Despite the cold starts to the mornings, the summer term is very much underway and it has been great to welcome all students and staff back. We hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Easter break. I was very grateful that so many continued to undertake the LFD testing at home. Tutors will continue to provide new test kits as required. We have been informed that this testing looks set to continue over the weeks ahead.
This week has very much been one of where we have focussed on remembering the routines needed for effective learning whilst ensuring we all play our part in managing the ongoing risk from COVID-19. In my (virtual) assembly with the students this week, I focussed on life being a journey, one with its challenges but also one with amazing opportunities. This was illustrated with reference to recent news including the funeral of HRH Prince Philip and in particular his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which many Darrick Wood students have achieved over the years. The recent achievement of a flight of a drone on Mars was also evidence of what can be achieved in life if we work together in teams. Finally the life of Rosie Swale Pope showed how humans can endure great hardship if they remain positive and determined to help others be happy. For those who have not heard of Rosie (I hadn’t until recently), amongst many other achievements, she ran 20,000 miles around the world for five years and last year, at the age of 73, began a run from the UK to Nepal to raise money for charity. She had to break off from this having got as far as Turkey because of the pandemic, but is planning to start again as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
Years 11 and 13 have continued to be assessed in their lessons and, where necessary, in the Hall. The assessments this term will form at least part of the evidence base on which teachers will submit grades for GCSEs, A levels and vocational qualifications this summer. Whilst the method of awarding grades this year has had to change due to the public examinations being cancelled, this is always a crucial and challenging time for these year groups and we wish them well in their endeavours. We are here to help if they need anything to enable them to get the best out of themselves in the weeks ahead. If they are finding things difficult, please encourage them to speak to us.
Thursday saw the final parents’ evening for this year, for Year 7. As anticipated, this was very well attended (virtually). We hope parents/carers have found these virtual evenings useful and whilst the technology will no doubt at times have been challenging, feedback from parents and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.
The PSFA Committee met on Monday and are keen to share latest news with all parents/carers. Please visit their and sign up to their website here. Look out for news on the launch of a new lottery next month. Also we are planning a second hand uniform sale for Saturday, 8th May 10-11.30am. We will send out more details nearer the time. In order to help prepare for the uniform sale the PSFA would like any large plastic boxes with lids that you can spare. If you have any spare clothes rails or hangers (especially those for trousers) that will also be helpful. To arrange dropping off of any of these, please contact the Office at the School.
Are you using Amazon? Whenever you make a purchase from Amazon do it via https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ and the PSFA will receive some additional funding. If all involved with Darrick Wood School do this we could raise significant money for the School.
There has been much in the news lately of the distressing testimonials posted on the Everyone’s Invited website. We take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously but the Everyone’s Invited campaign has reminded everyone that there is more that can be done. In light of the recent news a dedicated NSPCC helpline is now available to support anyone who has experienced sexual abuse in educational settings or has concerns about someone or the issues raised. The dedicated NSPCC helpline number is 0800 136 663 and more information is available at: Dedicated helpline for victims of abuse in schools NSPCC.
National survey of children, The Big Ask launched
The new Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has launched The Big Ask – the largest ever consultation with children aged 4 to 17 in England. It aims to find out children’s concerns and aspirations about the future, so that we can put children at the heart of our country’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Please encourage your child to complete this survey.
Parents, care leavers and those working with children are also invited to complete the adult survey to share their views about the future for children and young people today, and what they think is holding young people back.
The results from this survey will help the Children’s Commissioner identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve.