Yesterday I wrote to parents and carers with the new Covid-19 guidance and measures for schools.
It was important to me that in the letter I also thanked our staff who are working incredibly hard to do the best for students, as they have done throughout the last two years.
I am incredibly proud of their dedication and commitment to minimise any impact on the quality of our provision.
Since September we have been working strategically to mitigate any Covid-19 risks and return back to normal as quickly as we can. We understand and know our young people and a return to normal is ultimately what they need to improve their wellbeing and to move forward positively from the challenging two years they have experienced.
I would also like to once again highlight how brilliant our students have been in supporting the school and each other with the ever changing measures and in overcoming the challenges they have faced during this difficult time.
Finally, thank you to all parents, carers and families who have provided great support to staff and children at the school.
In our assemblies on Wednesday Mr Manley delivered key messages about re-establishing standards in school with the following updates and reminders. His presentation is copied below for your information.
An update on uniform expectations from Monday 4 April.
A reminder of the mobile phone/headphones and smartwatch rules that were introduced in March 2020.
A reminder of behaviour expectations and responsibilities.
Easter Holiday Club
A reminder that we are running a Holiday Club from 11 - 14 April.
There will be fantastic activities on offer and more information about how to book is available at this link.
DofE Silver Cycling Expedition
Very well done to the following students who completed their DofE silver cycling expedition last weekend.
Archie Forgan and Yaseen Khatwa from 10E and Samuel Chapman, Isaac Dent, Joseph Marples and Fin Parkin-Hughes all from 10N.
The group started in Barnstaple and took the Tarka Trail to Instow before going through Bideford and Torrington and then camping in Meeth. On the second day they cycled to Harford Bridge via Haverly and Okehampton before taking the granite way to Tavistock and camping for their second night. On the final day they cycled to Princetown before picking up the old railway line back to DHSB.
They group cycled about 50km each day and had great weather for it. Their assessor said the group’s approach and attitude was extremely positive.They all worked and bonded as a team during the three days and made the most of the expedition in so many ways.
Thank you to Miss Cunningham who took two teams of Year 10 students to the AMSP Maths Feast, hosted by Ivybridge Community College.
Miss Cunningham said, “ This was a welcome return to a team maths competition, the first since before lockdown 1. Students competed in four varied but equally challenging rounds where they had to work as a team to problem solve and do the maths! It was a successful day for both teams, winning three out of four rounds. More importantly, it was great to see such a fabulous display of team work and problem solving skills from all who competed.”
Congratulations to Sean Bautista 10N, Stavya Dubey 10C, Talha Durrani 10W, Orlan Hartley 10N, Tyler Harvey 10S, Alex Knobloch 10N, Lucas McBride 10W and Hari Somakumar 10E.
Well done to George Shaw 7E who performed as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast last weekend.
The performance was originally planned for 2019 but due to the pandemic and many other delays it finally took place last weekend (also George's 12th birthday).
Thanks to Mr Richards for sharing this news.
Mr Richards said, “Nine entries from Poetry Society will be published in a national anthology as part of a Young Writers competition. The school will receive a free copy next term and the anthology will also be available for the public at the British Library”.
Thank you to Daniel Bott 7P, Rudi Gibbs 11C, Henry Gilmore 7E, Elliott Mair 9C, Otto Malm 9S, Jake Parsons 9N, Hamish Bailey 7P, Jack Cox 9W and Tarka Liddle 9N for sharing your work. Fabulous.
Mr Anderson has submitted this example of Excellent Work from his Year 7 Geography class.
The class was set a homework task about the ‘urban heat island'. Students had to find out what this is and apply to a case study of London.
The work by Malik Bhumi 7S shows really great understanding and presentation of a GCSE concept.
Sixth Form Enrichment and Tutorial
This week I’m highlighting the Sixth Form’s focus on citizenship which includes learning about sexual harassment and violence against women.
Ms Davidson, Assistant Head Post-16, and Ms Wilkinson, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, have received awards from Devon Charity Trevi for their commitment to this and DHSB was praised by Trevi for its efforts in educating young men.
Ms Davidson took students to view the recent installation at the Guildhall, which used shoes to create a powerful and poignant tribute to 108 women murdered by men in the UK during 2020.
Ms Davidson said the exhibition alerted the students to what was happening to women, be they mothers, sisters or friends, with regard to domestic or on the street violence.
She added, “ There is a feeling that what is needed is a cultural change and conversations in school are vital to help achieve that. Students in Year 12 are not just being taught about sexual harassment, but also encouraged to look at what they can do to encourage change in young men's attitudes”.
Ms Wilkinson is pictured receiving her award from Ms Davidson and with Daniel Sturge 12SDO and Alana Whitta 12RNC who attended the exhibition along with Olivia Yates 12SDO.
Mr Burt, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, has also recently received an award, this time from Bath University.
Mr Burt was recognised as being a good ambassador for the Bath outreach team, one of only five ambassadors nationally.
Well done to all our Sixth Form team.
In the Sixth Form we are celebrating the work of the Primrose Foundation and Bosom Pals in particular, who formed a support group for breast cancer sufferers. One of our support staff colleagues, Mrs Boaden, delivered a superb session to female students in 2019 and she kindly agreed to deliver this again, with Michelle Hull, to a group of Sixth Form girls this morning.
Bosom Pals are keen for young women to be much more aware and so the group came to talk with our girls about the importance of checking their breasts as early detection of lumps throughout life can increase survival chances considerably.
The group brought prosthetics (with hidden lumps) and the students were surprised at how much pressure they had to apply to locate any abnormalities. They were shy at first but the information shared was received well and we are confident that Bosom Pals will also have increased awareness beyond the immediate community of the school.
Mrs Boaden recently received a Shero award from the Trevi Foundation. She was nominated by Ms Davidson not only for her contribution to the support group but also for overcoming anxiety about public speaking and for being bold and gaining the confidence to share such an important health message in a school setting.
The Sixth Form will focus on women's health again with all students at a later date.
Careers and citizenship
Students also heard from Phillip Innes of Plymouth based charity Effervescent which is looking for young people to volunteer to work with professional specialists to develop ideas and build a beautiful and compelling creative campaign around gender based violence.
Philip also explored career paths in the creative industries and what it is like to forge a career through freelance for voluntary organisations.
The penultimate week of this term already, and although we have lost the sun for now it still feels an optimistic time of year.
Year 7 students this week are continuing with the second and third sessions in the sequence of Emotional Logic; learning to understand the concept of a safe place, identifying actual or emotional losses, and relate to emotional stepping stones.
Year 8 students have a lesson regarding autism - what this is and how we might support someone with autism both in school and out.
Most of Year 9 were learning about Parliament and Democracy with a variety of activities to choose, such as a virtual tour around Westminster or an activity to be an MP for the day thinking about the types of decisions that might need to be made.
9E and 9S had Google Meets with Babcock International who were giving feedback on their employer challenge projects for this year. As with the other classes last week there was a chocolate reward for the winning teams in each class.
Year 10 students covered some of the Barclays Lifeskills programme, looking at transferable employability skills and in particular problem solving. You may have seen some of the corresponding television ads where students show how skills practised in the classroom transfer to a difficult workplace scenario.
And finally for this week Year 11 students had a speaker from the Oddballs Foundation raising awareness of testicular cancer. This important health message was delivered by a former student of the school, Harry Groves, now working as an Oddballs ambassador.
Next week we are hoping to welcome back several more alumni to tell current students about their progress since leaving DHSB - it will be great to catch up with a few stories and hear about their career journey.
We're very proud of our U13 Table Tennis Team who'll be competing at the Butterfly National Schools Championships on Sunday.
All the best to Hugo Nguyen, Lucas Ceasar, Oliver Cunningham and Leo Nguyen who won through at the regional competition in February.
Follow us on Twitter for news from the competition which will also feature in the Head's Blog next week @dhsboys.
The Year 7 football team had a big away day and a good win at Ilfracombe Academy in the quarter final of the Devon Cup. Well done to all involved.
Unfortunately the Year 11 team lost their Devon Cup match against St Peter's School in Exeter, ending with a scoreline of 4 - 2.