June 19, 2018

End of Term – Easter 2018

Dear Parents/Carers

It has been a while since I wrote to you and, following parental feedback, I intend to increase the frequency of letters home to improve communication with you going forward.

Firstly, can I thank parents for their continued support and positivity. It is always lovely to meet you at events and I know it can be hard to get away from work sometimes. We are all aiming for the same thing – happy, healthy, safe and successful DSTC students.

At DSTC we are continuing to move from good to great in a number of areas and we are delighted to be oversubscribed for September. We are not complacent and we recognise that there is still a lot of work to do before we can relax. Over recent weeks we have been working on punctuality to lessons as this can be a barrier to success for students. It does not just affect those who are late but also those in the lesson whose learning is being disrupted by these late arrivals. In order to clarify the situation to parents, students will be marked as late to a lesson if they are 3 minutes late to the start of a lesson or are more than 2 minutes later than the majority of the class in arriving. This allows for the odd lesson where a class may not be let out on time. Students are being warned about their punctuality each week and some students have been placed on punctuality report with associated sanctions. I would be grateful if you would support us by reinforcing the need for your daughter to be on time to each and every lesson.

Sadly, we have a new issue we need to bring to your attention – that is of girls walking in the road between Lidl and Sainsbury’s (lnstone Road) and not using the pedestrian crossing a little further past LidI. I am very concerned that some students are using this extremely dangerous route, endangering not only themselves but also other users of the road. This is a very busy, fast multi-lane road so girls must use the crossing rather than take a diagonal route. I would be grateful if you would speak to your daughter about this and we will reinforce in school. We want them to return home safely to you.

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We are reviewing our mobile phone policy in the light of the increasing use of these throughout the day. If you have any comments you wish to make on this topic, that we can consider when revamping the policy, please email office@dstc.kent.sch.uk

Could I please also take this opportunity to remind all parents and students that we have we have
a number of students who have severe, and in some cases life-threatening, allergies to a variety of nuts. To this end, I ask for your co-operation in continuing to make the school a ‘nut free zone’.  Any food sent into school must not contain nuts of any kind. Any packaging that says “may contain traces of nuts” or similar is acceptable to bring into school as these items are much Jess risk to students with allergies.

On a more positive note, it has been pleasing to see that parents collecting students at the end of the school day are generally driving carefully and show empathy for the situation in the mad 7 minutes at the end of each school day. There are still a few parents, however, who park on the zigzag lines outside the gates and this hampers the view of those leaving the site. There are also a few who stop in the road as they see their daughter emerge and I have seen several near-miss accidents as a result of this. Can I ask you all to be very careful to stick to the Highway Code and indicate if you are pulling over? Please only pull over if it is safe to do so. Most students are fully capable of walking to cars a little way along Heath Lane and we encourage more parents to park away from the school to allow our girls the chance to stretch their legs after a hard day studying.

With the Easter break upon us, some girls will be using this time to ensure they have all the equipment they need for school including pens, pencils, a calculator and a reading book.

DSTC girls usually look smart at school. The standard of dress is good; in order to make it great I need to point out the following:

•    Blazers must be worn at all times unless express permission is given.
•    Black v-neck jumpers (not blue) are optional and must never be worn instead of a blazer.
•    Blazer sleeves must not be rolled up at the cuffs.
•    Non DSTC issued badges must not be worn -this includes birthday badges.
•    Socks must not have any ribbons or ties on them.
•    Girls are not to wear coloured nail varnish to school and nails should be of a sensible length.
•    Jewellery- only 1 pair of small studs and a watch is allowed. Neither facial or tongue piercings,  nor several earrings in one ear, are allowed.

In order to give girls the chance to show us how well they can dress, we have decided to remove the SMART cards for the moment. If standards slip back we will need to reintroduce them. Please discuss the need for compliance with your daughter.

I am delighted to announce that our new Lead Teacher of History, Miss Chivers, arrives after the break and I know that she will be an asset.to the College.

We are pleased to be working towards full compliance with GDPR in advance of May 25th and you will have had a Privacy Notice Consent Form to sign and return. Please can these be sent to the Office or Reception at DSTC as soon as possible now.

Community Corner
If you are spring cleaning, don’t forget we have a textile bank just inside the school gates – please give us your unwanted clothes. The money we get from this buys new outside benches for your daughter to use at break or lunchtime.

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Also, if you have unwanted trainers (especially smaller sizes) or shorts and t-shirts, the Sports Department would welcome these. These can be dropped off at Reception.

Finally, I would like to remind you that now the inclement weather has passed the temporary arrangements for allowing girls into the building before 8am has been suspended. We are reverting to our standard operating times and, as a reminder, this means that students are not allowed on site before 8am.

I wish you all a lovely break and I look forward to seeing the students again on 16th April 201B.

Yours sincerely
Mrs Anne Davis
Principal