Welcome to Dundonald High School
“ A caring school at the heart of the community ”
Dundonald High School is a caring co-educational 11-16 school providing a wide range of academic, vocational and occupational courses for pupils of all ability levels. Possible provision of post -16 courses is regularly kept under review. Our priority is to enable each of our pupils to achieve their full potential in a caring, supportive environment and to prepare them for lifelong learning.
The school is situated on a spacious site on the outskirts of Dundonald to the left of the dual carriageway to Newtownards. It is therefore easily accessible and we attract pupils from the greater Dundonald, East Belfast and North Down areas.
The building is divided into six blocks providing good quality accommodation for the delivery of all aspects of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. This includes specialist facilities for Art, Drama, Home Economics, Information and Communication Technology, Music, Science and Special Needs. We also have a central Library and Careers resource area and a completely refurbished Technology suite.
Our Physical Education facilities are of a high order with three gymnasia, a heated indoor swimming pool and excellent playing fields extending to 30 acres.
Dundonald High School is a caring school at the heart of the community which seeks to critically examine new ideas and respond appropriately. We aim to ensure that our pupils:
- are provided with demanding, stimulating, rewarding and enjoyable
- have access to relevant teaching and learning that will realise their full
- gain in confidence and self worth in a community based on mutual respect.
The curriculum is regularly reviewed and developed so that it can meet the needs of our pupils. We feel it is important that all pupils have access to externally accredited courses suited to their ability.
At Key Stage 3 all pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum enhanced by information technology, singing and instrumental tuition, personal and social education and vocational guidance.
Children with special educational needs are well catered for through our learning support programme, where dedicated specialist staff use modern integrated learning systems and a corrective reading programme to provide extra support in literacy, numeracy and social development. Where appropriate, special arrangements are provided for internal and external examinations.
We also have Special Unit classes for pupils in years 8,9 and 10 who have statements for moderate learning difficulties. These special unit classes are taught by specialist teachers for English, Mathematics, Geography and History and integrated with their peers for most of their other subjects. We are delighted to report that the Head of our Special Unit, Mrs Davey, received a Teaching Award 2003 for Excellence in Special Needs Teaching.
At Key Stage 4 all pupils study for recognised national qualifications consisting of GCSEs and other National Qualification Framework accredited courses.
All Key Stage 4 pupils follow a core curriculum which includes English, Mathematics, Science, French, RE, PE and Careers. Pupils further select from an optional package consisting of GCSEs in Art and Design, Business Studies, Child Development, Double Award Leisure and Tourism, Double Award Science, Geography, History, Hospitality, Information and Communication Technology, Music, Physical Education ,Technology and Design and Social and Environmental Studies. We also provide the option of choosing the new CCEA Occupational Studies course which is offered in partnership with North Down and Ards Institute of Higher Education. Some pupils also take part in our xl club under the auspices of the Prince’s Trust. The aim of the xl club is to promote Personal and Social Development.
Careers Education and Guidance.
The Careers Department is well staffed and resourced and pupils have access to a well stocked library including computer software which enables students to retrieve the latest information. Year 12 pupils participate in a Work Experience Week and a Careers Convention is held annually. All pupils complete a Personal Career Plan and receive training in interview skills. The curriculum of the school is designed to encourage pupils to progress into further and higher education so that they may obtain well paid jobs in the growing industrial, business and service sectors.
All pupils are supplied with a homework diary. This is used to record homework set but it is also a useful vehicle for communication between parents and staff. A homework timetable is drawn up to ensure a spread of homework over the week. Pupils are also encouraged to use the school’s computer and library facilities and our after school Homework Club. At Key Stage 4, our committed staff also provide coursework classes and additional tuition after school hours in many subject areas.
We have a well-deserved reputation as a caring school. Each pupil is assigned to a Form Teacher who is concerned for the progress, behaviour, attendance and welfare of each pupil in the class. We aim to provide guidance and support to each of our pupils so that they achieve success and develop a sense of personal worth. The school also has dedicated pupil welfare auxiliary personnel available throughout the day to attend to children who feel unwell or require assistance.
In attempting to achieve our aims we recognise the importance of encouragement and praise and, as a staff, we seek to reward the efforts of pupils through the use of:-
- words of encouragement - both oral and written.
- classroom merit systems and displays of good work.
- referral to more senior members of staff for commendation.
- public praise in front of classes, year groups or the whole school.
- public acknowledgement through presentations at assembly.
- the award of positions of responsibility or opportunity to represent
- the school report system to comment on behaviour and on involvement in
school activities as well as academic success.
- prizes which reflect achievement, progress and good attendance.
- certificates to celebrate work, progress and services to the school.
- school outings for pupils who uphold the Code of Discipline.
- mention on the school web site.
In the Senior School, pupils who have upheld the Code of Discipline are invited to participate in a number of social outings:-
- Year 11 Christmas Dinner in a local restaurant
- Years 11 and 12 Barbecue at Crawfordsburn Country Park
- Year 12 Formal
- Prefects’ Evening Dinner
Prefects are appointed each year to represent the school, assist staff, befriend younger pupils and act as a School Council
Uniform, Discipline, Attendance and Punctuality
At Dundonald High School we are proud of our school uniform which must be worn by all our pupils. Our uniform creates a community identity and encourages our pupils to take pride in themselves and in their school.
To enable our pupils to achieve their full potential we expect regular attendance, punctuality to school and classes and a high standard of behaviour at all times. A Code of Discipline is made available to all parents.
Extra Curricular Activities
A wide range of activities is available before school, at lunchtime and after school. These include a Breakfast Club, the Internet Club, the Homework Club, Scripture Union, Football for boys and girls, Guitar Club, School Choir, School Band, Library Club and Drama Club, as well as subject based support clubs and many other sporting activities. Pupils are encouraged to develop their portfolio of interests which are recorded in their School Record of Achievement.
There are many opportunities for European travel through the annual Ski-trip, European Trip and links with Norway through the European Awareness Programme. Opportunities are also available for pupils to become involved with a Co-operation Ireland Civic Links Programme.
Parents receive two reports per year ( January and June ). A Parents’ Night is held for each year group and in September there is a special Information Evening for parents of year 12 pupils. Last year we introduced our Newsletter which we hope to produce once a term. Parents are encouraged to contact the school to keep us informed of information relevant to their son or daughter and interviews can be arranged with appropriate members of staff by appointment. We recommend to all parents our most supportive Parent Teacher Association which meets monthly and we appreciate the support we get from parents at school functions such as our Carol Service, Christmas Fair and School Show. Parents can also visit our website at www.dundonaldhigh.co.uk.
Pupil Research Initiative
On September 27th a group of fifth formers attended a UK-wide Young Scientists Conference at the Royal Institution in London. The group had to give a presentation to an audience of scientists, and also pupils from other participating schools from around the United Kingdom.
The presentation was called ‘Global Warming – Myth or Menace?’ It was introduced with the words: “There have been many conflicting messages about global warming coming from politicians and media. Scientific information has been interpreted in different ways by different interest groups. We decided to use the internet to research the facts about climate change, to see if it is really a menace or a hyped up myth. The presenters, giving the facts as scientists, will be interrupted by ‘ordinary folk’ seeking answers.”
The group stayed in London for two nights and, although there were some pre-presentation nerves, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.