Headteacher’s Blog: 19th July 2019

Last week ended noisily with an excellent performance of ‘We Will Rock You’. With 15 cast members and a substantial band the audience were subconsciously invited to relive their youth as the next generation sang all of our favourite Queen songs cleverly crafted into a dramatic narrative. Well done to all.

It was a beautiful sunny day on Tuesday as our students with top rewards points, boarded the coaches bound for Flamingo Land with the promise of rides and a zoo experience. Our thanks went to Harron Homes for paying for the coaches and, speaking to the students on their return, it was clear that a good time had been had by all. There were tales of Cliffhanger and Velocity along with sightings of giraffes, camels, hippos and yes, of course, flamingos! This is just one of the ways in which we reward students. In September, we’ll be adding to our Rewards strategy so watch this space.

Wednesday was our final Challenge Day of the year. Year 8 went on a historical journey visiting Helmsley and Rievaulx Abbey whilst Year 9 were involved in Healthy Lifestyles starting with their own, having a rounders tournament. They also learnt how to save lives using CPR as part of the British Heart Foundation Restart a Heart campaign. Year 10 were ‘Living Dangerously’, exploring possible risks that young people face and how to deal with them. They had input from the Police around keeping safe, explored social norms, discussed mental health and wellbeing and the impact of substance abuse along with participating in an LGBT workshop with Barnardo’s. Meanwhile, Year 11 arrived at school in business dress, ready to engage with a range of employers in a Speed Networking activity with the support of NYBEP. Ready with their wide ranging questions they discovered what different employers are looking for in employees along with the range of career options available to them. To follow up they created their own CV and personal statement. Sixth Form students were developing their own personal statements to be used for applying for University, apprenticeships and future employment.

Keeping up the challenge in RE this week, Mr. Woodward has been getting Year 8 to use their creative heads. He reports, ‘We’ve studied the character of the person of Jesus and explored modern artistic representations of his physical form. Students have debated why artists have depicted Jesus as, amongst other things, a gang member, a woman, a gay man, the Buddha, various races and also, oddly, Ronald McDonald. Having had some in-depth, and often abstract and analytic discussions students created their own images to metaphorically represent the person of Jesus as seen through the life events mentioned in the Gospels.’

So, as you can see, there’s no such thing as a slowing of pace in the final week of term!

As has become our custom at Boroughbridge High School, we finished the term today with a whole school assembly, bringing together the whole community in one space to celebrate our progress and achievements in the last year. With photo slideshows, form tutor and pastoral team awards, special awards and musical performances it was a great event culminating in the big reveal of the Sports Day winners. This obviously brings out great competition in both staff and students alike. So I can now reveal that the winners in each year group were 8JW, 9AS, 10SC and 11NC with a special award going to 9PK for being the best supporting team. They had banners and everything! There was also a very poignant moment in the assembly as we applauded staff who are leaving as a way of marking our thanks for the massive contribution that they’ve made to Boroughbridge High School.

And so another year comes to an end. It’s been an absolute pleasure for me to share in the Blog the weekly happenings and the achievements of your children at Boroughbridge High School. I hope that you and your families have a lovely summer break.


Headteacher’s Blog: 12th July 2019

There was magic in the air on Wednesday when Year 5 and 6 students from Great Ouseburn visited us for their Harry Potter day. After drama, creative writing and leaf tracing in the morning, they finished the day in DT making their very own wand with a special box to keep it in. Meanwhile, in another part of school, Year 5 students from Kirby Hill were completing their Inquiry day and watching a preview of ‘We Will Rock You’.

It was lovely to receive a letter from the North Yorkshire County Schools FA congratulating the Year 8 Football team on reaching the final of the ESFA Small School’s Cup. You can see it here.

Today has also been a day of sporting excellence as we’ve had field events this morning and track events this afternoon for Sports Day. There was a fantastic atmosphere as students competing were encouraged by the cheering crowds with points being secured for form totals. We’ll reveal the winning forms at our whole school assembly next Friday.

As part of our Quality Assurance processes, lesson observations have been taking place across the school over the past few weeks and we’ve observed classes with students of all ages from Year 8 to Year 13. It’s been great to see the level of focus and engagement of our students in these first few weeks of our new timetable and school year.

So, with five (well, actually 4 and a half) school days to go we’ve got a number of exciting events to look forward to next week. This includes the Rewards trip on Tuesday where students who’ve scored the highest points, and therefore have been consistent in their committed approach to learning over the last term, will be going to Flamingo Land for the day.  Our congratulations go to those students. Our thanks go to Harron Homes who presented us with a cheque for £500 this morning to pay for the coaches for the Rewards Trip.

On Wednesday, we’ll have our final Challenge Day of the year. It’s a big day for Year 11 who, dressed for business, will be meeting with employers from the local community with a focus on interviews. Year 8 will be enjoying the great outdoors at Helmsley and Rievaulx Abbey. Year 9 will be exploring Healthy Lifestyles and Year 10 will be learning how to keep themselves safe. Year 13 will be looking to the future as they begin the UCAS application process following their work experience last week. A somewhat packed day!

Our warmest congratulations go to Mrs Donnelly and her family on the birth of a baby girl. Both mother and baby are well.

Have a lovely weekend. I’m going to start mine by watching the performance of ‘We Will Rock You’ at 7pm in the School Hall. You’re very welcome to join me.

Headteacher’s Blog: 5th July 2019

It’s been a week of new beginnings as, on Wednesday, we welcomed our new Year 7 students for September and welcomed back our new Year 12 students who looked almost as nervous and somewhat less glamorous than they had a few evenings before when they’d celebrated at the Year 11 Prom. Oh, what a night that was! There was glitter, sparkles, glamour, sharp suits, sweeping dresses, lots of hugs, lots of laughter and great celebration. It was an absolute pleasure for staff to spend the evening with such a lovely group of young people and such a great way for them to end their formal time at BHS. We were not surprised to hear that they’d continued in a similar way at the much talked about After-Prom Party hosted by Tia. I thought I’d share the lovely e-mail from her Dad who said that ‘without exception they partied hard, but were extremely pleasant, polite and fun to hang out with. They were all a credit to themselves, to their parents, to you, to your staff, and the school!’

We’ve also welcomed Year 5 students from Staveley Community Primary School and Dishforth Airfield Primary School for our Year 5 BHS experience days this week. They took part in an Inquiry Day where they solved Maths puzzles, carried out computer programming, took on Sports challenges and recreated ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ in Music demonstrating great resilience and skill.

Meanwhile, GCSE Geographers have been in the Yorkshire Dales, collecting primary data to investigate and evaluate the impact of tourism on Malham.

You may remember that I mentioned the Race for the Line competition last week but, at that time, the results were unknown. Well, they’re now in! The winning car went at 101 mph but sadly it wasn’t ours! But with double the number of schools entering this year, and 60 schools in the final, we were very proud to be fourth with a speed of 94.39 mph, only losing out on a trophy by 0.1 of a millisecond!

So today has been the last of our three Year 6 Induction Days and we’ve had a great week. Students now know their way around the school, who their teachers are, who to go to for help and, very importantly, how to get their dinner in the Dining Hall! We hope they enjoy their final few days in primary school and will look forward to seeing them in September.

A reminder that Thursday (11th July) is a Professional Development Day, when students do not attend school. As you’ll be aware, we do this to coincide the Great Yorkshire Show so that you can take your children if you wish to.

You’re very welcome to join us next Friday at 7pm in the School Hall for a performance of ‘We Will Rock You’. Tickets will be available on the door.


Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 28th June 2019

On Wednesday, Mrs Wellock along with Year 10 students, Phoebe, Amara, Rebecca, Ella, Isabel H, Isobel M, Hollie, Emily, Abi, Clarissa, Poppy and Isabelle S set off for York University for a day immersed in English. Students attended a range of workshops delivered by the PGCE trainees including using forensic linguistics to solve the case of a death on the campus; thinking about storytelling over time (How did people tell stories in the past without writing? How might a story change when it is retold? What are the earliest forms of the written word?); fairy tales and literary theory (Do fairy tales influence society or does society influence fairy tales?) and didactic theatre. Whilst they still have a little time to go, they were encouraged to think about the possibility of studying English at A-Level and beyond. Mrs Wellock reported that the students were brilliant, displaying exemplary behaviour and a real willingness to step out of their comfort zones.

As they were departing from school, we were welcoming our Australian visitors. Mr Inglis, through his STEM work has developed a link with Cumberland High School in New South Wales and we were delighted to welcome staff and students. After a visit to Kirby Hill Primary School, students had the opportunity to participate in lessons at BHS before carrying out their own Science experiments. The day ended with a barbecue and talk of the Conference at York University the following day. So, on Thursday morning with resources at the ready, the team set off to meet up with our Australian visitors for their presentations in York. Just in case you are wondering, that’s a bee!


Meanwhile down in Duxford, Dr Lefley and his Year 8 team were competing in the Race for the Line finals. After extensive planning, use of the hot wire cutter and much enthusiasm, the car was ready for competition. The result is yet to be announced!

Out in the community last week some of our students were performing in Bugsy Malone whilst this week our musicians will be performing on Saturday at Nun Monkton Village Feast Day between 2 and 2.40pm. My apologies go to Madi (Year 8), one of the stars of Bugsy who I omitted to mention in the Blog last week.

It’s National School Sport Week and the focus of the Five Ways to Wellbeing has also been the focus of assemblies this week. We’ve explored each of the ways identifying what it might mean to us individually and actions we can take to look after both our physical and mental health.

Thanks to The Crown for being an excellent venue last Friday for the Year 13 Leavers’ Meal. We had a lovely meal and it was a great opportunity for thanks and wishing all well for the future. This Friday we’ll be at The Bridge Inn for the Year 11 Prom.

We’ve got another busy week ahead and are looking forward to welcoming Year 6 into our school community when they visit us for their Induction Days from Wednesday to Friday. Exciting times!

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 21st June 2019

Our 2019-2020 academic year is now underway and we’ve had an excellent week with students showing renewed focus approaching a new timetable, new subjects and new teachers with enthusiasm.

But if your child was disappointed not to be taught by Mr Cockerill today, then let me explain. Mr Cockerill was not only attending the NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) conference but he’ll also be sharing his literary passion by presenting a workshop on ‘Teaching Creative Writing of Narrative through moving image’ so that teachers and students from across the country can benefit from his creativity. He’ll be back in action at BHS on Monday.

Whilst we’re on the English theme, Mrs Wellock (formerly Miss Stonehouse!) and her Carnegie Book Club are working their way through the Carnegie award shortlist. If you’d like to join them, you can find the shortlist here. https://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php.  I’m told that ‘Bone Talk’ is a particular favourite.

Moving from national to international, on Wednesday, Mr Inglis and his research team will be welcoming staff and students from Australia who will be visiting Kirby Hill Primary School to discuss the joint STEM project which we’ve been working on before visiting lessons at BHS, carrying out scientific experiments and concluding with a sociable barbecue. You can read more about the work that they’ve been doing in the Gatsby research paper which you can find at this link http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/146914/.  We feature on page 21.

Closer to home you may see Morgan (Year 8), Bella (Year 9), Jess (Year 9) and Abi (Year 10) treading the boards this weekend as part of the Boroughbridge Hightimers’ Production of Bugsy Malone. We’ll be able to see them in action in ‘We Will Rock You’ in a few weeks’ time at BHS.

Our community is also getting ready to welcome the UCI Road World Championships in September. Our first contribution to the event will be to get our needles clicking to knit jerseys to create bunting to be displayed along the route and around the town. If you’d like to get involved then click https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UONLA45YZ1DTcYIvjEJwfoA2QK7-3uXE/view  for the knitting pattern and further information. Our community contact is Hazel Goss. Give her a call on 01423 323123 if you’d like some wool to get started.

Part of our mission at Boroughbridge High School is to ensure that students develop ‘the skills and confidence to make an active contribution to the communities to which they belong’ and, as you can see, they demonstrate this daily!

So as the new academic year was starting for many, Year 13 were completing their final exams. Well done, Year 13, you did it! We’re having their Leavers’ Meal at The Crown tonight to celebrate.

Finally, you are warmly invited (parents and students) to visit the Art Department, Room A21, on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June from 4-6pm to view the GCSE and A-Level Art and Photography work. Prepare to be impressed.

Have a lovely weekend.


Headteacher’s Blog: 14th June 2019

Well, what a week for weather. Hard to believe that this time last year we were enjoying, or enduring, temperatures of over 25 degrees. Still it was perfect for canoeing as demonstrated by Year 9 on their Bewerley Park trip.  On Tuesday morning almost 50 students boarded the bus for their outdoor experience. We’ve had daily photos from Mr Grierson showing the range of exciting activities taking place which you can find on the front page of the website. If you’ve ever wondered about students’ resilience then wonder no more. They’ve been canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking and gorge walking, orienteering and taking a ‘leap of faith’. Well done Year 9 and thanks to Mr Grierson, Mr Collings, Miss Cummins, Miss Rayner and Mr Johnstone for taking students on the trip.

Novelty cakes have been the focus for Year 8 Food Technology lessons. The creativity demonstrated has been most impressive and included elephants, unicorns, strawberries, butterflies and handbags. I’m sure that there have been some tasty teatimes.

Today has been an exciting day for Year 11 (and Year 10!) as the final GCSE exam has taken place. I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise how superb their approach has been to the whole exam season. They’ve been exemplary in their punctuality, attitude and conduct. Thanks for your support too. You all deserve to have a restful weekend! Thanks also to Mrs Johnstone, our Exams’ Officer, who works tirelessly to ensure that the exams run smoothly and that students get the support that they need.

And so, as we look forward to next week, it’s Happy New Year for Boroughbridge High School as we ‘flip’ our timetable forward so that Year 10 move into Year 11, Year 9 into Year 10 and so on. Not only does this help us to maintain focus in the final weeks of the Summer Term, it gives students in Years 10, 11 and 13 more than 20 hours of GCSE or A-Level learning time before the Summer break.

Have a lovely weekend.


Headteacher’s Blog: 7th June 2019

With climate change currently a hot topic in the news, it was great to welcome eighteen Year 6 students from Kirby Hill Primary School to take part in practical activities with Mr Inglis as part of the Polar Explorer cross phase project. The focus of their investigation? The science of climate change! They produced a chromatogram of the earth’s atmosphere, discussed glacial movement and why we should be concerned about it, investigated the effects of the increasing acidity of our seas due to increased levels of carbon dioxide and investigated the effects of acidity in seashells. The work will be continued when they get back to their own school.

Meanwhile, on one of my regular walks around school, I came across a Year 7 Science class who were teaching themselves about climate change! Loucia took to the floor and presented her carefully constructed research around climate change whilst being asked questions from her peers. Keiran asked a very pertinent question ‘Which is worse, plastic finding its way to the sea or being burnt and releasing carbon dioxide?’ Perhaps one for you to have a weekend ponder about. Year 7 were going to discuss it in more detail later in the lesson.

Year 9 will have an exciting weekend of packing ahead as many of them are going to Bewerley Park on Tuesday. We’re hoping to show a daily photo on the website so that you can see what they’re up to.

In Showjumping success this week, Imogen in Year 7 won the northern Bronze league gaining the highest number of points in the country for the 148cm ponies (16 years and under riders). Congratulations Imogen.

Advance warning that our production of ‘We Will Rock You’ will take place on Friday 12th July from 7-9p.m.

Finally, best wishes to Mrs Donnelly who goes off on maternity leave today. From Monday, Mrs Godsell-Wright will be stepping in to look after Year 10 and Mrs Williams will be looking after Year 9.

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 24th May 2019

Well it’s been an emotional rollercoaster of a week! A-Level and GCSE exams have continued apace and on Wednesday morning, as Year 11 were avidly revising for their Science exam in the afternoon, excitement was mounting for the Year 8 football team and their many supporters. Kitted out in their new numbered shirts sponsored by ‘2 h Storage Solutions’, the team made their way to the ground in the school minibus closely followed by the coach of supporters. So imagine the scene, the Hawthorns, the spectators, the atmosphere then walking out on to the pitch were Claremont School (worth a google) followed by Team BHS for the final of a national competition! How many of you are imagining how you would have felt to play in a national final at such a prestigious location at their age?

It soon became clear that we were up against very strong opposition but our team got stuck in and played with energy and determination, demonstrating that they’d taken on the advice of Aaron Williams (Harrogate Town AFC) to never give up. The BHS supporters were there every step of the way singing ‘Boroughbridge’ in the style of the 90s ‘Vindaloo’ football chant. There were many highlights along the way including Will’s strike which hit the goal post, Harry’s passing skills and Alex’s phenomenal goalkeeping.  The BHS team played a committed game until the final whistle was blown. We’d lost the match but still had medals to collect to mark the great achievement of reaching the final and being runners up.

Up in the VIP box a governor and I had a half time conversation with the ESFA officials who revealed that our goalkeeper, Alex, was the best that they’d seen over the two days (that’s 12 matches with students of differing ages) so it was no surprise to see him awarded a unique special recognition award, never given before, for his goalkeeping excellence before runner up medals were presented.

So we’d gone from being 1 of 127 teams from across the country at the beginning of the tournament to being runners-up. We’re so proud of our team for reaching the final and for playing such a good match, representing Boroughbridge High School in the most positive of ways.

In the post-match interview Head of PE, oops I mean Manager, Simon Collings said ‘I’m super proud. The boys have done exceptionally well.’ He speaks for us all.

You can watch the full thing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to69iW8nF18 (from 8hrs 21)

The team with their runner up medals

On Thursday following the English Literature exam, Year 11 carried out the annual shirt signing leaving ritual. With signatures, inspiring messages for the future and the occasional diagram that it’s best I don’t mention, shirts soon became fully decorated. The Leavers’ Assembly was the focus for the afternoon with poignant words from Form tutors, certificates celebrating both the serious and amusing, performances from Bertie, photos spanning the last five years and messages of best wishes for the future. Some students then had a final game of football whilst others enjoyed the afternoon sun. A very happy sad moment. We’ve got around two more weeks of exams then we can all celebrate our time together at BHS at the Prom.

Year 13 were also saying their farewells to staff and other students at Cake Friday, marking the start of their study leave.

It’s been a short but momentous half term. I hope that you and your families have a lovely break.


Headteacher’s Blog: 17th May 2019

Years 7 and 8 were our focus on Monday when Mr Grierson and I carried out a number of learning walks. We saw it all, from an experiment and write-up to Educake revision in Science. Mathematicians were thinking of the future as they calculated interest instalments to determine whether they could buy a Fiesta or a Ferrari. In Geography, students were exploring local maps to locate tourist attractions, once they’d found their own house, of course! Meanwhile, co-construction of descriptive writing was at the fore as students got lost in the maze of a rainforest in English or showed empathy for novel characters. Up in RE, students were timed as they completed sentences describing the characteristics of God. A challenging questioning session then provoked deeper thought. Artists were exploring art genres before beginning their own artwork whilst also discussing the suspicion around new art forms until they become more familiar. So, if you asked your children what they’d done at school and they said ‘Nothing’, don’t you believe it.

In Assemblies, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Mr Grierson shared the World Health Organisation fact that mental illness affects 1 in 4 people. Students were reminded of the importance of talking about mental health and seeking help when needed. Staff at Boroughbridge High School have all received Compass BUZZ training with the aim of strengthening the mental health and well-being of the children and young people in our care.

Well done to Years 10, 11 and 13 this week for their focused approach to their exams.  With one week completed there are only 3 more exam weeks (and a half term week!) to go. Spirits were lifted this morning when Year 11 received their Leavers’ hoodies, a very strong tradition at Boroughbridge High School.

So, we’re hurtling towards the big one, the final of the ESFA Boys Under 13 PlayStation Small Schools’ Trophy at the Hawthorns Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. We’re all looking forward to watching the match and wish Alex, Harry, Josh, Nathan, Archie, Ryan, Matt, Harry, Will, Adam, Keane, Reuben, Monty and Dan the very best of luck.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 10th May 2019

Following a lovely long weekend, Years 10 and 11 returned to their Art exam this week and, with the French speaking exams last week, the exam season has now officially begun. Not surprisingly, there’s lots of revision taking place in and outside of lessons with teachers and students alike keeping their focus on the weeks ahead. Year 11 parents will have received a letter about Study Leave and a quick reminder for parents of students in Years 10 and 11 that you can access your child’s exam timetable on My Child at School and general information about the exam period shared at the Parent Information Evening can be found at the following link http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/parents/educational-updates/.

Assemblies this week have focused on Ramadan, the holiest month of the year for Muslims where they fast from food and drink during the sunlit hours as a means of learning self-control, gratitude and compassion for those less fortunate. Students were asked to think both about the discipline involved and the commitment it takes before being asked to consider the questions, ‘What can you improve over the next month?’ and ‘Can you do anything to help someone less fortunate than you?’

Last night parents, teachers, governors and students assembled in the Hall for the Summer Concert. It was a total treat to hear an eclectic mix from Elvis to Elbow with performances by Constantly Vocal, Polarised, the Choir and vocal duets alongside soloists Jack (Piano), Eliza (Violin), Dan (Trumpet) and Bertie (Keyboard). To bring the concert to a rousing conclusion, Mr Grierson and Mrs Helmn joined the musicians, including Mrs Webb, and choir on the stage to sing ‘One Day Like This’. An excellent evening all round and thanks go to Mrs Skilbeck.

Looking ahead, an advance reminder that students do not attend school on our Professional Development Day on Thursday 11th July. Please note that, similarly to last year, this date was chosen to coincide with the final day of the Great Yorkshire Show to enable you to take your child without them missing school. Please note therefore that requests for absence to attend on Tuesday 9th or Wednesday 10th will not be approved.

Have a good weekend.