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Sixth Form Prospectus 2017

Oxford and Cambridge Offers for Dane Court Students

DaneCourtOxbridge2016 250pxThree of Dane Court’s sixth form students have been offered a place to study at Oxford and two at Cambridge in the autumn, pending their results.  The entry procedure is a demanding one:  students are required to meet not only the highest of academic standards but then they are rigorously interviewed in their chosen subject by college academics. ‘Sincerest congratulations’ to these successful applicants has come from Executive head teacher Paul Luxmoore, who said: ‘These brilliant students have won offers against increasingly strong competition, both nationally and internationally, across a broad spectrum of subjects. To have almost half of our applicants winning places to study at these world class universities is a wonderful reward, not only for the talent and hard work of our students, but it is also an endorsement of the expertise of our highly committed staff. This is continued evidence of the culture of rising aspirations in our school community and also in Thanet’

Abi Baker left Dane Court in July 2015 and received 43 points: she has been offered an unconditional place to study Veterinary Science at Gonville and Caius, Cambridge. Abi is passionate about the prospect of becoming a vet and the course provides the broad range that Abi finds appealing.

James Howard has been successful in his application to study Geography at Mansfield College, Oxford; he is a talented geographer who has excelled in his studies at Dane Court.

Amy Napier has received an offer to study Natural science at Jesus College, Cambridge: her passion is languages and her contribution to the life of the school in her role as Head Girl has been enormous.

Alex Payne has been offered a place to further his study of Biological Sciences at Somerville, Oxford and is looking forward to the challenge of this demanding course

Alice Rawson has accepted an offer to study Biochemistry at Wadham College, Oxford: Alice is a gifted scientist and her lifetime scientific interest has been endorsed by the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Heads of Sixth Form, Annie Hale and Nilufa Razzaq said, ‘These students capture much of the spirit of Dane Court. They combine intellectual power and a terrific passion for learning with a broader enthusiasm and energy for life beyond the classroom. They have worked really hard, but their success is also a great testimony to the excellent teaching of our colleagues and to the high expectation that we have of all of our students’

Headteacher, Andrew Fowler  said, of those academically gifted students who were unsuccessful,  ‘To have courage to apply, to put in the extra work required in support of your application and then to see others succeed where you have not, takes great strength and determination. Perhaps it is some consolation that it is often from disappointment that we learn most in life. I was extremely impressed this year by those students who were unsuccessful in their application to Cambridge and Oxford. It takes courage to put yourself forward in the knowledge that so many students with the highest predictions are rejected by Cambridge alone. Even to apply is a daunting prospect.’

Table tennis qualifiers

ttennis qual jan16 250pxCongratulations to Dane Court under 16 girls table tennis team who on Sunday 31 January won two and drew two of their four matches to finish runners up in the South East Zonal Tournament in London. This means they have qualified for the Southern Regional Final in Bristol on 20 March 2016.

We were the youngest team there as all the girls, Angel, Annabel, Catherine, Grace and Tayla are currently in year 9.

Thank you to Mr Wallace for driving us there and back plus encouraging and supporting the team.

Parents Emotional First Aid

efa logo 250pxEveryone knows you’re a parent... but do you remember who you are!

When we become parents our priorities change, we take on the responsibility of another little person and we tend to get so focused on this we forget we are still a person in our own right.

Parents’ emotional first aid will help you re-discover you!

We sometimes feel that we must be the only person in the world feeling the way we feel. Parents’ emotional first aid will help you recognise that we all share similar thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours to varying degrees.

The course helps to create strategies for our anxieties; identify the stress factors in our everyday lives; gain a better understanding of ourselves and promote a healthier sense of our own wellbeing. It is delivered by trained facilitators over 6 sessions, each lasting half a day.

Dates and location of future courses are to be confirmed.
Further information about Parents Emotional First aid is available at: http://www.emotionalfirstaid.co.uk/course-parents

If you are interested in this course please contact Mrs Brissenden at the school.

Chemistry at Work

ChemistryAtWork 250pxThe long awaited day of chemistry had arrived. I stood gathered outside the minibus with nothing but my lust for science and some jam sandwiches in my bag. The coach trip was long but scenic, with lush British countryside and a few hamlets along the way.

We pulled up at the school. It looked like something off a fantasy novel, like that Harry Potter one I picked up at Waterstones. We rolled up the long drive, every one of us dwarfed by the large football and rugby pitches. We managed to catch a glimpse of the school building; it was grand and old fashioned, with a gigantic wooden door. After 10 minutes of getting lost we had managed to crawl into a parking space and disembark our vehicle. Everyone mustered in the car park and watched in awe as five tennis courts came into view. I started to wonder whether my jam sandwiches were any match for the cooked lobster that they may serve at this school. We were led into a glass hall where we were given badges with our names on. I looked at my badge and realised that they had spelt my name wrong! Now at this point I had already realised that I spell my name absurdly and I carried on unaffected. We were shuffled from courtyard to courtyard and through a library until we eventually reached the theatre, where the lecture would take place. We then sat down in the upper rows.

Our first lecture was about carbon structures. We were taught about the structures of carbon on a molecular level: How graphite is made up of carbon sheets whilst diamond is made of a more pyramidic structure. Afterwards, we were taught that people have broken down the graphite sheets into a single sheet, known as graphene (which won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics). Graphene is a sheet of interconnected hexagons of carbon atoms. By adding a few pentagons between the hexagons, this structure can be shaped into something with the same geometry as a football. This is called Buckminsterfullerene or a ‘Buckyball’ (named after the architect who first used these structures: Buckminster Fuller). We also learnt that this type of structure has been used for architecture all around the world. They were used in the construction of the Eden Project and Science World, Vancouver, plus many more.

After the lecture we were invited for a complimentary lunch, which we gobbled down before going exploring in the adjacent courtyard. Our next lecture was the ‘Science Behind Breaking Bad’.

Once again, we sat down in the upper rows of the theatre. I grabbed my trusty pencil and prized notepad and without warning we dived straight into the world of Breaking Bad. We discovered that methamphetamine was created by the Japanese in the late 1800s as a stimulant for soldiers. It was also used in the 1950s as a slimming treatment. We also learnt about:

  • Phosphorus and how it reacts with water vapour to form the mustard gas and other infamous gasses used in the First World War. In Breaking Bad, Walter White produced phosphine gas on the spot to poison the drug bandits trying to steal his precious recipe for methamphetamine.
  • Mercury fulminate is a very unstable explosive. If triggered by heat, shock or friction it will explode. Walter uses a small vial of mercury fulminate to create an explosion in an encounter with a drug lord and threatens a much larger one with a whole bag of mercury fulminate if he doesn’t pay up.
  • The thermite reaction was used for welding tram tracks together in the 1890s. The reaction reaches temperatures of up to 2500 ˚C. Walter sets a bag of thermite reactants alight to trigger the reaction and melt open a locked door of a warehouse to steal precious supplies.

After we had indulged ourselves with enough scientific knowledge to satisfy a small laboratory, we headed home.

For more on the chemistry of Breaking Bad, have a look at The Royal Society of Chemistry website

 

Sir Ian McKellen: an inspirational visit

MO1L2011 250pxDane Court Grammar School recently hosted a surprise visit by the acclaimed actor, film star and gay rights campaigner Sir Ian McKellen. Sir Ian came to Dane Court in his role as one of the founding members of the charity Stonewall. The charity campaigns for equality on behalf of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. One of Stonewall’s principal aims is to educate as many young people as possible about the importance of equality.

Dane Court has been working with Stonewall for the last two years, raising the profile of equality within the school. This project has been supported by Stonewall's ‘Train the Trainer’ programme; so far three members of staff from Dane Court and another ten from other local schools have successfully completed the programme. This training gives staff the tools, resources, strategies, and confidence to go back their schools, train other staff and immediately challenge any homophobic issues that may exist in the school and local community.

Sir Ian McKellen captivated the whole school as he talked candidly about his life experiences. The students were then given a unique opportunity to ask Sir Ian questions. These questions showed impressive levels of the maturity and empathy that Dane Court is so keen to develop within its students. Before he finished, Sir Ian treated the students to an inspiring performance of part of one of William Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays, Sir Thomas More, a hugely relevant piece with its references to the plight of refugee migrants.

A select group of students was able to spend time with Sir Ian to explain the progress Dane Court is making in addressing issues of equality. Sir Ian was delighted with the progress that has already been made and was most impressed by the school’s commitment to tackling prejudice of all types.

There was a fantastic buzz around the school from staff and students alike, with many comments being shared in school and online.

Eleven year old student Lauren Gutridge had a particularly special encounter with Sir Ian. Lauren, who has a hearing impairment, said “When Sir Ian McKellen was talking about Stonewall I couldn’t hear what he was saying, so I got my radio aid and asked him if I could put round his neck. I was a bit anxious as to how he would react when I told him about my hearing disability. He was really understanding and whispered to me “Don’t worry what other people think.” then I said, “I won’t.” Then he told the whole school that having a hearing disability doesn’t mean that you should be treated any differently. The whole school cheered and that made me feel ecstatic. Then he kissed me on top of my head and hugged me and told me that I was special and that really touched my heart.”

One member of staff remarked, "What a wonderful experience it was to meet Sir Ian today. It is something the students will remember for ever - and the staff for that matter! I thought he spoke brilliantly and I was very moved by what he had to say; he was so relaxed and really connected with our students."

Visit the Stonewall website

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View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://danecourt.kent.sch.uk/index.php?start=32#sigProId94d045c643

Sunday Times ‘Top 200 Schools’

sunday times 250pxDane Court is celebrating its extraordinary rating in the Sunday Times ‘Top 200 State Secondary Schools’. The table measures the percentage of students gaining A* and A grades at GCSE and the percentage of students gaining A* to B at A level or equivalent. Out of nearly 3,500 state secondary schools, Dane Court came 98th equal in the whole country, beating other Kent grammar schools, such as Invicta Grammar School (112th), Highworth Grammar School (151st), Maidstone Grammar School for Girls (159th), Barton Court (171st), Sir Roger Manwood’s (174th), Maidstone Grammar School for Boys (180th), Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys (191st) and Dover Grammar School for Girls (194th). Simon Langton Girls came 228th and Chatham and Clarendon House came 292nd.
Paul Luxmoore, Executive Head of Coastal Academies Trust, said ‘This phenomenal achievement is proof of the effectiveness of the International Baccalaureate. Dane Court students are competing with and out performing students in some of the most selective schools in the UK. We offer the IB precisely because it gives our students a massive advantage. Young people from Thanet are easily outperforming those from towns like Tonbridge and this will, in turn, lead to offers from the better universities and better job opportunities in the future. Dane Court is punching well above its weight and that is an achievement that the whole of Thanet should be proud of.’
Andrew Fowler, Dane Court’s Headteacher, said ‘This brilliant result is no fluke. It is the result of very hard work by a hugely talented and dedicated staff, as well as the commitment and intelligence of our wonderful students. I am immensely proud of their achievement and determined that we should perform at an even higher level next year and into the future.’
The International Baccalaureate Diploma requires students to study six academic subjects, including an extended essay, a course of the Theory of Knowledge and 150 hours of community related work. Students must study a foreign language, Maths, English and at least one science. The IB Careers – related Programme requires students to study at least two IB subjects, as well as a vocational subject, together with a very well designed and flexible core that links these areas of study together. There is increasing evidence that universities and employers prefer the IB to A levels because it offers a broader range of study and develops students who are more resilient and self-reliant.

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Japanese Pen Pal Project

penpal2This year, IBDP students studying Ab initio Japanese have begun correspondence with students attending Kitakyushu National College of Technology in Fukuoka in Japan. Pen pals were assigned to each student, and started by sending an introductory letter in Japanese to said partners, before receiving a reply in both English and Japanese. We have found it very beneficial to our studies because it gives us sufficient practice in reading and writing Japanese outside the classroom. This will continue for the present students until next year as the next line of students begin their pen pal project.

One of Year 13 ab initio Japanese students says “I like the idea. It is enjoyable because it’s different to writing in exams. It’s also helped me with using sentence structures, using extensive vocabulary, and reading Kanji characters”. Some comment on how, “It’s fun to communicate with Japanese people abroad.” Others have also expressed interest in questioning their pen pals about their different culture and lifestyles, stating that, “It was enlightening; I enjoyed communicating with someone from a different culture as it helped me better understand the culture.”

Having initially started from an idea presented by one of the students in the previous year, there are high hopes that this will be an activity for all Japanese Ab Initio students to participate in for years to come. If possible, this sort of correspondence could lead to future exciting developments for IBCP students studying Japanese and culture.

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