Durrington High School continues to play a key role in the educational landscape and joins SSAT Leading Edge programme
In 2017 Durrington High School was successful in its bid to become one of 22 National Research Schools (funded by the EEF) thus recognising the school’s dedication to using evidence-informed research to improve teaching and learning. Over the past 2 years the school has gone from strength to strength, maintaining its research school status and supporting over 280 schools by providing CPD via a range of training programmes. Shaun Alison, director of the Research School and Head of School improvement said, ‘We are proud of our status as an EEF Research School, engaging with and sharing the latest research evidence to improve teaching and learning, and ultimately student outcomes. After a hugely successful second year we are excited about planning the programme of training for our third year over the next month.’
In April the Research School hosted a ResearchEd conference which sold out, hosting almost 250 delegates and 28 influential speakers which included Professor Daniel Muijs, Deputy Director Research and Evaluation at OFSTED, delivering a keynote address. Delegates, including headteachers, senior leaders and classroom teachers, came from all over the country, including flying from Jersey, to network and hear the latest ideas and practical strategies to implement evidence informed research in the classroom and across the whole school.
Recently the school has received yet another acknowledgement of its status as an influential and high performing school by joining Leading Edge, a national network of exclusively high-performing secondary and special schools. Leading Edge supports schools working in partnership to raise achievement, develop innovative practice and share practical strategies within and beyond the network. Run by the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT), Leading Edge is made up of schools who have demonstrated statistically significant levels of progress and that their students perform above the national average. SSAT’s Chief Executive Sue Williamson said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Durrington High School to our Leading Edge network. It is a credit to the hard work of all of their staff and students that they have been recognised as high-performing and we look forward to working with them.’
The school is also the founding school in the Durrington Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) which includes the research school, the South Downs SCITT and the Laurels Primary School. The Southdowns SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), which offers PGCE at Masters level (accredited by the University of Chichester), was graded Outstanding by OFSTED in October. The current cohort of trainee teachers are coming to the end of their training and 67% of primary trainees have already secured a job and a fantastic 100% in core subjects. This school-based training offers a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to train as a teacher, offering a high level of support from expert colleagues across a network of primary and secondary schools.
As the research school is part of DMAT and works closely with the SCITT, it is also uniquely placed to ensure trainees are using the latest evidence-informed practices, which are then disseminated across the schools in which they begin to teach.
The SCITT and Research School place Durrington High School in a central role to developing education in West Sussex and beyond. By providing both initial teacher training and the ongoing CPD for a large number of schools, the school is playing a key role in the educational landscape and is growing it’s influence over an ever-wider network of schools. Sue Marooney, CEO of DMAT said, ‘As a high performing school that has shown sustained improvement over a number of years, we are always keen to work with colleagues and other schools. Through DMAT we are able to do this in a variety of ways and ultimately help improve education for students in schools beyond Durrington High.’
Year 10 careers day a great success
On Wednesday 15th May over 60 employers spent the day at Durrington High School as part of year 10 careers day, a highlight of the careers programme at DHS designed to introduce year 10 students to the vast array of careers opportunities available. The day also helps the year 10 students to reflect on their own skills and experience and build their confidence.
Each year 10 student took part in 5 workshops throughout the day and gained valuable knowledge from each one. The transitions workshops were led by Worthing College, the Chichester College group and Northbrook Met and focused on showing the students the various options for post 16 education. They discussed the various qualification options such as A-levels and apprenticeships, aiming to inform the students of all the options available to them when continuing their education. This was very useful to the students with one saying ‘I enjoyed looking at the colleges as it showed me what different opportunities I have for when I go to college’ and another saying ‘I now have a good understanding of what goes on after high school.’
The transitions workshop also included a short talk from Andy and Will from National Citizens Services, who shared with the students the benefits of taking part in volunteer projects during their holidays, for both person growth and employability. This had a great impact on many students with one stating ‘I enjoyed learning about the NCS scheme I will definitely be signing up for that in November.’
‘What’s my line’ was a fast-paced and fun workshop in which students worked in pairs and had 2 minutes with each employer to ask questions about their job, to which they could only answer yes or no. After the 2 minutes were up, the students had to guess their job title before moving on to the next person. There were 11 in total and at the end each employer revealed their occupation. There was a wide range of job titles from bus drivers at Stagecoach buses to engineers at Ricardos and HR advisors at HMRC. The students had a great time learning about the various roles, some of which they had never heard of, one explained ‘I really enjoyed speaking to real everyday people about their jobs, it shows that there is a ridiculous amount of jobs to choose from!’ This session also offered the opportunity for the employers to pass on some valuable advice which was gratefully received. Chris Saunders from Teach Me Kung Fu told them to ‘find something you love and then find someone who is being paid to do it’ whilst AMEX business analyst said ‘make the most of opportunities that come your way, you never know where they might lead you.’
Another very valuable session was the mock interviews. Students had prepared to be interviewed from a choice of 10 jobs including sports coach, lab technician and aircraft mechanic. They then had 15 minutes with an employee who interviewed them and gave feedback on the interview. Many of the students were very nervous going into the interview but felt proud and relieved afterwards saying ‘it was not that bad actually!’ This is great experience for them to build on when interviewing for colleges and jobs. One student said ‘I enjoyed seeing and feeling what it would be like in a real-life interview, it helped with my confidence.’
The students were also able to prepare their CVs during a CV workshop. They used Unifrog which is a software programme specifically designed to help young people write CVs and allows them to login and update their details from anywhere. One student said ‘I liked the website we used. It made it easy to understand’ They also had expert help from teachers who could advise them and prompt them to think of all the different skills and experience they have. This was a very valuable workshop as it ‘helped me understand what a CV is and what I need to put on there.’
There was also the opportunity to find out about apprenticeships from Richard John hairdressing, ASK and the HMRC apprenticeship team. In these sessions former and current apprentices spoke about their experience of doing an apprenticeship and the benefits it can bring.
We are very grateful the to the volunteers who gave up their time to partake in this fantastic day, and are glad they feel they benefit from the day too, scoring the day 4.5/5 overall. One employer said ‘I enjoyed it immensely. I will be recommending volunteering to all of my staff.’ We are also very proud of our students who engaged with the workshops so well and made sure they took valuable lessons away form the day, as one employer said ‘Students were punctual and really polite. They were engaged and energetic making sure to ask loads of questions.’
In addition to the businesses mentioned above we would also like to thank the following for their generosity with their employees’ time, skills, experience and passion. Plumpton College, Worthing Hospital, The Job Centre, Equiniti, Santander, Sussex Police, Akin Group, Kreston Reeves CA, Reflections Nursery, STEM, Coastal West Sussex, Projects Abroad, BHASVIC, RAF, SOCO, Sussex University, London Underground, Ringmaster Marketing, Brighton University, Pestfix, Carpenter Bix, Affinity Finance, Schneider, Turning Tides, Southern Water, MOD, TSB, Trade South East and Affinity Finance. And the following people for giving up their time John Digby, Bernard Midgley, Al Chiilds, Vanessa Shanley, David Rikus, Angela McNamara, Nick Sloan and Chris Haysom.
Huge thanks also to the careers team at DHS for organising such a beneficial, engaging and fun day for all our year 10 students.
Students shine at Skoolfest 19
Skoolfest 19, a performance event held at The Pavilion in Worthing and hosted by Northbrook Met took place last night 915th May) and DHS were delighted to be a part of it. The night sees an array of talent from students from across Sussex perform, and we were proud to be a part of it. The contribution from Durrington High students was amazing and in our opinion the highlight of the show!
Ellie Powys-Keck performed her brilliant self-penned song You and I and was accompanied by Spencer Owen. Our vocal group made up of Dan Bone, Ellie Powys-Keck, Mary Mothersole, Tia Poole, Millie Whiteside, Ruby Childe, Ava Hodgson, Ellie Lossing -Smith and Spencer Owen sang a beautiful version of Bring Him Home from Les Misérables. The Crave (formally Masterplan), a four-piece band featuring Spencer Owen and Ethan Cunliffe from Durrington High, sang their original composition You Could Say I’m Mad.
The whole night was spectacular and the talent of the DHS students shone brightly. You can watch highlights of the three DHS performances here:
Many thanks to the performing arts department who work so hard to nurture the talent of our students and give them opportunities to perform. Special thanks to Mr Dean and Mrs Isham for taking them to Skoolfest.
Year 7s inspired by University outreach programme
The year 7 students at Durrington High School have been finding out all about life as a university student this term as part of a programme with the University of Brighton Outreach Team. On Monday 29th April the whole of year 7 took part in hour long workshops led by the outreach team to introduce them to university terminology and give an overview of what being a university student involves. To do this the students worked in pairs to play a board game in which they collected tokens for answering questions correctly. The tokens were categorised into skills, study and social life, with the idea being to gather a range of different coloured tokens to indicate a rounded experience.
Despite some students being a little competitive the idea of the board game is not really to win, but is expertly designed to engage the students and boost their knowledge of university language and expectations. Toby Henry, Careers Adviser at Durrington High School, said ‘the workshops are a really fun and engaging way to introduce the idea of university to our year 7 students. It is also fantastic to have the student ambassadors from Brighton University to help them as they are available to answer any questions and offer first-hand experience.’
Following on from the workshops the whole of year 7 will, over this term and next, visit The University of Brighton as the next stage in this programme. This term 3 groups of 60 students have been on this visit and really enjoyed the experience. The visit includes a tour of the campus, a Lego architecture workshop and again lots of opportunities to ask the student ambassadors questions. The programme is an important part of the careers calendar as it inspires students at a young age and gets them thinking about their goals for further education. Rosie Green, Careers Leader at Durrington High School, said ‘working with the University of Brighton Outreach Team on this programme is a fantastic way to inspire young students to aspire to further education. The workshops are a great starting point and then the visits build on this interest, as the students get the chance to experience the university campus for themselves. This is part of a robust all-years careers programme at Durrington High School which supports students in making further education choices that are right for them by ensuring they are given all the options.’
Next week is the year 10 careers day in which the whole of year 10 will have the chance to meet a range of employers from various industries.
Rock Challenge team dazzle in Portsmouth
On Saturday 27th April our fantastic Rock Challenge team headed to Portsmouth to perform their amazing piece ‘Viva La Vida’ in the Southern Premier finals. The students met from 9am at school to pack up the set and then board the 3 coaches needed to take the 120 strong team to the Portsmouth Guildhall.
The team had previously showcased the piece back in February at The Hawth, Crawley, as they are a premier division school and so did not need to qualify for the finals. They were able to take feedback from the judges at the showcase and have been rehearsing every Friday to make the piece, which is based on the life and work of Frida Kholo, even better.
The students arrived and were very excited to see the professional venue. They had a great day, rehearsing, watching other schools perform and then getting into costume and make-up. They were assisted by ex-students Dani Hardy, Eden Pailthorpe-Peart, Alex Bartram and Ella Wall, who gave up their time to help the cast get ready for the stage. We were delighted that they came back and it is testament to how loved and important Rock Challenge is to students, that they come back even once they have left the school.
We drew first in the running order and so the students got to open the show, which was amazing. The performance went incredibly well and the students shone. The bright Mexican colours contrasted with the day of the dead costumes and make-up meant the performance was impossible to take your eyes off. The students performed beautifully and were suitable delighted as they left the stage triumphantly, knowing that had given everything they could.
The remaining 8 schools then performed and the team had a long wait backstage, but were supportive of the other schools and made new friends during the day. Finally it was time for the awards to be handed out and Durrington High were delighted to received awards for stage use, stage crew, soundtrack, concept, healthy lifestyle and lighting, meaning the judges had scored us 9 or 10 in each of these categories. The lighting award was a particular highlight as we were one of only 4 schools to receive this and the lighting is designed by year 10 student Tom Payne. Most of the other schools have 6th formers or teachers designing their lighting and to win this award reflects how talented Tom is and we are very proud of him. We were also very pleased to place high enough to ensure we remained a premier school and so we have it all to look forward to again next year.
Emily Isham, director of Performing Arts said. ‘Rock Challenge is a valuable part of the enrichment programme offered at Durrington High School. Everyone is welcome to take part and the joy on the students faces shows how much they enjoy taking part. We are therefore delighted to be doing it again next year and are already making plans!’
Over 150 family and friends bought tickets to watch the performance and we are very grateful for their support. It would also not be possible without the passion and dedication of Emily Isham and her amazing team. Many thanks to Emily Isham, Lizzie Wolstenholme, Lauren Chaitow, Kathy Hughes, Sam Hodnett, April Cross, Debs Savage, Annie Hewett, Mark Morley and Lesley Graney, whose creative vision and artistic flair has supported the Rock Challenge team for so many years.
Durrington High School host KS1 cricket festival
On Wednesday 1st May 140 KS1 children from 7 local primary schools enjoyed a morning of cricket at Durrington High School as part of the All Stars Cricket KS1 festival. The pupils from English Martyrs, West Park, Durrington Infants, Georgian Gardens, Springfield Infants, Swiss Gardens and Whitemeadows Academy had a fantastic time throwing, catching, batting and bowling as they completed 10 different activity stations.
The festival took place on the fantastic AstroTurf pitches and each activity station was led by a Durrington High School sports leader who instructed and supported the primary school pupils, helping them to improve their skills and make the most of the activity. The children had a great time with many citing their favourite activity as the ‘one where you had to throw balls at the tower and try and knock it down!’
The activities lasted 10 minutes and were designed to give the pupils an opportunity to try cricket as well as develop basic sporting skills. Many of the children in attendance had not played cricket before and really enjoyed themselves. Sussex Cricket Foundation, who organised the event, are working with All Stars Cricket on this programme to introduce youngsters to cricket and then signpost them to one of the 62 All Stars Cricket centres if they have a desire to continue learning. Gary Wallis-Taylor, Territory Manager South at Sussex Cricket Foundation said ‘it is a great opportunity for these 5 -7 year olds to have a go at cricket and find out if they like it. The most important aspect is that they have fun, but it is also a great way to introduce them to a sport they may not have played before.’
The Durrington High School sports leaders were fantastic, working with the children to help them with activities such as bouncing the ball on a cricket bat, throwing and catching as many times as possible without dropping the ball and throwing the ball in a circle. One of the pupils clearly enjoyed his morning saying ‘I have got better at throwing and catching and that makes me feel proud of myself.’
If your child is interesting in playing cricket then visit the All Stars Cricket website here https://www.ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars If you are interested in the KS1 cricket festival programme then please email Gary Wallis-Taylor on firstname.lastname@example.org
89 DHS students undertake their vital DofE training assessments
As the rest of the school finished for the Easter holidays, 44 year 9 students undertaking their Bronze DofE commenced their exhibition training assessments. The assessment sessions are really useful for the DofE leaders, enabling them to assess which teams are ready to undertake their expedition in May and which teams require more training and practice and will complete it in July.
On the afternoon of Friday 5th April 8 teams set off on their 15km routes, carrying all of their camping equipment with them. Each team was accompanied by an adult to observe how they worked together as a team and put their hiking skills in to practice.
Once the students had completed their hike, they arrived back at the school and began to pitch their tents. Once this task was completed they prepared and ate the evening meals they had planned in advance. This also enabled students that had attended the cookery skills classes to put their learning into action. Once everyone had enjoyed their meals and packed up their tents, they headed home.
Early the next morning on Saturday 6th April, 45 new students arrived to undertake the assessment. The 8 new teams started the day by pitching their tents and cooking a delicious breakfast. Once they had finished the much needed breakfast and taken down their tents, they headed off on the 15km hike, all equipment on their backs, to get valuable practise for the expedition hike taking place later this year.
Over the course of the weekend the 16 teams successfully completed their activities, some learning valuable lessons and identifying areas they needed to hone to improve their hiking and camping skills ahead of their final expedition.
Once all the teams had returned to school on Saturday morning everyone headed off for the Easter break and a well-deserved rest – especially the fantastic DofE helpers who had hiked 30km in less than 24 hours!
Many thanks to the DHS staff and volunteers who make it possible for our students to take part in such a valuable programme.
DHS code-breakers rise to the challenge
Eight DHS students spent a busy autumn term working on weekly code breaking challenges as part of the National Cipher Challenge. For ten consecutive weeks the students were given two challenges to complete within a specific amount of time. Challenge A was slightly easier and by correctly completing it they could access challenge B.
The Cipher club worked together after school and also individually at home to solve the challenges. For the first seven weeks the students were able to solve the challenges on the night of the club but as they got tougher their commitment shone through as they took the challenges home to work on. They could then come back together to pool ideas and solve the more difficult challenges.
Their hard work and commitment paid off as they completed every challenge set correctly and always within the allotted time frame. Some of the challenges involved solving complex mathematical equations and writing computer programmes. The most difficult challenge was the final one which was due in by 9th January, but the dedicated group managed to compete it before the Christmas holidays.
435 schools took part in the National Cipher Challenge and we were delighted that Durrington High School placed 18th. A huge achievement made even more impressive by the fact that the majority of the top 17 schools were either private or had sixth forms.
On Wednesday the team were presented with a copy of Michael Smith’s Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park by to recognise their hard work and success. Huge congratulations to our code breaking geniuses – Tom Thorogood, Mridul Shrestha, James Burry, Aarash Jazayeri, Archie Sloan, Zainab Hoque, Scott Haysom and Beth Teakle.
Fantastic debut season for the year 7 girls football team
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