the timetable every two weeks as we aim to strike a sustainable balance between structured academic studies and independent time and we would of course value any feedback regarding this. Having witnessed the hard work and dedication the pupils have put into bringing the show together I have no doubt it will be an outstanding production and I can't wait to watch it in its entirety. Have a great weekend.
Prep and Pre-prep School Updates
It's been another busy week for Prep and Pre-prep pupils this week!
Year 2 pupils have enjoyed researching Australian mammals, presenting their findings in a video or fact file; Year 3 thoroughly enjoyed roaring their 'monster noises' at Mrs Honey via Google Meet and Year 5 have created a logo and slogan for their continuing work on creating a television advert. Year 6 have created some particularly superb examples of personification, which we'd love to share with you:
The clouds shoved the sun out of the sky, chasing and trying to attack the running boat below with their lightning and thunder. But it was the ocean that opened its wide mouth and swallowed the ship whole - Edie H
The storm spat rain at the dizzy boat, and tried to knock it over with its mighty breath. The angry ocean tugged at the boat, pounding it with its waves. The boat tried to stay steady, but it grew tired and retreated. It slept on the ocean floor, which embraced it with a blanket of sand - Jack M
Henry R described his kettle as ‘boiling inside’ with frustration, and using a simile to suggest it has a ‘swan-like neck’. As cups of tea were being enjoyed, it ‘could hear the chatter and oohs and ahhs of satisfaction and knew its job was done’.
And Myles C wrote in his work that a piano that cannot play is like an ocean without water.
In our Prep School Assembly on Wednesday morning we celebrated a number of Values Award recipients, and awarded Jack M (Y6) with the second ever Sapphire Award for his last Endeavour project. We have also been celebrating a wide variety of achievements in Pre-prep, and this afternoon parents have received a link via email for our first virtual Star of the Week Assembly for this term.
Looking ahead to next week, pupils should keep a keen eye out for details relating to our upcoming House competition, Ready Steady Cook, with information being released on the Google House Classrooms.
An enormous well done to all Prep and Pre-prep pupils for another fantastic week of Remote Learning, you've shown a brilliant attitude.
Stars of the Week
Nursery - Harry S for having a very kind and supportive attitude towards his peers.
Reception - Willow B for such a wonderful and positive attitude towards her work and a beautiful flower collage.
Year 1 - Savannah L for her outstanding attitude to home learning and for persevering and conquering a challenge.
Year 2 - Herb M for such an awesome attitude to every task and a wonderful character description.
Senior School Council Meeting
It's more important than ever to keep in touch and find ways of listening to each other when we are separated. This week, despite the geographic distance between them, the Senior School Council met. They continue to look for ways, in the words of their mission statement, 'to make Duke of Kent School a better place for students and teachers'. The Council's motivation to bring about positive change and the calm, professional manner in which they go about doing so, is inspirational.
This week the Council discussed Remote Learning and their experience of using the Google Suite as a virtual classroom. The students all agree that their teachers are working very hard, but that they would much rather be in School, learning face to face with them, than at home in front of a screen. I am confident that I speak for the whole teaching staff when I say that their teachers feel the same! The Council agreed that students and teachers alike have learnt and reflected on the previous period out of School and have changed their working practises for the better. They are mindful of the pressures that the current situation places on their teachers, families and their own mental wellbeing and applauded measures to support this, such as the reduction in Prep and the planned 'screen free day'. This initiative in particular they feel will allow them to take a breather from the virtual environment and engage in creative, open ended activities. They gave welcome feedback on observations of good practice in online lessons, as well as areas where they feel teachers and the School could explore alternative ways of working. These have been passed on to Mrs Knox and the Senior Leadership Team and will be an important part of the feedback that informs their regular reviews of online learning.
The 'student voice' is one of the integral pillars that supports the inclusive, caring environment we all enjoy at Duke of Kent School. The Student Council is important in this endeavour, acting as the mouthpiece for the student body; the opinions and feelings of which are always considered and listened to. The Council offers students a sense of ownership over some of the decisions made by the School and gives teachers the confidence to make decisions knowing that they have the support and backing of the whole School community, thus placing the student at the centre of everything we do at Duke of Kent School.
The Council will be meeting this coming Tuesday and every other Tuesday thereafter. Next week we will be discussing the School's sanction and reward system. If you have any observations you would like to share on this or any other areas you think the Student Council should address, please contact your form representatives or one of our fabulous Council Prefects, Zara H and Daisy M.
During this time of lockdown, when we are largely confined to one place, life seems to remain as busy as ever. My hope is that you all take some time to yourself and reflect on how this is affecting your emotions. We are used to listening to our physical self and reacting when we are hungry, tired or unwell but often neglect listening to our emotional signals, or becoming confused as to exactly what we are feeling.
It is really good practice to take some time each day to acknowledge your feelings and process them - I have added a guide for senior pupils in the classrooms this week. Parents may also find this link to helping their children process their emotions during the Covid19 pandemic helpful.
Allowing time to ‘feel’ and sit with your emotions is vital for emotional and mental wellbeing. You may choose to combine this with meditative pursuits like yoga or guided meditation ( apps like https://www.headspace.com/ are great for this). Or, you may choose to indulge in your ‘passions’ of music, film, creative pursuits, sports etc. as Mr Macdonald spoke of in assembly this week. Ultimately, you are the expert of you, and must do what is right for you.
Remember that feelings are transient, not fixed - acknowledging the difficult emotions allows them to be processed and leaves space for the next.
Whether agreeing the age they can go on social media, setting out how long they can spend gaming or having a curfew to avoid disturbing sleep, setting clear boundaries will make your child feel more secure about your expectations and confident about what’s OK.
Performing Arts News
Today is the live premier of
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS!
Don't forget, tonight at 6pm you can watch the Year 11 production of Little Shop of Horrors that we produced and filmed last term.
So grab your popcorn and settle in for Friday family film time! (Please note the musical is rated as PG)
All the information for House Music is in the Google Classrooms for each House. It is of course virtual this year and entries can be solo or group and the group entries this year can be cross house! The closing date for the first round is Wed 10th February. For more info please do email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Message from Matron
As well as being available for general health queries throughout lockdown (email me at email@example.com), please be aware that even though a lot of the children are not physically at school, it is still very helpful for me to know of any Covid-19 related issues at home. For example, whether someone in your household is poorly/symptomatic (fever 37.8+, new continuous cough, loss/change of smell or taste - please book a PCR test by phoning 119 or go online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test) or has tested positive, or whether you've been contacted by test and trace and asked to isolate as a close contact.
In particular, do let me know if someone in your family is poorly with Covid-19 so the school can offer appropriate support. The information will be kept confidential and only shared on a "needs to know" basis. The government requires us to update them daily on numbers of school children affected by Covid-19 in anyway, so it is very much appreciated you letting us know anything that's relevant (please email me and cc Jenny Monk). We continue to send our best wishes to those who are still poorly with Covid-19 - get well soon!
Please do continue to observe the lockdown rules as tightly as you possibly can. Unfortunately, numbers of new infections in Surrey are still very high, and therefore it really is safest for you, your family and also for our local NHS services, to continue to keep your social contacts to an absolute minimum for the time being.
On a separate matter, a reminder to year 9 parents to please continue to complete your "e consent forms" for the immunisations on 2nd March - we'll work on the assumption that these will be going ahead for now. (See the email from Mrs Monk sent 3rd December)
Thank you so much, stay safe everyone, and good luck with the remote learning,
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.
Don't forget that @bbcbitesize is offering a wide variety of resources for all ages including practical advice and activities for parents to help with home schooling. #Resources #RemoteLearning #HomeSchooling #BBCBitesize
Year 6 have received their letters from their French pen pals at Voussac School. They have learned about their pen pals' families and pets, as well as what they hope to be when they grow up #French #PenPals #Connecting #RemoteLearning #LiveLessons #TheDoKWay https://t.co/IpoBuwyqGW