11 December 2015

With just one week to go until the Christmas break this is a good opportunity to look over the last half term before we move into the final events of this term.

Here is my half termly update on the progress we are making as a school towards our current priorities and to ensure that we strive to achieve our vision that ‘Everyone Succeeds’.

We have targeted the most significant challenges since September and have formed our School Development Priorities.

Priority 1: Students achieve the highest academic outcomes

A whole school focus on Literacy and Oracy.

As part of our focus and development of literacy across the school our staff have been sharing some of the successful interventions they have been using in the classroom to support students. There has been a daily blog post on the DHSB Teaching blog as part of the countdown to Christmas in December. You can read the posts here.

Priority 3: Leadership at all levels

Extend leadership opportunities for students and staff.

One of the areas that students were passionate about improving is our lunch time provision.

Over the last month or so student leadership has helped improve what happens at lunch time to meet the needs of the students. We now provide many new areas for more structured play, revision and thinking games in safer spaces which are supervised by prefects and staff.

We have also introduced more available rooms for quiet supervised study, these include several rooms with computer or online access, and these allow students to have more spaces to complete homework or make preparations for their assessments.

Finally we have introduced more new clubs and societies in the last month. There are now more than ever before as we have added over twenty new clubs or activities that have been created and led by students.

Priority 4: Collaboration and Community

Enable families to support their children through regular engagement events.

We really do value the communication between school and home and over the years have worked hard to develop a wide range and effective lines of communication. This year we want to provide more opportunities for you to come into school.

We will be writing to you before Christmas to confirm up to 15 extra parent events to help you in supporting your son or daughter. These will include academic guidance, supporting during exam times, help with our school based digital systems and wider digital skills and finally esafety for parents. When the dates and times are released you will be able to sign-up for those that will be helpful in supporting your needs.

This week’s news

On Tuesday we were delighted to welcome the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr John Mahony (a DHSB Old Boy) to formally open the Learning Commons.

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Students, staff, governors, parents and guests were able to view our new facilities and also read the displays curated by Dr Ian Hodgins on the early years of the school.

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During the refurbishment of the Learning Commons we were able to donate to Charity some books which hadn’t been read or used in school for several years.

This donation helped to raise over £21,000 for the African Children’s Educational Trust. This charity funds long-term scholarships for locally selected vulnerable youngsters who, without support, would be unable to attend full-time education.

Also this week we raised just over £1,000 for St Luke’s Hospice by holding a Christmas Jumper mufti day. This total includes a very special, individual donation from George Evenden and his family.

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Mr Manley is seen teaching in his Christmas jumper

I’ve just heard that today’s festive staff v student basketball match has raised over £95 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The staff team was pleased to win the match. Well done all.

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The annual School Magazine is always a favourite with parents and Old Boys and congratulations are due to Tom Cooper and Billy Kingdon, assisted by Joe Weeks, for collating and editing this year’s edition. You will be able to buy your copy at Speech Day next Wednesday.

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Well done also to Tariq, Preet and Lalit who all did very well at the recent City of Plymouth Speech and Drama Festival.

Tariq Rudge
Solo verse speaking – Commended 85%
Sight reading – Merit 83%

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Preet Pradeep
Solo acting – Commended 86%
Bible reading – Commended 85%

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Lalit Kathiresan
Prose Speaking – Commended 85%
Bible reading – Commended 86%
Sight reading – Merit 83%
Lyrical verse speaking – Distinction 87% (first place and trophy winner)

In the classroom

In the classroom, Mrs Corboy has been promoting Computer Science Education Week 2015.

Her students have been taking part in a worldwide activity for the second year running. ‘Hour of Code’ encourages students to get in to programming. It is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. This year, students had the opportunity to participate in one of three tutorials, which are available in 30 languages. Aimed at ages 4 to 104, no experience is needed.

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Also, I thought you would like to see some of the superb medieval castles made by Year 7 students over the past fortnight.

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During this busy week Mrs Moreton launched the Plymouth Employability passport with Year 10 students.

She said, “I strongly believe that it will benefit all students and embodies good ‘information and guidance’ for everyone, whether they are heading for university applications or looking to impress employers searching for those so-called ‘soft skills’. Being able to communicate clearly but politely, work in a variety of team roles and to take appropriate initiative when necessary are important, influential and indispensable skills for life.”

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Sports Update

Well done to the U12s who took the title at the Plymouth Schools Basketball competition at the Life Centre.

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Our Year 10 team are through to the next round in the National Vase competition after beating Newquay Tretherras 28 – 5.

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Events Update
Saturday 12 December – PTFA Christmas Disco

For Years 7 – 9

Monday 14 December at 7.00pm – Carol Service

St Andrew’s Church, Royal Parade

Wednesday 16 December at 7.00pm – Speech Day

Plymouth Guildhall

Friday 18 December

Final day of term

Tuesday 5 January 2016

First day of the spring term