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South Dartmoor
Community College

Blog-02 (25-05-18)

Dear Parents/Carers,

Since my last blog entry there continues to be much to celebrate and update you on. A little over a week ago I had the humbling experience of being at the start of the fabulous Ten Tors 2018 event as our 35, 45 & 55 mile teams embarked on their life changing challenge. Many of you might have also seen SDCC students and staff being interviewed on the BBC and ITV news. The weekend was the result of all the hard work that has taken place leading up to the event and every student did both themselves and the College proud. The motto for everyone was very much "we shall overcome" and this was tested on numerous occasions and included solving the issue of severely damaged base camp tents due to the wind and rain on the Friday afternoon. However, the friendliness and support of everyone around meant that equipment was shared and borrowed from other schools as well as a last minute visit to local specialist shops. Such an opportunity can only happen with the selfless dedication of staff, parents and volunteers so a special mention must be given to Cat Buckle, Katie Upton, Jim Lodge, Stephen McGeever, Adrian Carlson-Hedges, Ross Stamp, Vic Weal, Danny Andrews, Beth Burt, Matt Mulcrone, Zoe Lambeth, Ian Pitchford, Richard Orrell and James Brealey. Rob Darch also helped both supporting and producing a photo journal of the 55 mile team with Charlie Einzig-Pilling helping run the base camp. I know Cat Buckle also wanted to give a particular mention to Rosie Hall, Heather Cronin, Joel Tolley and Edmund Fisher who also represented SDCC whilst walking with other teams that they had never met before, showing the true spirit of Ten Tors.

In my last blog I updated you on our new behaviour blueprint strategy and this will be finalised with all staff in the first week back after half term. Part of this approach is to further empower and listen to the needs and wants of our students.  Examples of this have included a revision of our uniform policy and lunchtime arrangements. Feedback from students and parents has already been very positive as we allow students to take personal responsibility as to whether they wish to wear their blazer during the school day whilst still ensuring they look smart and take pride in their appearance with the rest of their uniform. We have also listened to students who have requested to eat their lunch outside and have asked that they take personal responsibility for ensuring any litter is cleared away so we don’t attract the seagulls.  They have responded really well to this change has been great to see the students enjoying socialising outside in the recent good weather.  We've also had many students going above and beyond by actively volunteering as environmental members to help keeps the area litter free. We have also improved the playground area which is now a hive of activity at break and lunchtimes with increasing number of students enjoying a range of activities. Soon we will also be adding music to add to the experience and I imagine there will be some debate about what we should play!

I want to end this blog celebrating another fantastic opportunity SDCC provides for our students through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme. Over the last two years, under the leadership of Karen Bassett and her team, the popularity and impact of this has grown beyond all expectations. I was honoured to be invited to represent SDCC at Buckingham Palace to receive our DLC (Directly Licenced Centre) certificate from HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) and Princess Beatrice of York. The DCL status is awarded to schools that are key leaders in the development and support of the Award. When you next visit the College please take the opportunity to see our certificate in the front reception and is yet another example of how we continue to develop our students beyond the curriculum.

I would like to thank the staff for their dedication, particularly in supporting our students who are taking exams - we are very proud of them. I hope our studious Year 11s and Year 13s manage to recharge their batteries over the break and remember to use this time as an opportunity to prepare for their final exams upon their return.

As we enter the bank holiday weekend and half term I wish you and your family an enjoyable time and we look forward to seeing everyone back in school on Monday 4th June.

Paul Collins (Principal)