South Africa comes to Darton

Over 80 South Africans, friends and family emerged at Darton College on Saturday for a feast of South African food, music and culture.  The event kicked off with the live screening of the Currie cup on the big screen.  Throughout the afternoon and evening the guests were treated to South African brands of beers, wines, spirits and sweet treats including Malva pudding and Melktart (Milk Tart) and speciality dishes such as Bunny Chow.  All this was thoughtfully sourced by organisers Ollie and Lara Beukes, who had also flown in top celebrity acts, Arno Jordaan and Bobby Van Jaarsveld to provide the evening entertainment.  An excellent time was had by all and the Springboks (a mixture of peppermint liqueur and Amarula) proved exceptionally popular!

PTDC0574 (2)

If I was a Cardiothoracic surgeon…

My first career was as a Registered General Nurse, after qualifying I specialised in Cardiology and worked on the Coronary Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary. The patients that I cared for were often with us as a result of a sudden collapse resulting from a heart attack, or to give it its correct name Myocardial Infarction. During the 3 years that I worked on the unit I witnessed one of the most significant changes in treating Myocardial Infarctions that has occurred in the this century. Instead of solely relying on drug treatments or resorting to open heart surgery patients were offered ‘angioplasty’ as an alternative. During the procedure, a thin, flexible catheter (tube) with a balloon at its tip is threaded through a blood vessel to the affected artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to compress the plaque against the artery wall. This restores blood flow through the artery.


Twenty years later this is often a first line treatment that takes place before a patient even leaves A&E. These changes in treatment all informed by rigorous clinical trials, grounded in research. Few of us would doubt the expertise and rationale for developing such treatments, trusting Doctors professional knowledge and judgement.

As a school leader and teacher my area of expertise is, and should be pedagogy. Decisions that I make and practices that I advocate are grounded in and informed by learning theories and evidence. I personally am always eager to learn more, reflect on my practice but also test out new and innovative approaches, always considering impact.

I welcome the increasing emphasis for all schools to make informed decisions about practice – that in part supports our status as a profession but more importantly ensures that learners in our care make the best possible progress.

Currently the most talked about educational research is that produced by the Sutton Trust (see below), the research attempts to create a correlation between teaching strategies, their cost and the impact on progress. As with all research the results and recommendations are open to debate, rarely is any research that involves human beings black and white! However there are other large scale studies whose findings align with those of the Sutton Trust, including that completed by John Hattie. I am also personally interested in and inspired by the work of Costa, Kallick and Dweck, exploring how we develop learners understanding of themselves a s learners, making the learning process transparent, the power of aspiration and positive talk and the praising of effort rather than purely ability.

Teaching and Learning Toolkit (Spring 2013)

I love learning and hope that I can instil that across DC!

In order to be my best professional self continuing to learn, questioning my practice and that of others is key and non-negotiable, if I was a cardiothoracic surgeon you’d expect it to be.


Kate Davies



Shop till you drop……they certainly did at the Walk in Wardrobe Fashion Event held at Darton College Friday 10 October!

They certainly did at the Walk in Wardrobe Fashion Event held at Darton College Friday 10 October!

Bargains galore, a glass of wine and time to spend with friends, a perfect end to the week.

The quality and prices of the clothes was amazing as were the accessory and beauty stalls; guests were seen leaving the building with arms full of clothes and bags full of Make-Up, Gifts, Handbags, some were even treated to pampering treatments from Lynn of Soul 2 Soul Holistic Therapy.

Thanks to all who came and made it a fabulous evening especially South Hill Designs Jewellery, Body Shop, Rage Hair Studio, Rosie Jade Handbags and Arbonne Makeup.

We also invite you to our next event coming soon which is an evening with Pietro Politano who is a spiritualist medium. Tickets are available at £10 each. Pietro is performing on two evenings – Thursday 30th October and Friday 31st October.  Tickets are available from the college reception.



It’s not just any week – it’s a Darton and M & S week!


Wow, what a week it has been at Darton College events!

The events that have been organised during the past week have been on quite a large scale and have brought alongside them some exciting opportunities to further explore…

Marks & Spencer

On Monday the 6th of October Marks & Spencer hosted a small conference in the pavilion.  The attendees were fine tuning and planning the final details of their large regional conference which was organised for the following day in our lecture theatre for 130 delegates.

Feedback was excellent.  The delegates were exceptionally pleased with the personal service they received and our ability to cater for their every need in a professional and efficient manner.

Marks & Spencer have also promised the college that they will attend our future Year 9 and Year 11 post 16 careers evenings and provide prospective employment links and mentoring for our learners that become close to leaving school age.

NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group meeting

On Thursday 9th October we welcomed NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group to our venue.  The first half of the meeting was public and the group invited some of our learners to attend.

Feedback received from the delegates was again excellent and they were impressed with the facilities, food and service they received.  They also appreciated the attention to detail and the articulate, intelligent students that were present during their meeting.

Year 9 and Year 11 Post 16 Careers Evening

On the evening 9th October the college held the Year 9 and Year 11 Post 16 Careers Evening. Over 30 training providers, Colleges and businesses attended to advise learners on career routes and pathways. The lecture theatre was full to capacity when careers coordinator John Maltby opened the event.  Mr Maltby introduced keynote speaker John Mills who was congratulated on his inspirational speech by many of the parents.

The evening was an all-round success with excellent feedback from the exhibitors and from our learners that had visited.  One training provide commented ‘’this is the best evening of this nature that I have ever attended’’



Year 9 Student steps in to help memorial service go ahead

Charlotte Atkinson in 9RR showed the “Best of British” when a local memorial service was under threat when their regular bugler couldn’t attend.

Charlotte, who played at last year’s Remembrance Day service in the college, answered the call from Mirfield Royal British Legion to come and play The Last Post during a service to re-dedicate a Veterans Memorial in the West Yorkshire town.

Mr Barry Fretwell, the President of the Branch expressed his thanks to Charlotte and her family who accompanied her on Sunday describing her as “a credit to Darton College”.

After the service Charlotte received spontaneous applause from the assembled veterans, cadets and others who attended.  Further praise came from a former Royal Marine Commando who singled her out, commenting that at just 13 years old she was already better than at least half of the buglers he had heard during his 22 years service.

Well done Charlotte, we’re all proud of you.

MRV Comem 2014-00415- medium MRV Comem 2014-00441- medium

Year 6 Open Evening – What a night !

On Tuesday 30th September Darton College held the annual Year 6 Open Evening which was attended by over 750 prospective pupils and parents.

Following the Keynote speech from Principal Kate Davies and a welcome speech from Head Boy, Jonathan Bradbury and Head Girl, Katie Senior visitors were able to tour the college and view its facilities.

The whole building was buzzing as visitors actively participated in Gingerbread Men decorating, Animation and Gaming, Chemistry Extravaganza, Rocket Lab, Phonics games and Costume Creating to name a few of the many activities that were available.

The feedback received included the written comments below -

“the pupils are a credit to the school very articulate and helpful”

“fantastic evening, children were very helpful and engaging, very impressed”

“very welcoming and looks great, a fantastic learning environment”

“the students who took us on our tour were informative, friendly, polite humorous and a credit to the college”

“it has a lovely welcoming feel , thank you”

“excellent and inspiring”

If you missed this event why not telephone the college and book a tour during the school day?

See below a selection of photographs that were taken during the evening.