I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back after what I hope has been an enjoyable summer. Despite having only been back for two weeks there are lots of updates to share with you.
Our new year 7s have made a fantastic start to the year and are embracing all the new and exciting opportunities SDCC has to offer. Having visited a number of lessons this week I am impressed with their attitude and eagerness to succeed. It is amazing to think that it was a year ago that these students attended our Open Morning and Evening events and we are again in the process of preparing for this year’s Open Mornings which will take place on the 25th, 26th & 27th of this month followed by the Open Evening on the 4th October and our 6th Form Open Evening on the 11th October.
During August the school celebrated some fantastic results both post and pre-16. The 6th form achieved a 99% pass rate combined with strong Value Added and a good number of students achieving top grades and successfully achieving their places at University.
The results from the Cambridge Technical Level 3 in Sport and Physical Activity Cohort were exceptional with four DD and one D*D, we are delighted with all their results, and a special mention for Max Hammett and George Pitman who will be starting their Football Coaching Degrees in the Autumn.
Notable A-level achievements include:
Scott Adams- Maths A, Chemistry A, Biology C- studying Chemistry at Plymouth University
Rob Cook- Maths A, Economics A, History B - studying History and Philosophy at Exeter University
Ben Cowdry- Maths A, Biology A, Chemistry A- studying Medicine at Birmingham University
Dan Dayment- Photography A*, Religious Studies A, Sociology B - gap year
Max Duke- Maths A*, Further Maths A*, Physics A- studying Aerospace Engineering at Bath University
Abby Hurn- Business A*- Studying Fashion Marketing at Southampton University
Aaron Larkworthy- Maths A*, Physics B, Further Maths B, EPQ B
Chloe Lintott- Fine Art A*, Psychology A, English Lit A - Joinery Apprenticeship
Kaya Niering- English Lit A, History A - gap year
Jorah Phillips- EPQ A, History A, Sociology B- studying at Leeds University
Millie Poat- EPQ A*, Fine Art A*, English Lang A, Religious Studies A- studying at Cardiff University
Ben Quinn- Music A, Maths A, Further Maths B- Studying Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music
Maisie Shiers- Psychology A*, Sociology A - to go with her A* in Religious Studies in year 12 plans to study Law at Cardiff University after a Gap Year
Jasmine Stratford - EPQ A*, Psychology A, Fine Art A, Classics B
Joe Turner- Maths A*, Chemistry A*- studying Medicine at UEA
Libby Wray- Maths A*, Biology A, Chemistry A- studying Biomedical Science at Bristol University
Jess Mant - Maths A, Spanish B and Graphics A*, plans to live in Spain for a year to immerse herself in the language and culture.
Following on from the post-16 examination results our Year 11 students also have much to celebrate. This year has seen the continued roll out of the new 1-9 grading system (reflecting the reformed and increased challenging content within subjects).
We were really pleased to see an increase in the number of students achieving at least a standard pass in both English and Maths. This figure rose to 64%, with 75% and 68% of students achieving a standard pass in English and Maths respectively.
Under the new GCSE 1-9 grading, any student achieving a grade 9 ranks them in the top 5 percent of the top 20 percent of students in the entire country. From this year’s cohort, 11 students achieved this ‘gold’ standard in at least one subject.
Examples of exceptional performances also include:
Mani Chaplin (10 x 9 and 1 x 8 Grades)
Skye Shepherd (4 x 9, 2 x 8 and 3 x 7 Grades)
Emily Mant (2 x 9, 6 x 8 and 2 x 7 Grades)
Thomas Spurrell (2 x 9, 3 x 8 and 4 x 7 Grades)
Jacob Housego (1 x 9, 3 x 8 and 3 x 7 Grades)
Safiya Joscelyne (1 x 9, 5 x 8 and 5 x 7 Grades)
Tara Michael (1 x 9, 1 x 8 and 5 x 7 Grades)
These results are the culmination of the hard work and dedication of the students and the staff who always believed in them. Whilst I applaud both, I must also thank the parents, guardians and carers who entrust their children’s education to us in SDCC and who give such strong support to both pupils and staff, highlighting the fact that education is truly a collaborative effort.
Although raw grades are very important to the future life chances of all students they will not tell you everything. These grades do not necessarily reflect the vast array of enrichment activities SDCC has to offer and that are embarked upon by the majority of our students, predominantly in their own time, thus making them more rounded students and impacting on their ability to make a positive contribution to their future career path and society as a whole.
Thanks must also be given to the site team who over the summer holidays have worked tirelessly in repairing, maintaining and improving the school site. You are also likely to be aware that the canteen area on the ground floor of the Judith Morgan Building has been completely refurbished and provides an excellent social and eating area for our students.
I wish again to apologise for any inconvenience and stress the closure of the school on Friday caused but also thank you for your understanding since it enabled staff to remember and celebrate the life of our wonderful Lucy Howarth. I have shared the tragic news in person with our students during assemblies this week and this was an opportunity to bring our school community even closer together and remind us all to embrace every opportunity life has to offer since this is exactly what Lucy did.
As we each come to terms with the grief we are experiencing, an inspirational assembly was given by our sixth form student James Cole in raising awareness and support for the local charity ‘Children and Families in Grief’. Following this, Art Teacher Joseph Long has continued in his quest to raise funds by completing the Dartmoor Classic and will also swim the River Dart 10k this coming Sunday. To date we are already close to raising £1500 following a very successful tutor group cake sale involving the fantastic support from students, teachers and local families. In addition to this I would also like to thank Woodford Architecture & Interiors, The Brick House and The Fish Deli for their enthusiasm and generosity.
Before I finish I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our pastoral team who make such a positive difference to the lives of our children and support them in so many different ways. They are an absolute cornerstone of our school. This year the title of Performance Leader has been changed to Head of House which now more accurately reflects their role. I know the positive relationships that have been built between them and families within their Houses over the years and they pride themselves in their professionalism and diligence. This year has seen an increase in the teaching allocation of our Heads of House which although is resulting in some of our best teachers being in front of students, it does mean that at times they might not be able to respond to telephone or email enquiries as quickly as they have done in the past. I again thank the whole of the pastoral team for all they do and the impact they have.
Paul Collins (Principal)