Headteacher’s Blog: 3rd May 2019

I hope you all had a lovely Easter break. It was great to see so many of our students taking advantage of Easter School to help them with their revision as the exams rapidly approach.

Assemblies this week have focused on attitude and resilience with a recognition that those who have a positive attitude and are prepared to persevere after setbacks are much more likely to be successful. This gave us the opportunity to recognise that our students display these characteristics on a daily basis and to celebrate the success of the Year 8 football team, reaching the final of the ESFA Boys Under 13 Play Station Small Schools Trophy.

Talking of sporting success, over the holidays two Year 11 students, Josh and Jack competed in a 15k Yorkshire Warrior event, finishing 12th and 13th. Impressive! Meanwhile, Sam in Year 11, after years of hard work, training and commitment has signed his scholarship with Leeds United, an opportunity given to only a select few. Congratulations Sam.

With the environment at the forefront of the news at the moment, a reminder that we would be grateful for any used batteries which we’re collecting as part of The Big Battery Hunt and any used stamps which we’re collecting for UK’s Air Ambulance Services. Thanks for your donations to date.

Events next week include the Summer Concert which will take place from 7-8.30pm on Thursday 9th May. You’ll have the pleasure of hearing the choir, string quartet, A Capella group, Polarise, The Boppers and soloists from Years 7 to 12. An evening of entertainment awaits. Tickets on the door are £2 or £1 for concessions.

Advance warning of an event you may be interested in. The ‘This is Me’ festival, a celebration of Inclusion organised by Nidderdale Childrens’ Resource Centre, is on 23rd June at Ripon Rugby Club. To find out more press this link:


Have a great Bank Holiday weekend.

Well, the waiting is finally over. The Year 8 Boroughbridge High School football team will be taking on Claremont School in the final of the ESFA Boys Under 13 PlayStation Small Schools’ Trophy on May 22nd at the Hawthorn’s Stadium which, for those unfamiliar with the Premier League, is the West Bromwich Albion ground. I know, exciting times indeed! In order to reach the final the team have had to secure 6 wins against a wide range of teams. A fantastic achievement. Congratulations to Alex, Harry, Josh, Nathan, Archie, Ryan, Matt, Harry, Will, Adam, Keane, Reuben, Monty, Dan and Mr. Collings, of course.

By way of preparation, Harrogate Town AFC have been very kindly showing their support. It was a great privilege to meet Aaron Williams and Iain Service when they joined a training session at Boroughbridge High School on Tuesday afternoon. As you can see, they also brought with them last season’s play off trophy, a clear representation of what can be achieved through hard work and determination. After watching the boys in action, the team had a chance to ask Aaron, a man who’s scored at Wembley, some searching questions. He revealed that part of his preparation for big matches was to imagine winning, describing the feeling of scoring a critical goal in front of family and friends and the deep sense of emotion. Tips for the big match were simple, ‘Don’t give up and remember that you’ve got this far as a team and whether you win, lose or draw, you do that as a team.’ Genuinely inspiring words. We’re really grateful to Aaron and Iain for their time and input.

So the team will be travelling down to the West Midlands on 22nd May in their new kits which have been very kindly sponsored by ‘2 h Storage Solutions’ based in Wetherby. This is such a momentous occasion that we’re hoping to take as many students from Years 7, 8 and 9 who would like to support the team. We’ll send out a letter and further details following the Easter break.

Thank you for your support throughout this Spring Term. I hope that you and your families have a lovely Easter break and we’ll look forward to welcoming Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students for Easter Revision School from Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th April. Further details can be found on the website.

Headteacher’s Blog: 5th April 2019

Creative Careers was the focus of a trip for some Year 9 and 10 students, nominated by their teachers to attend the BBC Bitesize Roadshow last Friday. Presenter Jonny Nelson, who recently fronted CBBC’s live Saturday morning children’s show, Saturday Mash-Up, was the host. Jonny introduced three guests, a researcher who has been working for 999 Rescue Squad and the BBC1 River Walks series, a Freelance Lighting Director, who has worked for the BBC, Channel 4, Sky and on shows including X Factor, Strictly and The Apprentice and a Visual Effects Supervisor, who has experience in period dramas, sci-fi and worked for Netflix. They all talked about their career ideas when they were at school and how their aspirations changed over time. The theme running through the morning was that you should take opportunities even if they seem scary. You can find out more on the website.

Nidderdale was the location for a highly successful Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Qualifying expedition last weekend. Two teams were in action, both working well with navigating the highways and byways above Pateley Bridge and camping at How Stean Gorge. Students were complimented by many fellow walkers and the campsite team. Well done all.

In assemblies this week, Miss Ingham has been talking to students about stress. She explained that we all need a certain level of stress to motivate us (would teenagers revise for exams without the motivation of a little stress?) but also what to do if you feel overwhelmed. Talking, taking action and spending time in natural environments were top tips for managing stress.

Year 7 have been fully focused on exams this week whilst Year 8 will be looking forward to Parents’ Evening next Wednesday where conversations will focus on progress and recent Year 8 exams. Please accept my apologies, I’ll be representing BHS by presenting a workshop at a national conference in Manchester on Wednesday. Mr Grierson will be available to answer any questions.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 29th March 2019

Cressida Cowell, Anthony Horowitz, Misa Sugiura and David Walliams were the authors of choice for our most improved readers in Year 7, Immanuel, Natasha, Jessica, Herbie, Verity and Jack. For them the week started with hot chocolate with marshmallows and croissants in order to celebrate the excellent progress that they’ve made. They’re likely to spend some of this weekend reading their new book as they continue on their literary journey.

Challenge Day on Wednesday saw a vast range of educational experiences. Year 7 had the delights of the Rocket Car Challenge led by the Science team. Having had two teams in the National Finals last year, ending as joint runners-up, the stakes are high. Year 7 spent the morning designing, sawing, filing, colouring and attaching wheels before moving out to the tennis courts where the racing took place. There were some speedy cars so let’s hope we have some qualifying times.

Year 8 were engaging in the topic of Fairtrade discovering how their buying decisions in the UK can have a global impact. Year 9 travelled to the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire. It was a reflective day with students having the chance to spend time in the memorial garden, making their own contribution to the children’s memorial where a stone is placed by each child visiting the centre to represent the 1.3 million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust. Currently, there are c500,000 stones on the memorial. In the afternoon, students had the privilege of hearing Arek and his wife Gena share their story. Arek is 90 years old and survived two camps including Auschwitz. His story was inspirational and our students were lucky to be able to hear his testimony live as there are only five survivors of the camps still alive in England.

With exams on the horizon, Years 10 and 11 were engaged in a number of core and option subject double lessons focusing on exam technique and revision. Some Year 11 students had their Speaking and Listening exam. Year 12 were visited by Newcastle University representatives discussing all things connected to University life, finance and courses. Meanwhile, Year 13, Mrs Rainbow and Mrs Lake headed off to London on one of the most politically exciting days of the year. Mrs Rainbow reports

‘An early 6.30 start saw us dropped on Park Lane and with a brisk walk through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall, students were given free time to explore the West End sights. These included Covent Garden, Leicester Square, China Town and the area around

Westminster. We were booked for a tour of Parliament in the afternoon and were able to witness history in the making, with time in the public viewing gallery. Students saw the Prime Minister and many other MPs going about their work. We had a private meeting with our local MP, Andrew Jones, and learnt about pressure groups in a workshop. The Palace of Westminster was a very busy place both inside and out on Wednesday, and it was an exciting experience for students to see history in action, as well as many iconic areas of our capital.’ Our students said “I really enjoyed meeting our MP. He had interesting views. I could have listened to him for ages” and “It was amazing actually going into Parliament and seeing Teresa May. The artwork and architecture of the building was fascinating.’

In recent sporting success, Izzy (Year 8), competed in the British Showjumping National Schools’ Winter Championships in Wales. She took an incredible second place and two, third places with her young pony who has only been jumping six months. Last Wednesday evening, Izzy was awarded the regional Schools Award at the British Showjumping Yorkshire Area Awards. Well done Izzy.

Year 8 have also focused on their exams this week, learning expectations around completing an exam under formal exam conditions. Year 7 will have their opportunity next week.

So there are only ten school days until the Easter break! Have a lovely weekend.

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.