Parents/carers might have read or heard the headlines that nationally one in ten teachers is currently absent and at Darrick Wood the past few weeks and this week in particular we have experienced a similar level of staff absence, largely as a result of COVID-19. There has been more than one occasion where we have come very close to having insufficient numbers of staff on site and where we have had to consider sending at least one year group home. Thankfully, it has not come to that as a result of a staff team that has been incredibly flexible, helpful and resourceful. Whilst we would never choose to have to cover so many classes or to merge classes, it remains preferable to sending students home. It has, however, meant that members of the Senior Leadership Team and pastoral teams, along with staff generally, have been even busier than usual. We would like to apologise to parents/carers for any delay in communication that has resulted from this very challenging time.
We very much hope that the Easter holidays will bring the rest and recuperation everyone needs, staff and students alike. What the last few weeks has shown is that schools and communities in general are still having to deal with COVID-19 in many different ways. It has also shown what we can do as a school when we all work together to support our students.
Whilst assemblies this week were planned around a theme of Courage, this was illustrated through the history of Ukraine, the recent invasion and how this is affecting the lives of millions of people, not least those 10 million or so who have been displaced from their homes. We are aware that families from Ukraine have started arriving in Bromley and more will follow. It is highly likely that Ukrainian children will be placed in Bromley schools. When they are, we as a school intend to extend a very warm welcome and are fully supportive of all the efforts locally and nationally to raise funds and to provide resources for those in need. Please see below news of one such effort that we are sure parents/carers and students will want to support.
Thank you to parents/carers for such an amazing turnout for the Year 10 virtual Parents’ Evening on Thursday. For anyone who did not manage to get an appointment, please contact the School to find out how you can still receive feedback on your child’s progress in particular subjects. We are aware that staff absence will have been an issue on Thursday evening and so are keen to find the most efficient way to help once staff are available. This may mean we will find an alternative date on SchoolCloud should there be demand.
KS3 Art Competition
CWJ Solicitors contacted the Art Department at Darrick Wood and other local schools about a KS3 Art Competition. The standard of entries was very high and some difficult decisions had to be made to narrow our entries down to 78. Of the eventual ten successful entries, eight were from Darrick Wood students. We are really proud that we had so many chosen and wish to extend a huge well done to everyone who took part, and especially the students who were picked. Each of these is now creating a 70 x 70cm large-scale version of their idea and their commissioned piece will be displayed in the CWJ office in Orpington, which is a fantastic achievement by all students involved.
Return to single break and lunch
As mentioned in previous Parent Bulletins we are planning to return to a single break time and a single lunchtime. Indoor dining is also being planned. The current arrangements have been in place since the return to school in September 2021 and whilst there are aspects of the current arrangements we like such as a single servery for each year group, fewer students moving to class from the playgrounds at once, the benefits of a single break and lunch are that more staff will be available to supervise the students in key areas, a greater variety of food may be possible and, importantly, a longer lunch break should enable lunchtime clubs to begin resuming. When we return after Easter, the school day will be as follows:
8.35 All students must arrive before 8.35
8.35 – 9.00 Morning registration
9.00 – 10.00 Lesson 1
10.00 – 11.00 Lesson 2
11.00 – 11.20 Break
11.20 – 12.20 Lesson 3
12.20 – 1.00 Lunch
1.00 – 2.00 Lesson 4
2.00 – 3.00 Lesson 5
3.00 School day ends
This will also enable the afternoon public examinations to take place more smoothly and without noise coming from the playgrounds.
DWS Audio awards
Congratulations to the amazing Thomas Cridland who this week won the BBC Sounds Rising Star award at the Young Audio Awards for his work on DWS Audio. What an amazing achievement!
Further to our previous communications regarding what support is available for children’s mental health, we hope the following are of interest to parents and their children.
Year 11 Support and Intervention Sessions
Year 11 Lesson 6
Students in Year 11 have been attending ‘Lesson 6’ support sessions in preparation for their upcoming summer examinations. These sessions provide our students the opportunity to practise their examination technique and their application skills. They are running every day of the week across a broad range of subjects. If your child has been invited then please ensure they attend.
Year 11 Study Space
IT6 has been available for our Year 11 students every Tuesday night since September. This provides them with access to computers after school. We are now also able to offer HU28 as another independent study space. This facility is available Monday – Thursday from 3-4pm. Students can access the computers, revision textbooks and past paper examinations. Students can work independently or in small groups. Please do encourage your child to attend these sessions.
End of term
Please note that the last day of term will be a shorter day. The day will end from 12.30 to enable staff training and for the School to be prepared for the summer term.
Screens in classrooms
Over the Easter break the first of many new interactive screens will be installed in some of our classrooms. These state of the art screens will replace the interactive whiteboards, most of which were originally installed 20 years ago! By September, every classroom will have one of these screens. We very much feel this is an important investment in technology to support teaching and learning and all students will benefit as a result.
We have been contacted by a parent who is Ukrainian who has a child at Darrick Wood who wishes to thank everyone for what they have done so far at the School to help.
They would really appreciate us sharing with all of our school community the following information about a call for additional resources.
This is a local group collecting targeted humanitarian aid based on specific requests from Ukraine and organising regular shipments.
Next collection dates: Monday 28/03 at Chelsfield village hall.
(the collections will then be paused and will possibly resume around 11th April)
The time: 10am – 4 pm
Address: Chelsfield Village Hall, Chelsfield, Orpington BR6 7RL
– pasta, rice, oat porridge, flour
– Power Banks
– Thermo flasks
– Biscuits / energy bars
– Tinned food, tinned meats/fish
– Condensed milk
– Batteries: AA and AAA
– Thermal socks/ gloves
– baby food
– antibacterial wet wipes
– baby wet wipes
– camping blow-up mattresses
– sleeping bags
– Pain killers (I.e. ibuprofen, Calpol, wound healing)
– All type of bandages
– First Aid kits
We are not able to accept any clothes, footwear, duvets, pillows or linen.
Year 9 Options
A reminder that the Options form needs to be submitted by Monday, 28th March using the online form link sent in the letter this week.
Clocks go forward one hour Saturday night/Sunday morning. British Summer Time begins.
We would appreciate parents’ regularly reminding children of the School Rules. These can be found in the Student Planner, which all students should have signed to indicate they understand and will follow the rules. The can also be found under Policies on our website. Rule 1 very much indicates the ethos of Darrick Wood School.
1. Pupils are expected to behave sensibly and with consideration for others at all times (including
when travelling to and from school).
The other rules follow on from this. Some students have said recently that they thought School Rules did not have to be followed unless on site. This is definitely not the case. We expect high standards always, including to and from school as indicated in Rule 1.
Dates for the diary
1st April – last day of spring term
19th April – first day of summer term
21st April – Year 7 Parents’ Evening