What a treat the snow was this week. I so much enjoyed building a snowman and sledging down the bank at school. It was wonderful watching the children enjoying themselves too! It brought a little bit of welcome light relief! Thank you to those who have already completed the Remote Learning survey.
Your valuable feedback will enable us to continue to refine our provision to ensure we are supporting the children as much as possible. They too have had the opportunity to give feedback and the School Council will be discussing the results. I hope you have a lovely weekend. I shall be making marmalade over Zoom with my family!
Senior School Updates
Now that we know that Remote Learning is set to continue into the next half-term we are keen to adapt our provision to best suit the pupils and we look forward to receiving ideas through the staff, pupil and parent surveys which are currently being completed. The application from many pupils continues to be excellent and this really is a testament to all the undoubted hard-work going on behind the scenes in so many homes.
Tuesday's 'No Screen Day' saw some incredible creations from pupils throughout the Senior School. This included baking that would not look out of place in Mary Berry's hands and home-made erupting volcanoes that were borne out of creativity and ingenuity. I do hope it gave them a little respite from the screen and was a successful change from regular remote schooling for you.
Commendations this week have been awarded to Jess I, Lucy M, Vir O'R and Phoebe A in Year 7 for their persuasive English speeches and to Violetta P, Rufus B, Johnny M and Alessandro P in year 8 for their Spanish work and realistic working lungs models. In year 9 Imogen C and Jack C have both received commendations this week for their English and Media Studies work respectively. Jack A, in year 10, has been awarded a commendation for his effort in Geography, whilst Milly B, in year 11, has also been commended for her Spanish No Screen day efforts. Well done all of you!
Prep and Pre-prep School Updates
This week we had a very special arrival in the Prep School, in the form of our new 'buddy bench'. Three giant mushrooms engraved with the words 'Always Stand Together'; words suggested by Myles C (Y6), thank you Myles! These friendship seats will provide a place for children to sit if they are feeling lonely or sad. When a child notices another child sitting on one of our mushrooms, they can offer the hand of friendship through a smile, conversation or an offer of play. These seats will offer a positive addition to the school's existing anti-bullying strategies, encouraging pupils to recognise and respond to the needs of others. We are very grateful for the generous donation we received which enabled us to purchase them.
In relation to learning this week, during Science lessons, Year 3 set up investigations to show how water travels through a plant, Year 4 have investigated how string telephones work and Year 5 have been investigating air resistance by making different parachutes. Reception have done some marvellous measuring using their toys and equipment at home as well as making themselves into a balance scale!
Year 2 have been learning about reptiles and completed a chameleon collage, selecting different materials to reflect the environment where their frog can be found.
Year 3 have also been on a fact-finding mission, collating information about different rainforest animals. In Year 6 English, pupils have been getting to grips with working in online groups, showing good teamwork to develop biographies of author Kenneth Grahame.
Effort - Rebekah S, Arthur S, Holly B, William M
Responsibility - Ben W, Kit B, Tom S
Stars of the Week
Nursery - Gracie B for settling into Nursery with enthusiasm and an increasingly positive attitude towards new experiences.
Reception - Obie M for good number formation work and fantastic measuring with dinosaurs!
Bodhi G for amazing measuring and comparisons with his toys and for showing good effort with writing skills.
Year 1 - Joey S for attitude to learning especially in English and Maths.
Year 2 - Rufus S-C for a thoroughly improved attitude towards writing and English.
The Foreign Language Idiom competition began on Monday. The students have until Friday 5th February to submit a drawing or picture of an idiom using any foreign language that they wish to use. The deadline to enter the Virtual Ready, Steady, Cook competition is almost upon us! The students have until the end of Monday 1st February to submit their entries and we hope to announce the results in next week's Bulletin. A big well done to everyone who has entered so far as the dishes are very impressive. The students can use their House Classrooms to find the information for all of the competitions and send us a message if they have a question.
Well done to Chichester who have the highest number of stars and Prep Values Awards, and to Armstrong who have the most Senior Commendations. Hillary are still in 1st place going into this weekend but Whittle are hot on their tails and it is also very close between Armstrong and Chichester in the battle for 3rd place. However, that can all change as the results from the competitions are announced so the students can improve their House's prospects by earning the 3 House points for entering the competitions.
1st- Hillary 151.35
2nd- Whittle 149.88
4th- Chichester 136.18
Duke of Edinburgh
Last week pupils were sent ideas for virtual Volunteering, and very well done to those who have been engaging with the new ideas. I also invite you to explore this link which explains how participants can complete their Volunteering section(s) by helping at home, for example, by helping younger siblings with remote learning. The Assessor cannot be a family member but can be a family friend, teacher (such as a form tutor) or DofE leader (namely myself or Mr Wyllie). Evidence, such as a log of events, can be provided as proof of progress. This can also be backdated as far back as the September your child began Year 9 (Covid related from 5th Jan). Note a participant can change from an existing activity to another or could do more than one event and combine the two together.
1. A virtual session designed to help you understand how to best support a young person through their DofE. This is for those students who have not really got started. (purple flyer)Belwo are two flyers which offer two sets of parents help sessions delivered on Teams during Jan/Feb by DofE themselves. Either or both are worth watching with your son/daughter.
2. A virtual session designed to help you understand how to best support a young person to progress & complete their DofE Award. This is for those who have started and will be completing sections soon. (blue flyer).
Finally, please do ask me any questions or pass on suggestions at any time - otherwise I remain too much in a sealed bubble (and there's already plenty of those)!
Duke of Kent School Facebook
After half term, as part of our social media strategy, we will be launching a Duke of Kent School Facebook page. You will be informed when this page is live and available to follow. This account will be used exactly the same as Twitter. It is a public account, accessible without having to follow however, we encourage you to follow the account to receive push notifications with news, updates, educational articles, interactions with other schools, communities and public figures and to see upcoming events. The content shared is more formal and focused on showcasing the educational strengths within the school. Any pupils that have chosen to opt out of photography to be used on social media, will continue not being used with this new platform too. If you have any questions regarding this initiative, please don't hesitate to contact Emma Vernon, Marketing Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s ‘No Screen Day’ has been a real opportunity for pupils to let their creative expression flow and try out some new activities away from the screen. Next week, marks Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week, 1-7th of February (a national charity providing counselling in schools). Pupils in prep school may already know that the theme this year is ‘Express Yourself’ and it strikes me what an important statement this is.
One way to express yourself is through creativity. I talked last week about the importance of creative pursuits in enabling us to bypass our cognitive process and reach closer to our emotional selves. Maya Angelou said of creativity, ‘You cannot use up creativity. The more you use it. The more you have’. Something to inspire and encourage - particularly those that don’t believe they are creative; creativity it is an expression of yourself. Many creative pursuits such as: writing, singing, dancing, crafting and painting allow and encourage us to draw on our ‘self’, communicating in non-verbal mediums. I would encourage everyone to engage in creative activities as an opportunity to be seen and heard - to express themself.
However, expressing yourself is also about letting your authentic self be revealed, casting aside protective masks and allowing the most real version of you to be seen. This might be expressed in the way you dress, the music or films you choose, the games you play or the things you say - maybe this isn’t the same as everyone else, but it is an expression of you. It takes bravery to reveal your true self, but when you do, you are asking for acceptance from others and ultimately, acceptance of yourself - the most important acceptance of all.
Some ideas for parents to try with their children next week:
Around 60% of children say their parents don’t discuss issues around digital life. Maintain an open and honest dialogue with your child, whether that’s face-to-face or via messaging. You may not have every solution to hand, but speaking about any issues is an important first step.
Performing Arts News
As we approach half-term it has been great to hear and see how creative the pupils have been in Music and Drama lessons over the last few weeks, creating raps, songs, adverts and all sorts! After half-term we hope there will be a whole school project that can combine all of these skills so watch this space for more information on that.
Also after half-term we are planning a few virtual Q&A sessions with some performance professionals, similar to the Grace Carter Q&A that was so successful last Summer - more info to follow next week.
There have been some great entries so far in House Music but keep them coming. The deadline is Wednesday 10th February.
ISA Musical Theatre Competition
After our success in this last year with former pupils Sophie D and Josie M winning the duet category, some of our Year 11s are once again entering. Martha McA has already recorded her entry, and brilliant it is too, so a huge well done to her on her hard work in preparing this in her own time at home. Kiki B, Sandy T and Zara H will be recording theirs next week.
Pre-prep Weekly Sing-along
This week we meet Audrey the Accordion! Another original composition written for the Pre-prep pupils to join in with at home. Do have a look below if you wish to have a sing!
This episode meanders through music and the Eighties. And not just the Eighties that we know and love! There are the usual tenuous links, random facts and a hugely eclectic mix of styles played and di
A Message from Matron
Locally we are hearing that the Covid-19 vaccination programme has begun to reach adults who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. If way back last spring, you asked to be on my register of DOK community members who are vulnerable to Covid-19; please do let me know when you get your vaccinations done. It would be uplifting to hear your good news, and very helpful to know who amongst our community has some level of protection from Covid-19. Thank you.
Here at school, the asymptomatic testing of on-site staff commences next week in our newly set up Lateral Flow Device testing clinic; this offers reassurance to staff and vulnerable/critical worker children on site during the lockdown. As we know, some people can be infected, and can transmit Covid-19 without even realising they have it; with this new process, we will be able to sift out asymptomatic staff cases (who will then of course follow government isolation rules). Thank you to all the staff who are helping me with this clinic, and who have undergone the NHS Test and Trace training courses necessary to ensure the clinic runs effectively and safely.
Finally, with the government announcement that school will re-open at the earliest on the 8th March, we have had to postpone our year 9 immunisation clinic (initially scheduled for 2nd March). We may be given a new date at short notice, but I will contact year 9 parents as soon as I hear more. Please continue to complete those last few outstanding E Consents in the meantime, so we can gauge how many students need to be seen by the immunisations team when they can get to us. Thank you.
Have a restful weekend; keep following the lockdown rules as far as possible, and stay safe.
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 miss the new Episode of Mr Rye's podcast! This week meanders through music and the Eighties. And not just the Eighties that we know and love! There are the usual tenuous links, random facts and a mix of styles played & discussed, enjoy! #Podcast
Year 3 had a brilliant Form time this morning. They took part in a scavenger hunt finding something soft, something with wheels and something you wear on your head! Great hunting Year 3! #FormTime #ScavengerHunt #Year3 #PrepSchool #TheDoKWay #RemoteLearning https://t.co/oBuY9W7Qu1