Headteacher’s Blog 18/10/2019

Important Dates



GCSE results 

 Following the publication of school performance data this week we are delighted that DMA is in the top 40% of schools in Norfolk for Progress 8. This is the most important measure at it takes into account childrens performance at primary school and measures it against how well they do at GCSE. DMA is the second highest performing school for students doing well in English and Maths in West Norfolk. DMA has outperformed the majority of schools in Norfolk which is a huge testament to the hard work of Downham students as well as the teachers.  We would also like to congratulate Chesterton (our sister school in Cambridge) who are once again one of the top performing schools in the country.  Chesterton is only 1 of 11 schools in the country which has consistently achieved the highest level for progress in the last 3 years.  The gap between DMA and Chesterton is narrowing from over 2 grades per subject 2 years ago to 1 grade.  Next year we expect the gap to narrow once again.


Celebration assemblies 

 It has been a great pleasure to hold assemblies with all students this week.  I have given out certificates to 60 students who have gained at least 10 reward points so far this term.  After the break we will be issuing a badge for students who reach at least 20 reward points which they can wear on their lapels.  I have also recognised those students who have 100% attendance which is over half the school population.  We are keen to recognise student success outside of school so if you could let us know of any individual achievements we will be pleased to publish this in the blog. 


Year 7 Tutor Evening

Year 7 tutors are available to meet with parents on Thursday 31 October from 4:15 to 7:15 – please login to the online booking system here: www.parentsbooking.co.uk/downhammarket.  This is a great opportunity to see how your child has settled into life at DMA and we are looking forward to seeing you all there.


Year 7 trip

It is still not too late to sign your child up to the residential camp and Norfolk Show trip – please give consent using the online form (sent from “Evolve” to your email address) and use ParentMail to pay the deposit.  The majority of Year 7 have already signed up and we would like to take the whole year group away for a fun-filled few days.



A reminder that uniform expectations for students are very clear and can be found here on the Academy website: https://downhammarketacademy.co.uk/lifeatdownham/uniformpekit/

Please ensure that any false nails, coloured hair, piercings or other half term treats are removed before we return on Monday 28 October.  Plastic retainers are not acceptable.


Drawing from life a stretching experience

Last week saw the first of a series of three after-school Life Drawing Workshops, organised by the Art Department in conjunction with Neaco.

Ten sixth-form art students participated in the session, drawing at easels and practicing their observation of the live, semi-clothed model posing in front of them. The fastest warm-up sketches took just sixty seconds, while longer, more considered drawings were allowed up to fifteen minutes. Students carefully observed the anatomy of the model in a range of positions, translating it onto the page in a variety of materials, from charcoal and pastels to felt-tips and fineliners.

Life drawing is an incredibly challenging discipline, involving a great deal of focus from the artists, and the department is very proud of the effort the students put in and the results they achieved. Fabulous work!







Promoting the Love of Reading

At DMA we love promoting the love for reading. Reading helps us in every area of our lives. It helps us become successful in school and later in our careers, and it helps us grow as individuals by either teaching us new information or by allowing us to step into someone else’s shoes. Reading can also help us become more compassionate and empathetic, as well as give us pure enjoyment and relaxation. Instilling a love of reading is one of the best lifetime gifts Downham Market Academy can give our students. 

At Downham market Academy we use Renaissance Accelerated Reader, a popular reading programme used in public and private schools. The National Literacy Trust has produced three independent reports into the impact of Renaissance Accelerated Reader on students reading habits. These reports both showed that students who use Accelerated Reader have more positive attitudes towards reading than their peers.

Accelerated Reader also allows us to track students independent practice and progress with reading.The idea behind Accelerated Reader is that students enjoy reading more when they can select their own books, which they can do through the accelerated Reader Book Finder or independently. Students make most progress when they read books that interest them and we are confident that our students will enjoy reading the fantastic books we have in our remarkably wellstocked Library.

Student can access the Star Reading Test and Accelerated Reader Quizzes on our website: https://downhammarketacademy.co.uk/promotingtheloveforreading/ Duffy House


This half term, Duffy House has shown the school how to support Macmillan Cancer Trust. Our house brought in the most donations of cake and we won the change bucket challenge too. We brought in just under 40.00. As a Head of House, I am always proud of our house but this month, I am in awe of the students that wear blue ties.

Our Attendance Champion was Sam Thoroughgood and he will have an Amazon voucher to spend this half term holiday.

So many students from Duffy House stepped up to the Open Evening challenge and were, as ever, superb! So many parents and staff shared positive comments about our students in blue ties. I have special badges to award to those students for their efforts that night.

I hope Duffy House students have a restful and relaxing half-term and as a house, we will continue to step up to the exciting challenges that next half term will bring.


Dyson House

Dyson House have had an amazing first half of Autumn term with pupils representing the House and school in the year 6 open day and the parent information evening. Dyson continues to monitor and support its pupils taking part elite level sports including Rugby, Gymnastics and Football. Pupils continue to be integral members of the local Air & Army cadet corps serving the local community supported by near by military bases such as RAF Marham. Into the second half of Autumn term these cadets will be looking to represent their corps at the upcoming remembrance day on November 11th as well as other organised parades outside of school.  We are proud to support the ethos of DMA encouraging its pupils each week to reflect on what they have done to improve and enrich the lives of themselves and those around them.


Peake House 

Congratulations to Madeline Hunt for winning the 100% attendance prize draw. Well done to all those who have had 100% attendance so far. 

Well done to Emma Giles, Lydia Dimmock, Alfie Cook, Callum Melton and Ava Forester for upholding the Academy ethos and being outstanding members of Peake House. 


Holmes House 

We welcomed Mr Swatman (Ho3) and Mrs Berry (H04) as form tutors in September. A new House

Council has been elected with 12 students under the leadership of Chair Jack Smith and Vice

Chairs Stephanie Cooper and Finn Samouelle. The House Council looking forward to support our Charity : Alzheimers UK and prepare Christmas shoeboxes for a local home, especially for dementia residents.

Congratulations to Sophie Weeds for winning the 100% attendance prize draw. Well done to all the students who have had 100% attendance so far.

Great leadership from Sam Dickerson who has led the Year 11 rugby team into the quarter final of the Norfolk Plate competition.

Well done to Scarlett Cromarty, Louie Harrison, Aurora Jones, Aaron Seymour, Willis Stacey, Beth

Arnold, Kai Edwards, Noah Butcher, Jamie Walden, Theo Baulch, Sophie Weeds, Amber Jones,

Riley Pottle, Tullalah Boyd, Jack Smith, Toby Goodger, Eleanor Bennett, Stephanie Cooper , Jay Jay Loake, Freya Jones, Kyle Elflett, Finn Samouelle, Taya Bell, Jessica Clements & Rosie Futter for being nominated as Star Students.


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