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South Dartmoor
Community College

11-05-18

Dear Parents/Carers,

I know that many of you have asked for more communication from the College and so I thought it would be helpful if, in addition to our new monthly newsletter (Connections), I write a regular blog to keep you informed of our developments and updates.

The staff and I have been busy putting together plans to address the issues raised by the Ofsted inspection and there is a strong determination from the whole team to bring about the improvements we want to see.  We have started by looking at how we encourage and foster strong learning behaviours in our students with the focus on building consistent, positive relationships.  The staff have already had their first training session and are very enthusiastic about our new approach which has been based upon Paul Dix’s book, “When the Adults Change, Everything Changes”.  If you want to find out a little more about it, then just follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syjBfWm8Ivo.  Our new simplified behaviour policy will be shared with parents and students shortly and I’ll keep you up to date with our latest approaches through this blog.

This is such a busy time of year for our year 11 students and I am sure takes many of us back to a similar time in our own lives.  At SDCC we have always focussed on ensuring that our students can develop skills beyond those which will be examined, but we also know that being able to leave school with a strong set of results helps to open doors to a wider range of careers and opportunities. We don’t underestimate the hard work needed over the next few weeks to ensure our students are well prepared and really appreciate the dedication of our parents and staff in supporting them.

As you are aware, the mental health of young people is finally receiving a lot more attention from the government and media as an area that needs investment.  We have been fortunate to work closely with Young Devon and Early Help 4 Mental Health who will be training students to become mental health/wellbeing ambassadors across the school.  The more we can educate our young people about how to look after their mental health and also where to go when they need help, the better.  Our students will promote positive mental health and encourage their peers to talk more openly about something that is often called a ‘hidden illness.’

We also have some exciting developments taking place in our school canteen.  We are moving into partnership with a catering firm called Chartwells and over the half term our Scoffers team will be working alongside their fully qualified chefs to master recipes on the new menus. As part of the partnership, Chartwells will be redesigning and enhancing the eating area for students in the JMB. This will include updated décor, new furniture and servery counters to provide more of a ‘café culture’ feel from September. The ‘snack shack’ will also be reopening, following requests from students, which means there will be 3 different areas to buy food from. This will reduce queuing time and really improve the lunchtime experience for our students. If you want to find out a little more about the company before menus etc come home, then follow this link: https://loveschoolmeals.co.uk/secondary-school-food-lsm/

Finally, I would like to congratulate our most recent Students of the Month (Olivia Jones & Emma Ogley) and Citizen of the Month (Ryan Gaydon).  They demonstrated going above and beyond through their support of other students and expecting nothing in return. It was such a pleasure to present them with their framed awards and their £10 Amazon voucher whilst having the time to talk about their successes over tea and cake.

Paul Collins (Principal)