The School has been buzzing this week as we welcomed over 90% of pupils back from the 4 year groups permitted to return. We have stringently adhered to our protocols and I would like to praise staff and pupils for the responsible way these have been applied. The children have taken the new routines in their stride and they, as well as their teachers, are to be congratulated. We are preparing now for our Year 10 cohort from 15 June. However, this is more complex, as we are only permitted to allow 1/4 of the year group in School at any one time in order to minimise transition risks. More information will be shared in due course. Despite being a small school, unfortunately, we are unable to invite students back from other years until we are given permission to do so. I would like to congratulate all pupils with their engagement with remote learning and to thank parents again for all you are doing to support your children. Below you can read a snapshot of what the pupils have been up to this week.
Today, we held our first virtual Open Morning and shortly will be holding virtual Familiarisation days for the 31 new pupils joining us in September. A new way of doing things but we are confident the Duke of Kent School ethos will continue to shine through! Have a lovely weekend.
New Prefects for September 2020
We are excited to announce that today the process for applying to be a prefect and Head Boy/Head Girl began with a short assembly headed up by our current prefects this morning. At Duke of Kent School we place a lot of emphasis on the importance of the Prefect Team and the partnership they form with the teaching staff as they go through their final year here. The criteria for selection was devised with prefects already in the role and the process for selection is designed to be clear, fair and transparent. All Year Ten pupils have been invited to fill in a short application form before attending a group interview in the upcoming weeks. The staff and the prefects will then debate the prefect positions extensively and be given an opportunity to vote. In particular we will look for positive reasons to appoint rather than appointing because the pupil has done nothing wrong. This appointment system is based on merit in what is otherwise a largely non-competitive school. Up until this point an individual pupil is mostly competing with him or herself – making progress from a starting point rather than comparing progress with others. The creation of Head Girl and Head Boy and Prefects can be a shock to those who are not successful but it is a taste of real life – competing for jobs and preferment. By making the criteria transparent and the selection process clear, we aim to give every pupil an equal chance to be appointed as part of the pupil leadership of the school. Invariably others may be added at a later date and there is an opportunity for all to make a positive contribution to the running of the school. I for one am very excited to be meeting our future prefects and can’t wait for the process to begin.
Over the last week the virtual Drama Department has been a hive of activity with entries arriving for the House Drama competition thick and fast. Today was the last day for the children to submit their monologues and we have been so pleased with the quality of the submissions and the attitude the children have shown towards their first ever House Drama competition.
The children were asked to learn a two minute monologue and send a recording of their performance to us for it to be seen by our guest judge Andrew Whipp.
We are very lucky to have Andy who has worked extensively in film, television and theatre for over thirty years. His film and television work includes: Amazing Grace starring Ioan Grufudd and Benedict Cumberbatch, The White Princess with Jody Comer, Outlander with Sam Heughan and Emmerdale in which he played Callum Rennie. Andy has worked in some of the best theatres in the country, including Shakespeare’s Globe under the tenure of Mark Rylance, The Gate, The Arcola and Southwark Playhouse. He is very excited to see our talented children in action!
There will be one finalist from each category who will earn points for their House; the winners will be announced on 12th June.
A big thank you to all the children for once again rising so brilliantly to the challenges of these strange times.
Junior Physics Challenge
Before Half Term Year 10 participated in the online British Physics Olympiad Junior Physics Challenge.
A huge congratulation to the follow students who have gained Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards.
GOLD - Milly B
SILVER - Oscar B, Oisin W, Laura S
BRONZE - Ben A, Isabelle F, Daisy M, Arthur B, Harvey C, Zara H, Martha McA, James H, Jonathan H, Poppy S, Ross S.
Prep and Pre-prep News
I must begin by congratulating the children who have returned to School this week for showing such adaptability and a wonderfully positive approach to all the new procedures. Children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 may have been feeling some apprehension about what it was going to be like on Monday morning, but it all seems like second nature by now. Well done to all of you! Quentin J commented, "though I've only been here since Thursday, I'm finding it superb back at school, though there are more rules thrown in"! Everyone has enjoyed being able to see other people again. Sydney R said, "social distancing is really annoying because we have all waited three months to hug and see our friends, and now we are back to school we can't even touch them, but I am really happy that I am finally back, as at least I can see my friends." We look forward to being able to welcome more year groups back as soon as government guidance permits.
Lastly, we thought some of the children might be interested in the 'Dream Big' Festival organised by Puffin Books. The week-long event begins next Monday, and consists of twice-daily workshops run by celebrated authors and illustrators to help inspire children in their creative writing and drawing. If you'd like to find out more, visit the link where you can see the line-up and download an activity pack:https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/dream-big.html
We'd love to see anything the children create! Have a great weekend.
Value awards for this week are:
Effort - Penny A and Troy K
Responsibility - Arthur H
Here is a link to the Prep and Pre-prep podcasts too, enjoy:
Nursery: George F for settling into Nursery with such a happy, friendly attitude and having a wonderfully positive approach to all activities.
Reception: Violet W for a positive attitude in her learning and great phonics this week!
Year 1: Eliza R for excellent use of adjectives and punctuation in her writing.
Year 2: Mac Y for putting in consistent effort throughout the Home Learning period and for producing an incredible 'fact video' about the human heart as part of our Science learning this week. Well done!
Performing Arts News
Grace Carter Q&A
It was wonderful to welcome pop singer Grace Carter to our first Live Stream on Wednesday 3rd June. Grace was live from her home via Google Meet and Mr Rye asked her questions already sent in by the pupils before half-term. It was lovely to hear her insights and inspirations; she was articulate, warm, chatty and a fantastic role model for all the children, not just those who are musicians, with words of wisdom about equality, creativity and self-belief in an ever-changing world.
Thank you to the pupils who took the time to send in questions. Grace mentioned afterwards she was impressed with the variety and range of them; another success for the school!
After the success of Wednesday's live streaming we have decided to live stream the virtual Summer Concert! So put 6pm on Saturday 27th June in your diaries and be ready to log on to watch the pre-recorded videos of the children being streamed live. We will also release a video file of the event so those who cannot watch it live will be able to view it at a later time.
On that note, pupils who still wish to perform can send in their recorded songs or pieces to Mr Rye - there is plenty of time.
Mr Rye's Podcasts
Episode 8 is out now. This week a look at the wonderful world of drums, drummers and drumming! How did drumming save humanity and become the most important instrument in the world, who was the best drummer of all time and what links Phil Collins to the Muppets?! Plus the most sampled drum beat of all time and Mr Rye gets a visit from Fate!
This week I have two articles to bring to your attention. Firstly I would like to link to a great resource that aims to be a complete parents guide to online safety. It summarises the key statistics, risks, and popular uses and apps, as well as strategies to help manage tech usage. It's a big article but it has a lot of information so do take a look.
As well as that I would like to remind people to stay vigilant towards what they read online. At all times, but especially now, misleading information has the potential to undermine our trust and make us believe things that simply aren't true. A recent news story stated that 90% of posts that contained misinformation about COVID-19 were visible to everyone, leaving up propaganda and conspiracy theories for all to see. These types of posts are threats to all of us, not just young people, so it is worth discussing as a family how to avoid them. I have linked a 1 minute video that summarises the key strategies behind combatting misinformation, which should be useful for everyone.
It's been wonderful to have a slight lift on the restrictions placed on us over lockdown hasn't it?
Being able to meet people in the flesh has been joyous! But it has also been a little weird! I hadn't realised quite what a tactile person I was until I couldn't hug those that I met!
As we are gradually released and begin to taste the sweet flavour of life lived before lockdown, those things that we took for granted become a morsel to savour and really appreciate. It gives us a new gratitude for all those things we perhaps took for granted. As we embark on what is probably the strangest of summer terms let us be thankful for what we can do and adapt with positivity to those things that are still just beyond our reach.
Work is now underway on the Senior outdoor decking space. We're already looking forward to seeing pupils enjoy this new space! #OutdoorSpace #Seniors #Renovation #NewSpaces #SurreyHills #Views https://t.co/MwZpX2OUI2