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Welcome back to the start of the new Autumn Term and a warm welcome to our new parents whose sons and daughters have joined us this September. I hope my weekly ruminations do not clog up your inboxes and subsequent posts will be shorter, I promise! So where did the summer go? Where indeed did last year go?

The first week is almost over and I hope that our students have settled back quickly into normal College routines and that our new members to the College community (students and staff) are beginning to understand how we at DLD work and operate. It is a delight to see our new Year 12 students enjoying all that College has to offer both in and out of the classroom and I hope their energy and enthusiasm continues long into the term.

We had a number of developments over the summer with the introduction of the College’s Health Charter, the refurbishment of the Atrium and our new DLD College Global Kitchen and Grumpy Mule Coffee Shop with a real emphasis on sustainability and healthy eating. The official opening of the new Global Kitchen will take place later this month with Michelin-starred chef, Atul Kochhar doing the honours – it continues to be an exciting time for our College.

This time last year, the Wellbeing Centre was opened by the Government’s former Mental Health and Well Being Champion, Natasha Devon MBE and that was a huge milestone in the College’s illustrious history – the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff is at the heart of everything we do here at the College. So much so, that we have been nominated in the ‘Independent Schools of the Year’ awards for our sector leading work on wellbeing. A great accolade and very humbling and thanks must go to everyone who works so hard to makes such things happen – I am very grateful.

We have had a very positive start to the term buoyed by the outstanding exam results the College has achieved at A-level, BTEC and the IFP over the summer. The excellent performance at A-level (78% A*-C) is testimony to the hard work and effort by our Y13s and our academic staff.

The Y12 results are equally encouraging and bode well for the future and the new Y13s know exactly what they need to do in order to enjoy the same success as their predecessors – academic discipline, commitment and dedication are all necessary attitudes which they are adopting in order to move forward and secure those coveted places in industry or leading universities. Of course, there needs to be a balance, and enjoying life outside the classroom is equally as important and it was great to hear two Y13s after a hard day at school, enthusing about the Wellbeing Weekend which leaves tomorrow morning for Shoreham-by-Sea on the South Coast. Now where did I put my sleeping bag…

Not to be outdone, the solid performance at GCSE by our Year 11s achieving excellent results is equally impressive. Our students and academic staff have worked diligently to achieve these results and I am delighted for them. In amongst the headlines, there are numerous individual successes, students who have pulled themselves up to, and beyond their fullest potential, and it is just as exciting to see a student who might have expected a C achieving an A as it is to see those who achieve straight A*s or As. Many of our Year 11s have now moved into our Sixth Form and are already knuckling down to the demands of A-level and the BTEC.

Please do take a moment to look at the website which will provide you with a wealth of information and do try and support as many of the events that you can – from concerts to plays, from sporting fixtures to exhibitions. Even Parents’’ Socials! Please book the dates in your diaries and join us when you can – you are all very welcome to these.

If there is anything you are not sure about, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at College or with your son’s or daughter’s personal tutor – they are your first port of call with anything to do with College. We are always here to help. Do also follow us on our various social media platforms including Twitter (@DLDcollege and @DLDPrincipal), Instagram and Facebook and join in the conversation.

It is great to be back and to see our students getting stuck into business and I can’t believe that the sun is still actually shining – a mini heat wave is forecast for this weekend. I do hope that our students have used the holidays to recuperate, relax and reflect and are now ready to take on the many challenges they will face over the coming year.

We are here to help them face those challenges, but for now, I wish you and them a pleasant and peaceful weekend. I look forward to another successful year both in and out of the academic arena. If I blink, I might miss it all – I hope not.

Irfan H Latif, Principal