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……

Headteacher’s Blog: 30th November 2018

Yes, we did it! With the support of our staff, students, local supporters and you, we exceeded our target for boxes for the Rotary Shoebox Appeal, reaching the impressive total of 108 boxes. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

A day later, our students performed at the Ripon Cathedral Christmas Fair and you can hear more from them along with other students at the late night Christmas shopping event in Boroughbridge on Wednesday evening. They’ll be singing carols from 5-5.30pm.

On Tuesday, we were delighted to welcome John Alder, representing Boroughbridge Lions, to present prizes to the three Year 8 winners of the Peace competition, Dominique, Katlynn and Emily. As you can see, the designs are colourful and a really clear representation.

It’s often a mystery as to what teachers do on a Professional Development Day. Well let me reveal all. We reflected on, evaluated and developed our Agreed Practice whilst also focusing on literacy. It’s important that we take the opportunity to reflect and continue to improve our practice for the benefit of our students.

Thanks for the requests for MCAS (My Child at School) login details. We’ve been inundated so please be patient as we’ll contact you over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, on the football front, Year 8 had a 5-0 victory against St. Francis Xavier with a goal each from Harry and Matt and a hat-trick from Will. We’re now through to the last 16. Well done team.

We’re now well underway with the Year 10 and 11 Progress Exams. Students appear to be well prepared and have soon got to grips with the requirements of the Exam Hall. We’ll look forward to giving them their results back in the coming weeks so that they can identify what they need to do to improve and their teachers can use their papers to plan their lessons in order to plug gaps in knowledge and skills.

Down in Food Technology, Year 8 have been involved in a Bake-Off where they’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate the skills that they’ve developed over the term, in a bake of their choice. You will have noticed that there is a definite Christmas theme creeping in.

Talking of which, thank you for your contributions so far to the Tombola and Raffle Hampers for the Christmas Fair which is on Saturday 8th December from 10a.m. to 12 noon.

If you’ve got an advent calendar then enjoy opening the first door tomorrow!

Visiting Madame Tussauds, travelling on the Tube, seeing Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square and enjoying the Christmas lights on Regent and Oxford Street all formed part of a successful Year 10 and 11 Travel and Tourism trip to London on Monday. Setting off at 7.15a.m. from Thirsk station and arriving back at 10.30p.m., students had an intensive day of both being a tourist and evaluating how organised and effective tourist attractions were, along with checking out their success at planning a visit to the capital.

Assemblies this week have focused on resilience with Mr. Grierson sharing the stories of people from the past and present who have had to persevere in tough times before achieving success. It was somewhat opportune that STEM Northern Operations Manager, Kev J Stannard MBE RAF, was waiting at the back of the hall ready to present a cheque for £250 to the successful Race for the Line teams. He took a few moments to share with students the things that he’s overcome to have a successful RAF career and the gratitude that he had to his teachers in helping him to realise his aspirations.

Years 10 and 11 are going to need to demonstrate a little resilience over the next few weeks as they take on their Progress exams. They’ve been having a taste of the future during tutor time this week by going across to the Sixth Form Block to speak to current Sixth Form students about their experience of studying at Boroughbridge High School, sharing the advantages of a small Sixth Form with the advantages of a larger Sixth Form through our collaboration with King James’s School.

On taste of a different kind, Year 7 have been turning their hand to producing tomato chutney in Food Technology. One of the advantages of a smaller school is that we all know what delicacies are being made as the aroma pervades the whole school environment. I hope that I haven’t spoilt a Christmas present surprise!

On the fundraising front, we raised £489.69 for Children in Need last week. A reminder too, that with only 10 school days to go to the Christmas Fair, we’re happy to receive donations for the tombola and look forward to seeing you at the Fair on Saturday 8th December at 10am.

If you’re in Ripon on Saturday afternoon (24th), our students will be performing at the Ripon Cathedral Fair at around 4pm. Other upcoming festive events include the School Choir singing carols from 5-5.30pm at the late night Christmas shopping event in Boroughbridge on Wednesday 5th December and the Christmas concert which is at 6.30pm. on Thursday 13th December.

A final reminder that we have a Professional Development Day next Wednesday (28th November) when school will not be open to students.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 16th November 2018

With a Bake Off competition, non-uniform and sponging the teacher, we’ve been having a full fundraising day today for Children in Need. We’ll share the total collected next week. Assemblies have focused on where the money goes and the impact that it has on young people’s lives. Continuing on the theme of helping others, there’s still time to send in items for the Rotary Shoebox Appeal. Monday is the final day for us to receive donations.

On Tuesday, Year 12 Geographers set off with Mr Kite and Mrs Hardcastle to investigate coastal processes along the Holderness Coast. Starting with the hard chalk of Flamborough Head and moving to the longshore drift at Hornsea. What was a little puzzling was that material was deposited on the ‘wrong side’ of the groyne. Ah well, that’s natural processes for you!

Wednesday evening saw the Hall packed with our own sporting superstars and their families for Sports Awards Evening. Mr Collings spoke of an ex-student, Craig MacGillivray, who through great resilience and commitment has gone on to great achievements, currently playing in goal for Portsmouth. Therefore, there was a great acknowledgement of the commitment that achieving excellence in sport takes and it was lovely to see so many students receive awards. We’re hoping to get some photos on the website soon.

There’s an increasing focus amongst students in Years 10 and 11 as they hurtle towards their Progress Exams (or mocks as we used to call them!). With the first exam taking place on 26th November, we’re expecting students to be fully into revision mode. We complete these exams before Christmas to give students some time to relax over the Christmas break and the information gathered from the Progress Exams is used by teachers in their planning to ensure that gaps in students’ knowledge and skills are plugged before the summer exams. It also enables students to identify ways to improve their revision. The exam timetable can be found on the website at http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/students/exams/internal-examinations/ and students will have received their personalised exam timetables today.

On the topic of the school website, please keep checking the front page for news as it happens. This week we’ve added Heather (Y9) reading at the Remembrance Service in Ripon Cathedral and Bertie (Y11) performing at the Royal Albert Hall. Yes, really!

I’ve held off as long as I can but I must now say that there’s only 15 school days to the Christmas Fair. I know, exciting times! Have a lovely weekend.

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.