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2weekTT 1516 250pxI 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.

Lesson Length: 60 minutes

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).

Start and Finish 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.

Lesson Times

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.

Two-Week Timetable

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.

ICE – a new course for Year 10

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.

Information Evening

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
Yours sincerely
Mr A T Fowler
Head of School

Download the original letter
pdf At-a-glance calendar for 2015-2016 (127 KB)

EESTeam2015 250pxFive 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'

MO1L9712 250pxWith a traditional fancy dress finale our year 13 students completed their time at Dane Court today.

Arriving just before morning break allowed the rest of the school to gather around and marvel at the fantastic costumes.

The year 13s followed the show with a farewell assembly where they were joined by their mentors for fond remeniscing.

Of course, they will return to sit their exams over the next few weeks and we wish them everey succes.

bbc news report 250pxDane Court students joined forces with King Ethelbert school students for BBC News School Report. They worked hard to meet the deadline and see their presentations go live at 1600 GMT on News Day, Thursday 19 March 2015.

Our Day as News Reporters
By Amika (Dane Court Grammar School) and Lani (King Ethelbert School)
Today we spent the day producing a news report. First, we looked through the newspapers and chose the story we wanted to feature. After being split into broadcasters and writers, we set off to gather our information, facts and statistics. We got into pairs with a pupil from the opposite school and started to research our two stories. We then started to compose a written News report featuring our chosen topics. Once our reports and scripts were completed the Broadcasting team prepared to film. After a few rehearsals, we went live at two o'clock. The broadcast was successful and we really enjoyed our day being reporters because we learnt new skills and made new friends!

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Looping the Loop
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Zambia 2016