Hermes

Please click here to access this weeks’ copy.

End of Term

Below you will find further information on:

  • Term Dates (all parents)

  • Lent Term 2020 Calendar(all parents)

  • Poetry Competition (all parents)

  • Activities Options Lent Term 2020 (all parents)

  • Year 7 Reading Challenge – The Bookbuzz Scheme (Year 7 parents)

  • Year 6 – Year 8 Optional Science Challenge (Year 6 – Year 8 parents)

  • Drama Junior Play (Junior Forms parents)

  • Drama LAMDA Examinations (all parents)

  • Year 6 French Trip – May 2020 (Year 6 parents)

  • Year 6 French Trip – September 2020 (Year 5 parents)

  • Childnet Presentation (all parents)

  • Safe Use of the Internet (all parents)

  • Social Media (all parents)

  • Schola Cantorum (all parents)

  • House Music Competition 2020 (all parents)

  • Starting and Stopping Music Lessons (all parents)

  • School Blazer Sale (Year 6, 7 and 9 parents)

  • Personal Items Brought into School (all parents)

  • Prayer Fellowship Dates (all parents)

  • Christmas Hockey Camp (all parents)

  • Parents’ Activities (all parents)

  • Ultimate Activity Camps (all parents)

  • Bacon Theatre (all parents)

  • Cars on the School Site (all parents)

  • Database Updates (all parents)

  • Medical Matters (all parents)

  • Message from the Bursary (all parents)

General notices

Term Dates (all parents)

Click here for more information

Please note that due to some changes in the Foundation, we have made some changes to our published dates:  Saturday 20th June 2020 will now be Dean Close Preparatory Sports Day – therefore this is no longer a Soft Exeat as all pupils are required to be present for Sports Day.  Saturday 27th June will be Dean Close Senior School Commemoration, so no Saturday school for DCPS.

End of Term:  Saturday 4th July at the end of Speech Day Events

Lent Term 2020 Calendar (all parents)

Click here to access a copy of the calendar. Hard copies are available from the Front Office. Please note Dean Close Senior School Speech Day is on Saturday 27th June.

Poetry Competition (all parents)

The Dean Close Preparatory School Poetry Competition 2020 will start in the very first few days of the Lent Term.  Children should have already chosen their poem and now 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 every 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 really 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.  We are encouraging pupils to perform their poems with confidence, feeling and great expression!

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 offspring as s/he practises, to offer them wise advice and encouragement…and, of course, 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.

Activities Options Lent Term 2020(all parents)

Please click here for further information.

Year 7 Reading Challenge – The Bookbuzz Scheme (Year 7 parents)

As part of our continual encouragement to our pupils to get ‘book-hooked’, Year 7 children has been given a free novel. She/he has started reading it and now has the wonderful, relaxing Christmas holiday task of finishing the novel and then writing a very brief, fun book review to bring to school at the start of next term. (The book review takes as little as 20 minutes.)

Background:  Year 7 pupils were each delighted to receive their very own ‘early Christmas present’ in the form of a book, courtesy of the government and a financial input from DCPS. The Bookbuzz scheme provides a choice of 10 – 12 books each year (mainly novels, and also some information books/biogs) written by established and up-and-coming authors, in a drive to encourage this age group to ‘get into reading’. This year’s list included a really wide range of authors and genres. In September, Year 7 pupils inspected the entire set of books and watched a 20 minute DVD in which each book was introduced by the author and by a Year 7 child who had read and enjoyed it. Our Year 7 pupils each placed an order for the novel that ‘grabbed them’ the most.  Last week the books arrived and were distributed.  All Year 7s have really got stuck in to reading their individually chosen novel (and a number have finished reading it already.)

The Holiday Challenge … as simple as A … B … C !

  1. Children finish reading their book. Parental encouragements, incentives and shared reading aloud all help!
  2. Children complete a simple 20 minute review sheet and bring it to school at the start of next term.
  3. Hopefully … they get hooked onto another book straight away.

All Year 7 pupils know that we would LOVE them to complete their Bookbuzz book and that we do want them to make a real effort. However … we know that a love of reading does not come from forcing children to complete books that they are really not enjoying. So, we have said that if, having reached page 50, say, or page 75, they are just not enjoying it at all, they should feel able to stop there, knowing that they did make a really good effort but that this book was not quite what they had hoped for and expected, when making their initial choice. They should find an alternative book to read and review.  Please would you join us in encouraging your child to ‘go for it’!

For extra information regarding Bookbuzz books: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/what-we-do/programmes-and-campaigns/bookbuzz/students/bookbuzz-books/ Please note that the ‘easy read’ titles on the list were not offered to DCPS pupils.

Any queries, please contact Mr Shelley rpshelley@deanclose.org.uk, Mr Standing cjstanding@deanclose.org.uk or Mr Donnelly kdonnelly@deanclose.org.uk

Year 6 – Year 8 Optional Science Challenge (Year 6 – Year 8 parents)

The deadline for completing the 2020 Science challenge is Friday 10th January.

  1. Design and build, out of junk, a marble run that will last for between 50 and 60 seconds.
  2. Reduce plastic use by investigating how to make ‘milk plastic’ to create your own Christmas decorations, or other items.

Any queries, please contact Mr Fraine djfraine@deanclose.org.uk

Drama Junior Forms’ Play (Junior Forms parents)

We are delighted to announce that we will be producing ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in the final week of the Lent Term.

All pupils in Years3, 4 and 5 will take to the stage and auditions will be held in class drama lessons at the beginning of the new term.  Rehearsals will take place in School time in the week prior to the performances.

The performance dates are Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th March 2020 at 7.00pm in the Centenary Hall, with a running time of 1 hour.  As usual, tickets (free of charge) will be made available via the Bacon Theatre website www.bacontheature.co.uk.

Drama LAMDA Examinations (all parents)

Drama examinations will take place during the School day for Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils on Tuesday 11th February 2020, and for Year 6, 7 and 8 after half-term, on Thursday 12th March 2020.

It is vital that all 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.

Year 6 French Trip – May 2020 (Year 6 parents)

Thank you to all parents who have already paid the first instalment of £200.  If you haven’t, I would be very grateful if you would do so by Christmas.  Any queries, please contact Mr Veron bveron@deanclose.org.uk

Year 6 French Trip – September 2020 (Year 5 parents)

Thank you to all parents who have already paid the initial deposit of £70.  If you haven’t done so and you would like your child to go on the trip, I have extended the deadline to Christmas.  Any queries, please contact Mr Veron bveron@deanclose.org.uk

Childnet Presentation (all parents)

On Tuesday 14th January all our pupils will be spending time with one of the leading education providers of internet security, Childnet, learning how to keep themselves safe online. At 6.00pm, lasting approximately one hour, Childnet will be running a presentation for parents to which you are all warmly invited.

Pupils whose parents would like to attend this may stay for school tea and will be supervised in one of the day houses afterwards. To enable us to cater for the event please could you let the school office (dcpsoffice@deanclose.org.uk) know by Friday 10th January if your child will be staying for tea on Tuesday 14th January.

If you would like to find out more about Childnet their internet address is: http://www.childnet.com

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. As mentioned previously, 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 OoVoo, 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 recently 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:

  • Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 stop using electrical items by 7.15pm.
  • Year 6 stop using electrical items by 8.00pm.
  • Year 7 stop using electrical items by 8.20pm.
  • Year 8 stop using electrical items by 8.40pm.

Although we cannot govern matters occurring out of school hours which is parental responsibility, 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.thinkuknow.co.uk

www.net-aware.org.uk

www.getsafeonline.org

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

Social Media (all parents)

If you don’t currently follow Dean Close on Facebook, we strongly encourage you to visit our page where we post lots of news, photos, videos and details of upcoming events.  The page link is https://www.facebook.com/DeanCloseSchool.

We also have #DeanFlix on YouTube, you can follow us on Twitter @DeanCloseSchool, or even Instagram @deanclose_prepschool

Schola Cantorum (all parents)

Tickets are now available for Schola Cantorum’s performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday 14th December at 7.00pm.  The concert takes place in Tewkesbury Abbey and there will be mulled wine and soft drinks during the interval.  It is the perfect way to start the Christmas holidays!

If you would like to buy tickets please email Mrs Lyons at jclyons@deanclose.org.uk.  Tickets cost £20.00, £15.00 and £12.00 (restricted view).  Click here for more information.

House Music Competition 2020 (all parents)

We are pleased to announce that the opening audition rounds of the House Music Competition will take place during class music lessons over several weeks, beginning on the first day of the Lent term, Tuesday 7th January.  Please can you support and encourage your children to prepare a piece to perform on every instrument that they learn, and we look forward to hearing all the wonderful entries next term.

The finals, which take place on Thursday 6th February, will be adjudicated by an accomplished musician from outside Dean Close. This will be an excellent opportunity for pupils to experience playing to an audience and also to develop their performance skills and celebrate the wonderful achievements that Mr McVittie and I are privileged to hear on a daily basis.

Starting and Stopping Music Lessons (all parents)

Please can we remind parents that the deadline for signing up for music lessons starting in the Lent term, is Friday 13th December 2019.  To stop lessons requires a whole term’s notice.  If you wish for your child to stop lessons at the end of the Lent term, you must inform us at the beginning of the Lent term in January, 2020.

If you wish to start or stop an instrument, please email Mr McVittie or Mrs Godley at dcpsmusic@deanclose.org.uk

School Blazer Sale (Year 6, 7 and 9 parents)

Up to a 1/3rd off school blazers, while stocks last.  Click here for more information.

Personal Items Brought into School (all parents)

All Houses are fully resourced with games for pupils to play and there are also numerous soft balls provided for pupils to play with at break-times and lunchtimes. We actively encourage pupils to play with these resources, but recognise that some pupils prefer to play quieter and less active games. Therefore, Match Attack / Pokemon cards (and similar type cards), and any other toys brought into school from home have historically provided an alternative source of entertainment.

We constantly reiterate to pupils that they have to be prepared for the possibility that their cards or toys may, in certain circumstances, become mislaid or damaged.  The School will not take responsibility for these circumstances but will assist, when time allows, in resolving any potential conflict situations. If any toys or cards are found in lessons and become a hindrance to teaching and learning, they will be confiscated immediately.

In certain situations, it is appropriate for a very small minority of children to have an object to hold that helps them to concentrate if it has been specifically suggested by the Learning Support Department.

Prayer Fellowship Dates (all parents)

At Dean Close we believe in the importance of prayer in underpinning all that we are and do as a school.  The Prayer Fellowship is therefore seen as an essential part of supporting and upholding the school.

The Prayer Fellowship is an informal gathering of parents from the Pre-Preparatory, Preparatory and Senior schools, who meet over coffee to pray for the whole School.  Everyone is welcome to come along.

We meet from 8.30-9.30am at Dean Close House, for coffee followed by prayer.

Lent Term Dates:

Friday 17th January

Friday 31th January

Friday 14th February

Friday 6th March

Friday 20th March

Christmas Hockey Camp (all parents)

We are running our successful Christmas Hockey Camp this December:

Dates, Ages and Times:

Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th December.

7-11 years       9.00am – 12 noon

12+ years       1.00pm – 4.00pm

To register and pay for the camp, you can visit the website to book: www.deanclose.org.uk/courses or alternatively you can email Lydia Day at enquiries@deanclosevenues.co.uk or call:  01242 267431.  Staff and sibling discounts are available.  Deadline for booking is Monday 16th December.  Click here for more information.

Parents’ Activities (all parents)

Do you fancy a hit around each week?  Join us on court!  Lent Term Tennis will be up and running again in January 2020 on the School outdoor tennis courts, off Shelburne Road.

  • Monday Beginner’s Tennis: 00 – 10.00am, £60 for the term (spaces available)
  • Wednesday Cardio: 00 – 9.45am, £6 per session (available each week)
  • Internediate Thursday Tennis: 00 – 10.00am, £66 for the term (a couple of spaces available).
  • Advanced Friday Tennis: 45 – 10.15am, £82.50 for the term (a couple of spaces available).

If you are interested in attending, please contact Lydia Day on 01242 267431 or lday@deanclose.org.uk

Ultimate Activity Camps

Ultimate Activity Camps are really looking forward to running their fantastic Camp at Dean Close Prep School during the Easter and Summer holidays of 2020.  As a thank you to our existing parents and host schools we have an Ultimate Offer running from 10th December to 5th January so please book online as soon as possible to take advantage of our festive spirit!  Click here for more information or visit their website:  www.ultimateactivity.co.uk

Bacon Theatre (all parents)

Click here for more information about events at the Bacon Theatre in 2020, or visit www.bacontheatre.co.uk

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.

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.

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.

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 liability 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.