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12 March 2021

It has been a real joy this week to see our students return and to feel the buzz back in classrooms and hear the laughter around the site.

I would like to convey my thanks to parents and carers who have prepared their child or children for the return to school.

Students have once again embraced both their personal and collective responsibility to keep each other and the school safe by taking seriously all of the Covid-19 control measures.

I am extremely grateful to our dedicated and committed teachers and support staff, they have provided incredible support to our students as they have returned and have ensured they have had an appropriate transition.

Our site was looking very spring-like as we welcomed staff and students back to school.

Around the World Challenge

We’ve made it! We’re home!

Mr Orkney has confirmed we recorded 25,251 miles by midday on Saturday 6 March, just before all students and staff returned to school.

He added, “We have had 2,585 entries and it has been a magnificent effort. Huge thanks to everyone who took part. Well done to you all”.

Thank you to Mr Orkney and Mr Manley for setting this challenge and for inspiring us with regular updates. I for one will miss recording the miles I have walked or run each evening!

Covid-19 Student Mass Testing

Who would ever have guessed this time last year that our fitness suite and sports hall would be carefully transformed into testing sites for Covid-19 and that our school support staff team including our teaching assistants, science technicians, exams officer and curriculum support assistants would have undergone training to be able to test, process and record the results of lateral flow tests taken at school.

Our testing programme for staff started in January in the first week of term in our small three bay testing centre in the fitness suite. As the guidance for schools updated we quickly moved to testing the students in our Educare provision and staff who were on site throughout the lockdown period. To date, we have completed 1,300 tests in this centre.

Luckily our forward planning for the mass testing of students on their return to school this week also paid off and we have had a superb week of efficient testing using the 30 minute lateral flow tests. Our mass testing site has carried out thousands of tests and our school remains Covid secure. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all families for their support and vigilance throughout the pandemic, communicating regularly any questions or concerns that you may have and seeking advice about the best course of action for your child if they have shown symptoms. This really has helped us to keep the school safe for all.

We were lucky to have secured additional manpower and support from RE:ACT responders for our mass testing. The responders have supported the frontline response to the Covid-19 pandemic since it began and Pennie Burne from RE:ACT has organised the team of volunteers at DHSB.

Pennie said, “A team of 16 volunteers, 14 recruited through RE:ACT and two from Our Plymouth augmented the staff team of testers and processors at DHSB from 8 - 12 March 2021. With an eclectic mix of backgrounds varying from military to Ambulance, Fire and Police Services, and several with some medical experience, the team hit the ground running and within a very short space of time were achieving record times with the Lateral Flow Testing numbers."

She added, "The camaraderie amongst the team was excellent, and the teams of two worked very well together throughout. Two volunteers helped with Meet and Greet, and another was a cheerful runner and restocker of medical supplies. Everyone has enjoyed the experience, and we thank DHSB for providing lunch and drinks, which were very welcome.”

RE:ACT Volunteers

DHSB Staff

We are also grateful to personnel from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery who visited the school in January 2021 to advise on and support the setting up of our test centres.

The RE:ACT volunteers wanted me to convey to parents and carers how impressed they have been with all our students, they have carried out testing and other activities in many schools, workplaces and in the community and they were incredibly impressed with the attitude and politeness of our young people, please do reiterate this with your child/children at home.

I am incredibly proud of all our community for the way that we have achieved a successful mass testing programme. Thank you everyone.

Excellent Work

Our examples of Excellent Work this week have been shared by Mrs Johnson in the English Department.

Year 8 students have been studying poetry and last week were looking at poetry about Being British whilst looking at British Values. Students were asked to write an alternative anthem about what it means to be British.

Fish and Chips, Fish and Chips!

The newspaper screamed.

The mushies sat there waiting,

and the curry sauce gleamed.

The whole house was dancing.

The deity had arrived.

They peeled back the paper,

To see what was inside.

It dazzled like a starry night.

Cradled in a blanket.

Their faces lit up wildly,

and they dived for it, frantic.

Daniel Bishop 8W

Where to start,

Where to begin?

An afternoon tea,

Or that bottle of gin.

People may question you,

People may ask,

“What’s it like to be British?”

And you will set off on a task.

Of answering that question,

You so dearly want to know.

Maybe start small,

Like we hardly get snow.

Or maybe think big,

As tall as big ben.

Or something quite common,

Tea again and again.

Maybe a person,

Like the queen or MP.

Or maybe some sorrow,

When the kettle is empty.

Yet all of these suggestions,

Do not apply to everyone.

So you must decide for yourself,

What’s it like to be a British one?

Isaac Davey 8S

Year 7 students have been writing poems inspired by nature.

Please click here to read a mini book of poetry by Leo Nguyen 7C

This example, called Octopus, has an accompanying video too.

I've cleaned my cave with a jet of spray