It was lovely to spend time talking with our new Year 7 students on Wednesday in our first Covid-19 secure ‘Meet the Head’ breaktime meeting.
Today I met a group of Sixth Form students in a new-style ‘Lunch with the Head’ (takeaway fish and chips in my office).
Although things may work a little differently this year we are also moving forward with the school student leadership appointments and I’m looking forward to meeting the voice reps in their year groups after half term.
Our assembly this week was led by Newton House and delivered to students in their tutor groups.
Mr Carpenter, Head of House, introduced the 'five ways of wellbeing' to students and asked each tutor group to identify ways in which they plan to improve their wellbeing.
Here are some excellent examples of their suggestions and a link to Mr Carpenter’s assembly slides.
Careers and PSHEE
Ms Moreton arranged a visiting speaker for Year 8 this mornng.
She said it was great to hear from Chris Booth, formerly of Torbridge High who spoke to students about digital media design and careers in IT and computing.
photo credit: Mr Scott
Year 8 also had a remote speaker this morning, this time talking about Careers in Sport.
Thanks to Clare Bulford from Plymouth Marjon University for another interesting talk.
Hello Yellow - Friday 9 October 2020
On our first mufti day this year we will be showing our support for the Young Minds charity and their #HelloYellow appeal, writes Mr Manley. The charity’s mission is to show young people they're not alone with their mental health.
On Friday 9 October we will be joining the Young Minds appeal #HelloYellow and raising vital funds to support this charity who are leading the fight for a future where all young people are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges.
At a time when it’s needed most please come together for #HelloYellow to support young people’s mental health on World Mental Health Day.
Wear yellow on Friday 9 October and donate £1 to YoungMinds.
You can find out more at this link and by watching this video.
I have three pieces of excellent writing to share with you this week.
Recently, Harry Berrow Eggins 10N entered an essay writing competition with Mallarduk, a media organisation.
We are delighted to announce that he has been awarded the Reader’s Choice Award.
You can read his essay at this link. His work is called ‘What will Conservatism look like in 2030'.
Jack Matthews 6ALG has been practising the art of creative writing during the summer. At first it was a hobby and then after a few months Jack says this became a passion.
Jack has written many short stories and he believes that this example called 'An October Midnight Feast' is his best.
Reuben Barnes 9N explained to me that he accepted the challenge when Mrs Mintoft shared information about a course and competition with Exeter University on Future Learn about the British Empire. The task was to complete the six week course and then write an essay to be judged by peers.
Reuben’s work is called ‘Legacy of the British Empire’ and you can read it at the link below.
Very well done to all three students, Harry, Jack and Reuben and thank you for sharing your work.
Contributions to the Head's Blog
If you would like to let me know what you have been doing recently then please complete this Google form. Have you taken up a new hobby or found a new way to work towards your own wellbeing? We'd like to hear about it.
I hope you enjoy reading the first of our new, regular Head's Blog feature - getting to know some of our valued members of staff.
Our Senior Caretaker Trevor Friend is the longest serving member of support staff at the school.
I caught up with him when he was combing the 3G pitch on the school quad bike, one of his favourite tasks, to ask these questions.
Q What do you like best about DHSB?
A I really enjoy having students around the school site. They keep me young.
Q What’s your favourite part of the school?
A I like Astor Block. I think this is because I was told it was haunted when I first arrived at the school in April 1993. I found the building to be very atmospheric and a bit scary when I was walking around locking up at night in the dark. I believe A Block is where the operating theatre was located when the school buildings were a military hospital.
This week I attended (virtually) the SWGfL online safety day. This was an opportunity to get up to speed on the latest online safety information for the new school year. As we return to ‘normal practice’ it is essential that we move forward with all the latest advice and guidance to continue to keep our community safe. The session had segments from David Wright (Director of UK Safer Internet Centre) and representatives from Childnet, Internet Matters & Facebook. A wide range of online safety topics were discussed including:
Online Safety Challenges - how to talk to children about potential risks.
New Resources and Tools - helping you and your pupils stay safe online.
Guidance and Advice for Returning to School - safeguarding considerations.
Q&A with Online Safety Professionals
I will share this information with staff and with you over the next few weeks, starting with the new campaign from INternetmatters.org - ‘The Online Facts of Life’, a campaign that shares insights from real parents who talk openly about their own knowledge of internet safety. The youtube playlist can be found here with the latest in how to use online safety tools found here.
And finally, I had the web app Omegle brought to my attention this week, which i thought I would try out. The app sells itself as ‘Chat with random strangers online – it’s fun, it’s a new experience every time. Use Omegle now!’. Of all the bad apps I have used, this is by far the worst. Every interaction was sexual in nature, adult website links were posted in every ‘chat’ and all chatters insisted that I share other chat channels immediately. Pretty shocking to be honest and it even says on their website ‘predators have been known to use Omegle’. This is certainly one to delete - for more info go here.
Mr Carpenter has sent me an athletics update this week as DHSB students competed at the Tavistock Autumn Series event last weekend.
Mackenzie Pike 10W (12.24) was among five U15 boys who ran under 12.55 seconds in the 100m and he was also quickest in the 200m with a time of 24.72.
Andreas Isaias 10W won the U15 boys 300m in 41.75.
Matthew Newton 11E also competed at Tavistock and scored a personal best in the high jump.
Oher DHSB students participated at the event including Jared Hunter 6RFP, Isaac Reid 10S and Noah Reid 8S.
Well done to everyone involved!
photo credit: Plymouth Sports Gazette
Well done to Mr Burt who completed the Plymouth Breakwater Swim to raise funds to the Chestnut Appeal. He swam with Chris Ryland, the father of Freddie Ryland in Year 11.
This picture shows Mr Burt boarding the boat which took the swimmers to the breakwater before they swam back to shore.
The Chestnut Appeal was founded in 1999 at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and has since gone on to be at the forefront of prostate cancer care right across the region. The charity supports the very latest in treatments and technology that wouldn’t be available without community fundraising and relies on donations from the public.
There is still time to make a donation to the charity on Mr Burt’s fundraising page.
Very well done also to Mrs Wardle who, together with her husband, has completed a cycling challenge which they undertook to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
They have cycled a total of 500 miles during September and Mrs Wardle says they have raised £500 for this worthy charity.
Again, there is still time to make a donation at this link.
Covid Email Address
A reminder that we have set up a dedicated email address for parents and carers to help us manage all Covid-19 school queries and attendance related emails.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use this new email address for the following:
1. Advice on Covid-19 related school issues
2. Reporting your child's absence due to any Covid-19 reason such as self-isolation, quarantine, student illness with the symptoms of Covid-19.
3. Notifying school when you have secured a test date for your child or family member if applicable.
4. Notifying us as soon as possible when you have received Covid-19 test results
5. Any other Covid-19 related issue.
Please continue to use the email@example.com email address for all other absence correspondence or in the case of sixth form students please use firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other non-Covid general school queries please use the email@example.com address or phone the school reception 01752 208787.
We hope that by having this dedicated email address for Covid-19 issues, your queries may be answered accurately and quickly allowing you to get the school based advice you might need for your child.
For medical advice related to Covid-19 please consult your own GP, the NHS 119 telephone number or visit the NHS website at this link.