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Message from Dr Hopkin

04 March 2016

Some end of term milestones and policy changes

  • Dr Hopkin Blog Mar 2016
  • Dr Hopkin Blog Mar 2016
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  • Dr Hopkin Blog Mar 2016
  • Dr Hopkin Blog Mar 2016
  • 1VR Science Experiment 2016
  • Futsal Volkswagen Cup
  • DCIS Swim Gala 2016

Dear Parents,

As the end of this term draws closer a number of important milestones come into view, which you can check on our regular calendar updates. 

Very soon you will receive a report on your child’s progress this term, to be followed by parent consultations just before the close of term. We have listened carefully to your feedback on last term’s reports and would welcome your feedback on this term’s report format. Of course, parent consultations are the main place where you can usefully discuss your child’s progress and get a more nuanced understanding of how you can support your child’s learning. We look forward to seeing you there.

Andrew Fitzmaurice, the Nord Anglia Education CEO, has completed the Principal recruitment process and our Regional Managing Director, Shaun Williams, has already written to you to introduce the new Principal-designate, Christopher Short. The coming months will allow us to ensure that there is a smooth transition in school leadership.

Work is ongoing on the last of our new classroom builds. This will be a very exciting space as it will house our brand new Juilliard Music Technology room and a Café Bar for our Secondary students. The Juilliard programme is designed to be delivered through an extremely high specification and highly versatile dedicated keyboard music room and we are absolutely delighted to be able to put this in place for the final term of the year. This week saw another visit from our Juilliard visiting artist Kathryn Andersen and she was extremely pleased with the progress that we are making with the programme.  Our music team has been working extremely hard on the Juilliard programme this year and the recruitment of Patrick Dwyer to the music team this term has had a galvanising effect on our delivery of the programme. Please do join us for our end of term Celebration of the  Arts, on March 17th at 6.30 pm, to meet Patrick and the rest of our music department.

The Café Bar for the Secondary students will give them a much needed space all to themselves that they will be able to relax in during break times and at other appropriate times of the day. It will also offer opportunities for business enterprise and provide a relaxing place for parents at key events.

We have put in place some changes to our Extra Curricular Programme for the term ahead to help the management of the end of the school/ECA day. Chiefly we must limit students to two ECAs per term in order to cope with the numbers of students needing to safely take up bus places on each ECA day. Places on ECA buses can only be offered to Year 2 or older students. We are delighted to be able to offer an ECA to Reception children, however those Reception children attending Gym With Me must be collected from their classroom by a Parent or Guardian, accompanied to the gym class and collected directly from Gym With Me by the Parent or Guardian. 

We are changing the signs in the playgrounds to indicate that while it is acceptable for children to use the playground equipment after hours whilst they wait for their siblings to finish their ECA, however, this is at the parents’ own liability and must only ever be done under parental/guardian supervision. This change is with immediate effect, so please feel free, with this understanding, to supervise your child playing.

We are managing the car park carefully in order to ensure that the large number of buses can move freely and be managed safely. There is limited entry between 7.45 – 8.30 am (5 spaces for Parents of Small Group Children and Infant children on a first-come, first served basis). However, Car Drop-off is available at the Upper Primary School from 8am - 8.30am. In order to allow free movement of buses, there will be no entry or exit between 2.30 -3.15pm and 3.45-4.30pm. Car Pick-Up is available at the Upper Primary School from 3.15 - 4.15pm. Of course, we encourage families to use the school buses wherever possible, or alternatively to use local or pedestrian travel. To this end, Parent / Guardian pedestrian pick-up is at the Lower Primary / Infant Canteen from 3-3.15pm and 4-4.15pm.

With regard to ECA buses, these operate on a ‘Drop and Go’ policy. As the ECA bus does not return to the school,  if the Parent or Guardian is not at the drop-off point, the Student will be dropped off without a Parent/Guardian being present.  Parents will be asked to give their consent to this before an ECA bus will be allocated. Should a Parent or Guardian not be present at the drop-off point for the 3pm bus, Year 2 Students and younger will be brought back to the school reception lobby.  Year 3 and above Students will be dropped off without a Parent or Guardian being present. To allow for the vagaries of traffic movement, Parents or Guardians are to be at the bus Drop-off point at least 10 minutes before the allocated drop-off time (for both 3 and 4pm buses). Parents or Guardians are asked to approach the door of the bus at the drop-off point to ensure that children alight the bus safely. Students will be allocated seats by the Bus Aunty and are asked to keep to their allocated seats.  Nursery Students to Year 2 will sit at the front of the bus, Years 3-6 will sit in the middle of the bus and Years 6-11 will sit at the back of the bus. For any changes to your child’s going home arrangements (for example if they are being collected instead of taking the bus, not attending their ECA and requiring the 3pm bus, or if the child will be absent from school), parents are asked to inform both the class teacher and Kal Transport at least one day in advance. In the case of a last-minute change, parents must contact School Reception by phone before 1.30pm to confirm an alternate arrangement. Emails sent to the teacher or school the same day may not be received in time, leading to children being / not being on a bus when they should / should not be.

We do thank you for all your support throughout this term. We have had notable successes in sporting events, not least the Under 10 Football and Futsal teams as well as Swimming Gala and Netball competitors. Our curriculum continues to be enriched and expanded and the focus on Teaching and Learning for which we are renowned continues to be a highlight of our approach. Acting us a cohesive learning community is a crucial part of that and we are delighted to be partners with you in ensuring a bright future for your children.

Best wishes,
Dr Neil Hopkin, FRSA
DCIS Principal