We have continued to enhance our online provision. We are keen to go beyond the curriculum however and are now also arranging Form Time and Assemblies across our year groups. This week’s whole school assembly was arranged by Mr Smith, Assistant Head Teacher, who is coordinating nominations for the Jack Petchey Award. Please encourage your child to watch the assemblies and to engage in the Jack Petchey Award nominations process.
One of the best parts of my week this week was almost certainly one which, in normal times, would be common place. I found the time, shortly after popping in for my twice weekly test at our LFD device (asymptomatic) Test Centre (was Dining Hall 2) to speak to some of our pupils who were having their ‘wet break’ in the Main Hall. It was delightful just to have the chance to talk to them even if from a social distance and with a mask on. It was interesting to hear their ideas about school, about life at the moment and it reminded me of how much I look forward to a time when all return and this experience becomes more the norm again.
Next week’s assembly will be themed around Children’s Mental Health Week – a really important area, especially at the moment.
We have published on our website (here) a document detailing our home learning provision during the current period. We have listened carefully to feedback from students, parents and teachers and are pleased that most of this has been either incredibly positive or helpfully constructive to enable further improvements. Again, thank you to all parents/carers for your overwhelming support for what we are trying to do in managing home learning for over 1700 students each day. The results of a recent survey of our students underlines that there is not one way to provide online teaching and learning that will suit all. Variety, structure, flexibility and accessibility are so important. We have provided our teachers with additional guidance that we feel will support our pupils even more. They are working very hard in difficult circumstances and probably deserve several medals when this is all over!
As mentioned in previous communications, please do contact the School in confidence if you require help in ensuring your child has access to an appropriate IT device at home.
Lateral Flow Device (Asymptomatic) Testing
We have now performed 435 tests on staff and students on site. Many of our staff and students have been tested at least twice this week. There has been one positive result but this was not confirmed by the follow-up PCR test. Staff involved in the setting up of our Test Centre have done an amazing job in ensuring high levels of control and making sure all those being tested are reassured and gain confidence in the testing process. We do not know when the School will open to the wider school community again. The latest update from the government is that it is hoped students will start to return from 8th March. Whatever date is finalised, mass testing like this may well remain part of the plan so it has been helpful to begin on a smaller scale and we are ready to build further capacity should this be needed.
Whilst school cannot open in the usual way at the moment we continue to strive to provide opportunities for all our students. Mr Chappell continues to excel with organising our brilliant students to produce new episodes of our fictional drama serial, ‘Rough Diamonds’. This week DWS Audio posted another new episode. Number 31 is available to view on our blog as well as our YouTube Channel, AMPLIFiED. We are also excited to announce that you can now listen to our pupils performing on Spotify (episodes 1-5 are currently available to stream). Set in a fictitious secondary school, much like Darrick Wood, our drama serial explores issues relevant to the lives of young people – but is also designed to entertain. So if you fancy an escape from the real world, why not join the pupils at Danson Wood High…
The next meeting of the PSFA is on Monday. Invites have gone out to all who attended the last meeting. We encourage all parents/carers to get involved with the activities of the PSFA. The Committee is changing how we do things and we encourage all parents/carers to register their details on the PSFA’s new website. Once registered you will be sent communications directly and you will be able to sign up as volunteers for events. The plan is for tickets to events to be purchased via the site and also possibly the opportunity to buy secondhand school uniform. Please sign up here: Darrick Wood School PSFA (pta-events.com).
The PSFA is joining forces with our Art Department to launch a competition for the students to design a new logo. Look out for news on this soon.
Finally, PTA Events are offering free advertising until the end of February on the PTA Events website and we have 20 slots available. If you know of any local businesses that would like to advertise please get in touch with the Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent Social Media Groups
We are aware that numerous social media groups (e.g. Facebook/Whatsapp) exist which use the name Darrick Wood in the title. Please be aware that none of these are official school sites. The School has no control over who is a member and what can be posted. Incidents involving students at the School should be reported to the School and we will then investigate.