This time last week, I was placing the final pieces into my Wasjig (I can’t quite understand why I am drawn to these hugely addictive jigsaws), planning a school assembly and getting my children ready for their return to work, College & University. And here we are today working out how to get through this next lockdown, renewed Zoom calls and finding the recipe for that delicious banana bread. So much has happened this week! I wanted to thank you, our parents, for all you have done in supporting your children. Remote Learning has begun in earnest and I think you are all doing this in a remarkable way, parents, pupils and staff.
I was interested to read an article by journalist, Alice Thomson, which talks about how children can learn through adversity to become resilient, highly successful adults and that Generation Z will surprise us. I am so impressed already by their can-do and positive approach and the way they have embraced their learning this week. We are here to support them, and you, throughout this time.
Of course, we had snow on Wednesday!! Our Nursery and Key Worker children thoroughly enjoyed their break times playing in the snow. I wonder if you had snow where you are? I hope you find time this weekend for a brisk walk or two outside to blow away the cobwebs and spend time away from screens. I can also highly recommend a Wasjig!!!!
Have a lovely weekend.
Senior School Updates
The Senior School has completed the first week of remote learning in good spirits with many highlights along the way. Special mentions must go to the Year 7 pupils, entering their first period of remote learning, and doing so with apparent ease. It is never easy to set up the technology and we must also acknowledge the efforts of the IT department and the many parents who have been involved in assisting with this - the attendance over this week has been fantastically high and I have no doubt this is largely down to the hard work going on behind the scenes. Across the subjects a huge amount of exceptional work is being produced and I look forward to celebrating this over the coming weeks.
I have certainly felt a huge lift as we have restarted schooling and I hope the students have had a similar experience. It is so important they do not feel isolated and I hope that the contact they have had with their peers and their teachers, although only virtually, has provided a boost and given them a sense of camaraderie as we all look to come through this together. With this in mind it is vital all members of the school community consider their mental health and well being throughout this anxious period and I do encourage any pupils, and parents, to please contact the school with concerns they may have so that we can clarify any issues and allay any fears moving forwards.
Prep and Pre-prep School Updates
Although it wasn't in person, as we would have hoped, it has been fantastic to see the children this week and begin our Spring Term. As ever, the pupil's ability to adapt and step up to a challenge has been an absolute credit to them and our fantastic parent body. I have been in awe of the positive attitudes, motivation and resilience shown by the pupils, parents and teachers this week, well done to you all!
This week not only did we have snow on the grounds but also in the Nursery classroom, as pupils started their Polar Regions topic! They have watched informative video clips on Inuits, including how and why to build an igloo and how to fish, made 'snow dough' and enjoyed a sensory arctic area. Year 2 children have enjoyed Scavenger Hunts and Bingo on their class Meets in the morning and Year 1 have even managed to still share a story together remotely.
In Prep School, pupils have been working hard on their daily English and Maths Live lessons and off camera have undertaken tasks ranging from filtering soil in Year 6 Science to making wands in Year 3 Forest School. To pupils across all our year groups, your teachers have been mightily impressed with the quantity and quality of work that you have submitted across your range of subjects, well done!
Parents, please do keep an eye out for your children displaying any of our School Values around the house and in relation to their learning. Honesty, Kindness, Effort, Respect and Responsibility remain at the heart of all we do, whether completing our learning and interactions at home or in school.
We look forward to seeing you online again next week!
ISA Poetry Competition News
The English department has every reason to celebrate this week. Not only has it been a great first week of remote learning but it was also announced that Laura S (Year 11) has been shortlisted for the ISA National Poetry Competition 2020! Last term, students from Year 5, Year 6 and the Senior School were asked to write a poem titled 'Everything All At Once'. Laura interpreted this title in a manner which was very personal to her, using her poem as an outlet to express some of the hardships and stresses of schoolwork. It therefore comes as no surprise that her heartfelt and emotive poem was selected by the judges to be shortlisted to the final.
The judges said: 'This is a very clever poem. Laura deals with the trials and pressures of schoolwork in a hauntingly imagined way. The relief is only temporary, but her use of language and pace is captivating and lasting'. We are so proud of Laura and are so glad that she has earned a well-deserved place in the final. The results of the competition will be announced at the end of January - best of luck Laura!
A constant supply of work created a never ending feeling
which bound to her, a ghost
Haunting every waking moment.
Feeling the weight of a ball and chain around her ankle,
She sat down to take a break from slaving.
And while looking at the world around her,
She tried to grasp a familiar feeling.
But it was all so out of reach -
Separated from her own reality,
She began to walk with the ghost,
he was no longer following her, as they walked side-by side,
Hand in hand.
She had gotten used to his company,
And oftentimes felt lonely without him, when he would slip away as her mind cleared up again.
Sometimes she longed for the comfort of not having to think,
Just letting her body control itself mindlessly,
While her consciousness sat behind her eyes,
Observing, but not recognising a single object around her.
He was trying to protect her. Trying to help.
Not haunt her,
Or stalk her, or taunt her.
And the never ending feeling always came to an end,
The work and the weight and the pressure would return.
And pile up and up and up,
Everything all at once.
Laura S, Year 11
Year 6 History Motte and Bailey Castle Building Competition
The Year 6 'Motte and Bailey Castle' building competition is still going ahead and has been extended to the end of January, due to lockdown.
William M has been the first to submit an image of his excellent design and I very much look forward to seeing his, and all the other entries, for real once we return.
I have been reflecting on the difficult timing but also the timeliness of my first week as Wellness Coordinator at Duke of Kent School. Though, like many of the staff, pupils and parents, I would rather be in school to see people face to face, I want to reassure you that nobody in our community is alone in this latest period of uncertainty.
Your child’s form teacher should be notified first should you have any concerns regarding your child’s wellbeing. Please then do contact me at email@example.com.
I will be endeavouring to include activities and advice through the weekly bulletin to parents and directly to pupils via their teachers and classrooms.
In the meantime, the oft repeated advice remains true and appropriate at this time - ensure opportunities for exercise, talking to others and kindness to self, all of which boost mental wellbeing and allow opportunities for exploration and relief from anxieties.
I would also recommend limiting your children's (and your own) exposure to relentless news outlets as it can exacerbate concerns and lead to catastrophizing of events. There are some truly inspirational and positive stories of community support and kindness out there too, but they are often lost amongst the noise.
Newsround is an outlet which presents stories in a more child-friendly way, but also provides some excellent advice on how to manage wellbeing in the current climate. Please click on the link below or encourage your children to take a look.
Over the next six weeks I am going to try and help you achieve a better digital-life balance.
1 | Sensible screen time
Battles over screen time can be a tricky part of family life, but they don’t need to be. What children are doing on their devices is far more important than the amount of time they’re spending on them. So, make sure they’re watching, playing, and reading good-quality, educational and age-appropriate content rather than worrying about setting strict quotas. That said, if you notice your child’s schoolwork, sleep, mood, or health being affected, it’s time to talk and revisit the rules.
Performing Arts News
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
Friday 15th January @ 6pm
'Little Shop of Horrors - Live Stream'
So, with another lockdown upon us the Performing Arts Department reverts into its virtual mode and we attempt to create a busy timetable of events that suit an empty school! But fear not, as we shall succeed.
This term there will be House Music - more info on that will be emailed early next week but pupils can start practising their pieces straight away. Solos and (virtual) ensembles will be accepted.
The annual Pre-prep Spring Concert will take place somehow, somewhere - be it virtually or not - who knows, but it will happen!
We are also hoping to hold a couple of virtual Q&As, similar to the Grace Carter one we held in the Summer Term - watch this space.
Mr Fizz promises to return, but hopefully with some new friends!
But before all of that will be a Live-streaming event! The Year 11 production of Little Shop of Horrors, filmed towards the end of last term, has been edited and is ready to be released - so put next Friday at 6pm in your diaries, grab your popcorn, get the family together and sit down to watch our first ever 'filmed' musical! It will be available to the whole Duke of Kent School community via a link that will be released next week.
A Message from Matron
Covid-19 has reached a few members of our community during the Christmas holidays, and we wish all those who are suffering this nasty illness as speedy a recovery as possible. This serves to remind us all that as frustrating as the lockdown is, the risk of infection has never been greater, so we really must all try to follow the rules we've been set, with regards to staying at home, and ramping up our social distancing, and "hands, face, space" efforts, in order to give the new variant of the virus as little opportunity to spread as possible, and to protect those who would be more vulnerable to becoming very poorly with Covid-19.
Although the majority of us are safely tucked up at home, the risk of infection remains, so do please continue to let me know (via email) if any of your family are tested for/diagnosed with Covid during lockdown, so I can offer support and keep note of numbers. This will be particularly important for knowing who is isolating etc when we are allowed to re-open the school, and also for the lateral flow device/asymptomatic mass testing clinics as and when we can run them at school, as those who have tested positive will not be able to participate for 90 days after their positive PCR test.
Thank you for reading, stay safe, and I wish for us all to experience better times ahead later on in 2021.
The School Nurses
PADoK and the school have received a letter of thanks from the Cranleigh Food Bank. They were very grateful for the donation we sent them at the end of term and said that during these Covid times, calls on the food bank have increased considerably. Over the Christmas period they were putting together Christmas hampers as well as food parcels for those in need. If anyone should wish to see the letter then please contact your class rep and this can be arranged.
We will be having a PADoK meeting next week. If anyone would be interested in attending, via Zoom, then please let your class rep know and we can send you the link. The PADoK team are here to help so please do get in touch if we can be of any assistance now we are home schooling again. Once again we will be setting up year group Zoom meetings.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year.
The PADoK 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.
Violetta P in Year 8 has just found out that she is moving up into the Regional Squad at Guildford City Swimming Club. This is a fantastic opportunity and one that we are sure she will excel at. Congratulations Violetta! ♀ #Swimming #SportsScholar #RegionalTeam #Proud #DoKSport https://t.co/scnTJvq2pd