Dear Parent(s) and Carer(s),
The last week of this half term seems to have come round very quickly and it’s hard to believe that we will soon be in the last half term of the school year. The current circumstances do seem to distort time! This week is also the last week that our educational provision for children of key workers will be hosted at the Arboretum School. After half term this will return to Midland House – we are very grateful to the Arboretum School for hosting us for the last couple of months. We have been busy behind the scenes to make sure that planning is well underway to ensure that the building and environment is adapted to ensure the health and safety of any staff and students who will be onsite. This provision remains in place for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable.
Remote learning continues for the majority of secondary students and we want to make sure that all of our students are able to engage with the work being set. I wrote, last week, about introducing some more interactive activities for our students and I hope that they have been enjoying these (see drop down menu on home – online resources on the school website if you haven’t found them yet).
This week we would really appreciate having some feedback from parents/carers so that we have a good understanding of the needs of our students. It will always be a challenge for every school to meet every individual need but gathering key information will help us work towards this. We have designed a short questionnaire that we would really appreciate you completing. Please just use the following link – it should only take a couple of minutes: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=Jdd87-JnyEiwWrcpkWBNht_AqofWraNDisHg11lvDQtUREtJRUNVMTNNMTRFNkJNTldTSDVFOFlXNS4u
I would also like to thank you all for your patience last week as we dealt with our email problem. As I mentioned before, if you know of anyone who is still not receiving any emails, please do let us know using the info@ email address. Our system also relies on us having your most up-to-date contact details so please do inform us of your details change.
It has been lovely to receive some work from students as part of praise week – please see the ‘Keeping up with education’ section for some lovely art work and our first book review. As I said last week, it is so important for everyone to be keeping up with their reading as much as possible. We are looking forward to receiving and giving feedback on key pieces of work this week and after half term. Many of you have mentioned that you and your children would like to receive feedback and I hope that this is useful.
As students send work to staff using the various emails addresses that we have, we do ask that they use their school email rather than their personal one. Many students are already using their school email, but if your child does not know how to access this, we have instructions on the front page of the school website. You can also email the info@ email address for additional help after having tried the instructions.
Finally, I would like to signpost you as parents/carers towards some great online support that the trust are offering with maths sessions for parents. We know that sometimes it is difficult to support your child/children when methods and techniques used in maths have changed so much. The online sessions are held on zoom at two time slots and are free of charge – you can make a small donation for the NHS if you wish. Please do look at the flyer that is attached to this newsletter – the first session relevant to years 7 & 8 is on 1 June and sessions can be booked at https://ddat.org.uk/events
Thank you again for all of your support throughout this period as we all cope with a large amount of change in our lives. I wish you all a good week and a relaxing half term break.
Mrs J. Brown
Safeguarding concernsIf you have any concerns related to safeguarding then please do contact either social services or the police. If you feel that a child is in immediate danger then call 999.
Please see the contacts box below for contact details of social care and the police.
You can also inform the school safeguarding team of any concerns or issues.
The staff to contact are Mr R. Hoy or Ms J. Nethercott – again, contact details are below.
Online Safety Parent Support
If you would like to raise awareness of online safety issues with your child then have a look at the following website. It has a number of home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities you can do with your child to support their online safety at home
A number of information sheets about various apps and social media are available on our website. These give a useful insight into how each one works and are worth a read.
Well being support
A well-being support poster from Derby City Council is attached to the email with some helpful hints and tips.
And see below for a short mindfulness activity that may be useful.
The following helplines give support and advice on a number of issues including personal safety, mental helath and well-being.
Childline: 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
NSPCC – 0800 028 3550 www.nspcc.org.uk
Samaritans – 116 123
Shout – www.giveusashout.org. Text Shout to 85258
Kooth – www.kooth.com
Derby City Children’s Social Care First Contact Team: 9am to 5pm 01332 641172 or out of hours 01332 786968
You can also report non-urgent concerns online https://myaccount.derby.gov.uk/en/service/report_concerns_about_a_child
If you believe that a child is at immediate risk and in need of protection then you should call the police on 999 or 101 immediately.
Alternatively if you want advice from the police and the child is not in immediate need of protection, you can call them on 0845 123 33 33.
Key staff email contacts:
Mr R Hoy (Designated Safeguarding Lead) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs J Nethercott (Deputy DSL) email@example.com
Miss M Amiss (Head of Year 7) firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr C Capon (Head of Year 8) email@example.com
Over the course of this week your child will have a selection of activities to complete to help their teachers gauge how well they are coping with and understanding the work they have been set. Please do not worry if there are any questions that they do not know the answer to, assessment can seem like a scary word but it is so we can give the much-deserved feedback your child deserves after so long away from school.
The assessments for this week are as follows, your child can do them at any time during the week, it is important that these activities fit around what works best for you.
Week Commencing 18th May:
Year 7 - Art, English, ICT, PSHE, PE, RE
Year 8 - Art, DT, English, ICT, PSHE, PE
We are also putting together our first socially distanced musical performance. This means we are looking for student volunteers to take part in singing along to a backing track whilst recording this on a device and then sending this back to myself to turn into a video to share with our students and families. In this challenging time of separation I am so happy to hear many of you are still practicing, singing and recording at home as well as many of you still having instrumental lessons with your teachers remotely of school with the Derbyshire Music Partnership staff. Parents if you could please encourage your child to get involved and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing their interest along with their name and tutor group, further information and resources will then be sent to you. Deadline for expressions of interest by Friday the 15th of May. Lets keep the music going together!
I hope this finds you safe and well. Prior to the national lockdown and school closures teachers have reported on student progress as part of our normal routines in school. At this time we felt it was not appropriate or helpful to publish this to parents whilst the focus is absolutely and rightly on the health and well-being of your families. Our intention is to still share this with you once we return to school and we are able to discuss and support you and your children more closely. If this causes you any concern a report of the progress your child had made before March is available by request by contacting email@example.com
We wanted to share some of the fantastic work that Mr Richardson received this week on the theme of ‘spirited art’.
Mrs Boyle Gets Creative
Mrs Boyle created a diorama in response to Mr Richardson’s collective worship last week.More of her creative work can be seen on the school website under the remote learning tab – do have a look and see what you can join in with.
A reminder for all students of the 'It's Total Rubbish' publication accessed via school website - Home>Online Resources> It's Total Rubbish
It's a publication to get students involved in making creative items/items for displays and also gives an update on things Mrs Boyle is making. It would be lovely to see lots more of your creative work and it can also be used around school for when we return.
Online book club
Calling all readers! Using the amazon link or your own book, it would be great to get a recommendation each week from a pupil about their favourite books (old and new). A picture of the cover, your reason for recommending, or who you think it would be a good read for would be excellent. Or, if you are feeling really ambitious, a short reading from your favourite moment could be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck. Recommendations will be posted in the newsletter each week.
Our First Book Review
The Boy at the Top if the Mountain - John Boyne
Review by Joseph Fleming Year 8
The book that I have chosen for my review is The Boy at the Top of the Mountain. I recently purchased this on my Kindle during the Covid-19 Lockdown, at only £2.99.
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain is one of four novels aimed at teenage audience and written by John Boyne. John Boyne’s most famous novel was (and still is) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which is now a “major motion picture”. All Year 8’s studied this book last year and I expect the Year 7’s will read it this year, at some point. Like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain is set just before and during the Second World War and it also is from the point of view of a biased German, despite John Boyne being Irish.
The book that I have chosen follows the journey of a half-French half-German boy who is orphaned near the beginning of the book. We follow this young boy who goes from a home to an orphanage and finally to the Berghof, Hitler’s hideaway in the Bavarian mountains, on the border between Germany and Austria. The book shows us how easily a young, innocent boy can be corrupted and led to do awful things. It shows us how someone who is put in front of evil learns evil’s ways, no matter how strong they think they are. Pierrot arrived at the Berghof in low spirits, grieving for his parents and forced to change his French name to a traditional German one; Pieter. Throughout Pierrot's (or Pieter’s) time at the Berghof, and with Adolf Hitler, he learns pride and arrogance and how to treat ‘lesser’ humans with hatred, even when his best friend in childhood was a Jew. He earns Hitler’s trust and they bond in a special relationship. Pierrot/Pieter is taught the ways of the German Nationalist Socialist Party, a.k.a The Nazis, and becomes part of the Hitlerjugend. The Hitlerjugend was a youth party, solely biased and supportive towards Hitler. The ending of the book is especially nice and Boyne did really well creating a really neat ending. This highlights the fact that the most loyal general to Hitler would have been completely confident in the Nazis and support their beliefs. That was, until the Axis Powers fell. Then, the general would beg for mercy and plead that they had no idea about Hitler’s final plans, about the genocide of the Jews and the Gypsies and the other groups targeted by the Nazis. The generals would be loyal until they weren’t.
This book is mostly historically accurate, although there was no-one called Pierrot/Pieter or even someone in the same position as him. John Boyne talks us through the military ranks of the Third Reich and the Luftwaffe bombings. It even tells us how the Duke and Duchess of somewhere-or-other visited Herr Hitler in the Berghof on equal and diplomatic terms. Boyne has a very interesting technique of writing where, in the heart, the boy is still Pierrot, but on the outside and in the brain, he is Pieter. Boyne writes the book at a neutral-German point of view, if such a thing exists, recounting the things that happened but only on the German side of the field and sort of zones out on some of the servants’s points of view.
Overall, I really recommend it to Year 8’s especially, but also to a Year , giving it a 5 star rating. It was a really fascinating read and made me feel involved in the book and made me want to shout to the main characters and telling them that they were wrong and trying to reason with them. But, of course, it is only a book and was, in a couple of places, a little bit see-through and one of the plots were easy to recognise. Despite all of this, John Boyne has managed to create a really informative and educational piece of literature. However, you may need some knowledge of the Second World War, it’s outcome and a few details such as D-Day, VE Day and the like. Finally, there are a few obscure German words that you wouldn’t know outside of the topic of war, such as certain military ranks and forces.
Thank you for reading my review and I hope you enjoyed it and are now looking to read the book.
Each Head of Year will be sending you a narrated bulletin every week which gives you all sorts of information. It will include the weekly challenge and other bits of information to inspire, encourage and celebrate your achievements. We hope that you enjoy them! This week you will get them on Monday – in future they will be every Wednesday to link with each week’s new challenge.
Please watch the Y7 virtual assembly each week as this will keep you up to date with all the latest notices and also what some of our students and staff have been getting up to each week. Don't forget that every Wednesday we will set students a new challenge, make sure you email in your answers/entries to: DCSchallenge@derbycathedralschool.org.uk
All of the challenges are worth merits and House points so it's really important that as many students as possible get involved. You can also suggest a challenge for staff to complete each week too!
Mr Salter is running an Online Book Club, make sure you send in your book recommendations each week to the distance learning email address.
If you would like to show me any of your work or something you are proud of you can send in a picture of what you have done to email@example.com and ask for it to be sent to Miss Amiss.
Keep an eye on the website for the weekly Wednesday Challenge. It will be great to have as many students as possible in every form taking part, let’s show the Year 7’s how it’s done. Also I am sending out emails every few weeks so watch out for those and you we will be having virtual assemblies on Monday’s so if you have anything you have done that you are really proud of then please let me know via the dcschallenge email address. It doesn’t have to be work related, it could be a new skill you’ve learnt or volunteering you’ve been doing, anything you would like to highlight. And finally, Mr Salter is running an Online Book Club, so any recommendations you have, please let us know via the distancelearning@ email address. Make sure you put ‘Online Book Club’ in the Subject.
This week sees two new ‘Beat the Teachers’ quizzes for students to enter. Topics are as follows:
Science Trivia Quiz
Game Logo's mini quiz
Links to the Kahoot quizzes will be sent to students on Wednesday. The teachers will have already participated so you will be able to see what the score is to beat! These are designed to be fun and appeal to your competitive spirits!
This week staff at DCS have been set the challenge of seeing how much litter they can collect on one of their daily walks. We will hopefully have plenty of pictures to share with you this coming Wednesday when we will be setting up the next DCS Challenge for you.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week, and with two months of lockdown and uncertainty about the future, no one can say it isn't well timed. I had a look at these reflections which are part of the Church of England's resources for mental health awareness. The one that particularly caught my eye as something for us now is this one: 'blessed are those who mourn'.
As the writer says, it may not seem the most upbeat thought. But if you're mourning, or at a loss, or hurting, a nice upbeat poster saying 'Cheer Up!' is not going to help. We need to name our loss. That's not the same thing at all as wanting things to be back as they were. Naming our loss means recognising what or who we miss, and being able to give thanks for that. And it means knowing where we are now, and being able to rebuild.
I read the reflection and I remembered the most cheerful funeral I ever did, the one for a member of the Guinea Pig Club. That was after they'd stopped meeting, but all of them who could still came to each other's funerals. And by then they were getting on a bit, so they met quite often. It was one of the most friendly, talkative, supportive funeral gatherings I've ever seen. They were amazing people. Things had happened to them that nobody until then had survived. They had been almost literally rebuilt, and that meant they were guinea pigs for things that had never been tried before. You may know the feeling. They were realistic, and adaptable, and they supported each other. They never asked to be guinea pigs. But they found blessing in it.
If you have a child on the SEND register who is struggling to adjust to this new way of working then please have a read…
Lock down is a challenging time for everyone and especially those with additional needs. As such, we must be mindful of ensuring not only our children’s physical health but also their mental wellbeing. The following organisations have practical tips and support for positive mental health for young people.
Young Minds, gives mental health support resources for children and adolescents: www.youngminds.org.uk
7 cups, offers free emotional support from trained listeners providing online counselling: 7cups.com
If you are having problems claiming universal credit then you may be eligible for an advanced payment. A Universal Credit Advance (new claim) is an advance payment of a customer’s first estimated Universal Credit monthly payment. This may be paid if the customer is in urgent need of money, has made their universal credit claim and can’t wait the 5 week period for their first payment.
Please use the following link for more information https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/help-with-managing-your-money/
There are lots of free resources and fun activities online made available during this time. We have picked out some useful ones below:
Natural History Museum online
Hang out with the Nature Live Online team on Tuesdays at 12.00 and Fridays at 10.30 for interactive talks featuring topical discussions with our scientists and cutting-edge research. All events are free to watch on the NHM website: https://bit.ly/Nature-Live-Online-FB
National Marine Aquarium
As the Aquarium remains closed, we're coming to you LIVE every Wednesday.
To make sure you don't miss it, 'Like' our Facebook page to get notified when the video goes live.
You will find the video live here at 1:30pm: https://www.facebook.com/NationalMarineAquarium/
The video of their ‘turtle time’ is available to watch now.
Love writing? Passionate about climate change? Then this is for you!
We are delighted to announce the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
This competition asks for a piece of writing (with an option to include illustrations) about climate change and what can be done by young people today to make a difference. The deadline is 30th June and you would be able to enter the junior category. All details can be found in the flyer available on our website and by using the following link: