I would like to extend a huge thank you to pupils, parents and all of our staff for embracing the new way of working these past three weeks. It has been by working together and troubleshooting along the way that we have ensured that the ethos of Duke of Kent School has remained strong. We await the new Government guidance on Sunday and will start to share our plans with you next week. The wellbeing of all in our community will continue to remain at the heart of all we do. While our VE Day celebrations will be a bit different this year, there are still many way to mark the occasion and I wish you a very happy day.
VE (Victory in Europe) Day
Victory in Europe (VE) day had been hoped for for so long, ever since war had been declared on Nazi Germany on 3rd September 1939. No-one could say when (or if) that day would ever arrive, so, when it did, on 8th May 1945, there was one ENORMOUS party! The attached short YouTube clip of that day combines film, commentary and music to inspire what the narrator calls 'a riot of rejoicing by day and night' where we get an amazing sense of spontaneous celebration - and that is what it was. This moment had finally arrived after nearly 6 years of war, with all the fears, worries and sheer effort that went with that (think COVID but even worse). German air-raids, especially during the Blitz of 1940-41, and the V1 and V2 attacks of 1944-45, killed 70,000 civilians across Great Britain. Yet danger was a daily concern every day. There is a plaque at the old Bramley railway station which commemorates an air raid in December 1942 - I was told of this attack by a lovely lady (now sadly passed away) at the Old Rectory care home in Ewhurst who fortunately missed catching that very train that day. Rationing, hardships and the loss or absence of loved ones involved in land, sea or aerial battles caused enormous stress, day after day, and all through birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries. 400,000 British servicemen and women died and everyone would have their lives shaped by the war. One notable casualty was Prince George, the then Duke of Kent, whose aircraft crashed in Scotland in 1942, and whom our school is named after.
VE Day matters, because our freedoms were at serious risk of being lost during the Second World War. Britain HAD stood alone from June 1940 - December 1941, and although the 'Empire', America and the Soviet Union (Russia), with their huge numbers of soldiers, industrial power and enormous sacrifices also defeated Nazi Germany over those years, British survival gave the world the foundations - and hope - of eventual victory in Europe against a truly evil and terrible threat. This is why VE Day is important, even if 75 years seems so long ago. And spare a thought for Queen Elizabeth II. She features in the film not only as Princess Elizabeth, heir to the throne, but also as a uniformed Army driver and mechanic. On the evening of VE Day she and her sister were allowed to 'escape' the Palace and join the party - the only time she has ever unofficially mingled in public! I am sure she will make references in her speech to her time then, and now, and articulate better than I can what lessons we can learn from those days 75 years ago. In that spirit, enjoy the day, particularly your social distanced ‘street’ party at home if you have one, but do your conga only with those you share your home with!
I have also attached a presentation about VE Day and a schedule list of commemorative programmes for between 7-8th May. The Queen's address will be broadcast by BBC at 9pm, the exact time her father, King George VI, made his radio announcement declaring the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago. One highlight features 'VE Day: The Lost Films', on Channel 5, 7pm. This collection of clips from amateur film-makers captures the mood in Britain on that historic day in 1945. Moments of fun and elation include fancy dress parades, sports matches, bands playing, piggy-back races and kisses in Trafalgar Square. The immortal Capt (now Colonel) Tom also shares also his wartime story at 8pm on ITV.
World Book Day may seem like a distant memory, but today we received notification that we raised £248.00 as part of the Duke of Kent School World Book Day dress up! 148 new books have been sent around the world, well done everyone, every little bit counts!
Big Book Day Weekend (8th May - 10th May)
Looking for something to occupy yourself this weekend? The Big Book Weekend is a three-day virtual book festival that brings together the best of the cancelled British literary festivals featuring the authors and other artists who would have appeared. There will be stuff for both kids and adults and you can sign up for free! Featured authors include Michael Morpurgo on Friday 8th May who will talk about his bestselling World War 2 books for children, and YA authors Juno Dawson and Patrick Ness on Sunday May 10th who will be talking with author Katherine Webber about Young Adult fiction.
Are you a Harry Potter lover? If you are looking for a something to do on a rainy day, Daniel Radcliffe (and other famous celebrities) will be narrating the first chapter of 'Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone'. Special guests will be uploading videos of them reading different extracts so it is a great opportunity for you to read along with them!
We have had a wealth of responses to the Art Department's 'Photography Competition 2020'. Please keep them coming.
As you will know this year there is also a staff competition. They may be old enough to remember taking photos with a Box Brownie (students - Google it!) but that hasn't stopped some of the creative talent pent up in the Staff Room from leaping into a digital realm.
I would like to encourage the whole School community to get away from the computer as often as you can and try exploring the world around you through photography. If your daily exercise is anything like mine you are probably getting bored of the same paths and dog walks. Photography is a great way to re-explore the familiar. Try looking from different angles - get up high.... bend down low... photograph through holes and natural frames... zoom in on detail... But most importantly upload your photos to the 'Photography Comp 2020' folder on the Google drive so that we can all share them. Since the Art Department is spending very little on paint at the moment, I am able to save up to get the winner a brilliant prize.... yes staff that includes you!
Artist in Residence
Every year the Art Department sets up an Artist in Residence to introduce student to professional artists and to give them the opportunity to explore different working practices. This year, for obvious reasons we have not been able to fulfill this commitment in the flesh. However, we have managed to persuade a number of artists to share their work and set students tasks virtually. The first of our 'Virtual Artists in Residence' is Olly Williams. Olly works collaboratively with his arts partner Suzi, something they are finding difficult during lock down! Their art responds to the natural environment and they use it to promote awareness and to explore some of the worlds most exciting, dangerous and beautiful environments and animals. Here are a couple of student responses to the task Olly set.
Below are two drawings already submitted by Alanna H (Year 8) and Lucy P (Year 5).
Keep checking Google Classroom for our next 'Virtual Artists in Residence'.
Prep and Pre-prep News
It may have been a shorter week than usual at school, but it seems like Prep and Pre-prep pupils have managed to cram in just as much as ever! We've had a wonderful video from 6E, sharing their top tips for surviving Remote Learning, a delightful poetry reading by Mrs Lock in our weekly assembly podcast, and countless examples of classwork being completed with care and diligence. I've been thrilled to see a record number of Values certificates awarded across both departments, celebrating more effort, kindness and responsibility; well done! In Pre-prep, the Year 1s enjoyed a special visit to their morning Meet from Sophie D and Minnie C in Year 11, with Miss Walpole reporting that she hardly got a word in edge ways! Thank you girls, I know the children were thrilled to see you. Rumour also has it that 5H had a surprise visit from none other than the Prime Minister, but that is was a rather disappointing encounter. If anyone knows any more, do let me know.
Values awards for:
Effort - Chester S, Sydney R, Matilda R, Kit B, Lucy P, Jude B and Levi L
Kindness - Erin C, Jack R, Sydney R, Rhys W
Responsibility - Leo T-R
And finally, congratulations to Poppy F in Year 4 for winning the House Competition for the best joke with this:
"What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror?"
Have a great Bank Holiday weekend everyone!
Here is a link to the Prep and Pre-prep podcasts too, enjoy:
Nursery: Flossie H for her creative collage and video explaining the life-cycle of a ladybird.
Reception: Henry H for displaying a great attitude to work and approaching his activities with a positive and cheery disposition.
Year 1: Sam P-R for the effort he's put into his work this week.
Year 2: Raphael A for working hard every day and putting lots of effort into all of his schoolwork. Well done!
Performing Arts News
Thank you to all those people that have sent in videos for the Three Little Birds challenge - keep them coming!! It's going to be epic and will be an amazing example of how we can come together as a school even when we are all apart.
This will be going 'live' on Monday 11th May, so watch out for all the info. coming out about it next week.
Mr Rye is making a series of ukulele tutor video for those who are interested. He will be doing a lesson a week - the first two are available here:
As part of the VE Day 75th Anniversary celebrations, on Friday 8th May the nation is invited to sing-along to a rendition of 'We’ll Meet Again' at 9pm, just after an address from Her Majesty the Queen. Please do join in! You can find the words here:
In case you missed it, two weeks ago the Government published some guidance on staying safe online during the quarantine. The article covers topics such as security and privacy settings, protecting against fraud, identifying misleading information, as well as a host of helpful links to resources from other sources such as Childnet and Net-aware.
It is a great repository of information and can serve as a "one-stop shop" for e-safety advice during these challenging times.
This week I have been drawn to the word 'Perseverance'.
From Mr Seeley's creative assembly, to the work I'm doing with our year 3's and my involvement in my Church community. It is something that resonates with me deeply at the moment.
We are all having to call on our reserves of perseverance! From home workers and home schoolers to frontline heroes we are all digging deep.
Music is a great way to keep dispersed community together (as Mr Rye and his team will testify!) so with that in mind I'd like to share a musical blessing that was recorded all over the country by churches to inspire and motivate us.
Hope you enjoy and have a blessed bank holiday and good weekend.
Thursday is the chance we have to thank all the key workers working tirelessly across the nation to keep us safe and look after those who need help. Oscar and Harley B thank all those hero's each week by song, here's a clip below for you to see #ThankYou #ClapForOurCarers