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A Big Thank You for Your Feedback...

As members of staff that have been at South Dartmoor for 22 and 13 years respectively, it is our pleasure and privilege to report back to you on the findings of the recent parental questionnaire.

It was of no surprise that the vast majority of feedback comments were strongly positive.  As former Subject Leaders of outstanding departments (Music and English) during our time at South Dartmoor, we understand the immense pressures on schools and the significant number of changes that have been enforced from the Government and this has been unsettling; but, there have also been so many successes at South Dartmoor throughout this period and the numerous staff that have been at the school for a long time continue to uphold the fine traditions and expectations that are central to our lives.  One of those traditions is to strive to higher standards and this is reflected in 5 years of the best results the school has achieved.

 So let us take a moment to share with you those positives – ALL OF WHICH are statements from the questionnaire returns:

  • Generating enthusiasm in its students for learning and participation – with a widely acknowledged outstanding curricular and extra-curricular offer which supports academic and non-academic achievement.  The positive vibe that comes with this amongst the student body.
  • High standards of legislation for qualifications and varied lessons.  Good options range.  Curriculum Information is available to parents.
  • Polite and courteous students.
  • Excellent, motivated, passionate teachers; largely energetic teaching.
  • Notably, the broad and varied range of clubs and opportunities; including the Performing Arts and Sports Specialism offer.
  • Music and Sport are regular mentions as being continually outstanding; Drama and Dance taught to everyone to develop self-confidence.
  • The sharing of books in Feedback Fortnight provided a genuine opportunity to discuss learning and progress.  High quality written feedback.
  • Vertical tutor groups; a safe learning environment.
  • A College that builds esteem, confidence and independence, catering for ALL abilities and celebrating individual strengths. Provision of one to one support.
  • Encouraging students to get stuck and learn strategies to overcome this.  Development of learning, research and thinking strategies.  The focus on Growth Mindset.
  • Good discipline; smart uniform; clean school.
  • The ease of contacting staff to discuss all aspects of college life.
  • Caring, patient, supportive and understanding staff with good staff-student relationships.  They are always there to help.  Encouragement through real praise and acknowledgement that students are keen to learn. 
  • Pastoral care is absolutely excellent, with supportive Performance Leaders.
  • A strong and supportive SENCO team. Outstanding Learning Enrichment Centre (LEC).
  • Large number of inspirational teachers; making learning a cool thing.
  • Intervention help at lunchtimes to support examination preparations; Staff regularly giving up breaks, lunchtimes, before and after school, weekends, holiday time to help students.
  • Show My Homework is fantastic.
  • Subjects that cross over leading to students taking risks and being braver.
  • Extended Thinking lessons and challenge in learning.  Long term projects have been inspiring.
  • Monitoring progress and target setting.  Regular reporting.
  • Strong leadership and subject leaders; regular invitations to visit the college.   Effective communications sent home (e.g letters).
  • Outstanding transition.  Outstanding links to primaries; South Dartmoor is very welcoming to new students.
  • Quality of facilities.
  • Exchanges with other countries.
  • IT provision.
  • Supporting careers choices and routes.
  • The College listens and addresses issues quickly.
  • Enrichment Week; College Production.
  • A Level Taster days.
  • The pride of ex-students when describing their time at South Dartmoor.

Obviously, as long-serving members of staff, we are immensely proud and pleased that South Dartmoor is recognised by our parents as having all of these great assets.  As a school we don’t always get it 100% right all of the time, for all people – with 1700 students that’s a tough ask – but we do try to get it right 100% of the time and we consistently strive to achieve this ideal.  Thank you for acknowledging what we do right – it’s been a great read and believe us when we say, we are already being pro-active in considering and putting into action your positive suggestions for improvement.

Warm regards

 

Ralph Wickenden            Susan Hills

Assistant Principal             Assistant Principal

Curriculum                       Teaching and Learning