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.
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
We encourage students to make use of their digital devices to support their learning. However, there are occasions when they can be used inappropriately and there have been incidents of cyberbullying that have been brought to our attention.
The minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13.
For Vine, Tinder and Yik Yak it's 17. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, although a 13 year-old can signup with a parent's permission. But according to The Social Age Study by knowthenet.org.uk, approximately 59% of children have already used a social network by the time they are 10.
As a school we have a duty to safeguard our students and while we cannot police their social networking we can try to encourage responsible use. Support from parents and guardians is essential to our success in keeping our students safe, and we know it can sometimes seem an uphill task to keep up with the expansion of social networking.
The following are very useful sites for every one who has the interests of young peoples’ online safety at heart, and we would encourage you to take some time to explore them:
Parents may also wish to take advantage of www.parentsprotect.co.uk
It is a comprehensive resource designed to raise awareness about safeguarding children, answer questions and give information, advice and support with particular reference to child sexual abuse and internet safety. Anyone working with or looking after children will find topics covered very helpful.
Driving through the Mont Blanc Mountain, the coach gave a small cheer as we officially crossed from France to Italy, the tunnel opening onto the Aosta valley where we were greeted with 24 degree heat and beautiful sunshine at the bottom of the mountain.
The next event will take place on Saturday 13 June 2015.
NO NEED TO BOOK - JUST TURN UP ON THE DAY.
Stalls holders £7 (car); £10 (van)
Open to general public from 7:30am and refreshments are available.
Subsequent boot fairs in 2015 will be held on:
11 July, 12 September and 10 October
The Dane Court Grammar School Parents Association's monthly boot fairs takes place typically on the second Saturday of each month between April and October at the school from 7:30am.
The devastation caused by the earthquake in Nepal on Saturday 26 April 2015 has left tens of thousands dead or injured with many more homeless or so frightened that aftershocks will trigger the collapse of more buildings that they sleep in cars and tents in open spaces. Nepal's emergency services are struggling to cope with the size of the disaster and the rest of the world is responding.
The Railway Swing Band and Dane Court Jazz Band performed together recently and the event was a resounding success. Both bands thrilled the audience with their variety of music and entertaining swing and jazz styles. Two of Dane Court's talented students, Chloe Gaddes and Reuben- James Gilbery are already regular members of the Railway Swing Band and have completed several concerts with them. We look forward to the Railway Swing Band performing again next year at the school.
Five sixth form students from Dane Court Grammar School completed their submission for the Engineering Education Scheme last Friday. The scheme culminated in a celebration and assessment event held at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
The aim of the scheme is to provide students with an insight into the potential career opportunities available in the engineering industry. Teams work on a real time engineering project set by a local company then have six months to resolve the problem, create a solution, prepare a report and present their ideas to a panel of assessors. Dane Court has been generously supported by Instro Precision Ltd, Broadstairs (Instro) for a number of years by providing a wide variety of challenging tasks and this year was no exception.
The task this year was to create an environment to simulate a typical dust storm that equipment developed by Instro would be subject to in hostile working conditions. If the equipment passes these in house test conditions then it would be sent for official certification with a high degree of certainty that it will pass.
The team developed a variety of solutions and, after some prototyping and discussion with the engineers at Instro, produced a successful outcome that they were able to successfully test to ensure it met industry standards.
Paul Dean, Head of Design Technology said 'This is an outstanding scheme that gives our students a unique opportunity to explore the opportunities presented by potential careers in engineering. This year's team produced an excellent solution to the problem and their presentation was well received by the panel of assessors. As a result the team are likely to receive a Gold CREST award for their efforts. CREST is an industry award scheme that recognises creativity in engineering, science and technology.'
Student Emily Watkins described her experience 'I learned a lot about teamwork as there were occasions where we did not agree on things so would have to talk problems through to arrive at the best possible solution. I also learnt a lot about engineering and what it would be like to have a job in the industry as you have to complete tasks within a deadline'
Tom Jury, Engineering Manager at Instro and chair of the Kent Area of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers added 'Britain is currently lacking in good professional engineers, especially mechanical engineers. Schemes such as EES do not only give huge benefits to the students in introducing them to engineering but also benefit the companies. It was a pleasure to work with the team from Dane Court the students displayed some very good engineering knowledge and implemented a good solution that Instro hopes to adopt as part of their feasibility testing'