top of page

24 March 2017

I’m very proud of our staff and students and this week there are an incredible range of achievements to share with you.

I would also like to draw your attention to the update on our progress towards our school development priorities which can be found at the foot of this Blog.

I attended the opening performance of The Tempest on Tuesday evening and was very impressed with the talent and skill not only of the cast but the whole production team.

Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received:-

‘Well done everybody. Really enjoyed this’

‘Amazing performance of The Tempest tonight. Well done to all concerned, some fantastic performances and stars in the making’

‘This evening’s student led performance of The Tempest was a triumph. I’m so proud for, and impressed by, you all. Bravo’

170324 The Tempest3

170324 The Tempest5

170324 The Tempest4

170324 The Tempest6

170324 The Tempest A

 The Tempest photos by Tahmid Ahmad


Ms Moreton would like to invite any recent alumni who are in Plymouth for the Easter break to come into school to talk to current students about university choices on 31 March 2017.

Please contact her at

British Biology Olympiad

The British Biology Olympiad (BBO) is a competition run by the Royal Society of Biology.

The competition is open to students around the world and challenges those with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents.

This year our students have been enormously successful in this competition with five students, Regan Lee, Ellie Harding, Joshua Porter, Rueben Martin, Madeleine Lee, achieving Gold.

Mr Widdecombe said, “This is a tremendous achievement as only 6% of students who take part are awarded Gold”.

Four students also obtained Silver, Molly Mees, Luke McMullan, George Soper and Jack Tucker, which is also an excellent achievement.

Regan Lee and Ellie Harding, having been awarded high Gold passes, were selected to advance through to round two, competing for a place in the national UK final. In this round Regan Lee was placed in the top 16 and has been successful in securing a place. He will be competing for a place in the International Biology Olympiad.

170324 Biology

Excellent Work

This week I would like to highlight some Year 7 artwork from Mr Head.

The project was called ‘Remastered’. Students were given the task of reinventing famous works of art using just squares. A few various apps were used such as Piskel, Pixil and Google sheets.

Mr Head said, “This was a difficult task requiring imagination as well as technical prowess”.

170324 Art2

170324 Art1

Amazing Spaces – Digital Project

Also producing excellent work are our Digital Leaders and some primary pupils they are working with.

Mr Butcher said, “40 Year 5 students from Stoke Damerel Primary visited us last week and quickly got to grips with our network system and new pieces of software. Their curriculum theme for this term has been geographical amazing spaces, and they soon found out how big the World Wide Web is. Next, they used a gadget from the Code Academy to take a body of text and squeeze it to be as small as possible. The principles and reasons for data compression clearly understood. Our digital leaders will be using encryption at the centre of their next session with the Year 5 students”.

Sports Update

National Schools Sevens Tournament

Many congratulations to our U13 and U16 teams who competed at the Rosslyn Park National 7s Rugby Tournament in London.

Mr Strang said, “Over 270 schools took part in the competition with our U13 playing some fantastic rugby to win all five of their games. The squad has trained every week since September and should be congratulated on their outstanding performance. By winning all of their games DHSB is placed as one of the best 7 aside school teams in the country.

Mr Orkney added, “One of our greatest rugby days and the best since the national cup quarter-final. Well done students and staff”.

170324 U13 Rugby 2

170324 U13 Rugby

The U16 team also played extremely well but faced some tough competition and didn’t make it through to the knockout rounds this year.

170324 U16 Rugby


Our Year 7 football team beat Coombe Dean 3 – 1 and Heles 2 – 0 with some excellent football and cracking goals at the central venue competition this week.

Also, it was a fantastic day on Wednesday for the 1st XI side who beat top of the league Dartmouth 5 – 1. This puts both teams on 24 points.

170324 1st XI

170324 1st XI 2


Well done to the following students who took medals in the Plymouth 7s and the Devon 7s competitions.

A squad – First place in both competitions (Fred Williams, Oscar Burnard, Tom Doyle, Sean Rump)

B squad – Second place in the Plymouth 7s and third place in the Devon 7s (Seb Ingham, Harrison Houlberg, Charlie Mountain)

The boys play for the Plymouth Marjon U14 team and have recently qualified for the regional finals which will be hosted at MarJon at the weekend.

Topping the group would send the team to the National Finals at the Olympic Park in May.

170324 Hockey


Congratulations also to two teams of DHSB students who represented the school at the Devonport Royal School swimming gala earlier in March. We also teamed with DHSG to create two mixed relay teams.

A Team – Cameron Williams, Finn Washburn, Sonny Davies and Thomas Suckling B Team – Samuel Hughes, Henry Macdonald, Adam Greep, Finn Washburn

The A team came second to Plymouth College in the boys 4 x 50m freestyle relay.

Additionally Cameron Williams represented DHSB at a national swimming competition. He travelled to Liverpool International Swimming Pool to swim in the ESSA (English Schools Swimming Association) Inter-Divisional Championships

He was selected by the South West region to swim as part of the Junior Boys 4 x 100m freestyle relay. The team finished second overall and received an ESSA silver medal.

170324 Swimming

Future Events

27 March Oxbridge Information Day

27 March PTFA Easter Raffle

29 March Year 7 Parents Assessment Meeting

31 March Final Day of the Spring Term

17 April Bank Holiday Monday

18 April First Day of the Summer Term – A week


Everyone Succeeds

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

We have targeted the most significant challenges since September and have formed our School Development Priorities which you can read here.

Priority 1: Students achieve the highest academic outcomes

Emphasis on ensuring all students are challenged and make excellent progress in their learning

‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit’ Aristotle.

As a community we have been striving to develop a real culture of excellence as our main focus this year. All of us students and staff will aim towards our goal of ensuring that ‘Everyone Succeeds’. We have been regularly featuring examples of students’ excellent work in the Head’s Blog and through feedback we know that this is a popular new feature. Thank you to all our staff and students who have featured so far; we will continue to share this with you.

170210 Alexander II

Sixth Form History Revision

170303 Excellent Work1 Alex Rapson

Year 8 English

170127 Food2

Year 10 Food Technology

A whole-school focus on literacy and oracy

We are now seeing evidence of supporting literacy and oracy across all subjects and year groups. There is now a bigger focus on the feedback given around spelling and grammar and it is really positive to see many examples in books and also seeing that students are beginning to take more responsibility for their own development with this.

Promote an expectation of reflection, review and a commitment to improve to achieve excellence.

You will be aware particularly if you are a parent of a Year 11 child of the new additional support that we have been providing for our GCSE students in the run up to the examinations.

For Year 11, due to the recent curriculum changes in English and Maths and the increased difficulty of the future examinations, we have invested in providing our students with a further opportunity of a round of mocks in these subjects. We have carried this out in collaboration with an external organisation called PiXL which will provide our students and their teachers with meaningful information on the progress that they are making in all areas of the courses in English and Maths and then facilitate further interventions between now and the first exams.

For Year 10 we recently delivered an information evening to enable parents to support their child particularly in English and Maths that included a break down on the new curriculum and the assessment of this, the feedback from parents and students was overwhelmingly positive.

Priority 2: All staff seek to become even better

Developing the pedagogy of teachers with regard to enhancing differentiation in the classroom.

We have put a greater emphasis on providing more opportunities for teachers to share good practice from their own classrooms with the rest of the school. Particularly encouraging more cross-curricular links to help support individual teachers develop their own professional practice. This is just the beginning but we have already seen some excellent work developing between different groups of teachers that ultimately will have a positive impact back in their classrooms.

Over the next few weeks subject departments are investing time on developing further resources that will enable teachers to target interventions particularly at Key Stage 4 and 5. They are doing this collaboratively to enable to share expertise and to also to reduce the workload of teachers.

Develop and share good practice through our appraisal system to ensure all staff extend their opportunities for professional development

Google Certification – Our support staff at the school have begun a new Google training programme. As part of our ongoing commitment to professional empowering our staff and our partnership with Google as a worldwide Google Reference school all our support staff are progressing through the Google for Education certification programme where they will have the opportunity to gain an external qualification.

Mental Health Training – This is part of the national agenda of providing more support to schools to enable more support to young people with regards to improving their mental wellbeing. As you may be aware DHSB is part of a citywide programme that is trying to improve the mental health support in all secondary schools.

As part of the commitment to this all our staff are currently undergoing specialist training to improve their knowledge on how to support others wellbeing, to understand and identify a child at risk of a mental health condition and finally to develop their confidence to act on their concern and signpost to those services that can help.

Priority 4: Collaboration and Community

Improve the consistency and clarity of communication to students, staff, parents and the wider community.

We are delighted to see so many parents are now regularly engaging in our electronic systems to keep up to date in how their child is progressing. Just a reminder that if you are unable to log into Classcharts or Homeworky via your own parental account then please contact our Family Support Advisor Amanda Moore who will be happy to help you get connected again.

There are also now apps available for all of these on all platforms thanks to our student digital leaders who have been leading on developing these.

Don’t forget that in addition to this they have also developed an electronic planner that can be visited on the link below:

Widen access to improve social mobility by overcoming barriers in the community

Over the last few months we have begun to develop closer relationships with our partner primary schools particularly those that geographically are closer to the school. We have met with the Headteachers of these schools and have several projects that have started or are about to start. These range from supporting in English particularly reading and writing, Computing and Sport.

In addition to student projects the school has been supporting the schools in improving their provision for ICT, the professional development for teachers and support in specific subject areas developing the teachers’ expertise. I will continue to update you regarding this as we strive to collaborate more closely with the community.

Priority 5: Creative and Entrepreneurial Spirit

Continue to use the latest cutting edge technology creatively and innovatively influencing the wider educational community

We were delighted to feature across the USA as a worldwide case study for Google in January. Our continued close partnership with Google is helping provide fantastic opportunities for our school community and we are excited about how this will continue to develop.

New Chromebox Lab

The DHSB Digital Leaders entered the BT Tech Factor competition in the autumn term. They created an extremely well-produced and narrated video entry showing how they were currently using technology and how they’d spend the prize money on improving their learning environment even further. They were successful and won £5,000 to spend on technology in the school.

Working with IT Support and consulting with departments they chose to replace an entire IT Suite with the latest Google Chromebox technology. The upgrade has transformed C23 from the least popular IT Suite to the most popular one in the school.

170324 C23

Overcome the barriers to recruitment and retention, reflected nationally, through a new DHSB approach

Many thanks to Ms Moreton, our Information, Advice and Guidance Coordinator, who has been extremely busy as always organising so many opportunities for our young people to connect with business and industry.

It was great to see that as part of National Careers Week 2017 Ms Moreton arranged for over 20 speakers to visit the school during our tutorial session to introduce a diverse range of careers such as architecture and speech therapy.

This was a fantastic opportunity for our Year 10 and 11 students, many boys were able to make useful links for their future; others decided that a particular area was definitely not for them, and some were just fascinated to hear speakers from a wide variety of different areas.

170310 Careers1

170310 Careers3

Transform the influence and impact that the DHSB Alumni (Old Boys) has on current students and staff

It is great to see that we are regularly updating our Where are they now feature. This continues to provide inspiration for our students at the school and is helping grow the influence of the DHSB Alumni.

Please click here to read the Where Are They Now pages if you get chance and if you know any ex-students then please ask them to get in touch.

170324 WATN


bottom of page