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Chatter 17 - Easter 2021

Chatter8 250pxDane Court's student newspaper Chatter team have been working super hard both from home and back in school (hoorah!) over a couple of very unusual terms, to bring you this special bumper edition of Chatter.

Bursting with many fantastic articles to read from students across the school, such as how the students feel about the return to school and some of the amazing work they got up to from home. Our fantastic students have also been reporting on what they have been doing outside of school, reviewing music albums and their creative writing.
Also in this edition there are details of what is happening in the library, Easter recipes and lots of competitions you can enter. Not forgetting our own competition to win £20 to spend when the shops reopen!!
If anyone would like to join the chatter team just come along and see what we get up to, details on meetings can be given to you by your form mentor or by emailing Mrs Cronin. We meet on week B for years 7, 8 and 9 or week A for years 10 and above. Students from across the school are very welcome and 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 and happy Easter holiday. Look after yourselves and each other but most of all ensure you all have a good well earned rest over the holidays.

Read Chatter 17

See all Chatter publications

Japanese Pen Pal

IMG 20210316 WA0010 420pxAs same as every year, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) students in Year 13 studying the Ab initio Japanese course have been enjoying exchanging letters with the students at Kitakyushu National College of Technology in Fukuoka in Japan.
The students write letters in both Japanese and English, so that our Ab initio students can practice writing and reading Japanese and the Japanese students can practice communicating in English.
Harley, one of our students, said “I think that writing to a Japanese penpal is interesting and fun! I learnt extra vocabulary and got to practice my writing and reading skills as well as have lots of fun making a new friend.”
Yasmin also said “I enjoyed writing pen pal letters because it gave me a way to become familiar with everyday language and learn about the culture from a personal view. It was fun making friends, too!”
Marli added “It was really fun to practise Japanese writing and reading whilst making a friend at the same time! It was an interesting way to learn about Japanese culture and share my own culture with my penpal too! It was also a great way to stay motivated to practise Japanese in the difficult time of COVID-19.”
Mr Shinichi Watanabe, the Japanese teacher in the Kitakyusyu National College of Technology mentioned "It is not an easy task for Japanese students to learn English. Sometimes they get tired of learning, but it is very encouraging for them to read the letters from the students who are learning Japanese at Dane Court Grammar School. It has been six years since the exchange started, and we hope that the exchange will continue for a long time to come".
Yuma Iwamoto, one of the Japanese pen pals mentioned "This correspondence activity has been a very important and interesting experience for me. I was very happy when my penpal asked me the meaning of my name. I would not have been able to communicate so much with foreigners without this activity. I would like to exchange letters more."
We have found it greatly beneficial to our studies because it gives us sufficient practice in reading and writing Japanese outside the classroom. It is also nice to keep contact with each other over the countries under the current difficult times due to Covid.

Staff raising cash for Pilgrims Hospices

Pilgrims Hospices logoThe staff well-being committee at Dane Court Grammar School has launched a challenge for all Dane Court staff to help our physical and mental well being whilst bringing everyone together to reach a collective goal and with the added bonus of raising money for charity. Members of staff will travel a virtual route around Europe visiting each of the places that gave our school houses their names.
The route is 5492 miles and we have 2 months to complete it. Everyone on the staff team can contribute their actual miles travelled under their own steam. For example, walking the dog, inside on a treadmill or exercise bike, outside running, walking or cycling, horse riding and swimming - literally any kind of physical activity that can be measured in miles.

The staff well-being team are maintaining a record of accumulated activity and will be keeping everyone up to date with the progress ‘around Europe’ We would like to raise at least £500 for Pilgrims
Hospices so please follow the link to donate:


A virtual trip around Europe (using Google Maps walking route)

Dane Court to Neuchatel Castle, Neuchatel = 461 miles
Neuchatel Castle to La Rambla, Barcelona = 530 miles
La Rambla to Piazza Tasso, Sorrento = 739 miles
Piazza Tasso to Temple of Apollo, Delphi = 607 miles
Temple of Apollo to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn = 1727 miles
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral to Suomenlinna, Helsinki = 56 miles
Suomenlinna, Helsinki back to Dane Court = 1372 miles
Grand total = 5492 miles

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Learning from home and online safety

boars head 54x64pxDear Parent/Carer
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:

thinkuknow 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.
logo-desktop 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
ChildLine: www.childline.org.uk
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
safer internet 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 Childnet: www.childnet.com
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 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

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