Learning from home and online safety
Published: Thursday, 07 January 2021 11:24
Written by Mr M Jones
As you will all be aware, Dane Court Grammar School is now closed (except for a small group of students) in response to the current situation with coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are aware that this is likely to mean that many children will be spending an increased amount of time online over the coming weeks. Online safety is an important part of keeping children safe at Dane Court and as such we would like to share some helpful advice to help you consider how you can keep your family safer online at home.
Follow the GOLDen Rules
G is for Ground Rules
- Discuss and agree as a family how the internet will be used in your house at a level that is appropriate to your children's ability and age.
- Discuss with your children what they think is and isn't acceptable to do online, then add your own rules and boundaries to the list.
- Decide on what information should be kept private online, such as contact information, photos in school uniform, and agree rules for making and meeting online friends.
- Set clear boundaries relating to use of webcams, video chat, live streaming and live voice on different devices; even when children are talking to people they already know, they can still experience risks. Find more information about live streaming at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/what-is-live-streaming/
- Explore how to create strong passwords and discuss how to keep passwords safe, for example not sharing them with their friends or using the same password for several accounts.
- You might find it helpful to write 'grounds rules' down as a visual reminder. See a template 'family agreement' at: www.childnet.com/resources/family-agreement
- Remember these are whole family rules, so consider your own use of the internet and lead by example. Think about how much time you spend online and consider the information you are sharing
- on your social networks about your children and who can see it.
- Share quality time together. Consider nominating 'tech -free' areas or times, such as your child's bedroom or dinner time, where you can give each other undivided attention and share offline
- experiences, like reading a book together.
O is for Online Safety
- Install antivirus software and secure your internet connection.
- More advice on online security can be accessed at www.getsafeonline.org/
- Make the most of the parental controls on your children's internet enabled devices and games consoles to help restrict access to inappropriate content. They can also help you manage how much
- time your child spends online.
- Do your research and select the tools which are most suitable to you, your child and the technology in your home. Find more information on parental controls at:
- Set up filters on internet search engines to limit the likelihood of your children accidentally coming across inappropriate content when searching online.
- Ensure your child understands that parental controls are in place to protect them, not restrict them; some children will actively work around parental controls if they feel constrained without knowing why.
- Read any parental guidance and safety recommendations for games, apps or websites before allowing your child to use them.
- The following guides provide balanced information to help you make informed decisions:
- Be aware that parental control tools and filters are not always 100% effective and you can't rely on them alone to protect your child online. It's important to monitor and supervise your child's online activities; where possible access should take place in a family area, but this will depend on the age and ability of your child.
L is for Learning
The internet provides vast opportunities for children, both educationally and socially, especially during the current situation. As adults, it is important that we acknowledge the many wonderful and positive opportunities the internet provides for our children; we just need to steer them in the right direction.
- Ensure you make appropriate checks on anyone online offering educational support to you and your child; whilst many people will be acting with good intentions, it's important that we are all vigilant when children are using the internet and act together to ensure they are protected from anyone who may pose a risk to them.
- Encourage your child's creativity by teaching them how to take photos or make videos safely; these can be used to make a collage or be shared with family and friends.
- Being online should be a sociable activity; keep your devices in a communal area and take it in turns to choose a game or video that the whole family can enjoy together. Why not take it in turns the good old fashioned way to beat the highest scorer?!
- Create learning opportunities; just because they're not at school, doesn't mean children can't continue to learn new things. There are a number of educational apps and resources available online or simply encourage your children to safely research different things online.
At Dane Court, staff will be setting work via Google Classroom.
D is for Dialogue
- Maintain an open mind and positive attitude when talking with your child about the internet. Take an active interest in your child's online activities and engage in their online world with them.
- Ask your child which games, apps, websites or tools they like to use and why; playing together with your child can often open opportunities to discuss safe behaviour online.
- Ask your child if they know where to go for help; do they know where to find safety advice or information about privacy settings and know how to report or block users on their games and websites.
- Make sure your child knows that they should come to you, or another trusted adult, for help if something happens online that makes them feel scared, worried or uncomfortable.
Websites to visit for more information:
||Think U Know: www.thinkuknow.co.uk
The National Crimes Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP) have a website which is suitable for children aged 5-16 and a section just for parents/carers with advice and information.
||NSPCC: www.net-aware.org.uk and www.nspcc.org.uk/onlinesafety
The NSPCC have produced resources for parents, including Net Aware, a tool which reviews some of the most popular apps. The website has helpful advice for parents about issues such as online grooming, 'sexting' and cyberbullying. They also provide a helpline for parents: 0808 8005002
The ChildLine website has a wide range of info and advice on both online and offline safety. There is info about online gaming, grooming which can be shared with children. They also provide a helpline for children: 0800 1111
||UK Safer Internet Centre: www.saferinternet.org.uk
UK Safer Internet Centre provides a wide variety of advice and guidance to help you discuss online safety with your children. There are useful checklists for privacy settings on social networks and suggestions to consider before buying devices for your children.
Childnet has resources, including videos and storybooks, to help you discuss online safety with your children. It includes advice on setting up parental controls, cyberbullying and setting up a family agreement for safer internet use.
||Internet Matters: www.internetmatters.org
Internet Matters bring you all the information you need to keep your children safe online. It has a tool which guides you through how to set up parental controls on all the different devices in your home to protect your children.
||Parent Info: www.parentinfo.org
Parent Info provides information to parents and carers about a wide range of subject matter, from difficult topics about sex, relationships and the internet or body image and peer pressure to broader parenting topics like 'how much sleep do teenagers need?'
||BBC "Own It" Website and App: www.bbc.com/ownit and www.bbc.com/ownit/takecontrol/own-it-app
The BBC Own It Website aims to help children aged 8-13 "be the boss" of their online lives. The website has a range of videos and activities to explore with children and even has a helpful app which can be installed on children's devices to help them use technology responsibility.
If you are worried
Be alert to any changes in behaviour, language and attitude in your child that may indicate that something is upsetting them online, for example, if your child starts to withdraw from family and friends or becomes secretive about their online behaviour.
If your child discloses an online issue or concern to you, ensure you listen to them. o Avoid being angry or blaming them; reassure them that they have done the right thing by telling you.
- Take their concerns seriously; even if you feel they are overreacting or their worries are unfounded, it is important not to dismiss their feelings as this can prevent them from coming to you for help again in the future.
- Support your child to report and block people online who may have tried to contact them or have sent them nasty or inappropriate messages or content.
- Help your child to report to the site or service where the concern happened.
Depending on the issue, you can report specific concerns online at:
Safeguarding Information During School Closure
If you have any safeguarding concerns please contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead (Mr S
Sunderland) and/or the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (Mrs A Ives and Ms R Rolls) during normal school hours (8:30am - 3:30pm) by calling the main school telephone number (01843 864941). Outside of these times, if you are concerned that a child is at risk, please contact Integrated Children's Services on 03000 411111 (office hours) or 03000 419191 (out of office hours). If a child is in immediate danger, you should call 999.
Mr M Jones
Chatter 16 - Christmas 2020
Published: Friday, 18 December 2020 14:30
Written by The Chatter Team
Dane Court's student newspaper Chatter team have been working super hard both from home & in school over a couple of very unusual terms, to bring you this special festive edition of Chatter that we hope you will enjoy.
Bursting with many fantastic articles to read from students across the school, such as how the year 7s & students settled back into school life for example. Our fantastic students have also been reporting on what they have been doing outside of school, reviewing tv shows, music albums & the US Presidency.
Also in this edition there are details of what is happening in the library, Armistice Day celebrations and lots of helpful suggestions to survive the festive season. Not forgetting our competition to win £15 to spend in the January sales!!
If anyone would like to join the chatter team when we return to school, or just come along and see what we get up to, details on meetings can be found in this edition or by emailing Mrs Cronin. Students from across the school are very welcome & if you aren't very good at writing we always need a hand at editing! It would be especially great to hear from you!
Chatter would like to wish all student's, staff, the PTA and their families a safe & happy Christmas along with a healthy New Year. Look after yourselves & each other but most of all ensure you all have a good well earned rest over the holidays.
We look forward to seeing you in 2021!
The Chatter team
Read Chatter 16
See all Chatter publications
Our merit scheme
Published: Thursday, 29 October 2020 05:11
Written by Miss D Loveday
At Dane Court we run a merit scheme to recognise the exceptional effort and behaviour that our students demonstrate inside and outside of the classroom.
Read more ...
Published: Thursday, 08 October 2020 06:52
Written by Mr M Alderson
Weekly coronavirus-related news summaries from March to September 2020
Week commencing 21 September 2020 +
Week commencing 7 September 2020 +
We are offering a limited number of extra-curricular PE activities during term 1.
Week commencing 31 August 2020 +
- We have published an addendum to our full attendance policy
- We have published our policies specific to sixth form on conduct, dress code and attendance and punctuality.
- Headteacher Mr Jones wrote a letter to all parents and guardians welcoming existing and new students at the start of term 1.
Accompanying the letter was a message containing details of the first two days of term and an notice about students' personal water bottles and which types are safe to be refilled using our free water dispensing machines:
- Staggered leaving times: this will continue until Friday 11 September. The exact timings can be found on the timetable that was also sent out last week. From Monday 14 September all students will be leaving at 3:20pm.
- School site will be closed promptly at 4:30pm daily- Water bottles: students will be allowed to refill water bottles at the water stations around the school as long as they have a removable drinking section, please see illustration below:
Week commencing 24 August 2020 +
- A message from Mr Pleasant & Mrs Linton to students joining our sixth form or continuing their studies:
"Dear students & parents, here is the letter sent previously which outlines the arrangements for the first day in September. We look forward to welcoming you between 8:00am and 8:30am through the main entrance."
- Head of School, Mr Jones has written to all parents regarding face coverings in school. Read the letter here.
- We have received information from our school bus operator Stagecoach and Kent County Council (KCC).
Read more here.
- We have published our usual Summer Mailing for the academic year 2020-2021. It contains the latest versions of information and policy documents most of which are relevant to all students and parents.
Documents related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here.
- To accommodate our COVID-19 precautions, there will be a few changes to routine activities so we have written to all parents with some requests and advice to help the start of term run smoothly. Here is a summary.
- On Thursday 27 August 2020 we sent two emails to parents of students due to attend school from Thursday next week. They contain detailed information and guidance about our full reopening next week.
The following file contains all the information from both emails in PDF format:
Emails to parents about first two school days in September 2020
- If you are considering paying us a visit or have an appointment, please read our COVID-19 Visitor Policy first.
Week commencing 17 August 2020 +
- The letter accompanying the GCSE results collected in school by year 11 students on 20 August 2020 is available here.
- We have prepared a fact sheet about this year's GCSE results for year 11 students and their parents to them help understand the information they will receive tomorrow.
- ALL year 10 students
Ms Rolls has written to all year 10 students regarding the procedure for receiving GCSE Statistics results.
Read the year 10 letter here.
- ALL year 11 students
Ms Rolls has written to all year 11 students regarding the procedure for receiving GCSE results on Thursday 20 August 2020.
Read the year 11 letter here.
Week commencing 10 August 2020 +
- ALL year 11 students
Ms Rolls has written to all year 11 students regarding the procedure for receiving GCSE results on Thursday 20 August 2020. Read the letter here.
- Message for all year 13 IBCP students
- As you know, the results for your vocational subject arrive in school on Thursday, 13 August 2020. You will need to come into school at a certain time (dependent on the career-related subject you studied) to collect your result.
Details of the times, coronavirus precautions you will need to take and what to do if you need to do if you cannot attend are in this letter from Mrs Linton.
- ALL year 13 students
This week is important for many of you;
- waiting for your vocational results (see above also)
- told by universities that you must wait until A Level results are released before confirmation of your place.
We're here to help should you consider making univeristy applications through Clearing.
Week commencing 3 August 2020 +
- The sixth and final part of our guide for students starting with us in year 7 has been posted on the Year 6 transition page (you will need to scroll down to find it).
Week commencing 27 July 2020 +
- We have published Part 5 of our guide to starting in year 7 at Dane Court Grammar School. It can be found on the Year 6 transition page (you will need to scroll down a little).
Week commencing 20 July 2020 +
- In preparation for our return to school in September 2020 and with reference to teaching and learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have written to all parents informing them of the changes that we have made to how lessons will be delivered should their child have to self-isolate, if the year group bubble is required to self-isolate or if the school or the area in which they live, is locked down.
Teaching and Learning - September 2020
Week commencing 13 July 2020 +
Week commencing 6 July 2020 +
- Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme results were released on Monday 6 July. They represent the fruits of our year 13 students' exceptional effort over nearly two years. Read the highlights.
- We are around the time of the year where we would normally have Sports Day, an athletics competition where houses compete. In an attempt to have a school sporting challenge this school year, we would like to invite all students to take part in Virtual Sports Week Challenge, beginning on Monday 13 July 2020 and ending at 3:00pm on Friday 17 July. Read more here.
Week commencing 29 June 2020 +
- To support our face-to-face year 6 transition events planned for 16 and 17 July 2020, we are producing a series of online presentations suitable for both students and parents to help you become more familiar with the school. The first part is available to view on our Year 6 transition page. Please check the page weekly as we will be uploading new presentations each covering a different aspect of school life.
- All year 13 students
A letter detailing the arrangements for collecting your IB results is being emailed to you, It is important to read this letter so that you can get your results as quickly as possible.
IBCP students please note that the results of your career-related qualification are released on 13 August 2020 and you will be emailed instructions on how to receive them nearer the time.
- We have published an important message from Mrs Rolls for year 11 students. It includes instructions about preparing for textbook return and clearing your locker.
Plus, updates about Transition activities and GCSE results day.
Week commencing 22 June 2020 +
- We have published an important message from Mrs Rolls for year 11 students. It includes instructions about preparing for textbook return and clearing your locker.
Plus, updates about Transition activities and GCSE results day.
- On Thursday and Friday this week we welcome back the first of our year 12 students. Groups of Year 10 students continue to attend school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
letter containing guidance for parents of those year 12 students returning
was sent home on 5 June 2020.
Week commencing 15 June 2020 +
Week commencing 8 June 2020 +
- We have published week 4 of our transition programme for year 11 students wishing to join us in September 2020.
There now more subject enrichment materials to explore.
- Thanet Inclusion Support Service has passed on two useful Newsletter-style lists of help sources and advice on the subject of emotional wellbeing. One is designed for
parents and carers
and the other focuses on support for
for parents of year 6 students joining us in September has been published on our year 6 transition page. It includes details of;
- PE kit requirements and purchase
- uniform requirements
- our online payment system called WisePay
- registering for free school meals and
- school use of photographic and film footage of students
- We have published addenda to our first aid and health and safety policies:
Week commencing 1 June 2020 +
- Mrs Holmes would like to draw your attention to a potentially useful website.
She says, "It details book reviews and recommendations for children to help with physical, emotional and mental health, written by someone with a wealth of knowledge on the subject". The following link will take you to each subject and then list the books, and book reviews:
Week commencing 25 May 2020 +
Week commencing 18 May 2020 +
- We have published three documents providing help and and advice to parents, carers and students about mental health and wellbeing:
- Mr Jones has written a
to parents and carers containing information received from Kent County Council
to parents from Kent Educational Psychology Service along with a dowloadable version of a
providing Guidance around supporting children and young people's wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.
- We have launched our transition progamme for year 11 students intending to join our sixth form in September.
This includes students joining from other schools.
- Dane Court Grammar School staff were pleased and privileged to provide practical support to Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School's Design Technology department in their amazing visors for health workers project last month. Congratulations to them for being nominated for the Daily Telegraph DIY Lockdown Awards and making it to the top three.
Week commencing 11 May 2020 +
- From the start of Lockdown our Food Technology department has been asking students in years 7, 8 and 9 to get creative in their kitchens with the aim of cooking meals for their families at home and then reporting back with recipes and photos of their creations.
Initially Mrs Leese recommended a couple of recipes to give the students a little help but the project soon became a popular activity with some students planning day-to-day menus and recording 'consumer feedback'. Click here to see a small selection of meals and individual courses developed by our students over their time in Lockdown.
- Ellie is one of our very talented year 9 students, who wanted to compose a song to express how much she missed her friends and school life here at Dane Court. Ellie has perfectly captured how much school and her friends mean to her, in: 'Don't Be Afraid'.
Listen and view the video here.
Week commencing 4 May 2020 +
- Inspired by the tasks being set for her year group by the Food Technology department, Sophia in year 8 devised her own.
This is her Family Cooking Challenge complete with evaluations or "What went well" (WWW) and suggestions for improvement or "Even better if..." (EBI) ready for the next time Sophia takes on feeding the family for two whole days. Read more here.
Week commencing 20 April 2020 +
- We have written a
letter to parents
about the Government temporarily extending the eligibility criteria for free school meals to some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds.
- Mrs Holmes asks students -
Are you getting enough sleep?
However you answer this question, you should find her notes very useful.
- Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust have created a COVID-19 FAQs for parents page on their website. It contains lots of useful advice and references to other organisations who can help.
- Our Head of School, Mr Jones marks the start of Term 5 in a
letter to parents
- This week Dane Court staff supported Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School (CCGS) in its truly amazing efforts to provide face shields (visors) for health workers on the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus (COVID-19). Read the story.
Week commencing 13 April 2020 +
- Thanet Inclusion Support Service has provided us with an updated list of external services to support parents with children at home during lockdown mentioned in this more detailed article.
- Our Food Technology department would love all Dane Court students to share photos of their cooking with us.
Years 7-10 have a Google Classroom space to upload photos of their cooking to. We are so impressed with all of the cooking that has been shared so far. Keep it up Dane Court.
This week's recipe is for
mini fruity pasties
. There are some filling suggestions on the recipe - let us know if you come up with any other ideas.
Week commencing 6 April 2020 +
- When your child is ill or injured it is very difficult to decide if/when to call your child’s GP, NHS 111 or go the Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). During the current situation and while the government is asking everyone to stay at home, it can be confusing to know what to do.
Here is some guidance
designed by primary and secondary care clinicians from Barts Health & North-East London
- The Chatterers (a group of Dane Court student journalists and editors) have not allowed lockdown to halt publication of the Spring edition of the student newspaper DCGS Chatter. Download your copy here.
- We've published an addendum to our
Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
You can read it here:
ADDENDUM - DC Safeguarding and CP Policy
Week commencing 30 March 2020 +
- People will be reacting in different ways to the change in lifestyle, and we are aware that some of our students and their families are finding it hard to adjust to the new restrictions. With this in mind, our colleagues at the Thanet Inclusion Support Service have compiled some resources to support parents with children at home during lockdown.
Firstly, there is a
list of external services
still available for support or set up to help support the community during the crisis. Contact details for these services are provided, however please bear in mind the speed at which the landscape is changing; some services may be difficult to reach or may have already been withdrawn.
Secondly, they have created a
pack of resources
to support positive mental health and provide emotional support while at home. These are activities that can be explored by the whole family if necessary.
- Faced with a global pandemic, Emily keeps calm and carries on. Service Learning is an important element of our IB career-related programme (IBCP) in the sixth form which could have been hit hard by the coronavirus measures.
Under normal circumstances students liaise with members of the local community and undertake unpaid and voluntary activities that help the community and also have a learning benefit for the student. That's not even a possibility at the moment but thanks to the swift action and advice of her teachers IBCP student Emily Vaccaro has devised a plan. Read more here.
- Our Food Technology department has been ecouraging year 8 students to get involved with the preparation of meals at home and many have taken photos of the delicious-looking creations and submitted them to their Food Tech Google Classroom.
Inspired by the response, Mrs Leese has started uploading more recipes (at least one each week) to this website.
Take a look here.
Week commencing 23 March 2020 +