Headteacher’s Blog: 15th March 2019

‘When did Comic Relief start?’ was one of the questions asked in assemblies this week before students explored how money has been raised over the years, what it’s been used for and what they can do to raise money. Our contribution has included numerous cake sales and, as you’ll be well aware, we’re having a non-uniform day today. The total collected so far is £511.65. Thanks everyone.

Year 9 have been thinking about their futures over the past few weeks and on Wednesday evening had the opportunity to discuss their Option choices with their parents and teachers. We’re pleased to be able to offer a wide and rich curriculum with our overall aim to ensure that all students leave our school, not only with the qualifications they need to access the next stage of their education or career of choice, but with the skills and confidence to make an active contribution to the communities to which they belong. So, Year 9 have a few more days to do their thinking before Options Forms are due in on Thursday 21st March. Parental feedback gathered during the evening will be shared on the school website.

In lessons this week Year 9 have been doing preparatory work for their Yorkshire pudding making next week whilst Year 8 Scientists were reminding themselves that their 5-a-day means a full complement of pen, pencil, ruler, rubber and calculator! Looking at the 5-a-day of the usual kind were Year 8 students in Food Technology where Chinese cuisine was being cooked with great expertise. Meanwhile, Year 7 have continued to read following the Accelerated Reader programme and making great progress whilst Year 11 have been completing Science mock exams and reflecting on their recently completed Maths exam paper, working out what they need to do to improve.

A final reminder that it’s a Professional Development Day on Wednesday 20th March when students do not attend school.

We may see some of you on Sunday when we’ve been kindly invited to the Civic Ceremony by the Mayor and Mayoress of Boroughbridge at St James’s Church. Representing the school with me will be Head Girl, Niamh and Year 11 prefect, Ruby.

Comic Relief started in 1985 with the first Red Nose Day in 1988. I know, just where has that time gone!?

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 8th March 2019

We’re taking part in the Big Battery Hunt this year in order to do our bit for the environment by recycling batteries. Students in Years 7 to 9 have a battery recycling box ready for filling or you can send your used batteries in to School Reception. 4 million batteries were collected across the nation last year so let’s hope our contribution will help to beat that.

There was an air of focus at Year 13 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday as teachers, students and parents discussed required actions in the coming weeks to secure maximum success. There are literally only 9 weeks until Year 13 students go on Study Leave with exams starting on 13th May. But the next few weeks won’t all be about work with students having a trip to London including a visit to the Houses of Parliament on 27th March.

Parents of Years 10 and 11 were hearing about the rules and regulations for the forthcoming exam season at the Parent Forum on Thursday evening. From the requirement of a transparent pencil case to leaving your mobile outside of the Exam Hall, parents were given details to help them to support their children through the exam session. If you weren’t able to attend the session then the PowerPoint presentation containing the information can be found on the parent section of the website under ‘Educational Updates’.

Mr Grierson’s assemblies this week for Years 7 to 10 have focused on World Book day whilst Year 11 have been thinking about effective ways to revise.

Next week’s events include Year 9 Options Evening on Wednesday 13th March at 5pm. We’ll start with a talk in the Hall before moving to subject discussions. Parents of Year 9 should have already received the Options booklet so that you have time to study it in advance of the evening.

A reminder that Wednesday 20th March is a Professional Development Day when students do not attend school and I’m sure that your children need no reminder that next Friday is a non-uniform day to raise money for Comic Relief.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 15th February 2019

Creative writing was the theme of the Year 7 and 8 Assembly this week, with students being alerted to the ‘500 Words’ Radio 2 competition. The challenge? To pen an original story about anything at all that is no longer than 500 words. We listened to a previous winner for inspiration. So, if your children have a spare afternoon over half term then further details can be found here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00rfvk1

Assemblies for other year groups focused on the video ‘Shift Happens’ outlining the dynamic nature of the world and the changes that technological advances can bring. With facts like the amount of data that exists doubles every two years and many of today’s most in-demand jobs didn’t exist 10 years ago, students got a glimpse of what their future working life may hold. We finished with a reminder of the importance of taking every opportunity possible in preparation.

Talking of futures, we were delighted this week to receive official notification that we have been awarded The National Quality in Careers Standard for Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG).  This is in recognition of the high standard of our careers provision, also evidenced in our destinations data which can be found on the website.

As part of our Post-16 partnership with King James’s School, some of our Year 11 students went across on Wednesday to experience the A Levels that will be taught there. Their thoughts of life beyond GCSEs will hopefully help to motivate them in the coming months in the lead up to their exams.

Thanks to the Year 7 parents and carers who attended Parents’ Evening on Wednesday. There were lots of smiling faces on the way out, reinforced by the questionnaire feedback which showed that 100% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child has settled in well to school and is enjoying lessons. Full feedback from the questionnaire will appear on the Parents section of the website soon.

It’s the turn of Year 9 to have their exams next week. As they’ll be choosing options and starting their GCSEs later on this year, it’s important that they experience the unique conditions of the exam hall. This means that, following their exam week, they (and you!) should be able to have a restful half term! If you need another exam timetable, you can find it here.


Events next week include Open Mic night in the Music block from 5-6pm on Thursday 21st. All are welcome. Looking ahead, for parents and carers of students in Years 10 and 11, we have an Exams Information Parent Forum on Thursday 7th March at 6pm.

Finally, we’re creating a butterfly garden in our wildlife area. If you have a Buddleia and would be happy to share a cutting, I’m reliably informed that you can take a hard wood cutting now or a soft wood cutting in Spring. Any donations will be gratefully received.

Well then, I’ve achieved my target – a Blog in exactly 500 words!

Enjoy the weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 8th February 2019

Tuesday lunchtime saw a large group of students of differing year groups gathering outside the Library at the picnic benches. In the centre was Mr Inglis with a large bottle of fizzy drink who, after an engaging explanation, demonstrated the force of an erupting volcano! This was careful preparation for a visit to Marton cum Grafton Primary School on Thursday afternoon where Lily helped Mr Inglis to demonstrate quick and slow crystal formation before Verity and Aimee-Leigh demonstrated the aforementioned erupting volcanoes using bottles of fizzy drink and pimentos. Finally, Morgan singlehandedly demonstrated tectonic plate movement using a jar of treacle and biscuit continents! A good time was had by all. Well done Year 7!

It was a day of options for Year 9 on Wednesday when they experienced a 20 minute introduction to each of the option subjects during a Taster Day. The purpose was to give them more information to support their decision making over the coming weeks as they consider their GCSE subject choices. We’re really pleased with the varied curriculum that we’re able to offer students and our ‘Stage not Age’ approach which means that students complete two of their GCSEs in Year 10. Further information about Options will be published after half term before the Year 9 Parents’/Options’ Evening on Wednesday 13th March.

With the exam countdown well on the way, we’ll be advertising for exam invigilators on our website very soon.

This morning, Year 11 students heard of post-exam opportunities from the Flying Futures team whose mission is ‘Committed to empowering young people and their communities to make a difference and improve lives.’ Students learnt about the National Citizenship Service and how they can get involved over their extended summer holiday. There are four parts to the Service; Adventure, Discover, Action and Celebration. More information can be found here https://flyingfutures.org/service/national-citizen-service/

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to a petition to increase funding for schools which is currently gaining substantial support across the country. The petition, at the time of writing has 62,255 signatures and at 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in Parliament. I would encourage you to sign in support. It can be found at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/232220.

It’s Year 7 Parents’ Evening next Wednesday from 4-6.30pm. I’m sure that some conversations will mention the mini quiches that have been produced in vast quantities in Food Tech this week; ‘Holes’ which has been read and much discussed in English; and 4 and 6 figure grid references which have been learnt and demonstrated in Geography.

Enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 1st February 2019

Wednesday saw Year 11 students and their parents flowing into the Main Hall to hear about the choices that lie ahead for them Post-16 at Boroughbridge High School. Mrs Town, Head of Sixth Form, started with an introduction in the Hall before everyone moved across to the Sixth Form Centre to visit the Study Room and Common Room and talk to teachers and students about which subjects they would like to take. We’re excited to be moving into our second year of

Post-16 partnership with King James’s School, Knaresborough which enables us to provide a wider curriculum offer for our students and we were delighted to welcome Mr O’Hara, Head of Sixth Form at King James’s School, to answer questions about the subjects that are taught there. If you weren’t able to attend and would like a prospectus please e-mail schooladmin@boroughbridgehigh.com or view the online version which can be found here http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/post-16/

Students can look forward to lessons similar to those experienced by our Sixth Form students this week. This has included Year 13 Biologists studying peas! Well, to be a little more precise, they were exploring the laws of Mendelian inheritance established following Mendel’s pea plant experiments conducted between 1856 and 1863. Over in Physics, students were looking at the components of an AC generator, creating annotated diagrams.

Year 13 Historians were refining their exam technique by deconstructing and planning answers for exam questions on topics they studied more than a year ago: Politics, Society and Foreign Policy. They have a Study day at York University to look forward to next week where, along with enhancing their coursework research, they’ll be experiencing their proposed future life at University!

Complex issues are at the fore for Religious Studies students who, having just finished work on how various moral philosophies apply to the issues of environmental care and animal welfare, will begin to grapple with the conditions which make warfare just and legal. Meanwhile, for the other part of their course, they’ll be looking at the problem of evil and whether it is possible to reconcile the idea of an all loving and all powerful God in a world with so much evil.

Year 12 Geographers have been mentally travelling to Los Angeles and The Philippines to construct their case studies of multi-hazard environments whilst also developing their skill in answering the not insubstantial 20 mark exam questions. Meanwhile, Year 13 Geographers are completing their Individual Studies, based on a topic of their choice which they’ve researched independently, which makes up 20% of their A Level. They’ve just finished units on water and carbon cycles in the tropical rainforest and developed London as a Case Study.

In Maths, students have been looking at modelling statistical distributions using the normal distribution whilst Photography students, following weeks of focused work, have been putting together their final pieces. The effectiveness of drug therapies in the treatment of schizophrenia has been examined by Year 13 Psychologists.

During this week, seven Year 12 students have travelled across to Knaresborough to study Business, Biology, Chemistry, ICT, Media Studies and Politics at King James’s School.

Alongside their A-Levels, students are encouraged to take on an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) or CeFS (Financial Studies) qualification where, this week, students have been looking at long term savings and investments including stocks, shares, property, pensions and life assurance.

Mr Grierson has been discussing ‘Fake News’ in assemblies this week, challenging students to apply critical thinking to information that they relentlessly receive through social media. His advice is always to consider the key questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

So, in the summer, when A-Level exam results are published and there’s a suggestion that A- Levels are becoming less rigorous, I’ll let you decide whether it’s ‘Fake News’. Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 25th January 2019

Students have been entering the Assembly Hall to the sound of Aretha Franklin singing, yes you guessed it, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Following on from last week’s Standards Assembly, Mrs Godsell-Wright has been reminding students of how their comprehension that we all have different skills and qualities, along with empathy for others, leads to a respectful team.

On my visits to Key Stage 3 classrooms this week, I’ve seen a plethora of challenging activities and engaged students. In Maths, Year 7 have grappled with mathematical equations to construct two-way tables along with quite literally, getting their bearings. In other areas of the school, students were performing their improvised sketches in Drama and producing a layered drawing in Art. Up in Science, I was invited to Mr Inglis’ Year 8 class to discuss a topic which, being a geographer, I’m very interested in – waste management! Students were keen to know not only how much waste we produce at BHS but also the plans that we have to reduce our production of waste. They’re currently working towards their Crest Award and, in advance of their visit to the Allerton Waste Recovery Park on Thursday, students have been investigating the impact of using palm oil, the advantages of electric cars and how 1 kg of plastic can produce 1 litre of oil. Thanks to AWRP for accommodating our trip and their interesting session aptly named ‘Rubbish isn’t Rubbish!’ Meanwhile, if you want to know why people choose to live near active volcanoes with all of their obvious hazards then just ask a Year 9 geographer!

Thanks to Year 10 parents who attended Parents’ Evening on Wednesday where students’ progress was discussed along with key actions to improve performance in the coming months. Year 10, of course, sit two of their GCSE options this year so the next few months are critical. It’s worth knowing that last week, at Year 11 Parents’ Evening, 40% of parents agreed that ‘The stage not age (doing 2 GCSEs in Year 10) has helped prepare them (students) better for their GCSE exams this Summer.’ with 48% strongly agreeing. Thanks for completing the questionnaires which we use to evaluate our practice and to identify changes needed for further improvement. All responses to the Parents’ Evening feedback questionnaires are published on our website at http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/parents/parental-feedback/

Just as this Blog is popping into your Inbox, students with full Rewards points are clambering from their coach, having spent a happy few hours at the ice rink in Bradford for the first Rewards trip of this academic year. This is just one of the many ways in which we celebrate success. Last week, Mrs Godsell-Wright held Celebration breakfast buffets for the students in Years 8 and 9 who had made the most progress since the previous Progress Review Point.

We’ve got another busy week ahead. On Tuesday Evening, from 6-7pm, Mr Grierson will be leading a session for parents of boys in Years 10 and 11 as part of our strategy to support boys in bucking the national and BHS trend of girls outperforming boys. Students are welcome to come along too. On Wednesday, it’s our Sixth Form Open Evening from 6.30-8pm starting in the Main Hall.

As the temperatures have dropped this week, students have taken a much greater interest in the weather forecast. However, according to the Met Office, rumours of snow have been greatly exaggerated! Maybe next week!

Enjoy your weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 18th January 2019

On a dark but unseasonably warm Monday morning, Years 10 and 11 were transported forward to Thursday 23rd August and handed their GCSE exam results, based upon their recent Progress Exams. There were murmurs of delight but also some sighs of disappointment. Students were then brought back to 14th January as Mr Grierson reminded them of the opportunity that they have over the next few months to work hard in order to gain grades that they’ll be proud of and which will enable them to access their next step. Further conversations took place at the very well attended Year 11 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday. A reminder that we’ll look forward to welcoming Year 11 students and their parents to our Sixth Form Open Evening on Wednesday 30th January from 6.30 – 8p.m.

Year 10 students and their parents will have the opportunity to have similar discussions about their progress at Parents’ Evening next Wednesday (23rd) from 4-6.30p.m.

Talking of next steps, on Wednesday, we were delighted to welcome the York Army Careers Adviser who came to talk to Year 11 students about the wide range of careers and entry requirements for all of the services and how to apply to the Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College in Loughborough which focuses on STEM courses.  Angie Rainbow, our Careers Adviser said ‘It was both interesting and inspiring to discover the wider range of opportunities available to our students at the post-16 stage in their education.’

Sporting success this week has included Year 8 footballers winning their match against Harrogate Grammar School in the first round of the Harrogate and Craven cup. It was a thrilling match with the Boroughbridge High School team finally winning on penalties. Meanwhile, the Year 9 basketball team were Area runners up. Well done to both teams!

The January Governing Board meeting took place on Thursday evening when our newly elected Parent Governor, Emma Lonsdale, was welcomed. Items on the agenda included an update on Teaching and Learning and a review of Consequences data. You can find out more about our Governing Board at http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/about-us/governors/

Assemblies this week for all year groups have focused on our Boroughbridge High School standards, reinforcing that safe and happy students are successful. Students were reminded of how our standards around maximising learning time, behaviour both inside and beyond the classroom and uniform enable us to operate effectively as a community.

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 11th January 2019

Happy New Year! Whilst the Christmas break may now feel like a distant memory, I hope that you had a good holiday and my very best wishes for 2019.

We’ve had a focused start to the Spring Term with Progress exams for Year 13 who are also rapidly advancing towards the deadline for their UCAS applications with some having already received offers. Meanwhile, some Key Stage 4 students have been completing BTEC exams. According to the sign on Mr Woodward’s board, there are only 84 school days to the first RE exam which also happens to be on the first day of the Summer exam season so the countdown begins. Year 11 students and their parents will have the opportunity to talk about their progress at Parents’ Evening on Wednesday evening (16th) before identifying what they need to do in the coming months to continue to improve. We’ll also give out a leaflet on that evening outlining information and events that will take place to help you to support your children.

Assemblies this week, led by Mrs Town, have focused on what it means to be part of a community and our responsibility to act in a supportive way towards one another. A reminder was given that no form of bullying will be tolerated and that students can speak to any member of staff if they are worried about someone else or if they are unhappy about the way they are being treated themselves.

If your Sunday evenings wouldn’t be the same without BBC1’s Countryfile, then you may have noticed former student Will Somerville last weekend alongside Adam Henson. The programme focused on the work of vets. Will, who attended Boroughbridge High School from 2000 to 2007 before studying at Nottingham University, works for The George Farm Vets in Malmesbury. What an achievement.

You can read more about him here https://www.georgevetgroup.co.uk/farm-vets/farm-team/

We’ve welcomed Mr Fibla into the Maths Department to replace Mr Bains this week.

Finally, for Year 11 parents, a date for your diary. Our Sixth Form Open Evening is on Wednesday 30th January from 6-8pm. Further details will follow.

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 21st December 2018

If your assumption is that the pace slows in the week leading up to the Christmas holidays, then you’d be wrong. It’s been as busy and focused as ever!

Wednesday was Challenge Day and involved all students doing something different. Year 7 were exploring different charities and coming up with ideas of how to raise money for their chosen charity. I’m looking forward to the cake sales ahead. Year 8 had the pleasure of travelling up to Co. Durham to Beamish Open Air Museum. Miss Whiles reported that ‘Year 8 experienced life in the 1900s. They visited the dentist, ordered over the counter from the confectionery and even went down the mine. Needless to say even they decided school looked a better alternative at 14!’ Year 9 were exploring future possibilities with the theme of Choice and Aspiration. Mrs Rainbow reported that ‘They met university Ambassadors, looked at regional job market data, careers websites and practised research skills with the Careers Adviser.  All students received a workbook – Step Ahead – which they took home to share with parents.  This challenge day sits perfectly in the school calendar to support students in making their GCSE option choices next term.’ Year 10 were fully engaged in a film festival, creating a presentation around Personal, Social and Health Education which they then delivered to Year 7 classes at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Year 11 were engaged in ‘A new challenge’. Students selected their focus with activities ranging from Christmas baking to mural making and fundraising to zombie movie creating. Mr Woodward reports that ‘Wednesday was cold, foggy and wet as Year 11 embarked on their ‘Nature Day’ challenges but not even the weather could dampen their spirits as they made their way around the school site, using orienteering maps, to find equipment they’d need later in the day (whilst tied together with rope ‘for teambuilding purposes’ and, maybe, to give the teachers a laugh). Having collected tents, water, fire steels, cotton wool and marshmallows, etc. they had to cross the “Chasm of Doom” (well, a muddy field) without touching the floor, using their equipment in ingenious ways to transport them safely across. Having safely bridged the “Chasm” it was on to erecting tents…whilst blindfolded. The morning session ended with all teams collecting dry firewood (no mean feat after days of rain) and using their fire steels and cotton wool to get a warm fire going and boiling up enough water for a drink.

The afternoon saw a falconry display by J&C Falconry of Knaresborough where students got to have a close encounter with a Harris Hawk, a Barn Owl, a Great Horned Owl and (everyone’s favourite) a Snowy Owl. Jack from J&C Falconry gave us an excellent talk about each of the birds and we only managed to lose one bird of prey which, thankfully, Jack managed to recover from a nearby field as a young Kestrel went rogue searching for food. Well done to all of the Y11s who took part and threw themselves into all the challenges they were set!

Mrs Godsell-Wright and her Year 11 team were thinking of others as they made fantastic hampers for the homeless in the morning and then, in the afternoon, went across to Morrison’s to complete a bag pack. They raised £305 which has enabled them to purchase three Crisis

Christmas places and three Salvation Army Christmas places along with donating over £100 to the Harrogate Homeless Project.

Miss Rodgers was involved with the mural making and here it is, designed by Calista in Year 13, and created by eight Y11 students working in collaboration with four Year 13 students. In real life, it’s even more amazing.

Over in the Sixth Form, students met a PhD student studying Psychology. She talked about the important topic of managing stress.  In the afternoon Yorkshire Bank presented on finance, budgeting and opening suitable bank accounts.  The two topics linked well as, as it was pointed out, poorly managing our finances can cause much stress and mental health worries.

We’d started the week with Years 7 and 8 going down to St James’ church for their Carol Service. With Mrs Skilbeck and Mrs Godsell-Wright coordinating the proceedings, we were treated to carols accompanied by the school choir, string quartet and Bertie on the piano. Some students then did readings demonstrating real confidence. We finished with a rousing rendition of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’.

Our annual Awards Evening took place on Thursday. Streaming through the doors were students both past and present, parents, governors and representatives from the local community. Head boy, Callum and Head Girl, Niamh led the proceedings which began with an accomplished performance from Bertie on piano and Ewan on guitar. Following my review of the year in which there has been much to celebrate, our guest speaker, Kev Stannard MBE RAF addressed the audience, sharing his interesting route resulting in him being awarded an MBE for services to STEM education. Not only did he inspire the audience but we’re also delighted that he’s going to be working with BHS on future STEM activities. Certificates and trophies were then awarded to many students whilst their families and teachers looked on proudly. A true celebration of success in all of its forms.

And so to the final day of term. The corridors have been looking particularly jolly today with students dressed in Christmas jumpers. We celebrated the end of our successful year with a whole school assembly. Form Tutor heroes were identified and certificates awarded, Christmas door competition winners revealed and a musical performance or two from

Mr Grierson. We finished with a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, Boroughbridge style. We also say goodbye to Mrs Wray today and thank her for the significant contribution that she’s made. We wish her well in her new post.

So as 2018 draws to a close, we have much to celebrate at Boroughbridge High School and much to look forward to in 2019. I know I’ve said this before but the partnership of students, school and home is critical to success so thank you for your ongoing support. I hope that you and your families have a restful and peaceful Christmas and I look forward to working with you in 2019.


Headteacher’s Blog: 14th December 2018

Our week at Boroughbridge High School in numbers

1.3m food parcels were distributed last year. Some of Year 11 will be making their own contribution by putting parcels together with your kind donations on Challenge Day next Wednesday.

1803 Progress exam papers put out on desks and completed by Years 10 and 11

£1000 raised at the Christmas Fair

264 students and their families invited to Awards Evening next Thursday

164 students whose parents can view their records on My Child at School. Contact djohnstone@boroughbridgehigh.com if you haven’t yet got your log-in.

161 Christmas dinners served, crackers pulled and party hats worn

115 tutor periods

80 parents, carers, relatives and staff enjoyed 32 students’ high quality performances in a yuletide celebration of Music and Drama in ‘A Christmas Cracker’

78 points to 7 secured by the Year 9 boys basketball team in their first English Schools national match in Ellesmere Port

38 students on maximum rewards points

19 local businesses and companies contributed prizes to our Christmas Fair. Thank you.

8 Year 12 students travelled to King James’s School for some of their A-Level lessons as part of our Sixth Form collaboration

6 Governors met with Senior Staff to discuss student progress

4 1/2 school days until Christmas

3 Christmas trees inspired by Science – here’s the Biolo-tree!

2 days without Progress exams

1 superb Christmas card created by Calista (Year 13) which we’ll be sending to local schools and businesses. Here it is.

Enjoy your 2 days……