Headteacher’s Blog: 28th September 2018

With just 43% of 18-24 year olds voting in the last general election, assemblies this week have focused on the importance of getting involved and making your vote count. Aimee in Year 12, Vice-Chair of the Youth Voice Executive, has been asking all year groups to decide which issue is most important to them and which they would like to be discussed by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons. With issues ranging from votes at 16 to tackling homelessness, supporting mental health to rural transport, students have had much to think about.

On Wednesday, the corridors rang with the sound of ‘Bonjour’ and ‘Hola’ whilst the MFL corridor was infused with the aroma of crêpes when we celebrated the European Day of Languages. Only when the words ‘Je voudrais une crêpe s’il vous plait.’ or ‘Quisiera un crêpe por favor.’ were uttered were students presented with a crêpe of choice! Keeping on the theme of cuisine, in Food Technology, Year 7 have been making healthy salads along with crispy croutons.

Meanwhile, up in Science it’s been models galore as students have been creatively representing different aspects of the Science curriculum as you can see.

It was a pleasure to be able to share all of this with Alan Kinder, the Chief Executive of The Geographical Association who visited on Wednesday. He had the opportunity to tour the school, speak to students, visit lessons and talk about all things geographical with Mr Kite and Mrs Hardcastle.

We welcomed Year 12 parents to an Information Evening on Thursday where they found out about the two years ahead and interestingly, Year 12 are already thinking about their futures, discussing possible degrees and universities. This is not surprising as they’ve made such a positive start to their A-Level studies.

The week ended with our contribution to the World’s Biggest Coffee morning, raising funds for Macmillan Cancer support. Ably organised by Lydia, Deputy Head Girl and her team, staff and Sixth Form students enjoyed a coffee, cake and chat, conscious that they were raising money for a very good cause.

Enjoy the weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 21st September 2018

A starter question for you. In the UK, what percentage of children aged 7, 11 and 16 own a Smartphone? This was one of the questions posed at the Parent Information Evening on Tuesday, where the focus was e-safety. What became apparent was that in the dynamic world of technology there are some clear steps that we can take to support our young people in staying safe. The NSPCC have summarised these as a TEAM approach, T – Talk  E – Explore     A – Agree    M – Manage. For more information visit http://www.boroughbridgehigh.com/parents/teenage-years-parental-advice/

It’s been a tense week for the students campaigning for the position of Head Boy and Head Girl but the votes have now been counted and the waiting is over. Our congratulations go to Callum and Niamh who are our Head Boy and Girl for 2018-2019. Supporting them as Deputy Head Boy and Girl will be Edward and Lydia with Natasha as Senior Ambassador. I’m looking forward to working with this Student Leadership Team as they develop their ideas to continue to improve the school for the benefit of all students.

Whilst we’re on the topic of student leaders, the School Council has been leading assemblies this week, speaking to all year groups about their work in school in order to recruit further council members. They meet weekly and last year were involved in many activities including improving lunchtime queuing and fundraising. They also ensured that their influence went beyond school by taking an active part in the North Yorkshire County Youth Executive Student Conference.  Next year this event will be partly organised by one of our very own Year 12 students, Aimee, who is Vice Chair of the Youth Executive, having first attended this event herself back in Year 9 as a student councillor.

Now an opportunity for you! As I’ve mentioned before, we’re planning in the near future, to give you access to our Management Information System so that you can look at your child’s rewards and behaviour inputs as they happen using your own personal log-in. We’d like a focus group to trial the system before we roll this out to all parents and carers. If you’re interested in being part of the trial group, please e-mail Di Johnstone at djohnstone@boroughbridgehigh.com by Friday 28th September.

With only eight months to the start of the GCSE exams, Year 11 have been considering their futures by looking at the destinations of our former students and establishing their own qualities and skills in preparation for their visit, in a couple of weeks’ time, to the Regional Careers Fair in Leeds. Exciting times! This forms part of the Year 11 careers guidance package to ensure that they have the correct information to make informed decisions about their futures.

So, to answer the starter question, 9% of 7 year olds, 71% of 11 year olds and 93% of 15 year olds own a Smartphone! Were you correct?

Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 14th September 2018

Assemblies this week have featured presentations from Callum, Edward, Lydia, Niamh and Tasha in Year 13 in their bid to become Head Boy or Head Girl. Students have been invited to cast their votes to select who will represent them in the year to come. What has been most impressive has been the quality of the candidates who have all confidently presented both how the school has helped them to develop and how the role would enable them to give something back. They have lots of ideas for future developments. One of their first commitments will be to take on a key role at our Open Evening for the parents of Year 5 and 6 students on Wednesday 17th October. A quick reminder that school will close at 1.30pm on that day.

As the newest members of our school community, Year 7, reach the end of their first learning cycle, I decided to visit their lessons to see how they’re settling in. Classification was at the fore in Mr Kite’s Geography lesson where students were deciding which features fitted into the categories of human, physical and environmental geography. In Maths with Mr Izdebski students were demonstrating their long division skills building upon techniques that they learnt in primary school. Mr Woodward has started the year in RE with the somewhat pithy question, ‘Does God exist?’. Students have been exploring opinions and, if you’re a parent of a Year 7 student, I believe that you may have been interviewed for homework. During a walk through Science I discovered Mr Scott working on forces, asking students to predict what an object will do according to the forces applied. Next door, Dr Lefley and his class were exploring the mysteries revealed by the microscope whilst Miss Rayner introduced her class to the delights of using a pestle and mortar to crush rock salt leading to an experiment to investigate separating mixtures. Across the subjects, it’s clear that Year 7 have made an excellent start and are already making an important contribution to our school community.

Let’s see what next week brings. Have a lovely weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog: 7th September 2018

As the temperatures dropped, we were delighted to welcome students back to Boroughbridge High School on Tuesday to begin the new school term. It’s not the start of the school year, of course, as we began that in June which means that we could immediately get back down to study.

We returned following a very successful Summer. As you may have seen on the website, Year 13 students gained excellent results with all students who’d applied to Higher Education securing places, the vast majority at their first choice universities. Not to be outdone, Years 11 and 10 arrived a week later to collect fantastic results which showed further improvement on last year and, in particular, an increased number of higher grades against a backdrop of new specifications designed to be more challenging. Year 11 students have benefited from our Stage not Age curriculum having taken two GCSEs in Year 10.

We were pleased to see so many students sign up for Sixth Form, becoming part of our new collaboration with King James’s School. We’ve introduced a Sixth Form uniform so that the standards of dress at post-16 echo the high standards seen across Years 7 to 11. BHS students travelled across to work with students based at KJS on Thursday to get input from Northumbria University around how to be successful students.

At the other end of the age range, it’s been lovely to welcome Year 7 into the Boroughbridge High School community. They already know their way around and appear to be enjoying the range of new subjects that they’re studying.

You’ll have heard that there has been change afoot in the Dining Hall this week. We’ve brought catering in-house which means that we can give students greater choice and give better value for money with meal deals at £2.25 and £2.50. Watch out for the newsletter next week which will give you further details.

In sporting news, Jack and Alex in Year 11 have been selected to represent Yorkshire at Basketball England’s Under 15 boys Regional Development Tournament which takes place this weekend. What an achievement!

Finally, our warmest congratulations go to Dr Roberts and Mrs Reed who have both given birth to beautiful baby boys. All are well.

So, we’re at the end of a successful first week. Have a lovely weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog: 20th July 2018

No lessening of pace this week at Boroughbridge High School as Monday began with 136 students boarding coaches to Lightwater Valley on the rewards trip. Six and a half hours later they returned to school with many exciting stories about scary rides, water and candy floss. Even a few drops of rain had failed to dampen spirits of staff and students alike.

Tuesday marked the start of the Summer holidays for Ember the snake and the Science hamster as they travelled to the homes of students for the Summer break. Thanks to the students and the families who are looking after them!

Then as the sun rose on Thursday, we knew we were in for an excellent Sports Day. Students arrived in their PE kit ready for immediate action. With field events in the morning and track events in the afternoon, students were busy gaining points for their form classes or, more to the point, for their form tutors who, as the day wore on, became increasingly competitive. With Mr. Cockerill acting as DJ in the afternoon announcing results and forthcoming birthdays, playing music requests and using his own particular sense of humour to bring smiles to many, fun was had by all. As usual the PE Team had everything precisely planned so that the final relay finished, students sat down and the school bell chimed to mark the end of the day. Perfection! It was also great to welcome back Year 11 students who had come to support the event. In order to maintain the tension, results were announced in the whole school Celebration Assembly. If you haven’t already heard, the winning forms were 8AC, 9SC, 10JR and 11JF. Well done to all.

In the aforementioned assembly, we celebrated the achievements of many students by following up the theme which I challenged students to at the beginning of the year, that is for everyone to be a leader and make a contribution to the school community. We had awards for contribution to the School Council, Teaching and Learning Group, Race for the Line challenge and true resilience and perseverance to name but a few. We were also treated to musical performances from Bertie, Aimee and Eliza otherwise known as The Boppers and a dance performance from Ella. We finished by thanking staff who are leaving for the difference that they’ve made to Boroughbridge High School.

So as the final week of the year draws to a close I’d just like to say how much I’ve enjoyed writing the weekly Blog as it’s given me the opportunity to share the achievements of your children with you and enabled me to reflect weekly on what it is that makes Boroughbridge High School such a good place to work and learn.

I hope that you and your families have a lovely, restful Summer break.

Headteacher’s Blog: 13th July 2018

It’s apparently the author Mark Twain who said ‘Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ At BHS, we strive to give students the accurate, independent advice that they need in order to make informed choices regarding future employment. The Department for Education have recognised the importance of information, advice and guidance in their new careers strategy which states that ‘Schools should offer every young person seven encounters with employers’. As you may be aware we’ve had a Year 11 Mock Interview Challenge day for a number of years and this year has been no different. So Year 11 have spent the last few weeks preparing by choosing a job to apply for, identifying their relevant skills, applying for the job and very importantly selecting their outfit. Today each student has been interviewed by one of twelve volunteers from the local community, many of them parents, who’ve come into school to share their expertise and give our students a real life interview experience. Thanks go to the volunteers and to Mrs Rainbow for making it all happen!

Future careers were also the focus last Friday when, as part of the NHS’s 70th Anniversary, Dr Mike Holmes who is Vice Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners came in to speak to students in Years 8 and 9. He outlined some of the opportunities that he’s had within the NHS as well as describing the opportunities which it may hold for our students.
Thinking of their futures, Year 13 have been starting their UCAS applications thinking about which Universities they’d like to apply for and what they’ve done that will make their personal statement get noticed above others.

Meanwhile Year 10, in a STEM Careers Day, have been exploring their future jobs through a series of decision making activities and this afternoon had the chance to hear from ex-student Steven James who’s made his way in the Gaming industry.

Challenge Day provided a range of activities for other year groups. Year 8 all clambered on to buses this morning. Destination? Helmsley and Rievaulx Abbey where they’ll be identifying the weakest point of defence whilst also taking in the country air. By the time you read this Blog, Year 9 will be fully trained in CPR and Basic First Aid and will have spent the afternoon exploring their own healthy living by participating in a Sports Tournament.

Towards the beginning of the week, we welcomed Year 5 students from Great Ouseburn who were engaged in the Music and Drama Day followed by students from St. Peter’s Brafferton and Dishforth Airbase who came to BHS for a STEM day. In the morning they explored electricity and magnetism in action. Using their mathematical skills they carried out a crime investigation and finally, entering the world of Computer Science, they learnt how to program using a visual language to create a simple game. We’ll look forward to welcoming them and their families at our Open Evening in October.

If you visited the Great Yorkshire Show when we were having our staff Professional Development Day on Thursday, I hope that you had a really good time. So with one week to go until the Summer holidays we have one last exciting week to look forward to with the Rewards Trip to Lightwater Valley on Monday and Sports Day on Thursday, weather permitting!

Have a good weekend.

Headteacher’s Blog 6th July 2018

One page is scarcely enough for the happenings at Boroughbridge High School this week! Monday began with Year 4 and 5 students from Kirk Hammerton and Staveley looking at how junk and recyclable objects can be used as percussion instruments. There were paint tins, pans and plastic boxes to name but a few. Students used them to explore the different timbres which could be created from these non-conventional sound sources. In the afternoon in Drama, they used mime to show character, motivation and emotion. Tuesday saw Year 5 students from Great Ouseburn and Nun Monkton explore medicine, disease and antibiotics in our biodiversity area with follow up activities in the Science labs. Outdoor learning in action!

The move to secondary school is an important one so in order to smooth the transition, we’ve had our new Year 7 students in school this week. It was lovely to meet our new students and their parents on Monday evening. Form classes were shared, form teachers identified and new friendships begun. Year 6 have familiarised themselves further from Wednesday to Friday, experiencing lessons, finding their way around and getting themselves fully prepared for September.

Just as Year 6 are joining Team Boroughbridge, Year 11 will be saying their farewells to their fellow students and staff at the Year 11 Prom which is taking place this evening at The Bridge Inn. There’ll be limousines, tractors, sparkling dresses, smart suits, eating and dancing. A great way to mark the end of an era. We’ll then look forward to welcoming many of them back to our Sixth Form.

The school population was a little tired but smiling on Wednesday morning. Something to do with a football match and penalties!?

GCSE Geographers were back on form on Thursday as they set off to the Yorkshire Dales to collect primary data to evaluate the impact of tourism on Malham. There’s nothing quite like a limestone cove bathed in glorious sunshine to excite a geographer.

A reminder that next Thursday (12th) is a Professional Development Day otherwise known as a Training Day. Students are not in school on that day and I suspect many of them will take the opportunity to visit the Great Yorkshire Show hence our timing of the training day. I think it’s also worth sharing the fact that we’ll be spending the morning as a staff team with Compass BUZZ whose aim is to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. The training which we will be engaged in will help us to do the same for students within our care.

Finally, we’ve launched our new website which will enable you to find the information that you require quickly and easily. Check it out at


Have a lovely weekend!


Headteacher’s Blog: 29th June 2018

The week started with Year 5 students from Green Hammerton Church of England Primary School visiting BHS for a Language Day. If they find themselves in a French café over the Summer holidays, they’ll know exactly what to say! In the afternoon they worked with the English team to use film as a tool for creative writing. Thanks to visiting students and staff.

Year 12 (now 13), on the hottest week of the year, have had their exam week. The importance of their ALevels was highlighted to them on their trip to Leeds Beckett University UCAS exhibition where they got a real understanding of how to apply for a University place and what they’ll need to stand out in a crowd.

Meanwhile Lizzy, Head Girl (2018-9) finally threw herself (in tandem!) from a plane, skydiving to raise money for Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK. She did, as I advised, keep her eyes open in order to identify numerous geographical features as she fell, raising over £3000. Well done Lizzy. A great achievement. She’ll be celebrating her time at BHS with other students and staff at the Year 13 Leavers’ Dinner at The Crown in Boroughbridge on Friday evening. Happy times!

Assemblies this week have focused on standards and how to behave to be kind to each other. I shared a random act of kindness I saw at King’s Cross station last weekend when a teenager bent down to tie the laces of an elderly gentlemen. We discussed actions that students could take to be kind which included helping their younger siblings with homework, saying hello to their bus driver and letting someone go in front of them in the lunch queue. Have you noticed any random acts of kindness taking place?

Next week, we’re looking forward to welcoming Year 6 students who will be joining us in September. Following our meeting with parents on Monday, students will then come into school from Wednesday to Friday to get to know their form tutors, teachers and classes.

It’s been an excellent week for BHS scientists. Year 9 Scientists had an exciting day when they presented at the Lab Coats and Blazers Conference at the STEM Centre in York. They were joined by students from primary and secondary schools from across the county. Mr Inglis and Mrs Robertshaw commented on how confident the students had been when they’d presented. At the Awards Ceremony in the evening, at York University, Ewan in Year 11 was awarded the Ogden Trust Year 10 Physicist of the Year Award and Alex in Year 13 awarded the Year 12 Physicist of the Year Award. Well done indeed!

Meanwhile, two teams of Year 8 students went off to compete at the National Finals of the Rocket Car Challenge at RAF Wittering along with 50 other schools. They were treated to a display from the Red Arrows and a spitfire flypast. Dr Lefley reports that the competition was fierce and BHS students were similarly so with both teams securing a place as second runners up, being only 1mph below the 2nd place.

Finally, many of you will know Robin Hornby who has been our Senior Site Supervisor for 32 years. Maybe, if you were a BHS student yourself, you’ll remember him from your  schooldays! He’s retiring today and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for all he has done to support the students and staff of the Boroughbridge High School community over the last 32 years. We wish him well for the future.

Enjoy the weekend sunshine!

Headteacher’s Blog: 22nd June 2018

So it’s been Happy New Year at BHS this week. A new timetable, new teachers, new classrooms, new seating plans and, for some, new subjects but as I’ll be reminding students in assemblies next week, the same high standards! Mr Kennedy has taken the opportunity in assemblies this week to share with students that to be successful they need to have a growth mindset. If you’re not sure what he means, look at the following statements.

  1. We are born with predetermined intelligence. Agree or disagree?
  2. If you’re not good at something, you’ll never be good at it. Agree or disagree?

If you’ve agreed with both statements, you’ve got a fixed mindset. If you’ve disagreed, you’ve got a growth mindset. Students with a growth mindset are more likely to be successful.

Year 7, now Year 8, began their year in Art creating outsized chocolate bars from papier- mâché. Much skill was involved and Miss Rodgers is currently trying to work out where to install the artwork on completion.

On Thursday, twenty eight students from Roecliffe Church of England Primary School arrived at BHS for their Science Day entitled ‘Microbiology – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’. Along with Mr Inglis, Miss Rayner and Mrs Hutchinson, they explored the wildlife area and carried out some pond sampling and leaf rubbing. Then, after experiencing presentations from current BHS STEM ambassadors, they carried out a mini research project which they can continue back in their own school. The day ended with students meeting Ember the snake! So a good time was had by all. This is the first in a series of events in our Primary School programme to enable younger students to experience learning at BHS.

Non-uniform day today is being held by the Student Council who will then ask students to vote on how this money can be best spent in order to benefit students and our school community.

Today also marked the final exam of the Summer 2018 exam session. Students in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 have been exemplary in their approach to their exams. Thanks also go to Mrs Johnstone, our Exams Officer, for whom no student’s concern is too big or too small.

Following the return of the Bewerley Park party on Friday, on Monday the following e-mail popped into my Inbox. It was sent by the Headteacher of one of the primary schools who was at the centre at the same time as Team BHS. I thought I should share it as, parents and carers of the students who were on the trip, this belongs to you too.

Dear Miss Stephenson

I have just returned from Bewerley Park following our year 6 residential and would like you to pass on my compliments to your year 9 group and staff who were at the centre when we were there. The students were an absolute credit to you and the quality of the supervision by the staff and the positive relationships within the group were commented upon by all of my staff.

Please pass on my best wishes to all involved.

Have a good weekend and, if it’s your thing, enjoy the football!

Headteacher’s Blog: 15th June 2018

It’s been an exciting week for the students of Boroughbridge High School with Year 7 discovering the delights of Normandy and Year 9 taking on the outdoor challenges of  bewerley Park. From Year 9, we’ve had animated reports of activities from canoeing to caving, scrambling to skydiving and climbing to cycling. OK, I’ll admit it, one of these activities didn’t take place but I’m trying to impress Mr Cockerill with my use of alliteration.

Meanwhile, back at base, Mr James decided to train students to make both their right and left brain work by teaching Year 9 a spot of juggling. Most could master the motion of two balls and, as the lesson drew on, many more could juggle three. We’ll look forward to seeing the impact of this new brain engagement in the lessons to come!

Heather, Amara, Clarissa, Phoebe, Abi, Thomas and Adam in Year 8 were engaged in the somewhat important matter of trying to save lives by investigating natural alternatives to antibiotics. Along with Mr Inglis they’ve been preparing the presentations that they’re  delivering in a couple of weeks at the Lab Coats and Blazers Conference in the National Stem Centre in York. Whilst you may recognise the healing qualities of vinegar, tea tree oil, honey and castor oil, you may be less familiar with ellagic acid!

Over in Workskills, it was my pleasure to present Charlotte, Hannah, Archie and Joe with  their Young Leaders Service Awards to Community Service. This was for the time they’ve given to the community through activities such as the soup run, litter picking and supporting the residents of Gwendolen Court. Well done everyone.

Thanks to those parents who attended Parent Forum. We had a really good discussion about Reports and other associated matters! We’ve identified some things that we can put in place immediately to make the reports more ‘parent-friendly’ and other areas which we will consider in our longer term planning. Your next opportunity to contribute to future strategic development will be to respond to the ASPIRE questionnaire which will be coming to your Inbox soon.

And so at BHS on Monday it’s ‘Happy New Year’ as we flip our timetable forward so that Year 7 start Year 8, Year 8 move to Year 9 and so on. We started this last year and found that it helped to maintain critical focus in the final weeks of the Summer term. It also means that the new Year 10, 11 and 13 students will gain more than 20 hours of GCSE or A-Level learning time, along with the opportunity for teachers to set meaningful holiday homework over the Summer.

Should you happen to have a spare minute this weekend why not enter the competition at http://po.st/schools18. You could help us to win £5,000 of National Book Tokens for the school library and get £100 for yourself.

Have a good one!