Student Work

APC and Mapperley and Arnold Rotary help turn vision into reality

Alan Langton of Arnold Parochial Charities, someone we are extremely grateful to for supporting the development of our Adventure School (see previous post), helped reintroduce DMS with the Mapperley and Arnold Rotary clubs (who, a few years ago now, very kindly provided the school with a 16-seater minibus).

Reconnecting with Rotary – and further funding support from APC and Mapperley and Arnold clubs – has being nothing short of amazing!

After a brief presentation to Rotary about an aspirational idea to provide an Onsite Alternative Provision service for students who would benefit from more 1:1 pathway-led learning opportunities in areas such as construction, mechanics, and/ or participation in outdoor personal development focused activities, the dream had a chance of becoming a reality.

Long story short, a simple sketch for a pretty basic shelter in which students could engage with hands-on practical study towards a range of vocational BTEC units, is materialising as a concrete-floored, roomy 3 bay workspace that will, once finished, be powered, lit and heated.

Thanks to the hard work and commitment of a bunch of Rotary members, particularly Chris Rollinson who has PMed the project and sourced the materials and mobilised Rotary members, over several months, the building is well on the way to completion. And huge thanks to D & J Projects for their hard work digging out an uneven space with an awkward bank, installing a retaining wall and soak-away and laying a large concrete base. They provided materials at cost and volunteered many hours of labour in order to kick-start the project. Without everyone’s kindness and passion for our project, none of this would have happened.

The gallery below shows the progress from start to the current progress. More updates will follow as we move nearer to completion.

APC Support DMS Outdoor Learning

When Alan Longton from Arnold Parochial Charities contacted the school about potentially helping us develop our outdoor area and DofE programme, we saw a future that didn’t involve storm-damaged and leaky gazebo’s and donated old frame tents.

One thing led to another, and after Alan’s visit and backing of what we were trying to achieve, he released some funds that enabled us to have built two more substantial and weather-ready shelters – one of cooking and food prep, and one for washing up.

The photos below show how these shelters helped transform the Adventure School area and help improve our outdoor and DofE provision.

We are immensely grateful to Alan and the Board of APC.


Some Year 8 and 9 students recently visited Clip n Climb in Derby and then enjoyed a pub lunch, practising their independent living and social skills that they have been developing in PSHE lessons.  Students raced to the top of the climbing walls and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  We were very impressed by their levels of resilience and determination when faced with the challenges of the climbing walls, and also very proud of how they conducted themselves in the pub, ordering their own meals and using impeccable manners.  Well done!

Bird Boxes

Students in M4 and M5 have recently completed a project to make a bird box during their D&T lessons.  They took great care with their measuring and cutting of the wood, demonstrating excellent teamwork skills, and helped each other to ensure their completed bird boxes were as accurately made as possible.  As you can see, they had a great time and have produced some brilliant bird boxes.  They were very enthusiastic about the cleaning up too!  Well done M4 and M5!

Watch out Mary Berry, Make way for M2!

Children in M2 have spent this half term looking at different celebration cakes from around the world and then had a go at designing their own.  They worked really hard, making their own sponge cakes from scratch before icing them and practising their piping skills.  A lot of hard work, dedication and finesse went into the cakes and I hope they tasted as good as they looked.  Well done M2!

Yule never believe what we did!

Students in M3 have enjoyed making a chocolate yule log and their own fondant icing cake toppers to enjoy at home. 

Armistice Day 2020

Students in Year 8 have spent the last few days remembering members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty, by writing acrostic poems and making and painting salt dough poppies.

Storm Damage = new opportunities

It is clearly evidenced (below) that Storms of 2020: Brendan, Ciara and Dennis have left their mark on DMS’s adventure school – as well as more widely and destructively around the country, of course.

Can we fix it?

Over the year we have patched up the shelter with taps, extra canvas, branches and home-made industrial strength tent pegs and guys. But as can be seen, we’re getting to the point were we need to think of a replacement. And a replacement is definitely warranted (and needed) as the shelter, and the general area we have developed into our Adventure School, provides an important role in encouraging people into the outdoors (to enjoy the benefits that being outside brings).

Moving forwards

And so, as we move into the spring, the young people at Derrymount will be involved in a new Outdoor Learning Project called, Shelter 2.0.

And whilst plans are still a bit sketchy at the moment, the vision is for something initially like this (but bigger) …

That will ultimately be developed into something like this…

Well, OK… this might be a little ambitious (and too contained) but there’s no point in NOT dreaming big, is there… after all, that’s what dreaming is all about, isn’t it?

Forest School supported by Alpkit

Forest School is alive and thriving at our Churchmoor Site. In our newly fenced off area at the top of site things are developing well despite the constant downpour creating some lovely mud baths for the young people.

We are incredibly thankful to the Alpkit Foundation for their support of our growing project in helping us to buy a new set of knives and flint and steels, a tree saw, some hammocks and our well-loved Kelly kettle. A lot of what we do with our young people wouldn’t be possible without the support charitable organisations that share our share vision.

Being outside in ALL WEATHERS is so good for our young people who face so many challenges in their lives, as it helps them to learn to cope in potentially uncomfortable environments trying new activities and learning new skills. Some of these young people would never be expected to take part in some of the activities that we provide and it is incredibly rewarding to see them grow and thrive in this very unique and unusual environment.