12 Feb 2021

Senior High Notes 12th February 2021

Senior High Notes 12th February 2021

In my live Senior School assembly today I linked Tom Brady, Frank Rothwell, Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness and Gerald the Giraffe. Frank Rothwell and Tom Brady made the news over the weekend. Tom Brady because at the age 43 years and 188 days, he became the oldest player to play in the biggest game in US sport, extending his record for Super Bowl appearances to 10. Many people in the media and sporting world were doubting him, could he do it again, especially at his age. Brady’s coach says his success comes down to three distinct advantages: his work ethic, his ability to think strategically, and his ability to narrow his focus on the moment at hand. Last Saturday Frank Rothwell became the oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo across the Atlantic in the Atlantic Challenge. Setting off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on the 12th December and arriving in Antigua six long weeks later. He was competing against much younger crews. When he arrived at the finish to be greeted by his wife, he said “It took six long weeks to row the Atlantic, but the challenge itself has taken over 18 months of training and preparation”.

Gerald is the main character in a lovely book called ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’. Gerald, a giraffe, is tall and awkward. He is best at eating leaves from tall trees. But he would really like to dance like the other jungle animals. When he attempts to join the dancing at the Jungle Dance, the other animals make fun of him and Gerald feels useless. A cricket comes along and encourages Gerald to try to dance by listening to a different song. Once Gerald finds his song, everyone realises he can dance really well.

In The Pursuit of Happyness, there is a wonderful scene where Will Smith’s character is talking to his son about his dream to play basketball. At first Will Smith says that because he isn’t very good at basketball his son won’t be either. He quickly realises that with his words, he is crushing his son’s dreams. Will Smith tells his son, “If you want something go get it, period”.

So what brings these 3 people and a giraffe together? If you have a dream, you want to achieve something you need to work hard, put in the time and effort, find ‘your song’ and (in the words of Will Smith) “Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do something”.

As we come to the end of the half term, we have had an incredibly positive six weeks of learning. I firstly want to thank our wonderful students, yet again they have adapted to new ways of working, forged ahead in their learning and been so positive in their outlook despite the lockdown.

Secondly I wish to thank all Derby High parents. Your ongoing support and positive messages, in addition to supporting your children at home have been so important in helping us continue to successfully educate your children.

Finally I want to send a heartfelt thanks to our teachers and support staff. Taking learning online, with little notice, in such a successful way has been incredible. There have been many different activities, interactions and opportunities on offer to our students. Students have been able to interact with each other both socially, in form time, and in group activities and discussions in lessons. And although there is no substitute for in-school learning, through using MS Teams and mirroring the school day by following the timetable, enables our students to continue to make excellent academic progress alongside accessing other important parts of the school week such as clubs, activities and assemblies.

I am sure you will agree that the information in the media about what might or might not happen in education in the coming months is incredibly unhelpful for both parents and children. We await news from the Prime Minister on the 22nd February regarding the potential phased reopening of schools in March. As soon as we have our plans in place we will let you know via HighPost as usual.

Half term is a much needed opportunity for our students to rest, relax, and step away from their screens. I look forward to seeing everyone back online refreshed and ready to go on Monday 22nd February.

Tortilla de Patata Challenge!

Beat the Teacher

This week we launched Beat the Teacher and Mr Dodson started us off by setting a reaction challenge score of 419. Well done to all the students who took part and sent it their scores. Congratulations to Gabby, Daisy, Miss Martinez, Julia, Sowmya and Isabel for making the leaderboard.

Beat the Teacher Half-term Challenge #2 – Quickest 1km

Can you beat Miss Stirland’s 1km time of 4 minutes 22 seconds? Send in your fitness data to challenge her time, you have until the end of the day on Monday 22nd February.  

DHS Running Corner

Happy Friday and happy half term everyone! Today's running suggestion is the 1km challenge. The idea is to run 1km as fast as you can. This is a great indicator as to where you are with your running fitness. Its quick and easy to do and if you record your result you can redo the test at any time, maybe after 6 weeks to see if you have improved. 1km efforts are also really useful if you are looking to increase your 5km pace to get a quicker time. Run 5 x 1km at max. effort with at least 5 mins rest between each effort to allow full recovery.  Director of Sport, Miss Stirland’s 1km time was 4 minutes 22 seconds, students and parents can submit their times to beat the teacher!

Outstanding Work This Term

We continue to celebrate outstanding work by our students across the curriculum, in extra-curricular and super-curricular activities. Our snapshot of the fantastic work is updated regularly and available on our website for parents and students to view at https://www.derbyhigh.derby.sch.uk/gallery/index/126



This week we have had our first TASS session of the academic year delivered virtually. The start of this year’s course had to be delayed because of COVID, however we have now organised and sorted out a different method of virtual delivery and are raring to go!

House Music

Thank you to all students who have already sent in your videos.  Fantastic work and well done for supporting your house! 

We would love to have more entries.  Half term next week might be the ideal time to make a video.  If you are planning to enter but would prefer not to have your video shared on the school website, please let Mrs Lesley know your preference.  We would love to share your amazing performances, but only with your permission.  If you prefer, you can show support for your house by wearing house colours as an alternative to uniform.   If you need help with any aspect of entering or creating your video, please get in touch with Mrs Lesley or your house captains or our music prefect, Fiona.   We are looking forward to enjoying your performances! 

DHS Geography Challenge

The final DHS Geography Challenge of the half term saw an intense level of competition, with 97 participants in total, the most so far this year. Well done to all who took part. A big congratulations to the top three players who were:

  1. Alice C (L5)
  2. Lyebah (U6)
  3. Mr Ince

Look out for the next challenge after half term!

Flute Lessons

Today we say goodbye to our flute teacher, Mrs Hughes.  Under her expert guidance, our flautists have continued to flourish.  We are very grateful to her for the support and guidance she has offered our young musicians and for her contributions to the department. We wish Mrs Hughes well for the future.

We are delighted to welcome Miss Aleksa as our new flute teacher after half term.  She is thrilled to be teaching at Derby High and is very keen to meet the students.  

Safeguarding Corner

Online Critical Thinking Guide (From Online Safety Weekly update)

Internet Matters have put together a very useful, comprehensive guide for children to assist with critical thinking on a range of topics, such as fake news, making personal information, managing relationships and much more. There is advice and guidance for children and young people, as well as activities that parents can do with their children.

Click HERE for the guide.

Calling all Snapchat users!

 Snapchat's new 25 page, fully localized, Parent Guide is available through their Safety Center and Support Site

Young Minds
Young Minds have created a useful 'Supporting Parents Helpfinder'. By answering six questions, parents can find out how to support their child's mental health during the pandemic (and beyond).

Find the help finder here: https://youngminds.org.uk/supporting-parents-helpfinder/

They have also created a useful poster highlighting ways to give support to children when they have angry feelings or outbursts and may help families start a conversation and talk about each other’s feelings.

Download the poster here: