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4 November 2022

Thank you to our Heads and Deputy Heads of Year for delivering this week’s year group assemblies.

The theme was 'building communities' and the message included what it means to be part of a community and how we can contribute positively to our own communities.

Student News

Congratulations to Edward Lee 7P.

Edward is a member of the Royal Yachting Association and has been selected for the South West Regional Training Group - Topper. We look forward to hearing about his training, progress and competitions in the future.

Well done also to Bailey Barratt 7W.

Bailey belongs to a scout group and recently took part in JOTI, which stands for Jamboree on the Internet.

The aim of JOTI is to make connections and have conversations with other scouts across the world. This takes place over a weekend and as other countries have daytime during our nighttime it meant that the scouts had to stay awake all night to make connections.

Bailey and his group communicated with scouts in 65 different countries from Algeria to Venezuela

Well done!

Excellent Work

Well done to the following students whose poems were judged as first, second and third place in the Halloween poetry competition, led by Mr Richards in the English Department.

Please use these links to read the spooky poems.

Teaching and Learning - Students help shape teaching

The focus for our recent staff training day was Teaching and Learning writes Mr Winstone, Deputy Head, and it was a pleasure to work with staff as we explored the principles that underpin our approach to teaching and then our ongoing professional development plan to support how we will ensure the highest quality teaching and learning in all our classrooms

While it was a staff only day, and students were able to enjoy a well deserved early start to the half term break, they were still able to play a crucial role. We had asked students three questions earlier in the term:-

  • What helps you to learn best in the classroom?

  • When is learning more difficult?

  • Do you have a member of staff you would like to specifically praise or thank?

The information provided a real insight into the views of those who matter most and it really displayed how insightful our students are as they clearly articulated, in a sentence or two, what the most current research tells us about how students learn best.

Here are a few of the comments:-

"I learn best when the teacher explains the lessons clearly and we work on one key point at a time, without being overloaded by information"
"I learn best when we have engaging class discussions"
"He is very kind and has a good teaching style in a way that makes me want to learn more"
"She always pushes me to try my best"
"She encouraged me and helped me. I could always ask her about things that were on my mind and she always made time for her students"

The DHSB Learning Cycle

We believe it's important that all staff have an ongoing dialogue about what and how we teach and that this dialogue should be extended to both families and students. To support this we have created our DHSB Learning Cycle. This draws together the best evidence for how students learn and allies this with what we as a school believe is right for our context. The Learning Cycle provides a structure for staff and students to work within, while providing the professional autonomy for teachers to teach in a responsive, dynamic and intelligent way to best suit the needs of their students.

We look forward to sharing more detail with students and families in the future.

The Power of Questioning - no hands up

As we move through the school year, your child's teachers will be working on a particular area of focus to support us in delivering the best learning experience for all students.

This term we are looking at one of the most important skills of a teacher, the art of effective questioning. Research tells us that the most successful teachers ask many questions, involving as many students as possible, probing in more depth to check for understanding. Specifically we are working on the balance between students volunteering responses through hands up or being selected to respond by cold calling.

So what are the potential issues with ‘hands up’?

  • Many students keep their hands down, and may not even listen to the teacher's question.

  • Teachers only learn what one student thinks, not how all the rest of the class would have answered.

  • Students don’t discuss their answers and correct each others’ misconceptions.

  • The most confident students answer quickly, so there is little time for the others to think out their own answers

Teachers will be using a range of techniques to ensure that all students are afforded the opportunity to be involved in class questioning sessions while being mindful of the range of emotions that students can experience when being asked to contribute in front of peers.

If you would like to know more about this topic then this article and accompanying video are really helpful:-

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and if you have any questions or comments then please do not hesitate to contact me on

Mr Winstone, Deputy Head

PSHEE Activities

Welcome back after half term everyone, hopefully you managed to do some catching up and/or relaxing despite the rather mixed weather.

We have three weeks before Curriculum Challenge Week, and then another three afterwards, so we are busy planning activities for the whole half term which is another extremely full one in Careers & PSHEE tutorials.

We have mock interviews with Year 10, employer visits and challenges for Year 9, mock GCSEs for Year 11 as well as UK parliament week, continuing Unifrog activities and lots more.

This week, Year 7 students have been learning about dementia and how best to support someone who is affected while Year 8 students have been trying to become more active listeners. They thought about how we show that we are listening, set themselves some listening targets, and attempted some listening based tasks.

The Year 9 lesson was all about organ donation; again facts and figures as well as considering how to support donors and patients, and Year 10 students continued to research the new platform, Unifrog, with a treasure hunt and learning what makes a good team. Investigation and collaboration are both excellent employability skills.

Finally Year 11 students are spending a few weeks' tutorial lessons both preparing for mocks and having 1:1 chats with their form tutor regarding their next steps. We are trying to ensure that every student has not only a confirmed first choice in place, but also a viable plan B, should the need arise.

Year groups all had individual assemblies on Wednesday, on the subject of Building Communities, and also completed a student survey on their school experience.

More next week on the tutorial programme, thanks all.

Ms Moreton

Sixth Form Enrichment and Tutorial

A bumper morning this Friday for Sixth form students!

We greeted students who were new to DHSB in September with a complimentary breakfast and were reassured to hear that they are settling in well.

Year 12 students then started working on their life skill rotations on a number of themes from climate change behaviours to basic sewing techniques.

Some students gained work related learning on youth work and transition skills through a Sixth Sense workshop from Penny Logsdail, Danielle Vandervelde and Janine Bunker from Summer services. Students enjoyed the freedom to experiment with tools for empathy and resilience alongside the acquisition of work related learning skills to take into their careers.

Year 12 students were also proactive in finding out about the extended project as an extra curricular qualification they might pursue.

Year 13 students are seen here learning about how to complete academic writing and effective note making strategies with Dr Stears in full flow.

It has been a wonderful morning of engagement all round!

Ms Davidson

Holiday Club

Many thanks to Mr Campbell for leading another successful and enjoyable holiday club last week.

Here is the week in pictures.

Sports Update

Ultimate Frisbee

During the half term holiday a team of former and current Sixth Form students entered an Ultimate Frisbee tournament organised by Plymouth University at Marjon. Players from five different years combined to great effect to finish fifth out of 20 teams. There were some great wins over university teams from Swansea, Hertfordshire and Cardiff along the way.

Mr McConnell said "It was great to see this mix of players back together again and the camaraderie between them all was brilliant. All the players learnt to play the sport at the after school Ultimate Frisbee club starting in Year 7 or 8 and it has been a pleasure to see how their skills have progressed over the years and how much they have enjoyed playing the sport. Two of the team were from the first year I started running the club ten years ago and it was great to see them again. Three of the players had represented Great Britain at U17/U20 level and others were continuing to play at university and had been club presidents and team captains."

The school's Ultimate Frisbee club is open to anyone to attend and students don't need to start in Year 7 but can join at any time.

Mr McConnell is always looking for new players to try the sport and the club has a wide mix of ability levels.


Mr Orkney says the "Greatest ever Sixth Form netball team were in action again this week losing narrowly to a strong team from Plymouth High".


The U14 basketball team got their season off to a good start with three wins from three games in the Plymouth school's central venue competition. Very well done!


Mr Strang reports that the Year 7 football squad move into the fourth round of the national cup after beating Ivybridge 5- 4 on penalties. The game itself finished 1 - 1 and was played in good spirt throughout.

Mr Strang said, "Well done to all involved".

Mr Bunney says it was a great result for the Year 10 football team yesterday, beating St Peter’s, Exeter 2 - 1 in the national competition.

He added. "Always a tough school to play against so nice to put in a good performance and get the result".

Congratulations to both teams.


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