This week I’ve really enjoyed hearing from students about what they have been doing during the lockdown and their time at home.
As well as sharing some examples of students’ creativity in the Head’s Blog today I am looking for students and families to contribute to our next whole school assembly.
If you would like to have a chance of featuring in the assembly then please use the Google form at this link to share with me what you have been doing during lockdown. Please upload a photo if possible. The deadline for completing this is the end of school on Wednesday 10 June.
These are just a few Ideas of what you could include.
What you have learnt about yourself or you may have learnt how to do something new?
A picture of you reading your favourite book.
A short poem you have created about what has been happening over the last couple of months.
Any new and creative ways that you are using technology during this time.
Any interesting encounters with nature you have had during the lockdown period or have you noticed things about the environment that you haven't appreciated before?
Very well done to Caleb and Parker Caleshu who both did brilliantly in this year’s Poetry by Heart competition.
This is a national competition which aims to help students to explore poetry widely by finding poems they like, learning them by heart and performing them to others.
Caleb 7P and Parker 10P were both awarded a runners-up certificate.
Congratulations to them and many thanks to Ms Davarian for supporting them.
Very well done also to Josef Sellors 9C who has won a prize in the Polly Glot Languages Spanish Haiku competition.
Here is his winning Haiku
Me gusta Chile
el partido hermoso
es su deporte
(I like Chile
the beautiful game
is their sport)
Thank you to Mrs Brooking who supported students in writing their Haiku and well done again to Josef.
Mrs Brooking is also going to award prizes to Sam Reynolds 8W, Josh WiIlcock 9P, Mckenzie Hyatt 7E, Ben Wotton 7C and Tom De WIlde 7S for their excellent efforts.
I was really pleased to hear from Kai Benjamin about his band’s newest song. Kai’s band is called Varied Heights and the song is called Lock(Down/Up).
Kai said, “Our new song focuses on the current situation and how we can make the best of our time in isolation. Our aim was to project a positive and uplifting message as well as reminding people to think about the huge positive impact that lockdown has had on the environment”.
The band were invited to talk about their new song on BBC Radio Cornwall during half term.
If you missed their interview then you can still listen to the song here.
Our Excellent Work this week has been submitted by Mr Morris and Ms Brown.
The first example is an isometric drawing by Flynn Abbott 7C.
Ms Brown says this is an ‘excellent sketch from Flynn which was his first attempt’.
The second example is by Ben King 9E who used OnShape 3d modelling software to produce a model of his phone. The aim is to develop skills in preparation for the NEA work next year and producing work to 3d print.
Mr Morris has sent me these two pieces of work that he is really impressed with.
He says he has been remotely teaching Year 9 students how to draw a Cam Toy using Onshape (an online 3D drawing package) and he has received some very successful outcomes. These two examples were produced by Josh Jones and Daniel Boyns within a few hours of the work being set.
They are drawn such that when the handle is turned the cams move the letters up and down.
Josh Jones 9E
Daniel Boyns 9C
And finally from D&T this week, this mini picnic bench and bird table are by Sam Hill 11W.
Ms Brown says are examples of ‘lovely practical work’
New School Website
I hope you have all had a chance to look at our new school website. I’m pleased that the switch during half term went very smoothly and you should find the site much easier to access on mobile devices.
We also now have a facility to keep our Covid-19 frequently asked questions up to date at this link:-
Admission to DHSB in September 2021
A reminder that the 11+ registration form is live and should be completed by families who have a son in Year 5 who wishes to take the 11+ tests during the autumn term.
As we will be unable to provide a familiarisation session on site this year, families are also encouraged to complete a second form to express their interest in receiving new practice test materials and support.
This week all year groups are doing the same challenge.
Ms Moreton said, “As you will probably remember, for the last few years we have held a spelling, punctuation and grammar challenge (SPaG) in the PSHEE lesson straight after the summer half term, so we wanted to try to continue this tradition. Obviously it won't be exactly the same but we hope it will still be fun to do and encourage some inter-house competition”.
The challenge for students is to choose at least four of the six words given to each year group and put them into a very short story, poem or limerick, spelled properly and grammatically correct. The piece of work cannot be over 100 words.
Class and year group winners will receive a small reward and will be recognised in the Head’s Blog.
We hope that students will all enjoy the challenge
Loot boxes, gambling and video game addiction
One of the benefits to lockdown has been the ability to go shopping without the children and not having to say no to Superzings. Most of you without younger children will have been saved from this latest blind bag craze, yet another collectable which comes in a bag so that you can not see what you are getting. The stress levels it produces is not worth the 80p that they cost and I have resorted to explaining how it's all a marketing ploy and they are being duped, but of course they don't care - they just want the toy.
With the increased screen time lately, I have been looking into a similar online scheme; ‘loot boxes’. Loot boxes are bought in-game and give players access to further items which may enhance play but more often than not they are just different skins or outfits for charticaters. These are often paid for with real money and players won't know what is inside, they are made to tempt the player into buying them regularly and often are the main source of income for the game.
“The issue of loot boxes, gambling and video game addiction has become a hot topic in recent years. In September 2019, a Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee recommended the Government regulate loot boxes under the Gambling Act.” - source
Here are some useful FAQs - taken from parentzone.
Should I be concerned about loot boxes?
A report by the UK Gambling Commission found that almost a third of children and young people in the UK had opened loot boxes. This is due to the huge amount of free to play(F2P) games and in many games players are strongly encouraged to buy add-on content such as loot boxes. Sixty-three of the 100 top-grossing games on the Google Play Store feature loot boxes.
Surely underage gambling is illegal?
Yes, it is: children are not legally allowed to participate in most forms of gambling — but the rapid changes in technology make it difficult for the law to keep up with all new types of digital gambling. Loot boxes are not classified as gambling in the UK and so are not regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Other European countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands, do classify loot boxes as gambling.
Aren’t games rated by age?
In Europe, PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rates games according to their suitability for different age groups. But since most gambling-like features aren’t officially recognised as gambling, they don’t influence PEGI’s decisions. PEGI has said that it cannot classify loot boxes as a form of gambling because this is the responsibility of the UK Gambling Commission. As a result, children as young as seven can legally play around 50% of all games containing loot boxes.
Will parental controls help?
Activating the gaming system’s spending blocks or limits will make it harder for children to go through with transactions: it’s a good first step to making games a safer space for your child. But it doesn’t eliminate the risk. The best way to help your child stay safer is to take an interest in the games they play, share your concerns about the potential dangers and make sure they know that they can come to you if they have a problem or anything that concerns them.
How are gambling-like features paid for?
If your child plays online games you might have heard of V-Bucks, Apex Coins or Gems. These are virtual currencies that are used to buy add-on content like loot boxes, skins or weapons, which are not essential for play. Some games reward players with virtual currency when they complete a challenge. Others require players to buy the virtual currency using debit or credit cards, prepaid cards or vouchers - and with the rise of free-to-play games, this is increasingly popular.
What kinds of games are involved?
Gambling-like features, such as loot boxes, are mostly, but not exclusively, found in games that have an online multiplayer mode — such as Fortnite, Overwatch or FIFA. Players can show off their newly-won skins and other cosmetic items to the wider gaming community (or, if the items they’re betting for help performance, they can get the upper hand). It is particularly common for developers of free-to-play games to include elements such as loot boxes because they can generate a lot of money from players.
However, many paid-for games (so-called AAA titles, big-budget games from leading companies) have also taken advantage of this new gaming trend and are encouraging children and young people to spend more money on gambling-like features.
How do I know if my child might be developing harmful behaviours?
Parents know their child better than anyone so you are in a good position to keep a close eye on any changes in their behaviour. Although these signs may not necessarily mean they have a problem with gambling-like behaviour - they can help you know when to seek further support for you and your child.
Many of these signs won’t necessarily mean that your child is developing harmful behaviours, but it is helpful to know what to look out for and when you may need to seek further support and guidance.
Your child may seem more withdrawn than usual and seem irritable and anxious
They may seem tired and have trouble sleeping
They may seem anxious or annoyed if you ask them about any regular spending they have made on in-game purchases, that you weren’t previously aware of
You may notice regular transactions for in-game purchases
Want to speak to someone about gambling?
If you are looking for help, advice or support in relation to your or someone else's gambling, please go to BeGambleAware.org or contact the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133.