It has been just lovely welcoming the children back to School this week and to see learning begin again in earnest. We have also been delighted to welcome 6 new pupils and their families to Duke of Kent School. Two new faces have been introduced to the children: Mr Charlie Kulczyk who joins our Science Department and Mr Curtis Ford who joins as Head Groundsperson. We wish them both the very best in their roles. The very best of luck to all Year 11 pupils next week as they sit their Mock Exams. They have worked extremely hard in getting to this stage and we are proud of them. Matches resume next week, so please do come and support the children. A warming tea or coffee will be available to you pitch side. Have a lovely weekend.
If your contact details have changed at all over the Christmas holidays, please email Mrs Monk on firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can ensure you receive all information sent out from the School.
I do hope the whole Duke of Kent School community had an enjoyable Christmas and it was so refreshing to see the pupils returning to School with stories of their various festive celebrations. In times of adversity I always find the reaction of the pupils restores my positivity, and the start of this term has been no exception. Even without teacher supervision, I am yet to see anyone that has forgotten to wear their facemask, as the pupils have reacted to the enforced changes with understanding and maturity.
The Year 11 pupils are readying themselves for their GCSE Mock exams next week and I do wish them all the very best of luck. With so many exams crammed into such a short amount of time the event can be very daunting, but I have no doubt the experience is beneficial to all of them, as we establish areas to focus on and become more accustomed to the question papers.
With Activities and Prep now having begun, it really does feel like the school is back in full swing. With many events to look forward to this is shaping up to be a hugely busy and enjoyable term: we have scheduled trips to the University of Sussex, to watch The Curious Incident in Southampton and to the Sculpture Park in Farnham to name just a few, as well as Olympic Hockey player coaching sessions, Science competitions hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry, parent meetings, afternoon teas, Jazz evenings, House Debating competitions, House Music, World Book Day, Quiz nights, Breakfast Seminars, various sports fixtures and a whole array of exciting assembly themes and guest speakers. It's going to be busy, and I can't wait to see what the pupils achieve.
Despite the cold snap there has been the feeling of warmth and community in our School corridors this week. It has been wonderful to welcome the children back for the start of our Spring Term and I have thoroughly relished hearing about the various adventures, experiences and (of course) gifts that the children enjoyed during their Christmas break. The pupils have returned with enthusiasm and smiles on their faces and, as ever, I look forward to seeing all they achieve throughout the course of this upcoming term.
In spite of the short amount of time we have spent back at school so far there have already been many highlights for pupils and staff alike. My particular highlight from our first few days was watching Year 1 dance with the wonderful Lisa Lee on Thursday morning. There were some incredible moves and rhythm on display, in addition to careful listening and collaboration, and all to a great soundtrack!
Most hearteningly, I lost track of the number of pupils who named ‘seeing their friends’ as their highlight of returning to school. Here are some of the children's other highlights and things they’re looking forward to this term:
‘I’ve enjoyed playing football and Across the Golden River with my friends’Logan N, Year 2
‘The best thing about returning to school… lunch and play!’ Douglas S, Year 2
‘I’ve really enjoyed seeing my friends again and Finn joining our class!’ Herb M, Year 3
‘I’m excited for our rugby match next week.’Rommy B, Year 5
‘The hot chocolate at break!’Florence A, Year 3
‘I’m looking forward to starting my new Endeavour project’Auberon P, Year 5
A very warm welcome to the pupils and families who have joined us in Nursery and Year 3 this week, we very much look forward to getting to know you better!
International Space Foundation Student Art Contest (3-18 years)
This great Science and Art competition has the theme this year of Living, Working And Playing On The Moon. For more info and how to enter visit -https://art.spacefoundation.org/. Closing Date is 19th January 2022
Lecture: Land Degradation: connections with climate change and armed conflicts (12-18 years)
This online lecture will be lead by Asmeret Asefaw Berhe from the University of California. Soil is literally the foundation of life on earth. But, currently, the soil system is experiencing an unprecedented level of degradation due to human actions. In this presentation, Asmeret Asafaw Berhe will discuss the global extent and distribution of soil degradation, implications of soil degradation for climate change mitigation, and the different ways armed conflicts cause and perpetuate long-term degradation of the soil resources. This lecture is on 19th January at 6pm. For more details or to register to join visit - https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/expired/01-gsl-public-lecture-jan-2021
At Christmas, millions of lucky children will have excitedly ripped the wrapping off new phones, tablets, computers or consoles. However, in the rush to let young ones enjoy their shiny gadgets, many parents neglect to set these devices up safely – increasing the chances of children going online and stumbling across adult content, making expensive downloads or installing unsuitable apps. A little time configuring the device properly can save a lot of anguish later. In this guide, you'll find tips such as adjusting the screen time settings, setting windows limits and installing Xbox family settings.
As always, we have a busy schedule of Performing Arts events ahead of us this term, involving the whole School, so fingers crossed we can achieve everything we hope to, whatever the term may bring and whatever format they may end up taking!
Please see below for the key dates:
Mon 10th January - House Music Auditions begin
Mon 7th and Tues 8th Febuary - LAMDA Showcases
Mon 21st February - House Music Semi-finals begin
Friday 4th March - House Music Finals
Wednesday 9th March - GLive Combined Schools Concert
Mon 14th and Tuesday 15th March - Prep Production
Thursday 17th March - Ensembles Concert
Friday 18th March - Pre-prep Spring Concert
Friday 25th March - Choir Trip
Welcome back and Happy New Year to all! The start of a new year brings with it the anticipation of new beginnings and a chance to start anew. These are exciting possibilities, but they don’t have to be prescriptive. There is often a pressure to create New Year Resolutions with the expectation that we must keep to them otherwise we have somehow ‘failed’.
I think it is important to remember that there is no set time to reflect on yourself or specific time when you can make positive changes. This can happen whenever you choose and maybe this year, now is not the time. That’s ok.
If you want to make personal changes at this time of year, remember to keep those goals achievable and realistic, as well as flexible. It should not become self-punishing.
So whether you have chosen to make resolutions or not, that’s your choice - sometimes the recognition that you just want to be a little easier on yourself this year is more than enough. I wish you all a fantastic year regardless.
Firstly, a huge thank you to Senior School parents for completing the "mass test" on Tuesday. Do please also send in the covid immunity status form if you haven't already done so (attached to my email dated 3rd January), and let me know (email@example.com) if/when you get your child's first or second Covid jab done outside of School so I can update their health record.
I have just been informed that first and second Covid jabs will be offered to 12 to 15 year olds at school on Wednesday 9th February. An email has been sent with further instructions (new consent forms need to be completed). If you'd prefer not to wait that long, you are able to book immunisations at community clinics - please let me know.
We have started the term with some pupils and staff already isolating, and have had some new cases crop up since children returned, particularly in Year 11. There's no doubt about the infectious nature of this new variant, so we anticipate further new cases as the Spring Term progresses, despite the addition of face covers in class for our Senior School pupils. Please do not send your child to School if they are unwell, unless you have ruled out Covid-19!
For ease of communications, we are working on developing a COVID 19 mini-site in the parents area of the School website, where I can post the latest information for you to access at your leisure - I hope to update you next week.
Please continue your twice weekly LFD tests (senior pupils), logging results online. I am hoping to be able to send more test kits home next week for those of you who are running low (test kits can also be ordered online, or collected at your local pharmacy when stocks allow). Prep and Pre-Prep pupils can continue to help by maintaining good hand hygiene and staying at home if poorly. As of Tuesday, if your child's asymptomatic LFD test comes out as positive, they will no longer need a confirmatory PCR test. However, please be aware that anyone with Covid symptoms will still need to book the more sensitive PCR test.
Wishing you a restful weekend, and best of luck to year 11 pupils doing their mocks next week!
The School Nurses
Please make a note of our events this term. Macmillan Afternoon Tea Party on Friday 25th February and the PADoK Quiz Night on Friday 11th March.
A huge thank you to everyone who sent donations for our Ecokids collection at the end of term. We collected 143 bags to be recycled and will receive £240.35 donation to PADoK. We will arrange another collection at the start of the Summer Term so please keep those items aside when you have a Spring clearout!
We are looking forward to our first walk of the year which will take place next Friday 14th January at 08.30, Hurtwood Car Park 3, PItch Hill, Everyone welcome.
PADoK Book Club
Our new book is The Promise by Damon Galgut, which was the winner of the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction. The Promise, set in South Africa explores the interconnected relationships between members of a white South African family navigating the end of apartheid and its aftermath. We do hope you will join us when we meet up, a date will be decided on next week.
PADoK Meeting - Tuesday 11th January at 09.30 on Zoom
We are holding our first PADoK meeting of the year next Tuesday. If you are interested in what PADoK does then please do join us, our meetings are open to all parents, not just committee members. Please contact your class rep for the Zoom details.
Optional Senior School Hoodie
The Senior School hoodies have been redesigned by members of the School Council and the finished product can be seen above. They have done a fantastic job at putting this design together and now finally getting to see the finished product.
This new hoodie is available from Stevenson's on their website: https://www.stevensons.co.uk/. There is also the option to have your child's initials printed onto the front of the hoodie for a slight additional cost, something we would advise to avoid mixing up tops with other pupils. This hoodie is not an essential item of School uniform, so there is no expectation for pupils to have it.
If you wish to see the sample, please pop into the Main Office to see me and have a look at the new hoodie.
School Social Media
At Duke of Kent School we have three social media platforms;Instagram (dukeofkentschool), Twitter(@DoKSchool)and Facebook(Duke of Kent School).
Our Twitter and Facebook accounts are public however, our Instagram account is private to keep it strictly for the Duke of Kent School community only. To follow the School Instagram account you will need to request to follow the account.
We recommend following all three accounts to receive push notifications with news, updates, educational articles, interactions with other schools, communities and public figures.
That's a wrap! It's been a jam packed term full of events, trips, performances, sport, music and so much more. The whole @DoKSchool community has once again faced a term of challenges from the pandemic but this hasn't changed the outcome of a fantastic term.