In the last two months, we have had some very interesting visitors. People who regularly check our website will know that we have been lucky enough to have been visited by Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, and Rt Hon David Cameron, the former Prime Minister.
Both of these visits have been to acknowledge the school for elements of practice that we do well. Ms Greening came to acknowledge the work we do with Teach First. Teach First are an organisation that recruits, trains and supports new teachers to work in schools with low income communities. The participants that are placed at Derby Moor perform consistently well, and are contributing to our own ongoing development as a school. We value that partnership, believing that it supports our students to achieve.
David Cameron’s visit has been to acknowledge the work we do for the National Citizen’s Service. We have been a champion school for three years running (and are well on track for the same honour this year). Taking part in the NCS scheme is a great way for students to develop their life skills, by considering team work and how they can contribute to their community.
While these visits have been an honour, I’m also conscious that this is not enough in itself – they acknowledge one of our core values (that of aspiration). This states that we are committed to ensuring all members of our school community are supported to be the best they can be. By embracing the Teach First approach and supporting new teachers in their journey, and by ensuring that every student has the opportunity to develop life skills we make progress towards achieving that aim.
Everyone welcome, everyone valued, everyone safe
I’m sure I’m not alone in having found watching the news this weekend a little challenging. This isn’t the place for me to comment on my views. However, it has made me reflect on why I’m so proud to be the Principal of Derby Moor. One of our core values is “community”. This means that we aim to ensure that every member of our school community is valued, and every member of our school community feels safe. At a time when reports in the news seem to suggest that’s not always the case everywhere in the world, I thought it was important that we reaffirmed our commitment to “community” together.
Community isn’t just about making each other feel welcome, valued and safe, it’s also about what we can achieve together. I really like this quote from Helen Keller. Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a degree in America. She became an author, political activist and lecturer.. She said “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Inspired by her teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller learned how to communicate and she grew into an inspirational figure. She would not have achieved that without the support of her teacher. Part of being a community at Derby Moor, is about understanding how we can develop, learn and support each other. This applies not just in lesson, but also in the wider school community.
As we reflect on community together, I would like to think that we all have much to learn from each other, and that when we encounter things that are different from our own experience that we can do all that we can to ensure we all feel safe, valued and welcome.
As we approach the end of a very busy term (my first full term as Principal), I’ve taken a moment to reflect on the many fantastic achievements of our school community.
We have introduced many new systems and procedures during the term, and I’m proud of the way that staff and students have reacted so positively and really taken on board the new vision and ethos that we’ve embraced this term. Our students have been wearing their uniform with pride, and they are approaching their lessons with the right attitude and ready to learn. Our staff have also commented on the vast improvements in students’ conduct and attitudes to learning.
We are keen to develop our expectations of students further so that there are no barriers to success. Therefore in January, we are changing the required equipment that students need to present at the start of a lesson. To ensure all work completed is of the highest standards in terms of presentation, students will need to show a pen, pencil, ruler and planner at the start of the lesson before they enter the classroom. All dates and titles in books need to be underlined and in order to maximise learning time students will be ready for this immediately as their learning begins.
One of my favourite things about being Principal is rewarding students that consistently meet our expectations. This is why we introduced the "Principal’s List". Students with the top attitude to learning grades, and also those that show the biggest improvement get the chance to have a pizza lunch with me, a gold star to wear on their blazer, a letter sent home to parents and their name displayed for the whole school community to see. It’s been great to see students wearing their stars around the school. We are doing this six times in the year, so students could get six stars on their lapels! Last Thursday, we had our annual rewards evening. This is always a special event in any school and served to remind me of what a phenomenal student body we have. I’d like to thank parents who attended and congratulate all the students who won awards.
I also had the pleasure of talking with Year 11 students last week about their progress. They are now less than 100 days from the end of their school career. This is such a key time for them, and I’d like to thank Year 11 parents in particular for the support they will be giving the school as students attend extra sessions and complete the key work they need in order to succeed. We know that students have a better chance of success when they attend school and have a fantastic attitude to learning. I left Year 11 with a final thought which was "it’s never too late". At this stage in Year 11, students can still make up any lost ground. We will do all we can to ensure that Year 11 students achieve the outcomes of which they are capable.
The end of term is a time in every school where we say goodbye and thank members of staff. I’d like to thank Mrs Khan, Mr Boyce, Mr Roberts, Mr Trehan, Mr Lomax, Mr Frater, Dr Heaton and Mr Wilson who are moving on from Derby Moor this term. On behalf of the school community I’d like to wish them well for the future.
We are also welcoming the following members of staff as part of our team: Mrs Lind, Miss Pillai, Mrs Al-Janabi, Mrs Kidd- Smithers We are looking forward to working together to succeed for all of our students.
I’d like to thank you as parents for your support in my first term. It’s been really busy, and we’ve made a lot of changes. We are now seeing the fruit of those changes, as we head through into the New Year. We have a slightly longer Christmas break this year, so I hope we can all use the time to recharge, reflect and return to school ready to take it to the next level.
I hope that you all have a relaxing break,
Invitation to Meet the New Principal
I am writing to introduce myself as the new Principal of Derby Moor Community Sports College. I am immensely proud to have been appointed to this important role and I am delighted to have started today. I am looking forward to introducing myself fully to staff, students, parents and the wider community. Since being appointed in January, I have been fortunate to spend time at the school prior to taking up the post and have met a number of key staff and students. It is clear that the school has many strengths and huge potential and I am excited to be leading the school through its next stage of development.
Prior to joining Derby Moor, I have spent 14 years at a range of schools across the East Midlands and have really enjoyed working on journeys of improvement. I have been part of two senior leadership teams that achieved Outstanding Ofsted judgements and have worked to support substantial increases in student outcomes. I feel privileged to be bringing this experience to Derby Moor.
I will be meeting with all staff and students over the next couple of weeks and I am pleased to be able to invite parents to meet with me on Thursday 30 June at 6.15pm in the main hall. I would also like to offer two additional dates for parents to meet with me on Tuesday 12 July at 2.00pm and Tuesday 19 July at 2.00pm in LH1. The informal meet and greet sessions will be an opportunity for me to explain my vision for the school and for parents to feedback and ask questions about school related issues.
I look forward to meeting you over the coming weeks.