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.