Watching House Cross Country is always a highlight for me in the Spring term. The anticipation and excitement (for most!) on the children’s faces at the starting line is almost palpable. This year did not disappoint and I would like to sincerely applaud all pupils for the tenacity and spirit shown. Good luck to Prep School pupils for their race on Monday! I would also like to congratulate our Year 11 pupils on the determined manner in which they approached their Mocks this week. Finally, when you are next in Old Hall, do come and admire the beautiful new watercolour painting that past parent Sue McAuley painted of our School. It is simply gorgeous - such a talented artist. Thank you Sue! Have a lovely weekend.
School Minibus Message
Reminder to bus users that the Newlands Corner Car Park is closed for essential repairs next week, Monday 17th through to Wednesday 19th January.
During this time we will move ALL of our collections and drop offs to Merrow Park & Ride. As this is a little further away from school, please note that morning collections will be 5 minutes earlier at 07.45am and drop offs 5 minutes later at 5.20pm.
Any questions regarding this, please email Mrs Browning on firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Mocks Week draws to an end, the Year 11 cohort must be congratulated for their conduct and maturity throughout the process. Whilst covid-related absences have undoubtedly disrupted proceedings for some individuals, they have all nonetheless coped admirably with the extra pressures and approached the exams with a positive mindset. These exams are a learning process, we all expect mistakes to be made, but I have no doubt the year group are better prepared because of them. Now is the time to identify any weaknesses that may have exposed themselves and look to rectify these before the Summer exam series. We wish them all the best.
Elsewhere, it has been great to see a good deal of rugby, hockey and netball matches taking place this week across the Senior School as we aim to get straight back into the regular, busy School life following the Christmas break. The House Cross-Country took place for Years 7 and 8 on Wednesday, and it was wonderful to see the grit and determination of so many, irrespective of their placings, culminating in some outstanding performances. The Year 9 - 11 House Cross-Country takes place later today (Friday) and I am already looking forward to it, and we wish the Year 7 cohort well on their trip to Waverley Abbey this afternoon.
Commendations this week were awarded to Esme P, Sam S, Josie B and Tom B (all Year 9) for their outstanding network models of the school, produced in Computer Science. Well done to them!
As always, it’s been a busy and exciting week at school for our Prep and Pre-prep pupils. Nursery have been working on their favourite Christmas present paintings, doing some baking and undertaking some role play activities that focus on excellent table manners!
Reception and Year 1 have started painting their planets as part of their Space topic, as well as enjoying some joint role play and singing. In Maths, Reception pupils have been challenging each other with some creative repeating patterns and in Art they have been designing their junk model rockets.
Science has been a highlight for many this week. Year 4 have been exploring how sounds are made with different instruments and household items and, in the Pre-prep STEM club, the children had to cut an A5 piece of paper so that they could fit through it. They had three attempts each before being shown that it really was possible!
After mummifying Charlotte in Topic last week, Year 4 made comic strips showing the different stages of the Ancient Egyptians’ journey to the afterlife. In Year 5 History, pupils have been learning about the factors that decided the outcome of the Battle of Britain. They explored advantages for the RAF as a result of fighting at home and the weaknesses exposed in the Luftwaffe. The pupils worked in groups to rank the factors in order of importance which generated a great deal of debate!
The Prep School assembly on Wednesday morning centred around our School Value Respect. Pupils shared ideas on how we can ensure our department is a kind place where all pupils and adults show respect to one another. The children were also introduced to some new titles available in the Library, with each book focussing on diversity and providing an insight to another person’s world.
Rising Readers - Alex J, Ben Wr, Lola C, Isabella N
Respect - Halle S
Kindness - Violet W
Effort - Logan N
Stars of the Week
Nursery: Isabella D for settling into Nursery life with ease and for showing consistent support and care towards her younger sister.
Reception: Maddie C for great work on repeating patterns in Maths throughout the week.
Year 1: Rocket Mfor starting the new term with great effort and focus and showing greater confidence when reading.
Charlie S for following one of our school values so brilliantly, you have been so kind, especially to the younger children.
Year 2: Joey S for an exceptional attitude towards all lessons and tasks this week, particularly spelling.
The Prep Pupil Council have been busy discussing how to make the ATL statements more pupil friendly. They have studied the eight key words such as “Focus” , “Motivation” and “Resilience” and thought about what these words mean to them. The Council are aiming to create short sentences and phrases which will help all pupils engage with improving their ATL grades. They are also planning a House competition to allow all pupils in the Prep School to have the opportunity to design a special DOKtopus who will represent our key ATL concepts.
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In the guide, you'll find tips on a number of potential risks such as scams, in-app purchases and user-controlled content.
Well done to the Year 11’s who have been sitting their mock exams this week. It can be a particularly tiring and overwhelming time, so I really hope that you are all able to have a well-deserved break from schoolwork and a lovely weekend.
I was particularly excited this week to welcome Dr Siobhan Blackwell, a clinical psychologist, into school this week. She will be running a Resilience Training activity with a small group of Year 9 and 10 students this term. The first session was an introduction to what resilience is and why it is so relevant to our wellbeing; I really hope the students involved found it both informative and useful.
Dr Blackwell will also be giving a presentation on resilience to parents at a breakfast forum on the 8th of March for those that are interested.
Finally, I wanted to make you aware of a new section on the parents’ portal titled, Wellbeing. It contains a link to a signposting document with details of various youth and mental health services, which should be useful to both parents and students seeking to find out more. It also includes signposting to a free service in the local area - Green Hub. They are a charity organisation who provide nature therapy workshops to young people struggling with anxiety and stress.
They are also offering a programme of empowering workshops for teenagers dealing with issues such as the impact of food on mindset, and study and revision strategies. The calendar and bookings are available on
This week has been encouraging, with only a few new positive cases recorded at school, although those who are isolating are finding it frustrating when their day 6 and 7 LFD tests sometimes come back still positive. It definitely seems to be the case that unfortunately we cannot always be guaranteed to leave isolation early, despite the Government announcing that from Monday people can stop isolating after negative tests of days 5 and 6.
We are getting through a lot of "spare" face masks at School for Senior School pupils who have forgotten or lost theirs - please encourage your child to provide their own face cover as often as possible, to reduce the amount of waste at school and for us to be as sustainable as possible (reusable clean face covers are much better for the environment than disposable masks!).
This week Mrs Lwambo and I had the opportunity to chat with the Year 10 girls about cancer in PSHE. This can be a hugely emotive and sensitive topic. We focussed our session on understanding what cancer is, signs and symptoms to look out for, risk factors, and breast examination. The girls then very bravely checked some models of breasts and testicles to see if they could find any lumps. The girls were reminded they need to know what's normal for their bodies and if there's ever any change that's worrying them, they must be brave and get it checked out.
If you would like help in talking to your teenager about cancer, I would highly recommend the Teenage Cancer Trust for some easy to understand and very helpful resources.https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/
The School Nurses
Boys' Hockey: U14/15 v. St. Edmund's
On Tuesday, the U14/15 B team played a hockey match against St. Edmund’s. It was a good start to the match for Duke of Kent School, with Luke M showing off some good skills to set up George P for a well taken goal to give the team the lead. Throughout the match Kai G made some great saves playing as the goalkeeper for the first time in a hockey match. An evenly contested game that ended 4-2 to Duke of Kent School, a great start to the hockey season for the team. Well played to everyone involved.
Rugby: U9 & U10 v. Ripley Court
This week saw the first rugby matches played by any Duke of Kent School teams for nearly two years. On Wednesday, the U10 team travelled to Ripley Court to play a coaching game. The match was arranged to help the pupils start to build confidence when playing contact rugby, and therefore we started with the U9 laws which does not include rucking mauling or scrummaging. The standard of rugby from both sides was very good and it was amazing to see how quickly confidence grew when running with the ball. It was also very clear that the size of the opposition did not matter when tackling if the technique from the tackler was sound; this was very well demonstrated by so many players and particularly Rommy B. Although we had decided not to worry about the score, it was particularly pleasing to see both sides, who were being introduced to rugby, play out a thrilling draw.
Thursday saw the U9 boys play the same rules in a coaching game and the U8 teams running play their first tag matches. Again these matches were arranged to give the players a chance to experience matches in a controlled and friendly environment. The U9 match played out similarly to the U10 match the day before. The confidence of the team grew as the match progressed and the players started to show a better understanding of the rules. Alfie H showed his determination when and good tackling technique. The U8 teams started to show a greater understand of the offside line and the technique needed to reach for a tag. Many tries were scored and all of the matches, on Thursday afternoon, were very even.
All players should be extremely proud of their efforts and we will continue to help them develop their skills, tactical understanding and confidence as the term progresses. Both contact matches this week were extremely well refereed by Steve Brunning from Ripley Court who showed his experience in letting the game flow and allowing a chance for both teams to experience an enjoyable game.
Netball: U14 v. Moon Hall College
On Tuesday afternoon, Duke of Kent School's U14 team enjoyed a netball match against Moon Hall College. The weather could only be described as foggy, damp and rainy so the conditions were not ideal! However, this did not seem to effect the girls during the match! Each member of the team contributed with great effort and determination and ignored the horrible weather. The game started slowly, with both teams taking a bit of time to get into their flow and link up their passes. By the second quarter, the U14s were flying with Rose S and Ariane L teaming up brilliantly in GA & GS to score multiple goals for the team. Meanwhile, Pippa S was doing an incredible job in GK, Moon Hall College had lots of opportunities to pass into the circle but Pippa managed to make countless interceptions to regain possession for the team. As the quarters progressed, the girls in the mid-court, Annabelle R, Josie B, Eva L and Alex K, worked really well together and began to time their passes with great accuracy and precision. This lead to more possession and consequently more goals! Abi W and Esme P played brilliantly in defence and helped contributed to a brilliant win for Duke of Kent School - well done to all the girls involved!
Girls' Hockey: U8 and U9 v. Ripley Court
A sunny but very cold Thursday afternoon brought Ripley Court to Duke of Kent School for matches against our U8 and U9 girls hockey teams. Both teams performed fantastically and we came away with two wins.
The U8s started very strong and Eva W scored our first two goals. Not long after, Florence A scored our third. We were able to score these thanks to some great driving forward with the ball from Evelyn C and Charlotte P in midfield. The game wasn’t over yet and Ripley started to attack our goal but our defence was very strong, with Layla B, Evie B and Seren G making some great tackles and clearances. The game finished 3-1 and Eliza R was given Girl of the Game for her great defensive work.
On the other half of the pitch the U9s were also working really hard with lots of running from Ruby W, Bea T-R and Jasmine W in midfield. Millie W scored the first goal and then the Girl of the Game, Charlotte C scored two more. Ripley continued to work hard and attack but Hope N and Rebekah S were strong in defence and so the game finished 3-0.
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.
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 Second Hand Uniform Shop.
We cannot take anymore shoes at this time so please do not send in any. Thank you. As soon as we have more space we will let you know.
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.
Huge congratulations to one of our past Head Boys, James F who received the news this week that he's been offered a place at Oxford University to read Classics. We are so proud of James and wish him the best of luck at Oxford next year! #Alumni #Oxbridge #Proud https://t.co/h1GgF59zBk
We were delighted to unveil a watercolour painting painted by past parent Mrs McAuley which she has kindly gifted to the School. It now hangs pride of place above the fire in Old Hall and will be enjoyed by by the whole @DoKSchool community. #TheDoKWay #Painting #ThankYou https://t.co/fCoSaagMc8