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Weekly Newsletter

December 8, 2023

Headmaster’s Welcome


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Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

Welcome to the last newsletter of this term. I say this every year, but what seemed like a long term back at the end of August, seems to have flown by.

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I sometimes think that there are not enough hours in the day, days in the week, indeed weeks in the year to get everything done or perhaps I am just becoming increasingly impatient!

 

This week, of course, has been dominated by the Carol Service. Once again it was a most enjoyable occasion, and it was great to see so many parents attend this wonderful service.  For me, the Bethany Carol Service signifies the start of Christmas.

 

Today has a slightly different feel about it. It started off with the children being allowed to wear Christmas jumpers and all charitable proceeds collected are being sent to Save The Children Charity.

 

We have an annual event called the “House Shout” competition between our three competitive houses. There is more shouting than singing involved but it is always great fun. In essence the 3 competitive houses form 3 choirs and do their best to perform a popular Christmas song. The winners this year were Roberts who sang “The Twelve Days of Christmas” which had excellent pupil involvement.

 

We also had Christmas lunch today, which was greatly enjoyed by all. The day ended with a lovely pantomime performed by our prefect body. They put a lot effort into it and performed very well.

 

I received this graphic the other day from my daughter which made me smile. It is indeed a sign of the times.

 

 

In a year of rail strikes I find this joke particularly appropriate.

 

Why do Southeastern train guards not share advent calendars? They want to open the doors themselves!

 

I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing time with your families during the festive season.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Francie Healy

Headmaster

Latest Bethany Blog


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This week’s Bethany blog has been written by Mr Norman, Head of Design & Technology at Bethany School. He writes about the pros and cons of artificial intelligence and the benefits of studying Design and Technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Design and Technology
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Having listened to many reports on Artificial Intelligence (AI), I decided to give it a go and sign up to ‘Chat GPT’. My first question I asked was – What are the benefits of studying Design and Technology. Below was the response:

 

‘Studying design and technology offers numerous benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

 

Creativity and Innovation: Design and technology encourage creative thinking and innovation. By studying this field, you develop the ability to generate unique ideas, think outside the box, and come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems.

 

Problem-Solving Skills: Design and technology education emphasizes problem-solving skills. You learn to analyse challenges, identify design issues, and develop practical solutions. These problem-solving abilities can be applied to various areas of life, including personal, professional, and societal contexts.

 

Practical Application: Design and technology is a practical subject that provides hands-on experience. You get to work with various tools, materials, and technologies to create tangible products or prototypes. This hands-on approach helps develop practical skills and a deep understanding of how things work.

 

Interdisciplinary Learning: Design and technology often involve interdisciplinary learning, combining elements of science, engineering, art, and mathematics. This broadens your knowledge base and allows you to make connections between different fields, fostering a holistic approach to problem-solving.

 

Collaboration and Communication: Design and technology projects often involve teamwork and collaboration. Through group projects, you learn to communicate effectively, share ideas, and work together to achieve common goals. These collaborative skills are invaluable in both academic and professional settings.

 

User-Centred Design: Design and technology education emphasizes user-centred design, focusing on creating products and solutions that meet the needs and preferences of users. This user-centric approach fosters empathy and understanding, enabling you to design products that are user-friendly, accessible, and meaningful.

 

Digital Literacy: In today’s digital age, design and technology education equips you with essential digital literacy skills. You learn to use various software tools, digital fabrication technologies, and computer-aided design (CAD) software, enabling you to design, prototype, and manufacture products using digital technologies.

 

Career Opportunities: Studying design and technology opens up a wide range of career opportunities. You can pursue careers in industrial design, product design, graphic design, architecture, engineering, user experience (UX) design, game design, and many other related fields. Design and technology skills are highly sought after in industries that prioritise innovation and creativity.

 

Sustainable Design: As the world becomes more conscious of sustainability, design and technology education promotes sustainable design practices. You learn about eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient design principles, and how to reduce environmental impact through responsible design choices.

 

Personal Development: Lastly, studying design and technology can contribute to your personal growth. It nurtures skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, resilience, and attention to detail. It encourages you to embrace a growth mindset, enabling you to tackle challenges, learn from failures, and continuously improve.

 

Overall, studying design and technology equips you with a versatile skill set, fosters creativity and innovation, and prepares you for a wide range of exciting career opportunities in today’s rapidly evolving world.

 

I have to say, I was quite impressed as it would have taken me weeks to come up with the above and it certainly saved me time writing this blog and there are most certainly many reasons to take Design and Technology.

 

All of this got me thinking about the use of AI in GCSE Coursework (NEA) and to what extent AI could be used. I used the following link to find out more: https://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/malpractice/artificial-intelligence/

 

Having read through the document my first conclusion was that pupils should stay away from AI altogether as anything other than their own work would be identified as mal-practice. A lot of me though feels we should try to embrace AI as it will become a force for good (and potentially not so good) and just like social media we need to learn to use it the best we can and thus stay away from its negative impacts.

 

On further reading through the downloadable document the below section can be read:

 

‘Where AI tools have been used as a source of information, a student’s acknowledgement must show the name of the AI source used and should show the date the content was generated. For example: ChatGPT 3.5 (https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/), 25/01/2023. The student must, retain a copy of the question(s) and computer-generated content for reference and authentication purposes, in a noneditable format (such as a screenshot) and provide a brief explanation of how it has been used. This must be submitted with the work so the teacher/assessor is able to review the work, the AI-generated content and how it has been used.’

 

I would like to suggest that in Design and Technology, AI could be used as an inspiration source, with the above acknowledgement details added into pupils coursework, if any AI content is included in individuals work. I suspect the growth of AI will mean exams and coursework assessment changing in the future. I hope AI will help us all and be only used for the good of us all.

 

The safest, easiest and clearest route at present is to just not to use AI in DT coursework at all.

 

Mr Norman

Head of Design & Technology

 

Latest Sports News


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The latest news from the Bethany School sports department. Two final fixtures this week as the 1st XV rugby team, as well as the U13A hockey team, both looked to end their seasons on a high. We also received an exciting update for netball player and Year 9 pupil, Sophie.

Netball | Sophie Selected for Kent Development Programme
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Congratulations goes to Sophie Finnamore, Year 9 at Bethany, who has recently been selected into the Kent Netball U15 Player Development Programme for the 2023-24 season.

 

 

After injuring herself in June this year and unable to trial, she was scouted by Kent back in November at the under 14’s Kent County league, where she plays C & WA for her team Langton Green Netball Club.

 

Sophie trains with Kent and Langton Green twice a week, plays in both Sevenoaks Junior League, Kent under 14 League and Tunbridge Wells senior league with Langton Green.

 

Well done, Sophie, and good luck for the season!

Hockey | Bethany U13A v Dover College
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The final fixture of the season saw Bethany face Dover College. A late arrival from Dover meant that the game would consist of two 12 minute halves.

 

Dover started strong which meant that Bethany had to react quickly and defend from the off. They did this very well and almost every shot was cleared by Isabelle Hindley and Ciara Carnegie or saved by Matthew Clark as the first half ended 0-0.

 

The second half started like the first, with the need to defend strongly. A clearance saw the ball travel up the pitch towards Darcey, who was positioned perfectly to take a shot on goal from the left hand side into the right corner. We knew that the team couldn’t relax after this as Dover were turning the ball over quickly and breaking our defence. We saw a shot sneak past Matthew Clark and the score was levelled up at 1-1.

 

There were 5 minutes left of the game and Bethany did not lose their focus. Another great clearance saw the ball travel wide and out to Darcey again. This time she passed into Jess Stoneman and she managed to get a shot through the keeper. The final whistle went and secured a 2-1 win for Bethany.

 

Well done to the U13A team throughout this whole term, who have worked hard and played against some strong teams. It’s been a pleasure to coach you for my first term!

 

Final score: Bethany 2-1 Dover College

Player of the Match: Ciara Carnegie

Coaches Player of the Match: Isabelle Hindley

Rugby | Bethany 1st XV v Buckswood
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The 1st XV rugby team hosted Buckswood School on Monday afternoon in their final match of the season.

 

Bethany stared the game well, with good continuity through the phases, ball retention and accurate passing to release the wide backs. Buckswood defended well but had to absorb countless attacking plays. The Buckswood defensive line was finally stretched after ten minutes when a solid platform led to George Gardner changing the angle of attack and running over to score.

 

VIDEO: George opens the scoring

 

Bethany continued to play positive rugby off good attacking platforms and captain Tom Fyffe went over for a try, closely followed by Wilson Martin and then James Candeloro for a half time lead of 24-0.

 

VIDEO: Captain Tom Fyffe scores for Bethany

 

VIDEO: Wilson scores Bethany’s third try of the game

 

VIDEO: James goes over to make the half time score 24-0 to Bethany

 

Bethany continued play on the front foot in the second half, winning the collision, going through phases and passing players into space to create openings in the Buckswood defence. James Candeloro crossed for his second try, breaking down the left hand side and followed this with a superb break from his own half after quick footwork, to race in under the posts for his hat trick score.

 

VIDEOS: James scores his second and third try’s of the afternoon

 

 

The Bethany scoring was then rubbed stamped by Ethan Taylor scoring his first try of the season after pouncing on a loose ball and sprinting clear.

 

VIDEO: Ethan scores his first try of the season

 

Buckswood scored a consultation try in the final minutes after good approach play saw them cross the line from close range.

 

A good all-round display and excellent way finish to the senior rugby season.

 

Final score: Bethany 43-5 Buckswood

Player of the Match: James Candeloro

Coaches Player of the Match: Charlie Thorne and George Gardner