03 Jul 2020

Senior High Notes 3rd July

Senior High Notes 3rd July

Dream, Believe, Achieve - my message to our new Year 7 students joining the Senior School in September, when we experienced our first ever online induction session last week. But of course, this is a pertinent message for each and every one of our students across all age groups.

“The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.” — Michelle Obama.

Looking back on this incredibly unusual summer term, we have all had to reassess how we operate to achieve our goals, and sometimes even reassess our goals, especially in the short term. But it hasn’t stopped any of us from dreaming big, believing in ourselves and achieving success. And the outstanding work has kept rolling in from the very first day of lockdown and the closure of our buildings. We have featured lots of fantastic examples on our website, Twitter and Facebook pages and we have today sent out letters of congratulations in recognition of exceptional work during this term.

To those leaving Derby High at the end of this term, we wish you the very best and always remember “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” (Eleanor Roosevelt). We are always here for you and look forward to hearing all about your future successes.

Following two years’ service as Chair, Mr Glenn Jones has stepped down from the Board of Governors at Derby High School. We wish to thank him for his support of the school.

I am delighted to announce that Mrs Jane Bullivant will step up to the role of Chair of Governors. Mrs Bullivant is a parent of two alumni and a long-standing governor and I am very much looking forward to working with her.

What, then, of the future? What can parents expect of our school as we move through this period of time and the return to school commences in September? I would suggest that things may well be a bit different, building on the positive experiences of this past term. First, there will be a renewed energy and pleasure in collaborative activities which can only happen when children are working and playing in the same place as others – activities such as sport, collaborative teamwork and projects. Secondly, there will be a renewed focus on the value of technology and blended learning; learning which combines the presence of the teacher with access to a wide range of resources from across the globe.

Our intention is to open as normal in September. So much may change before we return and we will need to adapt our plans accordingly, in line with government, medical and sector advice. I would like to assure you that work has already begun at senior leadership level to identify a timetable and requirements for a full and safe return for the whole school. I will communicate again in August to ensure you are fully appraised of our plans.

I am confident that the future will be bright, as we end this term on a high, with much thanks to our innovative and dedicated teachers. The independent school sector has repeatedly demonstrated its resilience over the years and undoubtedly will do again through this current crisis. By supporting one another in our school community, with time and patience, I am confident we will get through this together, even stronger than before, and continue to achieve further success in the future.

Best Wishes,


Farewell to Mrs Bussey

At the end of this term we say farewell to Mrs Bussey. Mrs Bussey has given 24 incredible years of service to Derby High. Mrs Bussey has been ceaseless in her creativity and desire to motivate students. Her incredible energy and good humour could not help but rub off on those around her and she created a haven for students in the library.

Here are just a few of the highlights from an incredible career:

  • In the 1990s she set up the first Library Resource Centre.
  • Finalist in Librarian of the Year 2005.
  • Designed, created and co-ordinated costumes for every DHS production; then washed costumes for each new show
  • Ran Current Affairs Club
  • Ran Knit and Natter Club
  • Organised the ARTiculation competition and set up art discovery days at Chatsworth
  • Helped to run the Reading Buddies scheme
  • Helped to run House Debating
  • Assisted with Duke of Edinburgh expeditions
  • Hosted author visits
  • Was a member of the staff choir
  • Hosted a midnight Harry Potter book release and reading session
  • Co-ordinated EPQ and established links with Derby University
  • Curated DHS archives and co-ordinated alumni events
  • Organised the kindergarten book reading afternoon

Sports Day 2020

Thank you to all the pupils, staff and parents for getting involved in our first ever virtual sports day! To watch the video with the all results please click here. 


Live Violin and Viola Concert

Yesterday evening Mrs Benson organised a virtual live concert for her violin and viola students.  It was a real treat watching their performances and it was fantastic to see the progress they have made over the last term.  Well done and congratulations to Aashi, Lydia, Charlotte, Eleanor, Emma, Esther, Hannah, Khadija, Laaibah, Leo, Rowan, Sofia, Tabitha, Isla and Imaan.

End of Year Service

Click here to watch our End of Year Service. With thanks to Chaplain Jo, Mrs Chapman and Head Girl, Hannah.


Online webinar with voice actor Marc Silk

Activity week or not, we were determined not to miss out on getting to hear about the wonderful journey and career of voice actor Marc Silk, famous for shows such as Go Jetters, Thunderbirds are Go as well as voicing characters in blockbusters The Chicken Run and Star Wars episode 1. So we were delighted when an audience of around 20 students (and a couple of star-struck teachers!) got to take part in a Teams chat with the man himself yesterday. Marc gave us some interesting insights into the life of a voice actor; where he came from, how he got there, as well as tips for how to make it yourself in an exciting creative industry such as his!

Along the way, we were treated to many off-the-cuff impromptu renditions of voices he has made his own, and the session culminated in a workshop to learn how to talk like Scooby Doo. He was only too happy to answer the numerous insightful questions from our assembled audience and, unsurprisingly, we ran out of time as our hour and a half was up before we’d even seemed to get going.

We really hope we can see him in school next year, as originally planned, so that a lot more at Derby High School can join in! For more information see http://www.marcsilk.com/


Webinar Q&A with Amanda Solloway MP

This afternoon we hosted a really interesting first meeting with our MP, Amanda Solloway.  Twelve students, Mr. Lee and Mr. Gallagher took part and the superb level of questions from participants on topics such as the unemployment, housing and homelessness, refugees and immigration, mental health, the environment, diversity, LGBTQ issues, Black Lives Matter, International Aid, swimming and (mercifully some might say!) not a word about Coronavirus!  All in about 40 minutes!

We are very grateful to Amanda and her team for helping us to make this webinar happen.  We’re really looking forward to the next meeting.


The Cup Song Challenge

It was wonderful to see so many students, staff and pets get involved in the cup challenge over the summer term. To watch the video click here.


Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a very popular and successful A level qualification at Derby High School and, in contrast to the national picture, a high number of our students take the “Artefact” option where they research and create something – for example some artwork, creative writing, a playable video game, items of clothing, performing arts piece or an actual event.  In recognition of this, our EPQ coordinator Mr Lee has been invited to take part in a webinar next week hosted by the Universities of Leeds and Southampton where he will be talking about some of our many success stories with EPQ “Artefacts” and taking questions from other teaching colleagues nationally and internationally.

Where Will You Get Caught Reading?

One of the joys of reading a book is that you can take it anywhere with you ... absolutely anywhere!  Why, just this very morning Mrs Smith 'got caught reading' in her chimney! The desire to turn the next page of Agatha Christie was simply overwhelming, so here you have it, Mrs Smith’s "Get Caught Reading!" photograph and Mrs Steer who would rather read than dust! 


Students, parents, and staff, please send Mrs Smith or Mrs Bellman photographs of the unusual places that you 'get caught reading' this summer - we'd love to see them!

National Book Tokens

We'd love your support to help us win £5,000 of National Book Tokens for our school's library. Derby High School students love to read! Studies show that reading for pleasure doesn't just give children an advantage academically; it can improve their wellbeing, too.

Please click here and nominate our school. The more nominations the more chance of us winning! Thank you for your support.

Safeguarding Corner

Originally published in April, the Government have published a new update to, "Advice and guidance to help parents and carers to keep children safe online during the coronavirus outbreak.” It has some useful guidance and resources in it. To see the update click here