It is an absolute privilege to be writing to you as the Acting Principal of our tremendous school. What a fantastic week we have had! It has been wonderful welcoming staff and pupils back to school. We started our Staff INSET Days with a blessing for our whole school community, including staff, pupils and parents, for the upcoming year and gave thanks for colleagues who left our school at the end of last term, moving onto new adventures. We also welcomed new staff to our DHS family.
We would like to introduce you to Ms Mason who has joined the History Department; Mrs Crinson who joined the Music Department; Miss Collinson who joined the Physics and Maths Departments; Ms Sweeny joined the SEND Department and Miss Hardy is our new Artist in Residence. Mr Wall has joined the Facilities Team and Ms Waite has joined the Finance Department. We are sure they will soon settle in and feel at home.
On Wednesday we welcomed our Year 7 and Year 12 pupils for their Induction Days. There were some nerves at the start of the day but by the end of the day, there were smiles all round. I had a great time joining in with some of the activities throughout the day, especially working with the Lower Sixth and their leaky pipes. The cold water was a welcome relief from the lovely sunshine.
We welcomed the rest of our school community back on Thursday morning and it was wonderful to see the children rejoicing and catching up with their friends after the holidays. I had the pleasure of leading the Senior Department Assembly, focussing on ‘Opportunities and the importance of failure as part of the learning process’. I felt very humbled when the pupils spontaneously clapped following my Zip Wire video, where I “felt the fear and did it anyway!”.
I look forward to getting to know you all in my role as Acting Principal over the coming weeks and months.
We would like to again congratulate all of our A Level students on their successes this year. 71% of pupils achieved grades A*-B, which is higher than 2019 and the 2023 national average of 52.7%. A third of all grades were A*-A, which is higher than both the North East average of 22% and the national average of 26.5%.
Pupils also secured GCSE results of the highest level, with a third of all grades at level 8 and 9. We are thrilled that the proportion of top grades (9-7) was 59%, which is higher than comparable pre-pandemic levels (2019 – 50%).
I am so proud of these results, which highlight the resilience and tremendous determination of all our pupils. My sincere thanks and congratulations to pupils, parents and staff for this success.
A reminder that Speech Day will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 14 September. We are excited that the ceremony will be held at the purpose-built Glow Venue, Long Tens Way, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6AP. This year, pupils will remain on-site after school and be transported to the venue by coach. You should make arrangements for your child to be collected from the venue at 8:15pm. Pupils should be dressed smartly and in uniform that includes school blazer and tie.
For those parents of pupils in Year 7 – Year 13 that have requested tickets to attend, these will be sent home via your daughter early next week. If you would like to attend, but have not yet responded, you can do so by clicking here and completing the form before Monday morning.
Thank you for sharing with us all the wonderful things that girls have been getting up to over the Summer.
- Linnea in Year 10 took part in a two-week Nike football camp at Charterhouse School with Chelsea FC. And she came back with plenty of new drills to practice.
- Anae in Year 4 took part in a dance competition. She did very well, a chieving 1st place in Acro, 1st place in Tap Troup and 2nd place for her Jazz. Well done, Anae!
- Mae in Year 11 took part in Galashiels “Maroon’d” Rugby Festival. Her team, Houghton le Spring, took on the best of the Scottish teams at U16 level, including the reigning Scottish National Cup winners and won.
- Phoebe in Year 8 raced in the Snow Sport England “All England Championship” in Norwich this summer. She took part in the solo races where she finished a tremendous 7th in the U14 category, which is a great result for her first, full season racing.
Pre-Prep and Prep Information Evenings
We are very much looking forward to welcoming Pre-Prep and Prep parents into school next week for their Information Evenings. The Prep Information Evening (Year 3-6) will be on Tuesday 12 September and the Pre-Prep Evening (Nursery – Year 2) is on Wednesday 13 September. We will start in Junior Hall with drinks from 6pm.
Class Teachers will then take individual year groups to their teaching rooms for discussion about the year ahead and how you can support your child in her learning.
During this year, we have three Whole School Open Mornings. Two of the Open Mornings take place this term, on Saturday 30 September and Saturday 18 November, both 10.00am – 12.30pm. The final Open Morning is Saturday 8 June 2024. Open Mornings are, above all, opportunities for prospective parents to look around the school, however, existing parents are always welcome.
As you can imagine, our school would not be the vibrant, dynamic environment without our wonderful pupils. All pupils in Year 7-11 are expected to attend the first Open Morning on Saturday 30 September 2023. Pupils in Year 7-10 are then expected to attend one of the other Open Mornings, in either November or June. The Sixth Form Senior Team also play a very important role in our Open Mornings. If your daughter is part of the Sixth Form Senior Team, they are expected to attend at least two of the Open Mornings.