Dorothy Stringer is a vibrant and happy community where it is safe to learn and where everyone can excel both inside and outside the classroom. We believe learning should be stimulating and exciting. We encourage curiosity in our students and want everyone to develop a positive attitude to learning within an inclusive community. We aim to develop young people who are responsible and independent and are able to achieve their potential and develop as individuals.
We want them to be involved, to enjoy and contribute to the many opportunities that the school offers them, including a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. It is the students who involve themselves most in these opportunities that perform the best in school. To this end, we actively encourage students to involve themselves in everything the school has to offer, and run clubs fairs for students at the start of Year 7 and again in Year 8. These opportunities embrace and celebrate: participation in sport and outdoor and adventurous activities, thereby promoting healthy lifestyles; the performing and creative arts; and sustainability and biodiversity activities that support our commitment to being an eco-school. We pride ourselves in providing an enriched provision within and outside the curriculum which encourages students to set their sights high and expand their horizons.
At Dorothy Stringer School, we believe that improving literacy and numeracy is the key to improving student outcomes and narrowing the disadvantage gap; it enables students to access to the curriculum, to read for information and pleasure, and to express themselves articulately and effectively. Levels of communication have a major influence on students' self-esteem and their ability to become independent, life-long learners. Improving literacy is not just about academic success; it enables students to develop the skills they will need in their adult lives: creativity, ambition, resilience, self-confidence and the ability to work with others. Literate students can engage with texts and ideas that challenge preconceptions and develop understanding beyond the personal and immediate; they can use talk and writing as a means of exploring a range of views and perspectives on the world. To that end all of our teachers are teachers of literacy.
Our interventions are intended to help students make progress towards their targets and expected outcomes:
- Our specialist-type interventions include literacy, autistic spectrum condition, speech and language and SEMH interventions. These are evidence-based and informed by national best-practice guidelines and follow a cycle of 'assess, plan, do, review'. Student progress against agreed measures and outcomes is reviewed to confirm progress and completion of the intervention or engagement in new provision. Additional oversight of these interventions is provided by our Educational Psychologist and other specialist outside professionals that support the school
- Curriculum-based interventions are led by specialist subject teachers and are delivered to students requiring a bespoke level of curriculum support or those that are re-integrating back to school. The success of these is both reviewed against school progress measures and qualitative outcomes such as improved attitude to learning and attendance.
KS3 (Years 7 to 9)
At KS3 our focus is on progress gained through well-constructed schemes of learning which focus on knowledge progression through carefully sequenced lessons. These are supported by teacher use of review and retrieval strategies which enable students to ensure knowledge is retained.
For students, the key measures are those of Attitude to Learning and Attendance; these are the best indicators of successful progress. From September 2019, our revised Attitude to Learning criteria encompass learning behaviours around Respect, Responsibility, Engagement and Determination. Instilling these qualities from the start of Year 7 helps to develop independent learners.
In Year 9, students start to develop their interests with some early preferences, allowing most students to select their preferred first modern language for GCSE as well as gain a deeper experience of two practical options. The latter has resulted in an increased take-up of practical options at GCSE, with students making more informed choices. At Dorothy Stringer School the arts subjects thrive. In Science, students have a GCSE foundation year to enable students to choose between Combined Science and Triple Science for GCSE.
KS4 (Years 10 and 11)
At KS4, with the exception of higher level qualifications, options do not have entry requirements, as we believe that all students should be able to challenge themselves to study the subjects that interest them. Some students are supported to help them make choices which will allow them to succeed.
For those students who will complete Year 11 in 2023, we have introduced a revised curriculum which allows the majority of students to study the full EBacc suite of subjects whilst maintaining two free choice options. As a school we are committed to maintaining a breadth of study and are growing the number of students who opt for the practical/creative subjects. Our Year 9 curriculum in this area has been developed to allow students to gain a solid background in two creative subjects as well as build a foundation in the language they will study to GCSE.