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.

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.