The Music department is delighted to be able to run extracurricular activities again this year. As well as commencing the rehearsals for Orchestra, Jazz Band, Steel Band and Choir we are also running Jazz Workshops in collaboration with Deal Music and Arts. We had a fantastic time last month when Joe Browne led a workshop on Tenor Sax, accompanied by Arthur O'Hara on Bass, and Connie Chesters in Year 10 has shared her experience.
"Jazz Journey is a programme run by Deal Music and Arts which brings together musicians of any standard from the ages of 11 to 18, with the aim of developing jazz skills in young musicians nationwide.
On Monday 18 October, we had our first workshop at Dane Court since late 2019, and it was amazing. We covered 2 pieces which we learned by ear (without sheet music), called 'Lester Leaps In' by Count Bassie and 'Caravan' by Duke Ellington. The leaders of the workshop, Joe and Arthur, started to teach us the pieces by teaching us the scales for the keys that the pieces were in. Once we had grasped those, Joe and Arthur taught the horns (brass and woodwind) the melody, including a few harmonies to make the sound interesting, and the piano and guitar players learned the chord sequence and the rhythm of the piece. Then Arthur went through a few rhythms that could work with the drummer, and it was all put together. We learned one of the 2 most important chord sequences in jazz - rhythm changes. Using this, we were able to have a good go at Lester Leaps In, and play it through well. The only thing that was missing was improvisation, so that was then added by rearranging the notes of the scales we'd learned earlier. We all had a go, and it was difficult to spontaneously create music that sounded good, but we were learning and it was really great, especially the horns! Putting everything we learned together was satisfying and it sounded amazing.
The hardest part for the horns was probably the transposing (since the horns weren't tuned to concert pitch, which is the same pitch as the piano, the players had to transpose everything so that it sounded the same). It was impressive how they all picked it up so quickly, and transposed so easily. The hardest part for the drums was probably in Caravan by Duke Ellington, where the rhythm had to change seamlessly from latin to swing, which involved a great deal of concentration from the drummer! The leaders, Joe and Arthur, play the saxophone and the bass guitar. Joe is the one in charge mostly, and conducts the whole ensemble, whilst Arthur is in charge of the rhythm section (pianos, guitar, bass and drums). They're both incredible musicians, and what's so inspiring about them is that you can see the love for what they do in their playing, and they want to pass on their knowledge and love of jazz to us. They're both really great teachers and we're glad that we've been given the opportunity to learn from them. My favourite thing about the workshop is the improvisation, because it needs the most practise to learn and get the feel for. Also, it needs a good feel for the music and I find the spontaneity of improvisation really interesting, especially with the rhythms that people can create, and the patterns, because it expresses who you are as a developing musician.
I have been inspired to play more jazz because of the groove and feel of it, which is something I love. I would recommend Jazz Journey as a great place to start learning about jazz to anyone who's interested in trying to learn, because it's inclusive and teaches you, building the pieces and your skills from the ground up. For anyone who's starting to learn to play jazz, my top tip for you would be to really throw yourself into it, because the more effort you give, the more you get out of it."
Chatter 19 - Autumn 2021
Written by The Chatter Team
DCGS Chatter members have worked incredibly hard on creating this edition of the school newspaper for you, bringing you a variety of articles from members of the team across the school community.
We have, as always, so many fangtastic articles within this edition and the team hope you have as much fun reading as we have had putting this edition together for you. We have had reporters focusing on the various clubs that are held across the school, spooky short stories & poems, great book & film reviews, news on the amazing amount raised from the book fair held earlier this month and we have also have lots of Halloween ideas to keep you entertained this half term
If anyone would like to join the Chatter team we meet in the library twice a week at lunchtime or you can find out more details by emailing Mrs Cronin, Mrs Finlay, Mrs Roger or asking your mentor/ head of year when we return. All students from across the school & staff are very welcome & if you aren't very good at writing, we always need a hand at editing, page design or you could create some art!
Chatter would like to wish all DCGS student's, staff, the PTA and their families a safe & happy half term. The Chatter team would like you to all have a good well earned rest over the holidays, so grab a warm autumn drink or a bowl of pumpkin soup and enjoy Chatter 19.
Whilst we have been sheltered in our homes, it is natural to feel some anxiety about venturing back into the wider world. As you will be aware, students of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason* applies. We are here to support our students and their families – we will work with you to support you as best we can so that students can start accessing face to face education with us again.
If you choose to keep your child off school and your child is not Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), is not self-isolating and does not have covid, or any other illness, or any other pre-agreed absence, the absence will be classed as unauthorised.
We understand from the most recent government guidance, 'that many children identified at the start of the pandemic as clinically extremely vulnerable are not at increased risk of serious outcomes from coronavirus (COVID-19) and children are gradually being removed from the shielding patient list (SPL) as appropriate, following review with a clinician'. (Schools Coronavirus Operational Guidance February 2021) If your child continues to be classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, you will have received a recent shielding letter. The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable is to stay at home as much as possible until further notice. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally. We will continue to provide remote learning for these students. If your child is CEV, we would ask for you to contact the School Office to notify us of this at the earliest available opportunity, providing a copy of the shielding letter sent to confirm that they are advised not to attend.
Please find below a brief summary of some of the measures we will be using to minimise the risk with some suggestions of how students and their families can help us in this respect.
We are vigilant regarding symptoms in our students in school. Someone presenting symptoms will be sent home straight away or be supervised under strict guidelines provided by the government to make sure the risk of spread is minimised.
Stay at home if you have symptoms of the virus (use government guidance). Stay at home if you have been abroad following government guidance. Collect children as quickly as possible if you are asked to.
Home testing kits provided to parents/carers collecting symptomatic children, and to staff who've developed symptoms at school (if unable to get a test elsewhere.)
Arrange a 'standard' coronavirus (PCR) test and inform the school if there is a positive result
3 lateral flow tests provided to students within school, then home testing kits for testing of students twice a week.
Carry out the home testing on Sunday and then on either Wednesday or Thursday. Staff will also carry out the home testing on Sundays and then on either Wednesday or Thursday.
2 lateral flow home tests per week offered to staff.
We ask students and staff to share all test results with us, we'll keep accurate records of all results and will only share health records with the relevant people.
Deep cleans in the areas that a symptomatic person or student who has tested positive has been. PPE will be disposed of properly, following decontamination guidance.
Cleaning staff will regularly clean frequently touched surfaces including: Banisters Bathroom facilities (including taps and flush buttons) Door and window handles Light switches Fingerprint scanners
Remember the basics of good hand hygiene and the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' ethos. Avoid unnecessary touching of banisters/switches etc. Try opening swing doors with your elbow.
Teachers to wipe the teacher's desk and any shared equipment available on arrival e.g. remote controls, HDMI cables. Teachers will use their own pens and board-markers.
Don't touch anything in classrooms that is not your property unless directed by a member of staff.
Track and Trace
Thorough records kept to enable us to track and trace contacts of a positive case.
We would ask parents to collect students as quickly as possible if you are contacted as part of track and trace procedures. Students should self-isolate as per the government guidance.
All close contacts to self-isolate in line with current government guidance.
Work with the local health protection team if there are 2 or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus is suspected. Advice given by the team will be followed.
Sanitisers at every entrance to the school and mounted on walls in the corridors. Promotion of good hand hygiene. Reminders given to students to sanitise wash and sanitise their hands frequently.
Sanitise your hands every time you enter the building. Remember 'catch it, bin it, kill it'. Wash your hands more frequently. Remember not to touch your mouth, eyes and nose.
Thorough cleaning at the end of the day.
Shared resources, such as sports, art and science equipment, will be either: cleaned frequently and meticulously, and always between groups using them; or rotated so they can be unused and out of reach for 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different groups.
Rooms will be kept well ventilated by keeping windows slightly open and opening more widely while unoccupied.
Bring extra layers if it is cold weather – acceptable layers include; plain black jumper, sweatshirt or hooded top (Dane Court PE Hooded tops are acceptable, any logos must be discreet), underneath and in addition to your blazer, not instead of; your coat over your blazer and sweatshirt.
Bubbles and social distancing
Continued use of year group entrances and bubbles to reduce individuals mixing.
Use the same entrances used in Terms 1 and 2 to enter the building. Stay in your Year group areas and use the one way system. Take steps to stay further away from people in the corridors while moving around. Be proactive in protecting yourself. It is acceptable to request that someone stands further away if you are uncomfortable with their proximity.
Arrive at school from 8am and wait for the start of school in their inside or outside year group zones.
Consider staying outside and away from a busier communal space before school. Leave the building promptly at 3.20 and keep social distancing from those around you.
Reminders given to maintain distance and students should not touch staff or peers. If possible, students sit side-by-side and facing forwards.
Try your hardest to maintain the 2 metre distance between you and your friends when in school.
Teachers will try to maintain a 2 metre distance from students and other staff members; although this is not always possible, close face-to-face contact will be avoided, and time spent within 1 metre will be minimised.
Allow space for teachers in corridors. Where you are allowed to enter a room ready for a lesson, be seated when the teacher comes in.
The canteen will not be open during morning break. Lunchtime will be staggered to create two serving opportunities. Year groups will not mix whilst eating.
Consider bringing a packed lunch with you. Bring a bottle with a sports lid. Consider eating and socialising outside to give you more space from your friends and to provide natural ventilation.
Revised behaviour protocols will minimise unsafe student conduct.
Consider how you behave – be considerate of all those within our school community. If we see unsafe behaviour, we will challenge it to keep our wider community safe.
Face covering will be promoted unless social distancing can be maintained or a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity (or they are exempt from wearing one).
We would strongly encourage you to wear a mask in school. Make sure you bring a mask to school (unless you are exempt). Follow government guidance on mask safety.
Spare face coverings available for anyone without one or has a covering that's unsafe.
Have a supply of face coverings ready at home. Keep a spare one in case one gets lost.
Lessons and Learning
Textbooks and student exercise books will be subject to a quarantine period. We will aim to use electronic methods to mark work.
Bring all equipment you need for you own use; do not share your equipment with others.
Some lessons might have revised protocols; we will follow government's guidance for lessons involving drama, singing, chanting, shouting or playing instruments.
When working in groups in larger spaces, consider whether you can build in some extra distance from the peers you are working with.
Remote learning for students are shielding (*see notes below) or are self-isolating due to government guidance.
Visitors will have guidance on physical distancing and hygiene explained to them on or before arrival. Visits will happen outside of school hours wherever possible. A record will be kept of all visitors.
Parent and carers should not to gather at entrance gates or doors, or enter the site unless they have a pre-arranged appointment. Consider whether you can email or call school instead. If you need to visit our reception, please sanitise your hands on entry and remain 2 metres away from others.
Meetings will be conducted by telephone or using video conferencing. Where this isn't possible, meetings will be conducted outside, outside of school hours, or in a room large enough to allow distancing.
Support for students anxious about the return to school
Here is some specific advice from our colleagues at Thanet Inclusion Support Service. It is possibly aimed at parents of slightly younger children, but it does contain some useful advice if your child is worried about our return to school.
Year 13 students at Dane Court are today celebrating an exceptional year of results in their International Baccalaureate courses, with an impressive IBDP average point score of 36.5 across the cohort and 61% of all grades at 7 or 6 (the very highest IB grades), and 33% of IBCP grades at 7 or 6.
Martin Jones, Headteacher, said “We are delighted for the students. These outstanding outcomes are the result of an enormous amount of hard work and determination. This group of students has faced the challenges of the past 18 months with perseverance and resilience and we are very proud of them. All of our IBCP students have received their award and 97% of our IBDP students have achieved the full Diploma, which is a remarkable achievement. Our IBCP students must wait until August for their vocational results, but their success in their IB subjects and their excellent Reflective Project grades have given them the very best chance to progress onto their chosen destination. Our IBDP students have attained an average of 36.5 points across the year group, the highest average point score in the school’s history. The vast majority of students have already secured their first choice university or employment-focused offer and they can look forward to an exciting future.”
All students in the sixth form study one of three prestigious and demanding courses: The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, which comprises 6 IB subjects including Maths, English, Science and a language. Students must also complete the ‘Core’ which consists of a 4000 word Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS
The International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme where students study one Level 3 vocational course and 2 or more IB Diploma Programme courses, graded on a 7-1 scale. The students are also required to pass the IBCP core which comprises of: a personal and professional skills course, a service learning project, a 3000 word reflective essay and a language acquisition course.
A bespoke course comprised of a range of IB subjects
Chris Pleasant, Head of Sixth Form said “It has been a wonderful experience to be able to share this set of results with the students after a difficult couple of years. They can say with pride and confidence that they have truly earned these grades, as they are the result of assessments and coursework completed over the course of two years. I am immensely proud of them all. I want to particularly congratulate the 17 IBDP students who have achieved 40 points or more, way above the national and world averages and Aliya Andrews, Nikos Kouthouri-Whittaker and Zara Ahmed who achieved the maximum 45 points, a truly remarkable achievement. Well done to you all and I hope the next stage of your life is a happy and successful one.”
Here at Dane Court, we understand that life brings its difficulties, especially at the moment, and we want to support our students and their parents or carers through these challenging and uncertain times.
Taking care of your and your family’s minds, as well as your bodies, and feeling better on the inside, really is important at this time.
Click the image on the right to read about the range of services in Kent to help you look after the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and adults. Here are some suggestions for students to increase positive wellbeing.
Click here if you are a parent or carer looking for advice on supporting a young person’s mental health.
UPDATE: Japanese cooking competition - results
Written by Mr Myers
The winners have finally been chosen from the many enthusiastic entries for this competition and certificates and small prizes were awarded.
The Dane Court Grammar School Parents Association's monthly boot fairs usually take place at the school from 6:30am on the second Saturday of each month with breaks over winter and during the summer holiday. Read more...