Building Relationships, Inspiring Success

headteacher's blog

March 2019

Posing questions, looking to the future & placing the school at the heart of the community!

A question:

Over the coming years… can we further develop and improve the good provision we offer our young people……bearing in mind the following:

● A real reduction in the amount of money we have to spend on each student

● A real reduction in the amount of support that Northumberland’s Education and Health Authority teams can give to our young people

● A local community whose needs are as diverse as anywhere in the country

● Changes in what and how young people need to learn and achieve…..generating a level of challenge for them (and us) unprecedented in my time working in schools

I write this because each one of you is the parent or carer of a unique child that deserves the best possible education through the process of building positive relationships and inspiring (lifelong) success.

I spoke to someone recently who suggested that local communities don’t appreciate the importance of having a ‘good’ school until that school stops being ‘good’. An interesting point. Certainly we all want a good school for our children and our community….. how often do good schools get mentioned in estate agents’ information or as a way of attracting applications for middle and senior managers to businesses in the local area?

However when a school loses its ‘good’ status it is often seen to be the fault of the school alone.

Is there a danger for a local community of taking the status of a school for granted?

This brings me back to the question I posed as the beginning of this blog.

For our school to improve further it needs the active support of as many of its local community as possible….its parents, its businesses, its public services, its voluntary organisations, its sports clubs, its elected councillors and MP, and its local newspaper to name just a few. Support could be in different ways – expertise, time, resources, publicity etc. The outcome of such strong support will be confident, more inspired young people who understand what a community can do for them.

We have young people in our school who are fortunate to be surrounded, from birth, by supportive networks that can generate and maintain high levels of aspiration and motivation. We also have young people who have limited or no access to these networks……so who is going to step up and make a difference for them?

So my final question is……how can our school and our community do this better? We would value ideas from yourselves as to how to move this important piece of work forward.

On a different note - 560 responses to our survey on Mobile Phones - I have never seen a response like it. Will get back to you on this as soon as we can. Our survey on Uniform has also provided a significant level of response.

In the News- Fantastic Achievements!

Peter Hanmer- Taking his Art Installation to The Baltic

Peter Hanmer

We are delighted to see former student Peter Hanmer who won the North East Sculptor of the Year award last year and featured his exhibition ‘Plato’s Lair’ at Cheeseburn take his work to The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and have it featured in their latest exhibition ‘Digital Citizen: The Precarious Subject’ which explores the ideas behind fake news and the perplexing nature of internet content. Well done, Peter!

Ebony Scroogette Fundraising Event

We are also very proud of the amazing efforts of our students and staff who performed the excellent ‘Ebony Scroogette and Her Christmas Epiphany’ just before Christmas to raise funds for The Alnwick Playhouse auditorium Refurbishment.

A cheque of just over £2300 has been passed to the Playhouse and the event, with the ice cream donated by Doddingtons and the bar, made over £3000 for the playhouse. We were delighted to offer our support and look forward to the re-opening of this vital community theatre later in the year!

Northern Schools Inter County Championships Cross Country

DCHS Cross Country Runners

Earlier this month we also had some fabulous running success! In the snow. Eight of our students represented Northumberland at the North Inter Counties Cross Country on Saturday.They all did really well with Millie Breese winning the Junior girls race very comfortably.

Secondaries Create Campaign- ArtsMark Gold blogging

We are also very proud to see our Creative Arts team supporting Culture Bridge in their quest to raise awareness of Artsmark in secondary schools. In early March the school will feature in this campaign under the hashtag #secondariescreate with a blog on the excellent work taking place in school.

Congratulations to all the staff and students involved in this.

Team DCHS VEX Success! Does America Await?

Team DCHS VEX Victorious

On Wednesday 6th February Team DCHS VEX took part in the North East heat of the International VEX IQ Robotics challenge. Throughout the day the team battled through a series of heats and were firmly placed at the top of the leaderboard after 8 rounds. Teams from 21 schools competed with partner schools from across the north east to score points in a number of challenges including the overall Team Challenge (we won), the Driver Skills challenge (including programming and building an autonomous robot = we won) and Robot Design (political - we nearly won but three trophies would have been excessive). Overall they scored the most points and have qualified for the National Final in Telford next month alongside Fellside Primary School, Whickham. Nissan have awarded us £1000 towards the cost of travel to the final. All team members were a hugely positive reflection of our students at DCHS and worked professionally with the teams they were competing with on the day, developing a winning strategies and training their partner teams to use the technology accordingly. Core skills for DT and their futures!

The Telford final takes place on Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th March and if we qualify there then the finals are in Louisville, Kentucky USA! Good luck and fingers crossed allround! A wonderful achievement from Mr Skinner and the team.

Poetry Success Reaps Exciting Opportunity for Creative Writing Club

Highly acclaimed poet Kim Moore who featured our students on her blog, has offered all 17 students in the poetry writing club free tickets to the Kendal Poetry Festival in June 2020! It’s an international poetry festival organised by Kim that takes place Friday-Sunday and the students will have free access to all readings, workshops, and poetry talks. They will also be able to perform their poems at an open mic event and meet and chat to some major poets. This exciting opportunity has come about from the wonderful creative writing club we have in school and highlights the wonderful talent we have in school.

A much deserved reward for an exciting group always on the look-out for new members. If you are interested speak to Mrs Newton!