Headteacher’s Blog: 9th November 2018

I hope you all had a lovely half term break and before we start to think about our festive season, we’ve been thinking about others by supporting the Rotary Club with its Shoe Box Appeal. We’ve been involved with this campaign for several years and last year, with your help, reached a record of 90 shoe boxes. You’ll have received a letter with details of how you can help and the items which can be included in the shoe boxes which will be transported to Eastern Europe. For quick reference it can also be found on the website at http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/general-letters/

Year 11 Careers Interviews are underway this week when, as part of their Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance, students have been having one to one interviews with Mrs Rainbow, our Careers Adviser.

Assemblies this week have been led by Royal British Legion representatives in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday, reminding us of the sacrifices which have and continue to be made. Students who have a Forces connection went, along with Mrs Langford and Mrs Donnelly, to represent Boroughbridge High School at the Remembrance Service at Ripon Cathedral today. On Sunday, Head Boy, Callum, Deputy Head Girl, Lydia and Year 11 Prefect, Ruby will be accompanying me to the Remembrance Service at St. James’ before laying a wreath at the War Memorial. It’s a privilege for us to participate in these events in our community.

Our thanks this week go to Harron Homes who have kindly donated new blinds for our Library which will make a big difference to all of our students and make the Library a more positive learning environment at all times of year.

Thanks also to the parents who came to the Parent Information Evening led by the Safer Communities Prevention Service on Tuesday and the Parent Forum on Thursday which focused on school catering. Further information shared and discussed in both of these meetings will be published on the website in due course.

We’ll look forward to seeing many of you at the Sports Awards Evening on Wednesday 14th November. Other upcoming events include Non-Uniform Day on Friday (16th) when we’ll be raising money for Children in Need. Finally, a reminder that Wednesday 28th November is a Professional Development Day so school will not be open to students.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 26th October 2018

The theme at Boroughbridge High School over the last week or so has been learning outside of the classroom. Last Thursday, Miss Whiles and the Year 9 History Club visited the Boroughbridge War Memorial in preparation for their next project to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One. Students took a wreath to show their respect for the people named on the memorial and will be researching their family histories in the weeks after half term. Then at the weekend, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, eight students set off on their Bronze Practice Expedition around Castle Howard and the Howardian Hills. The report from their trip leaders was that they’d had a really successful expedition with all students working really hard and pushing themselves in all areas.

On Tuesday, GCSE Geographers set off to the fastest eroding coastline in Europe, the Holderness Coast. Their focus was on Mappleton and the success of the rock armour revetment with rock groynes in reducing erosion. Wednesday saw Year 12 and 13 Photography, English and History students making the journey to Whitby to carry out a range of activities. Historians were considering what can be determined about a site’s history through its architecture, exploring the old and new town, using their vast contextual knowledge to draw conclusions. The Photographers were developing their skills in what can only be described as a stunning location and English students retraced the steps of Dracula whilst reading the text. Don’t worry though, despite this plethora of activity, there was still time for fish and chips for lunch!

On Thursday morning, Mrs Simmonds and her BTEC Hospitality group went down to The Crown to see a working hotel in action. They were able to visit all areas of the hotel and the knowledge that they gained will support them with their course in the coming months. Thanks to The Crown for accommodating this visit. Just as the group were returning, Abi in Year 9 was on a virtual fieldtrip of her own to Belgium, skyping and communicating about future projects with one of the team of teachers who visited our school a few weeks ago.

Thanks this week also go to Mr Hugh Fink (FINK of Boroughbridge) for donating a ‘good as new’ keyboard and mixing desk to the Music department.  They are already set up and in use.  If anyone is having a clear out and would like a new home for their musical items, we are very happy to collect!

In and amongst all of this, following the success of Open Evening, we’ve been delighted to show many prospective Year 6 students and their parents around our school on a working day.

Finally, thanks to Year 7 parents who attended Parents’ Evening on Thursday. We think that Year 7 have made an excellent start to their time at Boroughbridge High School and have settled in well and it’s great to see in your feedback that you think so too.

A reminder that it’s Parent Forum where we’ll discuss school catering on Thursday 8th November from 6-7pm. Please e-mail lnelson@boroughbridgehigh.com if you wish to attend.

Well, it’s here! The half term holiday. Thanks for your ongoing support and I hope you all have a lovely half term break.

Headteacher’s Blog: 19th October 2018

There was excitement on the football pitch on Tuesday night when our Under 16 Girls’ team came face to face with their opponents from Richmond School. Despite having the majority of possession in the first half, they were 2-0 down at half time. A tough half-time team talk was delivered by Mrs Godsell-Wright supported by jaffa cakes and jelly babies.* With renewed determination and vigour, two minutes into the second half our girls filled the box, the ball bounced and then went in – own goal! So, it was game on. Then followed a sequence from dreams. A corner was whipped in by Lucy, headed home by Faith who then scored with her right foot then with her left foot – a perfect hat trick! Faith went on to score a fourth, followed by Harriot, followed by two more from Faith. The final score 8-2! Well done team.

 *Other motivational cakes and sweets are available but there’s only one Mrs Godsell-Wright.

As the doors opened for Open Evening on Wednesday, there were more than one hundred student volunteers, including our newly appointed Year 11 prefects, ready to welcome prospective students and their parents. The hall was packed for both Headteacher introductory talks where Niamh and Callum, Head Girl and Boy, told parents about their experience of Boroughbridge High School, whilst Abigail, Lilly and Morgan, three of our Year 7 students, talked about the smooth transition they’ve made from primary school. Then our visitors had the opportunity to experience a wide range of interactive activities from describing a sinister scene in English to holding a slithery snake in Science, from creating a 3-D square in Maths to sampling Pasta pots. There were, of course, too many activities to mention them all but it was great to see current and future students working together.

Events next week include the Parent Information Evening about the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Tuesday evening at 6pm. All parents are welcome. Then on Thursday, we’ll look forward to welcoming Year 7 parents who’ll have the opportunity to talk to form tutors about how their children have settled in.

Looking ahead, on Thursday 8th November, we’ll be holding our first Parent Forum from 6-7pm. As we’ve changed our catering this term, we’d welcome feedback from parents. Please e-mail lnelson@boroughbridgehigh.com if you’d like to attend and also if you have any other topics which you’d like us to cover either now or in the future.

Finally, if you’re a Year 6 parent, reading the Blog for the first time, then welcome! We’re looking forward to working with you and your child in the future and if you want to see how the Matisse inspired artwork turned out, then here it is!

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 12th October 2018

The week began well with a 6-0 victory for the Year 11 football team playing against Ripon Grammar School in the England Schools’ Cup for schools with 65 or fewer boys in a year group. Not to be outdone, on Tuesday evening the Year 8 team returned, celebrating a 7-0 victory against the same opponents. Well done to both teams and good luck for the next round when they’ve both been drawn against St. Aidan’s Academy in Darlington.

Thanks to those parents who are trialling My Child at School and for your time in attending the meeting on Wednesday to find out just how it all works. More information for all parents will follow in due course.

On Thursday morning, as the news bulletins were reporting that ‘school Ofsted inspections in England are going to put more emphasis on what’s taught rather than exam results’, two of Her Majesty’s Inspectors were signing in at Reception having selected Boroughbridge High School as one of the schools in which to carry out their research. We are delighted to have contributed to this national research and to share the approaches that we’re taking.

It’s worth saying at this point that we’re really proud of what your children are achieving on a daily basis and the positive impact that our Stage not Age curriculum at GCSE is having on the outcomes of our students.

Over the last week or so, Mr Grierson and I have been out visiting Year 6 in our partner primary schools. We’ve taken two Year 8 students, who were former students, with us so that they can answer Year 6’s questions about the move to Boroughbridge High School. Many of the Year 6 students have already visited us on a Year 5 experience day, so it’s been lovely to go and visit them in their schools. It’s also been a pure delight to witness the joy of our Year 8 students at revisiting their Primary School, seeing their old teachers and remembering many happy times. Whilst answering the many and varied questions posed by Year 6 our students have genuinely demonstrated how proud they are to be part of the Boroughbridge High School team.

We’ve invited Year 6 and their parents to our Open Evening which takes place next Wednesday (17th October) from 6 to 9pm. A reminder that school closes at 1.30pm on that day. Many of our students will, of course, be returning in the evening to play an active part in Open Evening.

If you’re interested in seeing the high quality GSCE Art produced by students last year, you can visit the Art Exhibition in D2 (the room just inside the Sixth Form block) from 6-9pm whilst Open Evening is taking place.

So, at the end of another busy week, I think that we’ve all just realised that there are only ten school days until half term. How time flies!

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 5th October 2018

Wednesday saw the first of our Challenge Day experiences of the new term. Year 7 headed off into Boroughbridge for their Humanities field trip investigating all things historical and geographical before visiting the church. Looking at familiar sights from a different perspective is an illuminating experience. All studies were completed in time for students to return to school for lunch. Meanwhile, back at school, Year 8 and 10 had been investigating money matters and Year 9 the plight of refugees.

Year 11 had travelled further afield, visiting the Skills Yorkshire Event at Leeds FC Stadium.  Surrounded by a plethora of representatives from employers, training providers, colleges and universities, students had the opportunity to try out practical work skills or sample activities such as taking part in performance, resuscitation, boxing or applying body art. Students left loaded quite literally with bags of information to support them in making informative choices for their individual Post-16 options. This two-day event is attended by hundreds of students from across the region and supported by more than 40 organisations, such as Health Education England, the Army, KPMG, RICS, the Maritime Sector, White Rose Beauty College, CAPA Performing Arts College and locally York and Askham Bryan Colleges.

Thursday brought its own excitement, when it was a great privilege to welcome a group of ten Headteachers from Australia, Romania and Denmark to see the research science projects that our Key Stage 3 and 5 students have been carrying out under the enthusiastic supervision of

Mr Inglis. Alongside them were students from Richard Taylor Primary School. Students not only did a presentation about their projects but also engaged the visitors in a number of experiments. Mr Inglis is hoping to spread this innovative research approach across more schools in Yorkshire. We’re grateful to the Institute for Research in Schools for their funding which enables Mr Inglis to work on this for one day a week.

We’re pleased to announce that our Coffee Morning last week raised £138.52 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

As a follow up to our Parent Information Evening on internet safety, we’ve given each student a copy of ‘Digital Parenting’ which includes articles from building resilience to help your child stay safe and happy online to setting privacy and parental controls on apps and online services. If you haven’t yet received your copy, check your child’s bag!

Have a lovely weekend.


Headteacher’s Blog: 28th September 2018

With just 43% of 18-24 year olds voting in the last general election, assemblies this week have focused on the importance of getting involved and making your vote count. Aimee in Year 12, Vice-Chair of the Youth Voice Executive, has been asking all year groups to decide which issue is most important to them and which they would like to be discussed by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons. With issues ranging from votes at 16 to tackling homelessness, supporting mental health to rural transport, students have had much to think about.

On Wednesday, the corridors rang with the sound of ‘Bonjour’ and ‘Hola’ whilst the MFL corridor was infused with the aroma of crêpes when we celebrated the European Day of Languages. Only when the words ‘Je voudrais une crêpe s’il vous plait.’ or ‘Quisiera un crêpe por favor.’ were uttered were students presented with a crêpe of choice! Keeping on the theme of cuisine, in Food Technology, Year 7 have been making healthy salads along with crispy croutons.

Meanwhile, up in Science it’s been models galore as students have been creatively representing different aspects of the Science curriculum as you can see.

It was a pleasure to be able to share all of this with Alan Kinder, the Chief Executive of The Geographical Association who visited on Wednesday. He had the opportunity to tour the school, speak to students, visit lessons and talk about all things geographical with Mr Kite and Mrs Hardcastle.

We welcomed Year 12 parents to an Information Evening on Thursday where they found out about the two years ahead and interestingly, Year 12 are already thinking about their futures, discussing possible degrees and universities. This is not surprising as they’ve made such a positive start to their A-Level studies.

The week ended with our contribution to the World’s Biggest Coffee morning, raising funds for Macmillan Cancer support. Ably organised by Lydia, Deputy Head Girl and her team, staff and Sixth Form students enjoyed a coffee, cake and chat, conscious that they were raising money for a very good cause.

Enjoy the weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 21st September 2018

A starter question for you. In the UK, what percentage of children aged 7, 11 and 16 own a Smartphone? This was one of the questions posed at the Parent Information Evening on Tuesday, where the focus was e-safety. What became apparent was that in the dynamic world of technology there are some clear steps that we can take to support our young people in staying safe. The NSPCC have summarised these as a TEAM approach, T – Talk  E – Explore     A – Agree    M – Manage. For more information visit http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/parents/teenage-years-parental-advice/

It’s been a tense week for the students campaigning for the position of Head Boy and Head Girl but the votes have now been counted and the waiting is over. Our congratulations go to Callum and Niamh who are our Head Boy and Girl for 2018-2019. Supporting them as Deputy Head Boy and Girl will be Edward and Lydia with Natasha as Senior Ambassador. I’m looking forward to working with this Student Leadership Team as they develop their ideas to continue to improve the school for the benefit of all students.

Whilst we’re on the topic of student leaders, the School Council has been leading assemblies this week, speaking to all year groups about their work in school in order to recruit further council members. They meet weekly and last year were involved in many activities including improving lunchtime queuing and fundraising. They also ensured that their influence went beyond school by taking an active part in the North Yorkshire County Youth Executive Student Conference.  Next year this event will be partly organised by one of our very own Year 12 students, Aimee, who is Vice Chair of the Youth Executive, having first attended this event herself back in Year 9 as a student councillor.

Now an opportunity for you! As I’ve mentioned before, we’re planning in the near future, to give you access to our Management Information System so that you can look at your child’s rewards and behaviour inputs as they happen using your own personal log-in. We’d like a focus group to trial the system before we roll this out to all parents and carers. If you’re interested in being part of the trial group, please e-mail Di Johnstone at djohnstone@boroughbridgehigh.com by Friday 28th September.

With only eight months to the start of the GCSE exams, Year 11 have been considering their futures by looking at the destinations of our former students and establishing their own qualities and skills in preparation for their visit, in a couple of weeks’ time, to the Regional Careers Fair in Leeds. Exciting times! This forms part of the Year 11 careers guidance package to ensure that they have the correct information to make informed decisions about their futures.

So, to answer the starter question, 9% of 7 year olds, 71% of 11 year olds and 93% of 15 year olds own a Smartphone! Were you correct?

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 14th September 2018

Assemblies this week have featured presentations from Callum, Edward, Lydia, Niamh and Tasha in Year 13 in their bid to become Head Boy or Head Girl. Students have been invited to cast their votes to select who will represent them in the year to come. What has been most impressive has been the quality of the candidates who have all confidently presented both how the school has helped them to develop and how the role would enable them to give something back. They have lots of ideas for future developments. One of their first commitments will be to take on a key role at our Open Evening for the parents of Year 5 and 6 students on Wednesday 17th October. A quick reminder that school will close at 1.30pm on that day.

As the newest members of our school community, Year 7, reach the end of their first learning cycle, I decided to visit their lessons to see how they’re settling in. Classification was at the fore in Mr Kite’s Geography lesson where students were deciding which features fitted into the categories of human, physical and environmental geography. In Maths with Mr Izdebski students were demonstrating their long division skills building upon techniques that they learnt in primary school. Mr Woodward has started the year in RE with the somewhat pithy question, ‘Does God exist?’. Students have been exploring opinions and, if you’re a parent of a Year 7 student, I believe that you may have been interviewed for homework. During a walk through Science I discovered Mr Scott working on forces, asking students to predict what an object will do according to the forces applied. Next door, Dr Lefley and his class were exploring the mysteries revealed by the microscope whilst Miss Rayner introduced her class to the delights of using a pestle and mortar to crush rock salt leading to an experiment to investigate separating mixtures. Across the subjects, it’s clear that Year 7 have made an excellent start and are already making an important contribution to our school community.

Let’s see what next week brings. Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 7th September 2018

As the temperatures dropped, we were delighted to welcome students back to Boroughbridge High School on Tuesday to begin the new school term. It’s not the start of the school year, of course, as we began that in June which means that we could immediately get back down to study.

We returned following a very successful Summer. As you may have seen on the website, Year 13 students gained excellent results with all students who’d applied to Higher Education securing places, the vast majority at their first choice universities. Not to be outdone, Years 11 and 10 arrived a week later to collect fantastic results which showed further improvement on last year and, in particular, an increased number of higher grades against a backdrop of new specifications designed to be more challenging. Year 11 students have benefited from our Stage not Age curriculum having taken two GCSEs in Year 10.

We were pleased to see so many students sign up for Sixth Form, becoming part of our new collaboration with King James’s School. We’ve introduced a Sixth Form uniform so that the standards of dress at post-16 echo the high standards seen across Years 7 to 11. BHS students travelled across to work with students based at KJS on Thursday to get input from Northumbria University around how to be successful students.

At the other end of the age range, it’s been lovely to welcome Year 7 into the Boroughbridge High School community. They already know their way around and appear to be enjoying the range of new subjects that they’re studying.

You’ll have heard that there has been change afoot in the Dining Hall this week. We’ve brought catering in-house which means that we can give students greater choice and give better value for money with meal deals at £2.25 and £2.50. Watch out for the newsletter next week which will give you further details.

In sporting news, Jack and Alex in Year 11 have been selected to represent Yorkshire at Basketball England’s Under 15 boys Regional Development Tournament which takes place this weekend. What an achievement!

Finally, our warmest congratulations go to Dr Roberts and Mrs Reed who have both given birth to beautiful baby boys. All are well.

So, we’re at the end of a successful first week. Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 20th July 2018

No lessening of pace this week at Boroughbridge High School as Monday began with 136 students boarding coaches to Lightwater Valley on the rewards trip. Six and a half hours later they returned to school with many exciting stories about scary rides, water and candy floss. Even a few drops of rain had failed to dampen spirits of staff and students alike.

Tuesday marked the start of the Summer holidays for Ember the snake and the Science hamster as they travelled to the homes of students for the Summer break. Thanks to the students and the families who are looking after them!

Then as the sun rose on Thursday, we knew we were in for an excellent Sports Day. Students arrived in their PE kit ready for immediate action. With field events in the morning and track events in the afternoon, students were busy gaining points for their form classes or, more to the point, for their form tutors who, as the day wore on, became increasingly competitive. With Mr. Cockerill acting as DJ in the afternoon announcing results and forthcoming birthdays, playing music requests and using his own particular sense of humour to bring smiles to many, fun was had by all. As usual the PE Team had everything precisely planned so that the final relay finished, students sat down and the school bell chimed to mark the end of the day. Perfection! It was also great to welcome back Year 11 students who had come to support the event. In order to maintain the tension, results were announced in the whole school Celebration Assembly. If you haven’t already heard, the winning forms were 8AC, 9SC, 10JR and 11JF. Well done to all.

In the aforementioned assembly, we celebrated the achievements of many students by following up the theme which I challenged students to at the beginning of the year, that is for everyone to be a leader and make a contribution to the school community. We had awards for contribution to the School Council, Teaching and Learning Group, Race for the Line challenge and true resilience and perseverance to name but a few. We were also treated to musical performances from Bertie, Aimee and Eliza otherwise known as The Boppers and a dance performance from Ella. We finished by thanking staff who are leaving for the difference that they’ve made to Boroughbridge High School.

So as the final week of the year draws to a close I’d just like to say how much I’ve enjoyed writing the weekly Blog as it’s given me the opportunity to share the achievements of your children with you and enabled me to reflect weekly on what it is that makes Boroughbridge High School such a good place to work and learn.

I hope that you and your families have a lovely, restful Summer break.