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.”
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.
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
And the dirty shells have all gone away
The sun is fading; it’s the end of the day
I think it’s time for me to catch my prey
Camouflaging on a rock
I’m going to give my neighbour such a shock
Using my super sucker like a slippery sock
I’ll put my prey in a headlock
Crushing crabs and cracking clams
And startling starfish with my eight bear hands
That surfer on that board he stands
I can see him through this monstrous sand
Ben Marriott 7C
Well done to Max Jackson who has been recognised as a Careers Champion.
Max was proactive about choosing his pathway after school and made his own dreams happen when he took up his place as a Business Support Apprentice, MVV Environment Devonport Ltd.
Ms Moreton, our IAG Coordinator, supported Max to explore post-16 pathways that would allow him to achieve his aspiration to work and continue learning. School, business and college came together to ensure that Max had access to an apprenticeship with an employer that inspired him.
Well, back to school this week with mixed feelings for many, I guess.
Much of the online learning has been great and will no doubt continue but with added support from teachers and also the ability to work co-operatively with others, an essential employability skill.
The Year 7 lesson today was an introduction to apprenticeships, with short films to watch and then an electronic booklet of activities to work through, which will take a couple of weeks to complete.
Year 9 students had a similar booklet but aiming to develop their knowledge, and they also were asked to revisit the Careerpilot site https://www.careerpilot.org.uk to continue with researching areas of interest.
Year 8 students looked at online advertising and how companies will target their ads depending on internet searches. They also learned how to protect themselves from this type of advertising if they wished to do so.
The Year 10 lesson was all about transitions and setbacks, and developing resilience throughout.
Students were asked to explore various transition points in their lives and consider some specific scenarios that they could encounter. We have all had a huge lesson in developing resilience over the last year so they have had plenty of experience in adapting to change!
Finally, Year 11 students, who will be able to target revision for their ongoing assessments during the Friday tutorials, were also given the option of beginning a course led by Eton College. We have arranged access to this certificated course on Entrepreneurship which runs over eight sessions and could also be completed in their own time if they prefer. This will replace the tutor-led sessions from now on, other than any important speakers or sessions that have been missed during lockdown, if we are able to reschedule visitors and speakers.
Joining instructions for the EtonX sessions and lesson details for all year groups are accessed via the tutorial Google Classrooms.
So that is it for Careers, PSHEE & Citizenship this week - please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further queries.
In tutor time this week students looked at expiring content - this is content that disappears after it has been viewed, or after a certain amount of time. Think Facebook/instagram stories and snapchat. This is popular with young people as it is seen as easy, fun and allows them to share things that they wouldn't always want on their permanent profile. They also dont have to worry about public comments or likes.
What are the risks?
Potential to share riskier or more private content as they are under the impression that it ‘disappears’
The content can be taken via screenshots or recordings and be used and shared by others after it has expired
It can be harder to report content that is no longer visible
Apps that offer expiring content tend to have a higher minimum age restriction - most of them are 13+ - whatsapp 16+
It is important to keep an honest and open dialogue with our children and the following are childnets top tips to be able to achieve this:
Keep an open dialogue - Reassure your child that they can always come to you if they have any questions or worries about something that has been shared online, even if it has disappeared or expired.
Set up and explore together – Help your child set up any new accounts so you can make sure the correct privacy and safety features are in place. You could also spend some time on the platforms together initially so you can see what happens within the platform, support them with any worries and establish boundaries for sharing content, expiring and permanent. Visit Common Sense Media for reviews and information about apps or services your child is using, or wants to use.
Help your child to make safe choices - Make sure your child knows not to share their personal information or anyone else's when posting any kind of content online. This could be whilst chatting within a game, sending a video or sharing pictures. It is possible to set profiles to private or friends only, which restricts access only to those who have been granted permission to see it.
Encourage your child to think carefully before posting expiring content - For adults and children alike, it’s important to ask: am I happy for anyone online to see this? Remind your child that just because something expires, doesn’t mean it disappears and that someone can screenshot and share it on. This is also a great opportunity to remind your child about the importance of keeping personal information safe online.
Report any inappropriate behaviour - Sites should have clear, prominent and accessible places to make a report. Providers should respond promptly to reports from users, and some will acknowledge each report with a confirmation that it has been received and provide indication of the timescale in which the complaint will be managed. Make sure you talk with your child about these tools and ensure that they know how to use them.