Last term, we surveyed all students to get a feel for what it’s like to be studying at Dane Court. We asked about our school values and teaching strategies, as well as perceptions of behaviour, bullying, wellbeing, extra curricular opportunities and the impact of PSHE.
Over 400 students responded (just over ⅓ of the student body). Across all year groups, an average of 91% of students say they enjoy school (with 99% of students in year 7 claiming they enjoy it at least some of the time).
Our school values encourage everyone in the community to be caring, open-minded and principled, and this is reflected in the survey results: 95% of students in years 7-9, and 82% of students in years 10-13 agree the school encourages them to respect people from other backgrounds and treat everyone equally. A high proportion of students perceive the behaviour of other students as good, and the majority of those who are aware of bullying agree that it is dealt with quickly.
This year, we have introduced three evidence-informed teaching strategies, to ensure high quality talk, regular retrieval and opportunities for silent, independent practice in all lessons. Students in all year groups recognise the benefits of these strategies - for example, 76% of Yr 7 students feel more confident taking part in discussion using the ‘Think Pair Share’ strategy. 93% of all students agree they feel more confident tackling new tasks when teachers model perfect answers - something we will continue to do in all subjects.
Our PSHE/SRE programme has been developed this year and already it is having an impact, particularly in the younger years: 73% of year 7 and 8 students feel these lessons give them confidence when dealing with health and wellbeing issues.
The events of the past two years have made extra-curricular provision difficult, but one of our aims this year is to revive previous opportunities and add to our extra-curricular offer. It is hugely encouraging to see that 54% of students are now taking part in a range of activities outside the classroom; Year 12 is the most active year group, with 71% taking part in clubs and groups.
We asked students what the best things about being in Dane Court are, and received a range of responses. Here is a snapshot:
Year 7: ‘It’s fun and educational at the same time and the teachers are always nice and helpful.’
Year 8: ‘Being accepted for who I am by other pupils.’
Year 9: ‘Having fun, making memories, learning new things.’
Year 10: ‘Wide range of opportunities given, mainly academically, and the attitude of teachers towards learning.’
Year 11: ‘Being able to learn in a comfortable and safe environment.’
Year 12: ‘The IB is a much better choice than any other offered nearby.’
Year 13: ‘Dane Court feels like a community and I will be sad to leave.’
We also asked what we could do better, and many students responded ‘nothing!’ Some students requested more support with mental health, so we have recruited three new members of staff as Welfare Mentors and trained a group of Year 13 students as Mental Health Ambassadors. Over the coming weeks, we will work with year leads and mentors to address any other concerns or suggestions raised in the surveys.
We would like to thank all students who took part in the survey - it is hugely valuable being able to see our school through the eyes of the students. We will run a follow-up survey in April, so please encourage your children to take part.