A busy week with lots of visitors and visits out. Starting the week off with a visit from Rebekah Vardy and baby much to the delight of many of the pupils. We have also welcomed colleagues from Leicester College, Mair Health care and Mandy a PGCE student who has been based with us for a week. This week Beth has also returned for her final student placement in Turtles and Tigers. Some of our older students have been out visiting colleges - one group went to RNIB on Monday and had a lovely time designing their own cloth bags and making pizza. Daniel W’s pizza looked especially delicious. Another student visited Brooks-by College but was disappointed he didn't see as many animals as he expected! Across school there has been lots of hard work from dissecting fish in Kestrels class, some excellent Shelbourne movement sessions to tricky multiplication in Owls. Such variety and great problem solving from all our pupils.
Cooking up a storm
Spring is definitely in the air and pupils are working and playing hard as a result. This week we have seen lots of active play outside including teenage boys at upper who usually like to play computer games during breaks! Wednesday was a busy day: HAJC was closed so our base pupils had to move to St Francis centre for their lessons at short notice they all managed this extremely well and our thanks to the centre for accommodating us at short notice; Kwoklyn Wan joined the hospitality and catering group much to their delight and we interviewed for a new teacher to cover maternity leave in Kites. There was a very strong field of candidates and it was a very difficult decision. I will be able to tell you the outcome very shortly once we have verified references etc. I hope the good weather stays a little longer - have a good weekend!
A very busy week at Dorothy Goodman
We have had lots of visitors from other special schools recently and it has been a pleasure to take them around our school. They have all been impressed by the work our pupils are involved with and I think one of the best comments made over the last few visits was ‘this is the most inclusive school I have ever been to’. The visitors were impressed with how welcoming our pupils are and how well they mix with each other and support each other. We also saw some super work with Sherbourne movement at upper and using the interactive sensory room at lower. Taking our visitors over to the base at Richmond we saw some super maths happening in Neptune and Saturn. We especially liked Benji’s comment ‘I challenged myself and did four more number sentences all by myself …and got them right!’ In Tigers and Turtles Olivia had done some beautiful counting work which she showed us and Alfie showed us some of his very hard work where he needed ‘just a little bit of help’ from Miss Holder. Yesterday I also had a treat when Jenkin wanted to read me the story he had written using colourful semantics it was great to hear him read and sign his own work.
WORLD BOOK DAY AT DOROTHY GOODMAN
What a great World Book day yesterday from The Gingerbread man in KS1 to Frankenstein in KS4/5. The younger children dressed up in some super costumes and the focus of the book for the day created lots of fun opportunities for learning. It was great to see the upper school students working in the Frankenstein science lab and graveyard. The students at HAJC joined upper English groups for a session and seemed to thoroughly enjoy - finding body parts in the mud, exploring brains and other body parts to make a monster and much more. The older students also wrote some super things on the writing walls. A bit of Harry Potter and his potions was happening in Apollo much to Hanna’s enjoyment. In Key Stage 3 Jamie, Josh and Emma were devising their own play script. The emphasis on independence led to some interesting problem solving and re-writes of the script when they realised the dog was in the wrong place! In Key Stage 2 the jointly created World War 2 book became all about Bob (who had a sad demise) and Courtney had an interesting pet dinosaur - look out the next Booker prize! It was also great to have lots of students coming with raffle tickets and proudly showing their work. Thank you for your help with all the various costumes.
A WINDY WEEK
It was good to see so many pupils keen to be back at school this week, although on Monday a few looked a little sleepy in a teenage sort of way at upper!
This week our new Family leadership programme started with a group of parents and their children from Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 helping our pupils and their families make decisions about their futures and to gain a better understanding of what is available locally as they progress into adulthood.
At our lower site we have seen so many varied activities around World War II with some creative art work, making paper aeroplanes and of course the multi-sensory environment which was hugely motivating for Mars class. I was also impressed with the crime scene work going on in Key Stage 3 and the ‘working out who did it’ in Eagles English stream
On Thursday we saw Storm Doris and all the pupils managed really well with the noise of the storm with some pupils wanting to go outside to feel the wind.
A SNOWY END OF TERM
I have just been to watch the presentations from our students who have been on work inspiration week at National Grid - what another wonderful experience seeing our students present so confidently. They have obviously learnt a great deal about the work at National Grid and the many different jobs that are there. It was also lovely to catch up with the interns who have been placed there this year. They have all grown in confidence and learnt so much on their two placements. They were also a great support to the new students this week. Have a lovely half term I hope you enjoy the snow!
A FUN RUN AT DOROTHY GOODMAN
I hope you have seen the fun run pictures from last Friday - the pupils were amazing and made lots of effort - congratulations to them all! This week there has been lots of hard work as usual... Great success on work experience for some of our older students. Daniel W, Josh Ch and Tom D have been very successful at Tesco's this week on the induction programme. They have all worked very hard. Laura S has had her first placement at Pamela Mann which again was very successful and she enjoyed it very much. Poseidon had some time cooking this week - Disha was enjoying making dough for her chapatis and behaved responsibly when cooking them. Milly, Harry, Ano and Kaylum ended up in tears with yet another class grating onions! (a new craze I think). The onion bhajis they made were delicious. There were lots of science experiments going on in Key Stage 3 looking at states of matter and Stephen shared his solid, liquid, gas dance with me. Next week is our last week before the half term holiday - the time seems to have flown past. Have a good weekend.
HEALTHY SCHOOLS WEEK
Healthy Schools Week has been a real success again, there will be plenty of pictures in next week’s bulletin. Pupils really enjoyed the yoga sessions at lower (although Lotta ached a bit after all of the sessions on Monday too!) The
personal hygiene sessions have also been very successful I saw some wonderful teeth cleaning in Eagles— Kaitlyn’s technique when using the large toothbrush on the large teeth model really made her laugh and Callum could tell me why cleaning them was important.
Some great things have been happening this week and I hope we take the theme of healthy living forward every week.
A POSITIVE WEEK AT DOROTHY GOODMAN
I have had an amazing time this morning interviewing 6 young people from our school who wish to take the opportunity of an internship next year either at National Grid or with another employer. The students demonstrated such a growing confidence and a very sensible and mature approach about why they would like to have one of these opportunities. I always have high expectations of our students but they all surprised even me with their well-considered answers and approach - well done to them all. We will be letting them know next week what the next steps will be. I have also seen some lovely work from our other pupils this week from some excellent communication work between Purno and staff to jokes between Chloe and Matthew to Mollie using a bubble wrap sock to make some lovely art work!
Our first full week back after the holiday and I have seen lots of hard work going on. One of my magic moments was Matthew K going round with his hard hat and tool box at lower mending things ‘all by himself’ I think he is after Dean and Steve’s jobs! This week our older students had an evening meeting to introduce them to the internships programme where Alec D and Liam M spoke confidently and well sharing their experiences of National Grid with the other students and their par-ents. We have seen some super work in Key Stage 3 English with the World War 1 theme - some discussing and recording what they would need to take, others creating a soundscape or making papier mache helmets. At upper following instructions has been a focus in English and some students following recipes independently without help achieved some great results by reading carefully.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Welcome back and a Happy New Year to you all. I hope everyone enjoyed the last two weeks and whatever activities you were involved with. We have had a super start to the new term with children working and playing hard. They seemed very pleased to see each other again. We have also welcomed two new pupils to the school one who is in Mars and one in Venus class. It has been a pleasure to see how the other children have welcomed them and are helping them find their way around. We are also looking forward to Tino returning to Venus class next week.
This term looks as busy as ever. We will be holding a healthy schools week during the week starting 23rd January (it may help us all get over the excess of celebrations!). Our school councils meet on Friday 13th January so no doubt lots of new ideas will come from them for this term.
Just in case you missed the news last term - we now have planning permission for our replacement building for upper school. We have started the process of gaining tenders for the work to be completed so all systems go and great opportunities ahead for our older children and young people to have suitable facilities.
No separate achievers this week as two days is rather a short time but I think everyone should have one for settling back in so well!
"Great news - our planning for the new building to replace upper site was approved. We have secured the funding and are ready to start building phase one to replace the upper school site. However, to meet our ambition for all secondary aged pupils at lower and upper site to be educated on the same site with indoor and outdoor sports facilities and specialist rooms, we need to raise a further £3million. So if you have a few spare million any help gratefully received!"
See the new plans here:
ANOTHER BUSY WEEK AT DOROTHY GOODMAN
I hope you have enjoyed receiving your child’s school photo and are as pleased with the results as we were. I am sure if you are quick with ordering they will arrive promptly. I think the children’s images were captured extremely well this year. Just a reminder to check ‘dates for your diary’ as many Christmas and end of term events are planned and it will be good to see as many of you as possible at the various events. We have already had some early rehearsal work and things are sounding and looking really good! Have a good weekend.
SCHOOL DAY IN YOUR PJ
A great week of busy hard work. I have seen Key Stage 2 pupils experiencing childhood in Victorian times - Venus class side room became a dark, sooty, smelly chimney - the children came out full of exclamations using some wonderful vocabulary! Many pupils from Key Stage 3,4 and 5 went to the Skills Show and had lots to say about different jobs and careers they wish to follow... listen out for Jenkin the DJ in the future. Back at upper, pupils who stayed experienced some basic vocational skills - some great work with hammer and nails and fingers intact at the end! I also enjoyed helping Hannah at lunchtime yesterday and seeing the progress she has made in her life skills. I have seen some fabulous Maths work at lower school this week, measuring and combining number. We have also had school photos this week which seem to have gone well and we are looking forward to seeing the results. The pupils should be exhausted after such a busy week!
An Amazing Week
This week has been a cross-school Arts Week based on the book- ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. The staff worked extremely hard to create some amazing Narnia environments for pupils to explore including a beaver’s den ! We have had false snow, ice and many winter experiences. Yesterday and today the world changed to spring and the transformation has been amazing. The pupils have been involved in many creative and performing arts activities, I have read some wonderful writing and seen some exciting sensory work throughout the week and the pupils have responded extremely well. I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff and pupils for making this happen.
Another busy week at Dorothy Goodman
Another busy week with lots of hard work. We started off with the good news that the hospitality and catering group won 3rd prize in a bake off competition at the weekend - thank you to Sam and Dougie for representing our school with teachers Jo and Kelly. This week we have had digestive systems being created in Science, write dance with Angel Delight, bucket drumming groups and of course in Key Stage 3 the
Kestrels making French onion soup. This created some hunger interest from escorts and parents at the end of the day but I heard pupils were less keen on the smell of strong French cheese! During this hot weather the alfresco dining at upper school is still proving to be popular but I am not sure this will continue as the weather changes!
Some of you may not have heard that at the end of last term sadly one of our pupils, Luke Edwards died peacefully. His parents have
requested that we inform you all. Many of us were able to attend his funeral which was a very memorable service and shared many memories of Luke’s life. It was especially moving watching the balloons rising into the sky at the end.
Another very busy week at DGS with lots of hard work, but the big news is our new admission. The animal care pathway now have a rabbit which they have named Dorothy. She will be living at upper school in her hand made hutch (made by the DIY pathway last term). As you can imagine there is lots of excitement about our new member! We are also very thankful to the National Grid volunteer team who this week have rejuvenated the upper school garden. Now Dorothy has a beautiful place to live. Have a good weekend.
A Lovely few days of term
We have had a lovely first few days of term. I have seen some lovely moments with our pupils helping people new to the school or their class and some good new friendships growing. This newsletter is sent every week and we are working towards sharing this electronically. This is to help ensure we know everyone has received it as paper sometimes seems to go missing! Please make sure we have the necessary email addresses for your family so that we can send it out each Friday This can be sent to email@example.com We will continue to send paper copies for the first few weeks and ongoing if you require them. We also put a copy of the newsletter on our website. If you have not found our school website the address is http://www.dorothygoodman.co.uk You can also subscribe to our twitter feed and follow us on facebook from the website where the most recent photographs of school events are shared.
You may notice a change in class names this year. We have done this to support our pupils so that when people marry and change their names or when a teacher moves we do not have confusion about class names. The pupils chose the categories last term – Key Stage 1 are named after animals, Key Stage 2 named after planets, Key Stage 3 named after birds, Key Stages 4 and 5 are named after Greek Gods (great aspirations!).
THE END OF A FABULOUS YEAR
We have had a fabulous year with so many events and successes. I would like to give my thanks to all the staff for all their extra efforts and time to provide such a vibrant education for our pupils. Today we say goodbye to a large group of students who are leaving and with them they take so many achievements and memories of interesting and exciting experiences. The photos on our website, Facebook and twitter demonstrate how much the children and young people have enjoyed all the various special events organised by school. This year they have culminated in the school Sports week, Circus skills day, Afternoon tea, Key Stage 3 prom, Festival day and the Upper school leavers party to name just a few! We must also recognise the fantastic achievements of our children and young people which comes from their day to day hard work and I have been privileged to give out numerous certificates and rewards throughout the year for success in gaining skills but also for effort and perseverance which are just as important. As you know we had an Ofsted inspection on 14th June, at the time of writing the report is still not published so we are unable to share this with you until the new term. I hope you all have a lovely summer.
We have had a busy penultimate week of term. Transition days went well and I was impressed by how well the pupils worked and joined in their new classes. There were some lovely moments where existing pupils helped new pupils to the school showing them their favourite parts of the school (usually the playgrounds and soft play!). I was also impressed by how well our own pupils managed the change to new bases and classrooms. They should all be congratulated.
Thank you to all of you who came to the parent drop in session last Friday at upper school – your ideas for the new school have been very helpful and we have already shared them with the architects. Today is the secondary school sports day so we are hoping for dry weather (results next week!) and of course the Key Stage 3 Prom – I am looking forward to seeing the pupils in their finery once again. The pupils and staff had a lovely time at Bosworth Water Park this week. Have a lovely weekend.
Sports, Exams and Summer Fayre Celebrations!
What a fantastic sports week we have had, the pupils have really engaged with all the different activities. Cricket, rugby, dance, multi-skills sports and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 minute warm up in 2KN and 2TS – there was great enthusiasm from all the pupils and some good progress with crossing midline! The two sports afternoons for Key Stage 1 and then yesterday Key Stage 2, have been very
successful and Harrison Gamble joined us yesterday much to the delight of our pupils. Some of our older students have had a week of
exams in between the sports! They have all coped extremely well and tried very hard to do their best. Thank you to everyone who came to the Summer Fayre last Saturday. We raised over £1500. I hope you all have a good weekend.
Sporting success at Dorothy Goodman
The Queen’s picnic was a great success last Friday – the food was popular, there were great hats, masks and decorations everywhere (and no rain!).…The races and games at upper were adding to the hilarity – egg and spoon - Josh W versus Kelly a very close run (with a little bit of sabotage going on!), splat the rat was also a great success and I wouldn’t mess with Jasmine if you are a rat! Also last Friday, a group of our pupils competed in the Motor Activity Training Programme (MATP) Sports Event – this was a fantastic day which provided Andie, Amelia, Reece, William, Madison and Lucas the opportunity to represent the school at a sports event (this is a sport from the special Olympics). Every pupil succeeded with their individual challenges - well done! Our pupils impressed the key people so much there is a possibility we may be asked to be the East Midland representatives at a bigger event – more details to follow hopefully. As you know, we had visitors from Ofsted on Tuesday and I would like to thank all of you who spoke to the inspectors or submitted your views – the outcome is confidential until we receive the report but we are still smiling. I will let you know more as soon as I have the report. I hope to see you at our Summer Fayre tomorrow.
A PICNIC WITH THE QUEEN
I hope you all had a good week during the break. We have had a lovely week although very hot. The older students had a great
dayout at Drayton Manor on Wednesday with lots of firsts for pupils and a great Gorpro film which will be available to see at parents evening!
At lower site, Wacky Wednesday went well and thank you for all the donations of bottles. We are looking forward to seeing lots of you at
the Summer Fayre. This week we also had some excellent news for one of our interns who has been offered a permanent job at
National Grid. Today we celebrate The Queen's birthday with a lovely picnic event.
It has really been a very interesting busy week. On Monday, several animals and reptiles came to visit the school and KS2 pupils (and some visitors from other key stages) were holding various creatures including tarantulas and snakes. At the upper site I saw some fantastic creative work as the art group got in with the swing of the Rio Carnival with some very imaginative creations being constructed. The ‘slicing’ dance group were once again showing their skills and the choir was sounding good with some lovely rhythms on the drum from James D. Our students who participated in a tour of Auschwitz - Birkenau returned having taken part in an emotional memorial service in the dark at the end where they all lit candles and laid them on the railway tracks inside the camp. Also this week, we have seen many exciting costumes across the school as we celebrated World Book Day with lots of engagement and high levels of independence in Key Stage 2 finding animals, and at upper site with a fully inclusive ‘Lord of the Flies’ day with some amazing individual performances in but also great participation from all.
Another wonderful rock concert last night with Redmoor, HAJC and DGS…so many of our pupils involved. All excelled - Kieran E on drums and guitar (not at the same time!), Reece drumming, Callum H from Richmond base drumming and singing, Thomas D, Ewan B, Lauren Sl, Alec, Meg, Kyle M, Callum R, Liam M, Shannon G and Sophie. We were all especially pleased to see Joe P from our Redmoor base and James D from upper school overcoming their fears to go up on stage and to see Amy T singing a solo – such a beautiful voice. (I hope I haven’t missed anyone). A great night out and fantastic achievement for all the pupils. Having seen some perform before it was really good to see and hear their excellent progress in confidence and skills.… a big thank you to Gill, Nick and Val for supporting the pupils as well as the JAM staff. It was also lovely to see so many parents and friends who went to watch.
What a pleasure it was to interview the possible interns for National Grid next term yesterday. I was impressed by their confidence and thoughtful answers to the questions we asked. I was very impressed with their very positive views about maths and English. In the team challenge many demonstrated great team work skills and others although not as confident were good cooperative team players…see the towers below!
Newborns, Life Savers & Busy Streets
Lots of busy pupils this week and some lovely work being produced. We have also had some good news that Mrs Barton-Harvey had a baby girl on 17th January and both are well. I think some of you may have missed my message on the first week back this term explaining that Mat the school nurse would be leaving his NHS position as a school nurse. We will be interviewing with our NHS colleagues for a replacement school nurse next week. Many of you may have heard of the Anthony Nolan charity which matches individuals willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people with blood cancer and blood disorders who need lifesaving transplants (www.anthonynolan.org). Ben (a member of staff at our Redmoor base) has been found to be a match and will be donating bone marrow in the next few weeks. It is a great thing that Ben is doing and we wish him well.
Onto more mundane matters unfortunately we are still receiving complaints from neighbours in Middlefield Lane and Middlefield Close about cars, taxis and parking. I know space is very difficult but please make sure if you do collect your child by car that you do not block any driveways or park near junctions or on the double yellow lines etc - this will also help us to keep our pupils safe – thank you.
Busy times in the freezing cold
Happy New Year!
Congratulations to our new choir from upper school. The choir have so far performed at Hinckley Methodist Church on Tuesday evening and the Wykin Club on Wednesday. They have more engagements booked next week! The choir led by Kathryn, Sally-Ann and supported by Emma and many other staff has grown from a few pupils to a large group of great performers including Amy T, Megan M and John B (who frequently have solo parts to perform) James M, Robbie S, Laura S, Morgan B, Joseph A, Liam M, Dougie B, Daisy C, Kalum B, Millie S, Angel H, Morgan B, Emma-Louis M, Dickie T, Robbie S, Harry C, Rhiannon H and Cameron S. The performances so far have been impeccable and the pupils have been amazing with their enthusiasm and rhythm as well as some beautiful voices. Parents and members of our local community have thoroughly enjoyed the events so far. I am sure their agent will take bookings for the New year! The DIY and Multi Skills group were continuing to work on their bird boxes today and it was good to see how pupils were able to set up their work areas independently. Lewis C was happy to tell a new pupil joining the group that he knows how to use drills safely.
Here is a reminder of some key dates and times coming up:
Tuesday 15th December
10:15am KS1 performance
1:30pm KS2 performance
School Choir at Tudor Road Care Home
Wednesday 16th December
KS3 and Upper Christmas dinner
Thursday 17th December
KS1 and 2 Christmas dinner followed by Santa
School Choir at the Limes Care Home
Friday 18th December
Coffee Morning and farmers market Upper Site
Wednesday 6th January 2016
Students return to school
Shakespeare in Schools - The Curve November 19th 2015
Lots of wonderful news from yesterday the Shakespeare performers did exceptionally well and what stood out the most was the level of independence and the confidence in how they performed on the stage. The pupils worked collaboratively to ensure that everyone could complete their role and the mastering of the Shakespearean language was superb. A big thank you to all staff and especially to Lauren for all of her work with the pupils to get the piece ready and in ensuring that it was a visual performance which allowed everyone to show their skills. The Shakespeare in schools team leader spoke about ‘individual performances, great storytelling, that everyone had a presence on stage and the wonderful teamwork. He said it was an 'uplifting' start to the night’ We should all be proud of what our pupils have achieved.
During Half Term holidays 20 or so volunteers from nearby National Grid came to help us decorate the outside fences and the quiet rooms.
They did a fantastic job over the 3 days despite the best efforts of the lovely British weather and the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo. It is so pleasing to see the space where our children play looking far more attractive and colourful, there are now clearer boundaries for those children with visual impairment and I look forward to seeing the children’s reaction on Monday morning.
On Wednesday BBC Radio Leicester came to visit the school and to talk to Katherine Lightbown from Leicestershire Cares and I about the challenge. You can take a listen to the whole interview below.
Last Friday I went to the launch of the employability scheme at National Grid in Hinckley. It was a great pleasure to see three of our students as three of their first 6 interns. Matthew, George and Beth are all enjoying the experience so far, although I hear the daily getting up and ready for work in a business environment is quite a challenge. The staff at National Grid are keen to continue and develop our links with them and we will be meeting with them soon to look at more ways of collaborating.
As I approach the end of my first year as headteacher of Dorothy Goodman School, all schools are poised to make decisions about what they teach as the Government’s new curriculum is introduced in September 2014. Our school is no exception but we need to hold on to some key principles.
Our school community needs to be forward looking and self-critical to ensure we develop provision to the next levels of success and excellence. An aspirational culture and ethos needs to inform all aspects of our school’s work so that all our children and young people develop the following personal qualities:
Confidence and courage (able to try new things and knowing it is alright to make mistakes)
Enthusiasm for learning
We need to make sure our children and young people have the following experiences and opportunities:
Choices because they have achieved well
Respect and acceptance by others
Awareness of being valued and listened to
Enjoyment of learning (fun)
Equality of opportunities with others
Challenge and motivation
Safety and security
Feeling cared for
Known as a whole person not a diagnosis
Our staff have agreed that we need to ensure we use consistent approaches and make sure our communication is clear. To take things forward we need to be brave and
Risk more that others think is necessary
Care more than others think is wise
Dream more than others think is practical
Expect more than others think is possible
When we look back at our work we will ask ourselves: what do we do? What difference this makes for our children and young people? And how could we do things better?
Our main focus over the last year has been to sustain the excellent quality of provision which has existed in the school for so many years and to plan for the future. If we stick to these principles and uphold these values into the future we will ensure our children and young people receive the very best education for many years to come.