The school year 2018/2019 has once again been an incredibly busy time for Dumfries High School. The school continues to ensure change and improvement underpins our practice as we work towards ensuring our learners have the best possible experiences at all times.
During April and May, staff, pupils and parents/carers took part in an extensive consultation about improvement priorities for the year ahead. A huge thanks must go to all parents/carers who took the time to complete the survey and also to those who gave their time to be part of the parent/carer focus groups. Focus group discussions allowed themes from survey responses to be explored in more detail and it has enabled some clear priorities to be identified based on the feedback.
Dumfries Learning Town (DLT) would appear to have gathered momentum in recent times. As a category ‘C’ building, it would appear that we are now in a more favourable position to receive government funding as part of phase two of the project. It is hoped that a funding announcement, giving details of the money allocated for DLT Phase 2, will be made during summer 2020. During the recent summer break, Dumfries High School had significant painting work undertaken in some areas of the building to work towards creating a better learning environment for our young people. In addition, a variety of signs were designed and placed around the school.
In March 2020, I intend to evaluate the vision, values and aims of Dumfries High School to ensure they are relevant and meaningful for all stakeholders within our community and reflective of the local context that we work in. At this point, I will ask for your support once again to be part a focus group to undertake this important piece of work.
As always, it is with your help and support that we can work together to continue to both challenge and support our young people by focusing on change and improvement in all areas of the school experience.
An evaluation of the school improvement priorities for session 2018/2019 is as follows:
Learning and Teaching
The culture of sharing practice to improve standards of learning and teaching across the school continued with all teaching staff attending two sessions to learn good practice from each other. This was hugely successful and enabled staff to implement practice from other parts of the school into their own classrooms. Principal Teachers of faculties visited other schools across the country to also identify elements of learning and teaching that would benefit our own learners at DHS. Teaching staff from Dumfries High School have worked closely with primary colleagues from across the DHS cluster to develop a shared understanding of what assessment evidence is and how it can support young people in their learning journey.
During the last academic year, staff at Dumfries High School had an increased focus on improving standards and behaviour in and around the school. During assemblies, pupils have been reminded and encouraged to demonstrate and display the school values of ‘Ambition’ and ‘Respect’ at all times; during interactions with other pupils, staff and members of the wider community. A revised Behaviour and Positive Relationships Policy has been devised which all staff are utilising to help create and maintain effective relationships with our young people to enhance the learning experiences. Plans are in place for additional training to be delivered to staff during the January 2020 in-service days to help positive relationships across the school community.
Self-Evaluation for Improvement
Moderation activities in relation to Numeracy and Literacy have taken place within the last year. Primary colleagues from across the DHS cluster have been involved as we work together to share assessment standards to give our learners the best possible experiences. Staff at Dumfries High School carried out good practice visits to enable them to look at good things happening in other schools that we could then adapt and implement in a way that will benefit our own young people. Focus groups have been held with our learners to help identify improvements that we feel could also be made.
School Improvement priorities for the year ahead 2019/2020 are as follows:
Learning and Teaching
Learning and Teaching will remain a focus for all staff at Dumfries High School this year. It is important the standards of learning and teaching are the best they can be to engage and enthuse our learners. DHS will once again visit and learn from other schools across the country. Sharing good practice sessions within the school will also take place to ensure that the good things happening within our own school can be replicated in classrooms across the wider school; this will also help to ensure a more consistent approach in this area. Course planning will also be a focus for staff. Staff working groups addressing areas such as questioning, differentiation, next steps in learning, numeracy and literacy will also run to help drive forward change and improvement.
Tracking pupil progress and achievement in all classes across all year groups is an important focus for Dumfries High School this year. Parent/carer feedback was clear that notifying parent/carers about progress in a subject needs to improve. This will also help the school to work towards raising attainment for all learners. It is our priority this year to implement a tracking system that monitors pupil progress in all areas of the curriculum to ensure interventions and measures are put in place as required to improve performance.
Improvement in Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing
Dumfries High School are proud of the fact we gained the LGBT Bronze Charter mark. We will now work towards securing the silver award. Continuing to ensure all pupils who leave DHS go to positive destinations will remain a focus as will our anti-bullying measures and mental health supports