I am just delighted to announce that we have appointed a Wellbeing Coordinator. Duke of Kent School has always prided itself on being a nurturing and caring school, with a strong focus on pastoral care, where all pupils are known and supported. We are determined to continue with this pro-active approach and develop an integrated Wellbeing framework. This will enable us to pull all of our pastoral strands together and implement strategies and programmes to ensure students, staff and parents are well informed and supported in achieving good mental health. Following an external recruitment campaign, one of our own members of staff, Mrs Mariette Douglas, has been appointed to this position. Mrs Douglas is passionate about mental health and the wellbeing of children. Testament to this was her return to college a number of years ago to retrain. She is now a fully qualified counsellor and currently volunteers for a number of services.
Mrs Douglas will retain her role as English teacher until Easter when the role will formally commence. In the New Year, she will be giving presentations to parents, pupils and staff as she outlines the new position, its intent and how wellbeing will continue to be at the very heart of our School’s practice. I am sure you will join me in wishing her the very best in this new and exciting role.
ISA Photography Competition
A big CONGRATULATIONS to Maddie I who has won Runner Up in the Southern Area ISA KS3 and 4 Photography competition! Maddie's photograph, titled 'Jump In', was taken during our period of home learning last academic year and won her the House Senior Photography Competition.
This mould breaking selfie really captures the simple joy of a hazy summer day - something we could all benefit from a reminder of now that winter has arrived.
The Remembrance commemoration of 11th November is always an intense event for myself but rarely more so than during the service held on Wednesday morning. The unique circumstances of this current time somehow enhanced the occasion. Only Year 11 could be in the PA Hall with the remainder of Pre-Prep, Prep and the Senior Schools all watching the event streamed into their form rooms. An underlying theme of the whole service was the fact this year is the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain of which, to my knowledge, only a single fighter pilot veteran is still alive. Mrs Knox began the service and introduced a 'virtual' Rev'd Tim Clifford Hill who had recorded a service filmed at St Nicholas's Church, Cranleigh, where he is now the curate. He mentioned the RAF origins of Duke of Kent School in that the first students were dependents of RAF personnel. One of his family forbears, Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, was one of the RAF senior commanders during the Battle of Britain who himself sadly died in an air accident later in the war. Rev'd Tim had visited Leigh-Mallory's (and the other passengers) graves in the French Alps, and spoke movingly of spiritual reunion mentioned on one of the gravestones. He engaged everybody with his compelling and inspiring address, tailored beautifully for the school. This was followed by a performance from Year 11 choir members who sang a rendition of the late Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again', which linked perfectly with Rev'd Tim's words and (one hopes and expects) our lives after lockdown.
As Head Boy, Oscar B then recounted the genuine national fear of German invasion after the Dunkirk evacuation, and read part of Churchill's defiant 'we will fight them on the beaches' speech which helped reassure and inspire the nation. Head Girl, Milly B, spoke of the tragedy of the death of a fighter pilot, Denis Wissler, shot down on this very day in 1940. His fiancée, Edith Heap, worked in an RAF command centre, and so heard this happen first hand. The couple had written to each other every day - and Edith still regularly reads those letters which she has asked to be destroyed once she dies. Our History Prefect, Ben H-F, read a stunning poem written by another pilot, John Gillespie Magee, 'High Flight', which described the (literally) poetic and spiritual experience of flying high, free and alone. Again, this pilot did not survive the war, dying aged only nineteen.
Overseen by Mr Seeley, Year 11 assembled by the flagpole for the Last Post ceremony. Four new wreaths were laid by our Heads of School, each of whom had also written their own epitaphs. Kora W performed the Last Post superbly. Simultaneously all students stood in their forms to show their respects.
This was an emotive thirty minutes but so very poignant and relevant. Teamwork was a characteristic of 1940 - and so it was for this event. For example, no less than five people - Mr Rye, Mr Southee, Mr Seeley, Miss Vernon and Mr Wyllie were involved in the camera-work, the latter in filming the Last Post ceremony from the school drone (rather appropriate given the theme), which you can see on Instagram. The four military silhouettes on the bank were created by our own Mrs Kerr while the flagpole was built by Mr Young.
A final thought is as follows. Speaking of the RAF aircrew in 1940 Winston Churchill told the country:
'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'.
We ourselves are privileged to be some of those 'many'.
Year 1 Medieval Day
On Tuesday, Year 1 had Medieval Day. All the children came to school dressed in medieval clothing, and I have to say, they all looked amazing.
We started the day by making bread, where all the children were responsible for kneading their own piece of bread. We then watched it rise at various times throughout the day. The children were so excited to taste their bread at the end of the day and it didn’t disappoint, it was delicious!
After break they had dance with Lisa Lee, where they learnt to do a medieval dance - this was very sweet as the children partnered off and danced with real maturity. The boys bowed to the girls and the girls curtseyed to the boys then they skipped around each other and up and down the room. We then did a virtual tour of Warwick Castle in the classroom. We saw lots of weapons, armour and we even found a secret doorway!
After lunch, we did some art. We used embossing foil to emboss illuminated letters onto the foil. They were very effective and the children really enjoyed doing these and loved how they turned out.
We finished the day by eating our bread and discussing how a jester would have told jokes to lighten the mood, so everyone who wanted to tell a joke was able to share that.
Samaritans Purse Christmas Shoebox Update
Thanks to all of you who have shown an interest in putting together a 'Christmas shoebox' for Samaritans Purse. Due to current circumstances, the deadline for handing in your shoebox has been extended to 4th December. Please drop your shoebox into the Art Studio by this date. Remember to check the website below for full instructions on how to pack your box and to log your gift with Samaritans Purse.
In further charity news, we have just found out that our charity of the year, Access Adventures, have been entered into a charity draw. If they win 'Movement for Good' will donate £1000 to them. In order to maximise their chance of winning they need as many nominations as possible. If you would like to nominate Access Adventures for this draw please follow the link https://lnkd.in/eCc8Ejq
The Charity Committee
Anti-Bullying Week 2020
On Monday, we will be starting our annual Anti-Bullying Week with Odd Socks Day! Odd socks day is an opportunity to have fun, be yourself and spread awareness of the core values that Anti-Bullying Week promotes. It would be great if all of the pupils and staff could embrace this day by wearing odd socks. It is our wish that Odd Socks Day will give us the opportunity to celebrate kindness and uniqueness. We hope that the pupils enjoy the opportunity to express themselves on Monday. There is no pressure on pupils to wear the latest fashion or for parents to buy expensive costumes. All they have to do is wear odd socks to school, it couldn't be simpler!
Win a Christmas Tree for Duke of Kent School
Ex Duke of Kent School family, the Alexandersens run a locally famous Christmas Tree farm in Shamley Green and this year they are running a Christmas tree giveaway!
Local Christmas tree farm Hans Christmas Andersen are about to announce an exciting competition to give you the chance to win one of 25 of their highest quality Christmas trees for your school. The competition will be open from Friday 6th November and all details on how to enter will be released on their Facebook page. The winners will not only win a tree for the school but will also receive a voucher for 25% off their own real Christmas tree.
Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to hear the announcement of our Big Schools Christmas Tree Giveaway!
It's been a week of mixed news regarding the on-going Coronavirus Pandemic; with the exciting prospect of a possible vaccine on the cards, but also on Wednesday the UK reached the sobering milestone of over 50 000 deaths this year within 28 days of Covid-19 diagnosis. This serves to remind us that we must continue to all do our best with our "hands face space" protection. The vaccine offers us some hope for relaxing the protocols in the future, but it's a way off yet.
This week, we've noticed some seniors are forgetting to bring face coverings to school on the days they come in wearing games kit. Please do encourage them all to try to remember to pick up a clean face covering as they leave the house in the morning - re-usable cloth face coverings are so much kinder to the environment, and less expensive too!
On a separate note, the E Consent portal for nasal flu immunisations for years Reception through to 7 closes next Thursday (19th November), and the E Consent portal for year 9's final school immunisations (spring term) is now open - please get your consents in!
Thank you, and have a lovely restful weekend. (I'm looking forward to joining the children in wearing my "odd socks" to school to acknowledge anti-bullying week on Monday)
Prep School News
Another busy week in Prep School has flown by, with children competing in the House Draughts, preparing for next week's Battle of Hastings re-enactment. All of this activity was punctuated in the most calm and thought-provoking way on Wednesday, as we all came to together for our School's act of Remembrance. Although pupils remained in their classrooms to watch the proceedings on screen, the unifying sense of community was palpable as we gathered virtually to pay our collective respects. Teachers commented on how well the children observed the 2-minutes silence, and how class discussions before and after the Service demonstrated pupils' understanding of why our act of Remembrance is so essential. As well as acknowledging the ultimate sacrifice made by others, Prep pupils also celebrated each others' much smaller acts of kindness in Assembly, nominating each other for what often feel like unremarkable actions, but which can have a hugely positive impact on those around them. This week, Mr Ellarby urged the children to brush up on their times tables, with some additional practice on TT Rockstars, highlighting how some of the pupils (notably Sam R and Patrick W) are now able to answer questions faster than he can - and all because they have spent the time to practise. I hope the children can find some time to improve their speed of recall this weekend, as well as enjoy some rest.
I thought you might also like to know that the brilliant Hay Literature Festival is running a Digital Winter Weekend, from 26th to the 29th November, with an array of talks and activities from which to choose, including famous names such as Nick Sharratt and Benjamin Zephaniah. Everything is free, and there are many sessions for children or families, so I recommend having a browse of the programme and signing up ASAP:
Nursery - Harry S for careful work during craft activities and attention to detail.
Reception - Ottilie H for adopting a more ‘can do’ attitude in her activities especially in P.E.
Year 1 - Norah C for improvement in reading. Well done Norah.
Year 2 - Eliza R for having a consistently positive attitude towards her learning and for maturely and confidently helping children settle their disputes in the playground.
The Performing Arts News
Congratulations are in order this week! Firstly to trumpet star Kora W in Year 10 who played the Last Post and then the Reveille so beautifully and with such poise at our Remembrance on Wednesday 11th, and secondly to Alfie C in Year 9 who managed to sit his Grade 5 cello exam during lockdown and passed with Merit - no mean feat for a Year 9 pupil! Well done to both of them.
We wish the very best of luck to our Year 11 GCSE Drama pupils who are filming the devised part of their actual GCSE exam next week. They have worked incredibly hard and deserve to do very well - break a leg! And thank you to Mrs Honey for all her extra hours of work and support.
Don't forget the dates for your diary:
4th December at 7pm - the Prep School Christmas Concert live stream
9th December at 6pm - the School Carol Service live stream
Set up your child's device safely
Use the device settings so your child can only download age-appropriate apps and games.
Set up password control or disable in-app purchasing so big bills are not run up accidently.
Disable your location settings so your child doesn't unintentionally share their location with others.
Clickhere for an example of how these tips could be implemented for an iPad.
Please note that no donations to go into the school
PADoK Book Club
With Christmas approaching, why not use lockdown as a good excuse to get into the festive spirit with a good book. We will discuss the book in the New Year.
Christmas Pudding is a fun and festive tale by Nancy Mitford
The formidable fox-hunting obsessed Lady Bobbin has put together a Christmas house party at Compton Bobbin, including her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, the girl's pompous suitor, a couple of children obsessed with newspaper death notices, and an aspiring writer whose deadly (in more ways than one) serious first novel has been acclaimed as the funniest book of the year, to his utter dismay. And then there is beautiful ex courtesan Amabelle Fortescue and her group of guests staying in a nearby cottage .
PADoK Christmas Hamper Team
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.
Huge congratulations to Maddie I in Year 9 who came runner up in the Southern Area ISA KS3 and KS4 Photography Competition, well done Maddie! @isaartsuk@gilesduley #Photography #RunnerUp #WellDone #MarvellousMaddie https://t.co/NfdaonqXHA
#ThrowbackThursday - Made In Dagenham. In a time where we miss our school productions, it seems a fitting time to look back at our wonderful Senior School production. Over fifty ambitious pupils from years 7-11 took part in this show stopping production! @isaartsuk #Musicals https://t.co/m1u6V0INlY