Welcome Back to a New School Year

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Welcome back to a new school year here at Dowdales. I hope that you’ve had a really good holiday and done all sorts of fun, happy things - and that you are all looking forward to the new school year as much as I am.

I would like to give a particularly warm welcome to our Year 7 students who have already immersed themselves fully in to life at Dowdales. Our strong focus on ‘Sport, Healthy and Active Living’ continues and there are more extra-curricular opportunities than ever. I would encourage all students, especially Year 7, to join the many clubs and activities which take place at lunchtime and after school as published in the programme emailed to all parents/carers and is also available here.

As an academic school, I am very proud of the success that we achieved in this year’s external examinations with Year 11 achieving results for everyone to be proud of yet again.

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The results reflect the hard work of our students and the outstanding teaching underlining our extremely high aspirations for every student at Dowdales. We feel very proud of each and every one of our 209 Year 11 students and hope that the new term, or next chapter of their life, has started well.

During the summer break two students attended a special event at Dalton Community Centre to meet with Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. The Duke - cousin of the Queen - came to the community centre to pay tribute to the townsfolk who had worked tirelessly to make it the thriving hub it is today.

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The students were amongst a host of distinguished local officials including both the mayor of Dalton, Councillor Ann Thurlow, the High Sherriff of Cumbria and Barrow Councillor Tony Callister. They were invited to the event in acknowledgement of the Local History Project they have been working on, to research the history of the Drill Hall with the aim of creating a permanent display. The Duke asked the students about life in Dalton and at Dowdales School and was very impressed with their hard work and community spirit.

On Wednesday we welcomed Imran Kotwal to school to deliver workshops to students and staff aimings to promote a greater understanding and cultural awareness of the Muslim faith as part of our Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) and Prevent programme.

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The workshops tackled misconceptions about Islam, preventing radicalisation and ways to tackle Islamophobia. The day was an extremely important part our SMSC programme and has given students and staff a fantastic insight into the beliefs and values of the British Muslim Community.

The Lakeside Hotel’s Executive Chef Richard Booth came to school last week to lead two lessons with our Year 11 Food Preparation and Nutrition groups. Students learned how to debone a chicken and then how to utilise the different parts of the bird in different dishes. This session was a follow on from students’ visit to The Lakeside Hotel last year and will help to build higher level skills in preparation for the final 3 hour practical NEA exam.

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I would like to invite Year 5 and Year 6 pupils and their families to our Open Evening which takes place on Wednesday 27th September 6pm to 8pm. The evening is a fantastic opportunity for you to tour the school, speak to current students and take part in exciting activities in all departments. In our dining hall the catering team will provide enticing tasters for you to sample the delights of our school menu. I do hope you can join us for what is always a fantastic evening showcasing Dowdales at its very best.

The Friends of Dowdales is a long established group of volunteers who offer their time to support fundraising events which provide monies and equipment for the students of the school. New members are needed to ensure its future and I extend an invitation for you to join them at their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 19th September, in the Library, at 6pm. We would love to see you there.

May I also remind you about a couple of key dates in the forthcoming Dowdales calendar. The Friends of Dowdales sponsored walk on Sunday 15th October. Thursday October 19th is also the date of our Annual Prizegiving. This is always a lovely occasion and it will follow the same format as last year with prizes being presented to last year’s Year 11 students in the evening.

We have had an excellent start to the Autumn Term and I hope that September has also started well for you and your family. I look forward to working in partnership with you over the next three terms as your son or daughter progresses through the academic year.

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