The latest copy of our School Prospectus is available on our Prospectus page along with a letter to parents.
We are looking forward to welcoming students back in September, during the first week each year group is only in for one day in order to stagger our start and help us identify any modifications we need to make to routines:
Wednesday 2nd Sept
Year 8 and Year 12
Thursday 3rd Sept
Year 9 and Year 10
Friday 4th Sept
Year 7, Year 11 and Year 13
It is amazing what a difference a week makes. The Government have now decided to scrap its standardisation of grades based on Ofqual’s algorithm. This algorithm prioritised historical outcomes and standards rather than specific individual young people in the Cohort of 2020. We now have a set of grades that better match what our students deserve at both GCSE and A Level. Nothing can replace, exactly like for like, a set of final exams but the system now has a personalised structure to it that wasn’t there before.
Our GCSE Cohort of 2020 has been through much even before they reached their final year. They were the oldest of three year groups that arrived with us all at the same time from our closing Middle Schools in September 2017 to an unfinished building with many mobile classrooms. In September 2018 we had to get used to a newly completed building and this year they have faced potentially the biggest challenge of them all…ending their year in March, missing their exams and perhaps most importantly missing that ‘rights of passage’ of leaving officially and all that that involves in terms of formally saying goodbye to pre16 education, the prom, the hoodies etc.
What I can say is that we are incredibly proud of the grades they have achieved. These are predominantly teacher assessed using a variety of evidence and have gone through a tough internal moderation process. This year group, 246 of them, had a similar Key Stage Two profile to the national average. Although we are still waiting for a small number of results the present overview shows 25% of our grades at Grades 7 to 9, and over 80% at Grades 4 to 9. Approximately 230 grades were graded 8 or 9 (equivalent to the old A*) with three of our students achieving nine or more Grade 9’s. We are genuinely proud of the progress that every student has made during their time with us and look forward to seeing many of them back with us in our Sixth Form. For those not coming back we wish them all the luck in the world!
In terms of our A Level cohort who received their grades last week. Following the decision to re-issue grades we have seen 120 results upgraded. For a number of our students this has meant the ability to go back to their first choice university and course. Fingers crossed for all of them!. It has also seen our results increase to 15% of our cohort receiving 3 or more A/A*’s and 25% receiving 2 or more A/A*’s, with many others seeing improvements.
It is up to all of us to value our students and their results at this unique time. In comparison to previous years they certainly need extra support to feel special!
After what has been a unique and extremely anxious few months for our students, they have now received their nationally standardised grades from the exam boards. Being ‘examined’ in a very different way to the past and against a backdrop of real uncertainty and worry that has now escalated further over the last few days.
As a school, we submitted our Centre Assessed Grades in early June; based on a variety of evidence and professional judgements by our experienced teachers. These grades were then standardised at a national level by the exam boards and Ofqual and final grades have now been awarded. Schools have not been part of this standardisation process, so any differences between our Centre Assessed Grades and final grades will be as a consequence of the national moderation processes and therefore out of our control.
With part of the process unknown and out of our hands we hoped that everyone would receive the grades they deserved on results day this year. We are disappointed that a number of our students have seen their results downgraded from our initially submitted grades and we are currently in the process of establishing what can be done in terms of appeals. This is now made more complex by the recent announcements about the possible use of Mock Exam results and the so called Triple Lock System announced by the Department of Education.
Having said all of the above and still needing to analyse in detail the grades that individual students have received; initial analysis of our students final standardised grades show that there is still much to celebrate both at a cohort and individual level. With 99 students in our present Year 13 we have 10% of the cohort achieving at least three A grades or their equivalent and nearly 20% achieving at least two A grades or their equivalent. Many others have achieved what they need to go on to the next stage of their lives.
I hope, with the release of these results, we can prioritise all of our young people, who have suffered significantly at this time, helping them to value themselves and the work they have put in. Making sure they have access to good future pathways, whether they be higher education, apprenticeships or employment.
As always we have students going to a range of universities. Courses chosen are again many and varied and include:
Medicine and Veterinary
Childcare and Health and Social Care
IT and Computing
Finally I would like to thank all my colleagues for their continued hard work and dedication in supporting our students through this incredibly challenging time. A special thank you to Denise Drummond who is now stepping down as Head of Sixth Form after a number of years. She has been a significant figure in many of our young peoples lives. We have a very positive reputation for providing support, breadth of experience and impressive outcomes for our Sixth Form. This cohort’s time with us has been cut short and this has generated immense sadness amongst my colleagues.
Our dedicated transition, site full of useful information for students and parents/carers, is now live for our September 2020 transition.
Including videos, helpful tips, photos, useful contacts & a virtual tour; the transition site is a valuable resource that is highly recommended.
Please click the image above to visit the site.
The Young Photographer Competition is a well-established and successful competition organised by Rotary International.
Students wanting to get involved were asked to produce a portfolio of three photographs based upon the theme, ‘Through My Eyes’ in colour or black and white and it was up to students to show their interpretation of the theme.
Some great news we have received over the Easter break.
Both Cooper W 8LEM and Katie G 9AHR have won the District Level for their age category for The Young Photographer Competition. Fantastic news!
We have never won this stage before so really pleased and proud of the students.
Normally Cooper and Katie would progress to the next round at a national level but with the current situation we are unsure, at the moment, how the competition will proceed.
Below is a gallery of their fantastic entries
The latest copy of our school newsletter is now available on the newsletters page.
Congratulations to our Year 9 Magistrates team who once again won the local heats of the Mock Magistrates competition in Newcastle.
The national competition sees over 4000 pupils from Year 8 and 9 compete in a real court of law. They take on the roles of defendant, witnesses, magistrates, lawyers and legal advisors and act out a case live in front of the judges. Whilst the pupils can prepare in advance, the team is split on the day to compete against another school. This means that they are never sure as to the response they will get when questioning witnesses or when being cross-examined. They have to know their case inside out and be able to think on their feet.
The team of 12 girls worked incredibly hard in the weeks before the trial and put in outstanding performances under pressure in the courtroom. Their hard work paid off and they were put through to the Regional competition.
Last year the team went through to the National finals in London and came third in the country. Sadly however, it looks as if the competition will now be cancelled. We have no doubts that the team would have gone forward again to gain a place at the national final in Cardiff this year and would not be surprised if they could have finished even higher than last year. A disappointing end for the girls but once again, they were a huge credit to the school.
Since September 2019, DCHS students across multiple year groups have been part of a top-secret pilot project with the Lego Foundation. The project, run in conjunction with local creative company CCE Insights, aimed to test out a class set of ‘Lego Creative Toolkits’ to see if they would enhance learning for students, with a view to then rolling out the packs as a free resource for all schools in the future.
The pilot involved 15 schools in the UK and 15 in Denmark, and DCHS was lucky to have 30 toolkits available for staff to use. The kits are still in school and can be used for the remainder of the academic year.
Initially the toolkits were thought to be more suitable for Primary Schools, although soon we learned of interesting ways to use them with students right the way up to year 13. Inside the packs (which were top secret until now) there are a selection of Lego bricks with words such as ‘create’, ‘build’, ‘take apart’ and ‘reflect’ written on. Some additional bricks have happy and sad faces, and some are blank, with a special pen provided to write new concepts or ideas on the bricks themselves.
Students in Mr Hay’s Art classes have used the toolkits to explore what it is to be creative, and have found ways of identifying the processes they used to generate artwork, giving them a new way of expressing themselves and providing a visual journey for their records.
In Mrs Bush’s English lessons the bricks were used with gothic tasks to help students reflect on teamwork and communication skills, as well as being used to recall content such as the plot and feelings of characters in Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’.
CCE Insights were so impressed with some of the student work that they revisited school and filmed students from 7ML and 8JTT using the kits, footage which subsequently featured in the short film below. This film was used at the international Lego Conference in February, and can now be shared with you.
As a result of the pilot project some elements of the toolkits will likely be modified before production begins. The Lego Foundation is a separate, philanthropic branch of the wider Lego company and, therefore, if the kits are rolled out to all schools this will be done for the benefit of students and not for profit. Excellent news as we found the toolkits incredibly helpful in getting our students working together, expressing themselves creatively and thinking outside of the box.