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Weekly Bulletin Spring 2nd Half Term

22nd March 2024

Pop-up shop for Pink Ribbon Charity: What a huge success this has been. Products made by Year 11 pupils have been selling fast, and there was also "Beat Mr Coppard" in a penalty shootout, with the chance to win a signed Exeter City football kindly donated by Exeter City. The pop-up shop is set to continue and there is a list of pupils looking to compete with Mr Coppard next week but thanks to Deb, Dean and all of your support, the total raised so far is over £400! Congratulations everyone.


Exeter Emeralds: Another big success last week was the visit by the Exeter Emeralds. They showed our cheerleaders a wonderful routine before teaching them a new one and performing it together. They made sure that every member of the team got a chance to be part of a pyramid, with many of the pupils doing things they didn’t think they could do. The smiles on the faces of our cheerleaders throughout the visit were extraordinary and the Exeter Emeralds have invited our crew to perform with them in the near future. Thank you Zoe for organising this.


Year 11 Exeter transition and year 10 Petroc trip:  There have been a number of visits to colleges recently and this forms part of the transition programme organised by Ms Ewart. It is wonderful to hear year 10 and 11 pupils talking positively about their visits, and being able to make informed choices about their next stage of education based on these first-hand experiences.


Year 10 Jubilee Challenge practice walk: The second of the practice walks, this time with year 10, took place on Friday. It was a very successful day. The pupils pushed themselves and are now looking forward to the event more than ever, and they were brilliantly supported and encouraged by our dedicated staff.


Year 8 Bus trips: Year 8 went out on the public bus last week as part of their PSHE and Life Skills sessions, and they really outshone themselves. They were a credit to the school with some members of the public making some lovely comments about how well behaved they were. It is wonderful to hear such positive things about year 8 and to know that they are developing the skills needed to be safe and independent in the community.


FGB: The Governing Board met last week, and had the chance to review all of the wonderful work staff have done to develop the school further. The progress made to improve the educational experiences of our pupils has been both speedy and considerable. The meeting was also the last one for Laurie Fentimen, whose term is ending this month.

Laurie Fentimen has been with the Governing Board of Southbrook school for 8 years. He has seen 3 Headteachers and the coming and going of many students and staff; before, during and after covid. He was part of the school for one Ofsted inspection and has been a valuable contributor to the School Council. He will be missed on the Governing Board but we want to thank him for his extensive contributions over the years and wish him the very best for his ongoing retirement.

15th March 2024

Olly Jenkins year 10 meetings: The meetings with Olly from CSW went very well last week and are set to continue. This has become an important way to support transition and Olly will go on to support our parents/ carers through the transition process, Next week, Olly will meet with the remaining year 10 pupils, and will be in school every day except Wednesday.


PP outdoor Ed: We were fortunate last week to receive the 12 pairs of boots ordered from the 'Moor Boots' fund. This fund is designed to increase the number of young people able to access Dartmoor by giving equipment to help them do so. The boots will be used by lots of pupils through Outdoor Education. 


DT lessons: In Design Technology lessons, the pupils year 7 have been very keen to try a range of new materials and equipment.  It is great to watch them using tools such as the electric sander, pillar drill or hand-tools, and learning how to do this safely will allow them to be more independent in the future.


Practical maths 7NCW: Across the maths department, there has been an emphasis on making maths engaging, practical and fun. The result has been highly engaged pupils, who were keen to share their achievements, a lot of key vocabulary being used by the pupils and a lot of progress being made.


Outdoor Ed LG: Sausage Sizzle and Shelter Building. LG had a brilliant time at Halden Forest, working in teams to build shelters and building fires to make hot dogs and hot chocolate! It is always wonderful to see a group work together and support each other, developing social skills in the great outdoors.


PCSO visit: As part of a focused intervention for a small number of pupils, the PCSO held 1:1 meetings, supported by a member of the pastoral team, in order to teach individuals about the real-life consequences of particular actions. While there, he was also able to discuss the positive steps each pupil is taking to avoid negative outcomes and the progress they are making. The pupils involved took these sessions seriously but also left the sessions with some clarity and positivity. 


Morning procedures for getting off of the taxis: If you drop your child off, you will have noticed that we have altered the procedures at the start of the day to ensure pupils are well supervised and safe between leaving the taxi and entering the school. While this may initially take longer, it will get quicker as it becomes more familiar. Thank you for your patience while this process is embedded.



8th March 2024

World Book Day: Wow! What a brilliant day we had on Thursday. The pupils had a wonderful day wearing a huge variety of costumes and enjoying the amazing activities prepared for him by our wonderful staff. The pupils loved the green screen for photographs, and staff dressing up as well added to the overall feel of the day. They also loved the activities, such as the individual fortune cookies, the art competition, a reading corner and all of the other things that linked so closely to Manga. It was an excellent way to promote reading as a social activity, and to give the children a day they will remember for a long time. I am very grateful to Zoe and Joe for all of their effort, and for everyone who contributed towards such a successful day. Thank you!


National Careers week- Last week was National Careers week, and it kicked off with an assembly, a video of interviews with staff about what they wanted to be when they were younger, and a quiz. It was great to hear all of the conversations that followed the careers assembly video and the quiz. The work completed as part of Careers week will lead nicely into the meetings that year 10 will have with Olly Jenkins from CSW, starting next week. 


Mosque Trip- The pupils always find this trip interesting and thought-provoking, and it is always great to see that when out in the community, our pupils show respect to others. 8HV were no exception last week when they visited the Mosque, and I have every confidence that 8WK will represent the school equally well. Thank you to the humanities team for organising such a valuable trip.


Jubilee Challenge Practice walk: Year 11s began their Jubilee Challenge preparation on Friday, walking over 5 miles and getting used to being out on Dartmoor again. Building up their stamina will be important to ensuring their success during the Jubilee Challenge and they have made a very positive start. The Year 10 group will be out of school on Friday 22nd March for their first training walk. 


Alison Andrews: We have been lucky to have had Alison from the Devon Library Service come and support us to restructure our reading resources and help us to make the necessary changes that will allow us to implement Accelerated Reader. This is a big milestone in our improvement of reading and it will not be long before we begin to see the impact of this change.


Mother’s day catering: The pupils made some beautifully packaged popcorn bars and wrote a personal message on each for a special person. The range of people they chose to honour included mums, nans, carers, teachers and members of the pastoral team, to name a few.


Employability: The employability group in year 11 continue to make preparations to raise money for their chosen cancer charity. They are showing great commitment to this. There is now 1 week until bracelets and brooches go on sale. Good luck to them!


Bobbie’s (Pets as Therapy dog) success: Bobbie’s visits on Fridays have been a huge success. The pupils look forward to these visits and Bobbie has very quickly become a valued member of staff on a Friday!


Recruitment: We have been busily recruiting for a number of posts to provide our pupils with the stability we know they need. While full details will be shared as soon as possible, I would like to share that Anna Wade has taken up the post of Safeguarding Manager, and will work alongside Mr Winward (DSL) and Mr Rose to ensure that our pupils are safeguarded. If you have any concerns relating to a safeguarding issue, please do not hesitate to phone the school and ask for these people, or email dsl@southbrook.devon.sch.uk if it is less urgent.

1st March 2024

Smile Therapy: The pupils always have a great time when they are offsite, but the SMILE therapy sessions go a long way to developing social communication in every-day situations. The pupils are always keen to go, and approach this very positively. They have particularly enjoyed the responsibility of shopping for staff as this gives a clear success criteria for them to meet and allows us to see their independence growing as well as extra motivation and purpose.


Horticulture signage: It was lovely to hear that the allotment contains some new signage. Using a range of tools and techniques, the pupils have made some very professional looking signs that will ensure the allotment remains well organised. 


We’ve embraced Thrive: As you may know, we have celebrated the significant amount of work that went into the training key staff have completed to prepare for Thrive, and the work that goes on behind the scenes to trail the assessment tools, prepare the roll-out plan and prepare for training all staff after Easter. So it is great to see that we have now been given the ‘We’ve embraced Thrive’ badge, which will be making an appearance on our website and letterheads.


SENtient peer review: Southbrook takes part in peer reviews each term to support other schools in the SENtient trust, and to receive support ourselves.  We had the pleasure to go to Lampard School last week. While there we looked at the use of technology and deployment of TAs, as well as their staffing and cover arrangements, timetables and class structure, transition arrangements and vocational education. It was a very positive day, and all parties left with lots of new ideas advice from knowledgeable colleagues.


Outdoor Ed grant funding:  Last week we mentioned some grant funding for Outdoor Education.  With some creative shopping we have managed to buy an additional 12 pairs of walking of boots, some more socks and an insulated 'rescue coat' from the £570 award.


Science lessons: It is always nice to pop in to lessons and last week it was a pleasure to see some wonderful science lessons, where pupils were learning about the human body and bones in particular. The pupils were engaged and had a mixture of written work and practical exploration of models, and were able to tell me some very interesting facts about the bones of the human body.


AIO D Corby: With a national focus on attendance, and this being an area of safeguarding, it was great to meet with our Attendance Improvement Officer (AIO) last week. She reviewed our processes as well as overall trends, looking at improving as well as severe and persistent absences, individual cases to ensure we are consistent and fair in our application of the attendance processes.


National Careers Week: Next week is National Careers Week, so the week will be full of interesting activities exploring potential careers, all starting with a KS4 assembly.


Bicton College- We have now joined the stakeholder panel at Bicton College and during the first meeting Mr Winward spent some time understanding the courses they offer and reviewing their upcoming plans to make the provisions easier for parents and pupils to understand, and more accessible to SEND learners. They were extremely grateful for our feedback and input into their plans. The great part is that alongside our work with Exeter College and some others, we are building a really clear picture of what our provision needs to look like into order to ensure a smooth route of progression for our pupils. Ultimately, the connections that we make with colleges will ensure our pupils are successful in the future, which is very exciting.


23rd February 2024

Bicton College- Year 10 and 11 are thinking about what life looks like beyond Southbrook, and the number of visits to various colleges means that they will be able to make some informed choices as their time at school comes to an end. Due to this, the transition that Southbrook offers is stronger than it has been previously, with our pupils having a long time to consider their options and we now have very positive relationships with some of the colleges. In addition to this, we have joined Bicton College’s stakeholder group to ensure it meets the needs of our pupils as one of their biggest feeder schools. On Tuesday, Year 10 and some of year 11 had a wonderful day engaging in some of the things that Bicton had to offer. Our pupils were able to go to the working farm and meet some adorable calves, take part in some woodwork, see the tractors, take part in horticulture activities and do some dog training. It was a very full and positive day.

Catering- Many of the pupils enjoyed making their chicken noodle soup last week. It is always nice to hear about pupils whose first reaction is that they don’t like something, but with support, are able to try it and discover that they do like it after all. Trying new things and developing independence are skills that will stand them in good stead for the future.

Employability- Year 11 have been working on their latest enterprise project in order to promote group work as part of their WJEC unit. They have decided to raise money for Pink Ribbons cancer charity, chosen by year 11 pupils. They are currently working on letters to communicate about the project. Bracelets and ribbons are in production to sell. 

PP Outdoor Ed-  The group showed great resilience to combat hail and ferocious winds whilst out on Dartmoor this week. They also visited the Dartmoor prison Museum, listening well and learning about life on the Moor.

Donation- Anna Bruen has stepped in to support JP class and the work she has done in only one week has meant that there is a calm ad purposeful atmosphere with some very happy pupils. As well as this, Anna has reached out to Devon and Dorset Veteran Coffee Morning club. They have made a donation of £100 to forest school, which the school will match, as well as some army equipment and clothing. Thank you Anna and the Veterans club for supporting our forest school.  

Ten Tors Grant funding: I was really pleased to hear this week that we have successfully applied for a grant to buy our pupils kit to use in the Jubilee Challenge in April. The school has been awarded £570 to use to purchase more walking boots and some additional equipment that the pupils will use for their camp and subsequent walks at the Ten Tors event. Training walks for the year 10 and year 11 groups will start after next week.

New Governor and new Clerk to Governors: It is a great pleasure to welcome some new members to our Governance team. We have now been joined by Richard Betts, who comes with a wealth of experience. We have also been joined by Jacqueline Brooks in the role of Clerk to Governors. Jacqueline has been working in school last week, and is currently sharing a workspace with Matt Day.