I am writing to let you know about some changes to our school timetable and to the school day, starting in September 2015.
Many of you will already know that GCSE examinations are being reformed, starting with English and Mathematics. Students presently in year 9 will take these new Maths and English examinations in May and June 2017. Students presently in year 8 will take new examinations in all subjects in May and June 2018. These new examinations are designed to be more demanding and to test students’ knowledge and understanding across a broader range of topics. Details are being published by examination boards as the new specifications become available. I will give details of how to find out more in our next electronic newsletter and on our website in June.
|Dane Court School
Day Times 2015-2016
|Period 1||08:40 – 09:40|
|Period 2||09:45 – 10.45|
|Break||10:45 – 11:05|
|Period 3||11:05 – 12:05|
|Period 4||12:10 – 13:10|
|Assembly||13:10 – 13:20|
|Mentoring||13:20 – 13:35|
|Lunch||13:35 – 14:20|
|Period 6||14:20 – 15:20|
In order to accommodate these changes, we intend to make some small adjustments to the amount of time spent on each subject within our curriculum, giving a little more time to English and Mathematics each week. We have also decided to change from six lessons of 50 minutes each day to five lessons of 60 minutes each day. The total lesson time is unaltered, but the most productive part of the learning time – the middle of the lesson – is extended, and the amount of time spent changing from one lesson to another is reduced. As a school, we are confident that this change will enhance the quality of learning. This change has caused us to make some alterations to the school day times (see right).
From the first day of Term 1, Friday 4 September 2015, the school day will start at 08:40 and end at 15:20. Stagecoach, who run the buses, have told us that this will not pose a problem for bus times, and that they will issue new timetables in due course. After-school activities will start at 15:30, as they do at present.
There will be four lessons in the morning and one in the afternoon. The new lesson times include 5-minute movement time between morning lessons, as at present. A copy of these new times for your notice board appears at the end of this letter. Mentoring will take place on a rota, as it does presently, a few students meeting with their mentor each day. Most students will therefore be able to have lunch at 13:20 each day. A range of food will be also available at break time. Break will be at 10:45.
To give us enough flexibility to timetable the longer lessons, from September we will also operate a two-week timetable, made up of Week A and Week B. The two weeks will have identical lesson times, but the balance of lessons may vary slightly from one week to the other. For example, a student in year 9 may have three English lessons in one week and four in the other. We will help students to be clear about which week is which, with suitable notices in student planners and on the plasma screens around school. Many of us have had positive experiences of two-week timetables, as teachers, as students and as parents; any confusion is usually short-lived and easily overcome, but we would ask for your support in making sure students are clear about which week is which.
The first day of the year for students will be Friday 4 September. This will be Friday from Week A. The first full week, beginning Monday 7 September, will be Week B. The weeks will then alternate, the pattern continuing after each holiday. For example, Term 1 ends on Thursday 22 October 2015, in Week B; term 2 begins on Monday 2 November, in Week A. Term 2 ends on Friday 18 December 2015, Week A; Term 3 begins in January 2016 with Week B.
From September, year 10 students will find a ‘new’ subject on their timetable, called ‘Identity, Culture and Education’ (‘ICE’ for short). The aim of this subject is to offer a broad-based two-year enrichment course, designed to encourage and challenge students to think about issues of vital importance in twenty-first century Britain. This course will make an important contribution to students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural education, and will include taught lessons, discussions, debates, visiting speakers, and practical sessions. ICE will form part of a coherent programme of thinking skills and enrichment, starting with Thinking and Reasoning in year 7 and moving on to Theory of Knowledge and Approaches to Learning in the sixth form.
There will be an opportunity to find out more about the developments I have outlined in this letter on Wednesday 24 June at 6:00pm. You will also be able to ask any questions you wish. All are welcome.
Finally, I would like to mention how very impressed I have been with the attitude and behaviour of our students during this examination period. It has been very good to see the vast majority of them taking the exams seriously, and also taking the opportunities at break and lunchtime to relax and socialise. Thank you for supporting them – and us – so well at this time.
With all good wishes
Mr A T Fowler
Head of School
Five sixth form students organised a Colour Run to raise funds for the Margate-based charity Oasis Domestic Abuse Service as part of their IBCP course.
Year 8 student Oliver Hampton-Saint won Gold for England in the recent Junior Sea Shore Angling Home Nations competition in County Wexford, Ireland beating teams from Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Oliver is the youngest member of the six stong England team with other team members being aged 16-17years.
Oliver tells us the secrets of the team's success:
‘On the first day we had a really early start, however with all my adrenaline I was wide awake. We drove to our ferry which took us to the beautiful coast of County Wexford. We swiftly arrived at our hotel where I met with all the other England team members. On day one we headed out to our practise venues where we caught piles of flounders and baby eels, this was part of our game plan due to our “spies”. On day two we thought we had it covered in the strategic side of things so when the competition started we were ‘smashing the comp’ however the Scots started catching bigger fish and began to mount a challenge. That is how the rest of the competition went on. When the final day came to an end there was no more we can do...
On day one we were joint 1st, so that meant the next day we needed to work extra hard to beat the Scottish. But as the day went on all the teams had started copying our tactics as we were being really successful. Fortunately we were far enough ahead and I was delighted when we won GOLD for all our hard work; beating the Scottish, Welsh and Irish was really satisfying !!!!’
Year 7 activities week was a mix of business studies, languages and Food Tech. Our main aim at the end of the project was to be able to serve food from France, Germany or Spain in the language of that country in our cafés.
Our languages were decided beforehand, therefore the foods we made in food tech were from the country where the language was spoken. For example we made pain au chocolat as one of the French dishes, paella in Spanish and apfelstrudel in German.
More than 120 year 12 students taking science subjects at Dane Court this year. All of them were busy last week carrying out research projects and creating presentations of their work for an impressive Science Fair on Friday. They were given a general theme and asked to define their own research topic within this. This year’s theme was “Energy” which gave rise to some brilliantly diverse projects; groups worked on topics as varied as the energy involved in lightning, the energy of chemical reactions and even how living cells use sugar to provide energy. The week aims to mirror how scientists work in the “real world” as members of a team and gives the students the opportunity see how their particular scientific skills can be used alongside others.
Friday morning, an early start for all, yet one that would be well rewarded with an ensuing week filled with amazing activities, field trips and enjoyment throughout our stay.