Track and Trace at the start of the Christmas holidays 

The school has received guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) regarding our end of term plans and the school’s ongoing responsibilities to the Government’s Track and Trace programme during the Christmas holiday.

All schools are being asked by Public Health England to facilitate a six day window after the final day of teaching to remain contactable so that they can assist with contact tracing as necessary.

 

This means that up to Thursday 24th December, you may be contacted by the school to inform you that your son / daughter may need to self-isolate, as per Government guidance.

Please note:

  • For the first six days after the end of term, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school (i.e. symptoms displayed before 4.00pm Sunday 20th December), the school has been asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious whilst in school. If this occurs, you should email the school dcpsoffice@deanlcose.org.uk and ring the DCPS COVID mobile on 07570 855007.
  • The school will then use the information available to us and from the affected pupil to identify the close contacts who will need to self-isolate in line with Government guidance.
  • Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace here.

 

Should you require further information on this Government guidance it can be viewed here or if you wish to discuss this further with the school please contact the school office dcpsoffice@deanlcose.org.uk.

 

Parents’ Meetings

We are delighted to have been able to use the Schoolcloud system for all DCPS Parents’ Meetings this term and we have greatly enjoyed seeing so many parents for the first time in what feels like years. Nothing can replace the personal connection that comes from a face to face meeting and this felt to us almost – but not quite – as good as the real thing! Thank you to you all for engaging with this new system so enthusiastically – turn-out for all evenings was very high.  We would greatly appreciate your feedback or comments on the system – in particular, whether you feel you need more time with particular teachers, as there are ways this can be achieved.

Message from the Bursary (all parents) 

Parents and pupils are reminded that the school premises are closed during the holidays.  For the sake of residents and paying customers, and to avoid liablility issues, permission will not normally be given for use of facilities.

If you need access to the School, for example to collect something that has been left behind, please contact the Estates Department on 01242 258050 so that arrangements can be made.

Medical Matters (all parents) 

Nut and Seed Allergies. 

Please be aware that some pupils have serious nut and seed allergies. We would therefore ask that no food is brought into school or the boarding houses that contains nuts or seeds.

Medical Information 

If your child’s medical or dietary needs have changed since entering the School please email the medical centre medical@deanclose.org.uk so that our records can be kept up-to-date.

Asthma 

Pupils with asthma must carry their own inhaler at all times.  We also ask that a spare inhaler, which can be kept at School, is handed into the School Office on the first day of term.

Safe Use of the Internet (all parents) 

Dean Close Preparatory School is committed to promoting the safe and responsible use of the internet and as such we feel it is our responsibility to raise particular issues that are of concern.  

Technology is continually evolving and keeping up with the pace of these changes can be very hard. The internet advisory service ‘Childnet’ offers regular updates for parents to which they can sign up – http://eepurl.com/xyjOb.

Of growing concern is the inappropriate use of Tik Tok, Snapchat, Skype, Instagram, Facebook and other texting sites amongst our young people. Please note that the minimum age for many of these sites is 13 or above.

Primarily, these occurrences and reported incidents of misuse of social media sites happen at home, after school hours, when children have access to web sites that are blocked in school. With this in mind, and in response to concerned parents who have asked for advice regarding internet safety, we feel it important to point out to parents the risks of unregulated use of such sites. This may help you to make informed decisions as to whether to allow your child to have a profile or not and when and how to monitor their use, particularly at night time.

There have been some questions raised in the media about the amount of time children are allowed to have access to screens and the Government have issued guidelines, to support parents in this tricky area of supervision. Please see the links below which explain these guidelines and a website which offers suggestions to support parents in this area:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-cmo-commentary-on-screen-time-and-social-media-map-of-reviews

https://pastoralpriorities.co.uk

For your information, our policy in the boarding houses is for all electrical items to be handed in before pupils go to bed and ‘Tech Time’ is limited. When this policy was first introduced, some children found it challenging to be restricted in their use of their tech, but over time, this has become a very positive habit and they have more time for other activities with their friends in the evenings.

Although we cannot govern matters occurring out of school hours which is the responsibility of parents, we will take action if a problem comes to our attention that involves the safety or wellbeing of any of our pupils, including reporting the use of inappropriate images of young people to the police, as this is a legal matter.

Should you decide to allow your child to have an online profile we strongly advise you to make sure your son/daughter understands the following rules:

•          Always keep your profile private.

•          Never accept a friend who you do not know in real life.

•          Never post anything which could reveal your identity including photographs wearing school uniform.

•          Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents or teachers to see.

•          Never agree to meet somebody you only know online without telling a trusted adult.

•          Always tell someone if you feel threatened or someone upsets you.

We recommend that all parents visit the CEOP ‘Think U Know’ website for more information on keeping your child safe online:

www.getsafeonline.org

Any queries, please contact Mrs Hunt, Head of Pastoral, alhunt@deanclose.org.uk

Database Updates (all parents) 

The School Office needs to ensure that all details held on the database are up-to-date and comprehensive.  The information is held confidentially within School so that we can contact you quickly if there is ever an emergency and to comply with our legal obligations.

Please advise of any amendments or additions using the attached form, including any other information you feel is important to share with the School’s staff (e.g. serious allergies, etc.).  Please check mobile telephone numbers and email addresses as these can change more frequently than other contact details.  If you live overseas, we also need the details of your child’s UK guardian.  Please hand in this sheet to the School Office as soon as possible, or email Mrs Smith at dcpsoffice@deanclose.org.uk.  Click here for Database Update Form.

Poetry Competition (all parents) 

The DCPS Poetry Competition 2021 will start in the very first few days of the Lent Term.  Children should have already chosen their poem and need to learn this poem during the holiday period.

 

The competition gets underway at the very start of the Lent Term: each pupil will recite her/his chosen poem to the rest of the class in one of the very first English lessons of the term.  This is a lovely occasion, where the whole class gets to hear a wide range of poetry – some serious and some humorous – recited with great enthusiasm and expression by their friends!  We expect pupils to do their very best to learn their poem by heart, but children do give a copy of the poem to their teacher, in case they need any prompting.  We aim for these lessons to feel positive and encouraging, so that every child in the classroom has a real sense of success.

With all this in mind, it is really important that poems are learnt and are ready.  English teachers would appreciate it if parents could encourage children to learn the poem at the start of the holiday rather than leaving it to the last few days.

Children are not allowed to use a poem which they are studying in Speech and Drama with a member of staff.

Please feel free to listen to your child as they practise, to offer them wise advice and encouragement, no doubt you will want to demonstrate how it should be done – on Boxing Day!

Any queries please contact Mr Shelley, rpshelley@deanclose.org.uk.

 

The School Shop

The School Shop is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday and will close for the Christmas Holidays on Friday 18th December at 5pm. It will then reopen on Monday 4th January 2021. If you have any queries during this time, please email: shop@deanclose.org.uk and they will be picked up when the shop reopens on the 4th January.

Cars on the School Site (all parents) 

Thank you for your care in dropping off your child at the start of the school day.

We would like to remind you of the following:

•          Please use the drop off area outside the Centenary Hall where a member of staff will be happy to help your child out of the vehicle.

•          Please refrain from parking your vehicle on the road outside the Fortfield boarding house as this causes vehicles to back up onto the Lansdown Road and also means that others find it difficult to park in the spaces opposite.

•          The speed limit in the school grounds is five miles per hour to ensure the safety of all of our community.

•          The safety of everyone on our site is of paramount importance. Therefore, the School asks that no one parks on the grass verge of the public highway outside the School drive or within 15 feet of a junction. Vehicles, so parked, can create other driver blind spots which could lead to an accident. This especially applies to the school exit onto Lansdown Road, the site of several previous collisions.

•          Please could all members of the school community be aware that there are marked disabled parking spaces at the front of the School. It is important that these are only used by registered disabled badge holders.  It is most inconvenient if these spaces are blocked by other cars at any time.

•          Please take care when exiting the school gates as pedestrians may be walking on the path.

Ultimate Activity Camps 

Ultimate Activity Camps are really looking forward to running their fantastic Easter and Summer Camps for children of 4-14yrs at Dean Close School in 2021 and as a festive gift to all of their host school parents & existing customers, we have a Christmas Offer which is live to book from 9th December!

 

 🎄 Ultimate Christmas Offer 🎄

🎁 £172 per week – £50 off the standard rate of £222

🎁 £41 per day – £8 off the standard daily rate of £49

This Offer ends at midnight on Tuesday 5th January 2021

Bookings can be changed free of charge up to 14 days before your first day of attendance & places on this offer are limited

Our days run from 8:30am until 5:15pm and if needed we offer Extended Hours of 8am to 6pm at an extra cost of £7/day

Please visit our website www.ultimateactivity.co.uk for more information or call one of us at 0330 111 7077

2021 LAMDA EXAMINATIONS – JANUARY 28TH

For those pupils in the first round of LAMDA Exams which had to be postponed, we are now able to offer another exam session on 28th January 2021. The timetable is listed below.

There will be a further exam session for all other pupils later in the Lent term.

It is vital that pupils have typed up their pieces and have thoroughly memorised all their lines in preparation for their lesson in the first week back after the Christmas holiday.

Room 1 CENTENARY HALL                                        Examiner: Lara Farahar

09:30 Annie Schmidt-Martin Acting Entry Level – Sol

09:40 Grace Bunner Acting Grade 3 – Solo

09:55 Georgia Lely Acting Grade 4 – Solo

10:15 Alba Carames-Lane Acting Grade 4 – Solo

10:35 Isaac Stott Acting Grade 5 – Solo

10:55 Morgan Chandler Acting Grade 4 – Solo

11:15 Break

11:30 Raffaella Bowen Musical Theatre Grade 4 – Solo

11:55 Break

12:00 Lex Recine Musical Theatre Grade 5 – Solo

12:25 Break

12:30 Caitlin Allen Musical Theatre Grade 6 – Solo – Bronze Medal

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Gabriella Britton Acting Grade 4 – Solo

14:20 Elinor Farrier Acting Grade 5 – Solo

14:40 Lily Parkes Acting Grade 6 – Solo – Bronze Medal

15:05 Alice Montgomery Speaking in Public Grade 5

SESSION END TIME: 15:25 PM

 

Room 2 OAKSEY HOUSE                                        Examiner: Sandra McDowell

09:30 Poppy Rafferty Solo Introductory Stage Three

09:40 Rose Mason Solo Introductory Stage Three

09:50 Annabelle Haigh Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:00 Ellie Schuck-Walker Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:10 Alejandro Ham-Romero Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:20 Alexander O’Connor Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:30 Emily Takada Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:40 Joseph Webb Solo Introductory Stage Three

10:50 Herbie Pitt Solo Introductory Stage Three

11:00 Mohamed Abdallah Speaking Verse and Prose Entry Level

11:10 Break

11:25 Oscar Ward Speaking Verse and Prose Entry Level

11:35 Patrick Rafferty Speaking Verse and Prose Entry Level

11:45 Nadia Newton-Jones Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

11:55 Eliza Cronin Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

12:05 Elizabeth Moody Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

12:15 Tahlia Crawford Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

12:25 Henry Wells Speaking Verse and Prose Entry Level

12:35 Ethan Millward Speaking Verse and Prose Entry Level

12:45 Emily Beaumont-Cleworth Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

12:55 Lunch Break

13:55 Nirelle Omereonye Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

14:05 Matilda Orritt Reading for Performance Grade 2

14:20 Noah Chatterton Reading for Performance Grade 2

14:35 Simren Kuner Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

Session End time: 14:45 PM

 

Room 3 CH3                                                                  Examiner: Christine Ley

09:30 Ying-Tai Yilmaz Reading for Performance Grade 2

09:45 Fenella Cradock Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

09:55 Samuel Bradley Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 1

10:05 Imogen Mawer Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 3

10:20 Bruce Ward Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 2

10:35 Zara Ristic Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 2

10:50 Break

11:05 Benjamin Walton Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 2

11:20 Isabelle Forge & Amelia Wells Acting Grade 2 – Combined

11:45 Sophie Harding Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 4

12:00 Beatrice Braddock Acting & Vetali Moodley Acting Grade 3 – Combined

12:25 Isabella Phillips Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 4

12:40 Alex Ristic Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 4

12:55 Lunch Break

13:55 Thomas Dempsey Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 4

14:10 Rebecca Byrne Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 4

14:25 Tina Kairisa Speaking Verse and Prose Grade 2

SESSION END TIME: 14.40

Feedback following Parents’ Satisfaction Survey – October 2020

Thank you to those parents who kindly responded to our marketing team in our annual ‘Parent Satisfaction Survey’, which was returned over the half term break. The 40+ questions provide an invaluable snapshot of the DCPS parent experience and allow us to reflect on where and how we can make further improvements. Despite the challenges of the year, this year’s results generally saw improved scores in all categories, and we were especially pleased with the large number of comments, both congratulatory and critical, received from a wide selection of parents.

 

Amidst the anxieties of the pandemic, we are pleased to find that parents ‘feel that my child is safe in school’ (average score of 4.8/5) and that ‘my child is well looked after if my child is unwell’ (average score of 4.5/5). Also, despite the changes we have made to the main weekly mailing, Hermes, the school’s communications have been appreciated ‘through the website and mailings’ (average score of 4.2/5). Of further satisfaction is the feedback that the school’s ‘strong emphasis on pastoral care’ is appreciated (average score 4.5/5) and that ‘relationships with staff are very positive’ (average score 4.6/5). This positive response to the school’s culture (‘culture at the school has a positive influence on my child’ – average score 4.6/5) clearly helps to develop the sense of community and belonging (‘strong sense of community and belonging at the school’ – average score 4.6/5) which is a vital measure of a flourishing school environment.

 

However, an area for further focus is the response to ‘the school is getting the most out of my child academically’ (average score of 3.9/5) which is certainly lower than we would like, since it sometimes appears, to quote a parent comment, that ‘the school’s all round experience sometimes leaves the academic excellence somewhat ignored.’  The school has been aware of this parent perception for some time and our academic teams are reflecting on ways in which we can further raise the status of our core academic provision. This includes the regular feedback of progress to parents, a more effective use of pupil testing data, such as CAT4, and a greater emphasis on the ‘higher learning potential’ programme.

 

A perennial issue appears to be the feedback on catering, where ‘the food and nutrient services at the school meet my child’s needs’ (average score 3.4/5) are often less than expected. Whilst current Covid restrictions have had an impact on some of the choices available, it is a concern to hear that some children are not eating enough at lunchtimes, or that on occasions special dietary menus are not varied enough. The school’s catering suppliers, Palmer Howells, are aware that improvements are required and, amongst other steps being taken, have attached next term’s revised menus for your perusal.

 

On a final, more positive note, a pleasing increase in satisfaction was seen in the 1-10 rating for ‘how confident you are to recommend Dean Close to other parents’, which this year has jumped from 8.1 to 8.7, a 7% increase on what was already a gratifying score.

 

With thanks again to all of our parents for this invaluable feedback. Please ensure that you contact the school should you have any further comments or observations.