Principal’s Update – 18th November 2022

Dear Families,

I hope this update finds you all in the best of health. We have had a typically busy week at the academy this week with a number of celebratory highlights. There was a lot of attention and debate around the cricket world cup at the start of the week with students attention now turning towards the football world cup which starts this weekend. We have had a number of visitors to the school and have seen the return of our rewards assemblies and lunches for the first time since the pandemic. I have more detail for you below.

Dear Families,

I hope this update finds you all in the best of health. We have had a typically busy week at the academy this week with a number of celebratory highlights. There was a lot of attention and debate around the cricket world cup at the start of the week with students attention now turning towards the football world cup which starts this weekend. We have had a number of visitors to the school and have seen the return of our rewards assemblies and lunches for the first time since the pandemic. I have more detail for you below.

Department for Education and Visitors

Our week started with a visit from the Department for Education on Monday morning. On the back of a strong ofsted report last summer and another excellent set of examination results they were keen to come and see our school in action alongside another secondary school in our Academy Trust. Of course, they saw what I get to see every day – great relationships, a unique community, focussed young people and a highly effective academy. They described what they saw as ‘really impressive’ and said it was ‘clear how proud our students are to be part of the school and how much they value the additional support that our staff team provide.’ I followed this up with a second meeting on Wednesday where I spoke with the Permanent Secretary for Education and other colleagues from the DfE about the past, present and future for Derby Moor and the Spencer Academies Trust. It was reassuring in these uncertain times to hear that colleagues working in local and national government share the same values and aspirations that we have for our young people.

Alongside this we have hosted around 30 Trainee Teachers on Monday and Tuesday. They spent a couple of days with us to see a contrasting school to their current placement and to experience the vibrance and energy of our diverse and inclusive community. Add onto this our visit from JCB, our virtual mock interviews and an impromptu visit from some of our local councillors and you can see that it has been an unusually active week for visits.

Year 13 Mock Examinations

Our first round of mock examinations for Year 13 begin on Thursday 8th December and will run until Friday 16th December. These examinations form a vital part of our preparation for students ahead of the summer series as they help us to identify areas for development and target specific intervention matched to student need. If you have a child in Year 13, please do ask them how their revision is going in the fortnight running up to the exams.

Principal’s and Vice Principal’s Rewards

It has been a joy to bring the Principal’s and Vice-Principal’s award back following the pandemic. These awards are recognition of those students who achieve the best Attitude to Learning score on their recent data point and form another layer of our rewards programme. Students have received a star pin badge, a letter home and enjoyed lunch with myself or cake at break with Ms Wiltshire and Mrs Bhundia. Their names will also be displayed on our wall of fame in the canteen this term.

PISA 2022 Assessments

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is an international study that takes place every 3 years in over 80 countries, including England.  The study gathers information on the mathematics, reading and science skills of 15-16 year olds and takes the form of two, 1 hour computer based assessments.  Students also complete a questionnaire. 40 of our Year 11 students have been selected to take part in PISA 2022 Assessments this time with the tests taking place on Wednesday 23rd November.  Those involved have been briefed by Mr Wragg and have letters about the study for families to read.  Once they have completed the study the students will receive a certificate from the Department for Education as a thank-you for taking part.

SEND Family Support Session

To offer support to our families who have a child with a Social Communication need and/or Autism within Derby Moor, Mrs Steans and Louise Bieluch, from the Derby City Social Communication and Autism Team (STePS), are running a drop in session on Wednesday the 30th of November allowing an opportunity for parents to meet with them and discuss any concerns they have. STePS are a team of experienced teachers and education practitioners with a specialism in this area whose role is to support children and young people in mainstream schools.  A child or young person does not need to have a diagnosis of ASD to access this support.

The session will start at 9.45 with refreshments till 10am. In this time families can chat freely to Mrs Steans, Louise and other parents. From 10am till 10.40am Mrs Steans and Louise will present the focus of the support sessions, explain what service the STePS team provide and discuss wider support available in Derby City. There will be time within this to ask questions and we encourage participation from families. This drop in session is available to all families whose child has an ASD diagnosis, is waiting on a diagnosis or for those who may suspect that their child has ASD and would like to know how to support their child or navigate a potential diagnosis. If you are interested in attending this drop in session please email Mrs Steans

Year 8 Homework Club

To support with building routines and resilience around the completion of homework in Year 8, Miss Hill will be running a homework club on a Monday after school (3:05 – 4:00pm) in Sp9a and on a Wednesday lunchtime (1:20 – 2:00pm) in Sp9a. All students in year 8 are welcome to attend after school. For those attending on a Wednesday lunchtime, they will need to collect a pass from their form tutor to allow for them to move through the school building to the computer room.

Parking on Moorway Lane

A gentle reminder again that parking on Moorway Lane blocks the flow of traffic at the end of the school day, delays the exit for those in vehicles and creates an additional hazard for our students. In the morning, Moorway Lane is busy but the traffic flows into and out of the turning circle nicely with Moorway Lane clearing almost immediately after the school day starts. In the evening, the parking on Moorway blocks the whole system and prevents others from entering the turning circle and leaving. Our local councillors observed this with me this week and will be deploying officers to the lane periodically to support ourselves and other road users. Please be courteous to others by using the turning circle and avoiding parking on Moorway Lane.

Drama Trip

On Wednesday Year 10 and 11 GCSE Drama students went to the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham to see ‘Noughts and Crosses,’ a drama of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. This was a fantastic opportunity for students to see their set text brought to life, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the acting, directing and design choices of a professional theatre company. Our students relished this opportunity and were completely captivated throughout the whole performance, which was a real joy to see. As the curtain fell students had the chance to meet the cast and director and ask them questions. It was impressive to see our students ask probing questions about rehearsal techniques, stage fright and routes into the theatre profession. The drama team are extremely proud of our students’ engagement and enthusiasm, and are looking forward to taking what we have seen and learnt back into the classroom.

Geography Trip

The Geography A level students attended a Tectonics conference today in Nottingham designed to inspire students with contemporary research, critical evaluation of theories and up to date knowledge which they can apply to their examinations. The highlight of the day was listening to Dr Jessica Johnson who lectured on ‘When volcanoes turn bad: the story of cascading hazards at Kilauea Volcano’. Our students took away many valuable insights into Plate Tectonics and their impacts on humans, trade and economics. Additionally, students experienced what life would be like as a geography degree student. They spent the day in lectures, engaged with other geographers from around the country and built up a quality portfolio of research which can be transferred to their A level exams.

Sports Update

This Wednesday, the Y8 and Y9 girls footballs team played in their first set of fixtures for the season at Lees Brook. The girls played four matches across the event, with some great football and team work on display. In their opening game, Derby Moor were beaten 2-0 by a strong Woodlands team but they showed incredible resilience to break through and have a number of chances during the game with JLT and EG coming closest to scoring. In the second match of the afternoon, it was Derby Moor who were this time on the winning side of things, beating Derby Cathedral through a brilliant goal from EA. In the third game, it was the defenders who controlled the game with MSM and IW helping ZL to keep the second clean sheet of the afternoon as the score finished 0-0 against Littleover. The final match of the afternoon was 2-0 loss against a strong Murray Park team. Throughout the whole tournament, the girls showed great resilience and teamwork, with a lot of positives to build on for the next set of fixtures.

Careers Update

This week’s job of the week is an ‘Architect’.

On Thursday our Year 13 students met visitors from JCB to discuss their current level 4 and level 6 apprenticeship programmes and how to apply. The students had the opportunity to hear from four apprentices ranging from Engineering to Product Management. These are apprenticeships that will start next September where students will gain further qualifications whilst also working. Applications have now gone live and we would encourage students to apply as these positions are always in high demand. Please click on the link to see the range of apprenticeships on offer at JCB. Next Wednesday we will host JCB again, this time to talk about level 2 and level 3 apprenticeship, aimed at students in Year 11.

Year 13 virtual mock interviews: We had sixteen volunteers from a range of employers including Rolls Royce; Alstom; NHS; The Home Office; Lubrizol and Severn Trent to help with our mock interviews this week. The feedback from the employers was, as always, really positive with comments such as: ‘It was wonderful to be part of such a rewarding activity and your students were an absolute credit to the school’. This follows on from  the interviews we held for Year 12 in July and it was great to see how the students have grown increasingly confident about presenting themselves in interviews. Our value of Aspiration states that we want our students to be the best in their field – it is clear these young people are making great strides towards that.

Derby Moor Dispatch: Our Derby Moor Dispatch has gone out to all students in Year 11, 12 and 13 and will continue to go out every Monday. This contains a wide range of opportunities for work experience, summer schools, careers related webinars and so on. Please do have a look at the example attached in the email version of this update. The Dispatch is emailed to the students school email address so it is important that they check this regularly on a Monday.

Final thoughts

I have routinely said in these updates that there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ week at Derby Moor and this week is a further example of that. Hosting so many events, visitors, visits and activities that are beyond the classroom and the normal curriculum requires investment in time and resources from our staff teams, but we know that these additional experiences are vital in helping our young people achieve their goals. They help them to broaden their portfolio of experience, they help develop skills and attributes and they ultimately help our young people to secure interviews and then shine in whichever field they choose to pursue. That is our aspiration. Together We Succeed.


Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Scott Doyle