Blog: 23rd October 2020

With safety at the fore, in PSHE lessons last week, our Sixth Form students focused on Driver Safety.  This is a timely presentation highlighting the importance of making appropriate decisions, whilst driving, or as a passenger.  A large proportion of the students are currently learning to drive and it is a requirement of the Sixth Form Code of Conduct that students attend the safety presentation before bringing a car onto the school site.

The Sixth Form also provides an annual opportunity for students to visit a University and Apprenticeship Regional Careers Event.  As this could not take place in the usual style this year, a virtual event was provided complete with a friendly welcome, free giveaways and refreshments!  Students spent the afternoon researching degree courses, university locations and attending webinars on topics including student finance, life at university, employability and how to secure an apprenticeship.  Students left armed with quality information to help them with their post-18 plans.

Looking forward to their own post-16 plans, Year 11 have had a tutor time visit from Mrs. Town, our Head of Sixth Form, and were able to watch a video of our current students in their daily sixth form life whilst also hearing from some of our past students who have used the opportunities that they had at BHS to go on to University and a wide range of job roles. To support Year 11 with both their shorter and longer-term goals, Mrs. Rainbow has been carrying out Careers interviews.

To ensure that all options are open to them and with Progress Exams on the horizon for Years 10 and 11 (they start on Monday 23rd November), Mrs. Godsell-Wright took the opportunity, in advance of the half-term break, to speak to students about the importance of revision. Having presented students with a Revision Guide, she shared some revision techniques and tips on putting together a revision timetable. Students were made aware that the Progress Exams will enable them to demonstrate what they know which will be used to inform teaching. The official exams are scheduled to take place in Summer 2021 but, in these uncertain times, the Progress exams take on even greater importance.

Marking Black History Month, Mrs. Langford is developing a display sharing inspirational stories which explore the lives of influential, black Britons who have had an impact on UK laws and equal rights. To complete the display, students have been invited to share their own black heroes.

Our first Parents’ Evening took place this week with phone conversations rather than face to face meetings. However, the same quality of interaction took place with tutors and the pastoral team having the opportunity to talk to parents about how well Year 7 have settled into Boroughbridge High School and the excellent progress that they are making.

Thank you for your support during this rather different yet, nonetheless, successful half term.

I hope that you and your family have a lovely half term break.

Blog: 16th October 2020 – Behind the Scenes

It’s been a pleasure to write the Blog over the last few weeks, celebrating the fact that students are back in school and high-quality learning is taking place. This week I thought we’d take a look behind the scenes.

The day at Boroughbridge High School begins as the clock strikes 7 with the arrival of the Site Team who begin opening the school and carrying out their site walk to check that everything is in place for students and staff.

Arriving shortly after, the Catering Team begin prepping and cooking to make sure that students have hot and cold snack choices at breaktime and hot and cold meal choices at lunch time. Whilst serving and paying takes place behind plastic screens, the same range and quality of experience is enjoyed. Cleaning takes place between year groups but the seating arrangements look more like a classroom than a Dining Hall.

The sound of small plastic trolley wheels moving across the carpark marks the arrival of the Teaching Team who no longer go to their subject base to set up but, instead, make their way to their first teaching room of the day, making sure that they take all of their resources with them along with their visor. It’s possible that they’ll be teaching in five different classrooms in five different zones throughout the day. Making sure that technology is working to support learning is the responsibility of our ICT Manager.

At 8am the Office Team arrive and get ready for the day ahead, which will involve carrying out a plethora of activities including First Aid, with PPE, for students who are unwell. The Office Manager/PA puts in place any cover that we need for any absent staff which thankfully so far, has been few, whilst the Data Manager gets ready to send the daily attendance return to the DfE.

The Teaching Assistant Team collect their visors and make their way to the zones that they’re assigned to, ready to support students. Technicians set out resources.

Students are met by duty staff as they arrive at school. Those travelling on buses are checked for face coverings. They then make their way to their outside space.

At 8.40am students enter their zone, make their way to their first lesson and the learning begins. Tutor time now comes later with students meeting their Form Tutors before or after break. Assemblies are virtual, with Mr Grierson talking this week about the value of teamwork. Walking around the zones during tutor time are the Pastoral Managers, making themselves available for students. Over in the Sixth Form block, similar activities are taking place with tutors and the Sixth Form Learning mentor.

Throughout the day and after school, the Site and Cleaning team systematically work their way around school ensuring that surfaces and handles are cleaned, soap and sanitiser dispensers filled and doors are propped open.

Whilst everyone has the same responsibilities as they did in March, every action and every decision now has to be looked at through Covid-19 safety eyes. Never before has teamwork been so important. At the end of Week 6, there isn’t one person on site who isn’t exhausted but it’s worth it, as the purpose of this teamwork is very clear, to make sure that our school is a place where students are safe, happy and successful.

Have a lovely weekend and, if you’ve got a few minutes, you may like to take a look at our Virtual Open Evening at

Have you ever wondered exactly how cheese is made? If you asked Mrs Simmonds’ Year 9 class they’d be able to tell you, with some students also saying it had put them off eating it for life although, having been on duty in the Dining Hall, I’d suggest otherwise! In another element of Technology; Design Technology, they were trying their hand at 1 and 2 point perspective with Mrs Flowers. Meanwhile, in Maths, with Mrs Price, they’ve been finishing working on all things averages including tables and data comparisons before moving on to their favourite topic of algebra, starting with manipulation and solving. Across KS3, in RS with Mr Woodward, students have been exploring Aristotle’s moral theory of Virtue Ethics, this week honing in on the way in which role models can be used to help an individual develop their own moral character.

In DT, Year 8 have been making the difficult decision of what their lights might be for and for whom, whilst with Mr Errington, in Science, they’ve been revising for their food and digestion test. In Geography with Mrs Bauwens, Year 8 are continuing to focus on China as an emerging superpower.  This week there have been some lively discussions around China’s population issues including the positives and negatives of the controversial one child policy. In Art, with Mrs Bibbings, having already done some beautiful illuminated letters and typography, Year 8 have a new Graphic Design project based on the bold style of American artist, Robert Indiana.

Year 7 computer scientists, with Mrs Knock, have been exploring inside a computer to find out about the hardware components such as RAM and CPU and looking at what software is, whilst in DT they’ve been working out how to use a net to help them make a card version of the blockheads. In Maths, with Mrs Cummins, they’ve been gearing up for their first progress test to demonstrate all of the fantastic methods they’ve learnt in their first Number topic along with developing their mental and written calculation skills including time and money. In Art they’ll be starting their new topic next week, Portraiture and Expressive Typography, using the work of Julian Opie as inspiration. With Mrs Wilson in RE, they’ve been learning about the scientific explanations of how our universe and life began; exploring the Big Bang and Evolution. In Science, students have been identifying the different organs of the body. The week started very well in Science when Dr Lefley quite literally had students ‘conkering’ Forces. You can see for yourselves.

As we’re not able to have our usual extravaganza of an Open Evening next week, students and staff across the school, along with some of our alumni, have been putting together videos and resources to show people how great it is to be part of the Boroughbridge High School team and inviting them to join our school. If you know someone with a child in Year 6 you could share your experience with them. All of the Virtual Open Evening resources will be available to view on the website on Wednesday 14th October.

Have a lovely weekend!

Blog: 2nd October 2020 – A Focus on Key Stage 4

The chords of Mon Precieux by Soprano flowed through the Key Stage 4 zone this week as linguists listened to this pop music to develop and apply new high-level vocabulary to describe the importance of mobile phones in our everyday life! Over in DT, students were diligently working on their own coursework for the exam, developing their drawing skills and including new and emerging technologies in production.

Geographers have mentally zoomed across to Brazil to complete their extended case study of Rio de Janeiro as an example of a city in an emerging economy. They have explored the reasons for the growth of the city, the opportunities and problems this creates and how they are improving the quality of life for the urban poor in Rio. Closer to home, they’ve also taken a virtual tour of the River Tees to investigate how it changes from source to mouth.

Following the global theme, in Business, students have been looking at globalisation and the impact of competition on UK firms as well as consumer and employee laws. They have their chance to demonstrate their knowledge in their topic test next week.  PE students will have a similar opportunity as, having just finished studying their first theory topic, their end of unit test will not only capture knowledge but also how well they can apply this to sporting contexts.

In English, students in Year 10 have been learning about the Gothic movement, from Lord Byron to Edward Scissorhands, before getting stuck into Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Year 11 students have started studying Macbeth. They’re using the text itself and two productions of the play: Rupert Goold’s version from 2010, which was based on his stage adaptation for the Chichester Festival Theatre and Justin Kurzel’s 2015 big screen version.

Percentages (increase, decrease, change, reverse) have been a focus for some Year 11 students in Maths, following a great start on Trigonometry. Others have been solving quadratics of all varieties and understanding the geometric links to the graph of a parabola and, it’s reported, doing particularly well at it too! Year 10 have been rounding values to different degrees of accuracy and re-establishing good study skills for Maths.

In Science, Year 10 have been studying the timely topic of pathogens, including viruses and how they cause disease, whilst also grappling with the particle theory of gases, looking at how particles move and what causes pressure. Year 11 have been revising for their first Science mock. Binary data and binary shifts have been the focus in Computer Science along with how to represent negative binary numbers.

Historians have been learning about the weaknesses in the Weimar Constitution and the flaws in the Treaty of Versailles whilst, in Core RE, students have been exploring the social history of gay rights in the UK and the various responses of the Church to the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Meanwhile in GCSE RE, students have been exploring the causes of the human proclivity to sin and falling victim to temptation as well as the way in which Christianity claims to be able to offer salvation from an eternity in hell.

Art & Design students have been excelling in a painting skills workshop based on Van Gogh’s ‘The Sunflowers’ and a mark making workshop using personal possessions. You can see how

they’ve been getting on. They’ve also started their GCSE coursework project based on the theme of Disguise.

It’s very apparent watching students and teachers at work that much is being learned and that there is a clear shared understanding that every minute of learning, every lesson, every single day, matters.

Have a lovely weekend.

Blog: 25th September – A Focus on the Sixth Form

If you’re wondering what to read this weekend, then you may take some inspiration from the books being used by our Year 13 English Literature students in their coursework which include ‘1984’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, ‘The Bell Jar’, ‘The Crucible’, ‘We Need to talk about Kevin’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ They’re also getting to grips with Act 1 of Hamlet and studying the poem ‘Ode to a Grayson Perry Urn’, exploring themes of classism, youth and societal problems as well as wondering what future generations will think of our legacy.

Year 13 Psychologists have been exploring connections between approaches in Psychology whilst, in Year 12, they’ve been looking at how Psychologists test their theories and collect data. Staying on the data theme, Year 12 Geographers have been exploring the possibility of a statistical relationship between wind speed and wave height using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient whilst Year 13 Geographers have been using their individual data collection collected over the Summer holidays, at a variety of locations, to write up their independent fieldwork investigations. They’ve also been looking at the impact of urban regeneration schemes whilst Year 12 have been looking to the future considering deciduous woodland as an important and threatened ecosystem in the UK.

Following in the steps of Columbus, Year 13 Historians are starting to explore 16th Century Spain for their NEA (Non-examined assessment).

As with other year groups, Mental Health and Wellbeing is the focus in Sixth Form PSHE and Year 13 are putting together their UCAS personal statements, capturing all of the things that they’ve achieved and outlining how they could make a difference to their university of choice. Putting himself in a very strong position is Harvey in Year 13 who, having been made Deputy Head Student this week, also received his UCAT score putting him in the top 10% of students in the country. The University Clinical Aptitude Test is used in the selection process by the majority of UK University Medical and Dental Schools. Our congratulations go to him.

At this time of year, the Sixth Form are usually busy preparing for the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee morning’ to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. As that isn’t possible this year, instead, we’re going to donate and enjoy a nice cup of coffee (or tea) and cake over the weekend. Look out for the photos on the website.

In sporting news, lower down the school, our congratulations go to Izzy in Year 10 who, over the Summer, represented Boroughbridge High School at the Schools’ Finals at the British Showjumping National Championships at Bolesworth, gaining 6th place in the 1m class and 3rd place in the 1m 10.

Have a lovely weekend!

Blog: 18th September 2020

If you could put anything in the Design Museum, what would it be? That was the question posed by Mrs Flowers to her Year 8 DT classes this week. Meanwhile, next door Mrs Simmonds’ Food Technology class were working out the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. Over in the Year 9 zone, students were exploring energy in Science with Mr Scott and elements with Dr Lefley.

At Key Stage 4, in Health and Social Care with Mrs Godsell-Wright, students were discussing Relationships and Isolation, which seems somewhat timely whereas in Geography, Mrs Hardcastle’s class were looking at the changes along the long profile of a river. On a technical note, Mrs Knock and her Computer Science class were looking at iteration in Python.

Virtual assemblies this week have focused on new beginnings and making the most of the school year ahead, the importance of team work and maintaining our standards and safety through the Code of Conduct.

Students’ work and attitude to learning have been absolutely fantastic and we’ve been a little frustrated that it’s been difficult to use Rewards stamps to recognise this so we’re going to record these on our management information system which you’ll be able to view on My Child at School. Year 7 parents will receive their log in details over the next couple of weeks.

As Year 7 have now been with us for almost two weeks, we’ve asked for some feedback about their start at BHS. It will probably not surprise you to hear that in response to ‘What is the best thing about being at Boroughbridge High School?’, many responses referred to ‘the amazing school meals’, along with ‘learning new things and meeting new people’, ‘all the lovely teachers’ and ‘all the lessons are really fun’. So, a good start all round!

As temperatures start to fall a little, a quick reminder that students will be outside at breaks and lunchtimes so we’re encouraging them to bring an outdoor coat. Also, if students would like to wear a jumper underneath their blazer (jumpers are optional, blazers are not!) then it should be a plain black knitted V-necked jumper. Round necks, sweatshirt type material or branded jumpers are not allowed. We do not have a school branded jumper in order to keep uniform costs down.

Have a lovely weekend.

Blog: 11th September 2020

After so many months of waiting and planning, we’re delighted to have finally got our whole school community back together. It’s quite difficult to articulate the absolute joy shown by staff and students on being reunited after many months apart.  It’s early days and, understandably, there have been moments of anxiety for all, but staff and students have worked together to make our new approach successful, enabling us to get back to quality face to face teaching and learning, albeit a little different. Thank you for your support with this. Attendance this week has been excellent, giving students the very best chance of settling back into school.

Alongside redesigned curriculum plans to re-engage students and help them in making progress, we’re also working with a focus on students’ mental health and wellbeing. This was one of our reasons for making sure we kept tutor time within our new school day structure and why our focus in PSHE, to begin with, will be on mental health and wellbeing.

It’s also been great to welcome our new Year 7 students to the Boroughbridge High School team. They are quickly settling in and showing confidence in their new surroundings and embracing their new curriculum. Activities that they’ve been involved in this week include identifying the skills that they can develop in Drama, working out ‘What is Geography?’ and, in English, identifying what makes a good story. On Thursday, they had their official school photo taken marking the start of their journey at Boroughbridge High School.

At the other end of the age range, we welcomed our Year 12 students at the beginning of the week and they have made an impressive start to their A-Level studies.

Students have been very organised in bringing their own resources this week. It would be really helpful if, along with pens, pencils, a ruler, eraser, coloured pencils and a scientific calculator, they could also bring a glue stick. A reminder that students will be outside until 8.40am so shouldn’t arrive on site before 8.15am and, as the temperatures start to drop, an outdoor coat would be helpful as students will be outside at break and lunchtime.

We’ve welcomed new staff this week with our new Head of PE, Mr Field and Maths Teacher, Mrs Johnson. During the summer break we said farewell to Teaching Assistants, Mrs Bettney, Miss Pannett, Mr Slator and Mrs Thomas and Caretakers, Mr Hartley and Mr Whittaker. We wish them well in their future ventures. Joining the team are Teaching Assistants, Mrs Brown, Mrs Law, Mr Mitchell and Mrs Weston and Caretakers, Mr Anderson and Mr Chittock.

So, at the end of a very successful week, I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Blog: 20th March 2020

In a challenging and unprecedented week, the strength of our community has been demonstrated in so many ways. Our approach at Boroughbridge High School has been to keep things as normal and in perspective as possible. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the staff team for their efforts throughout and to thank parents and carers for your support, understanding and patience.

So we started the week with a number of engaging learning opportunities. Year 7 reinforced the four operations with fractions through Bingo whilst in Geography they made 3-D drainage basin models which will be used to make a learning display. In French they were learning personal pronouns and in IT made links or created a sentence using 3 or more spreadsheet symbols and key terms. In PE, in gymnastics, they explored travelling and rolls, practising different ways to travel around. In DT, Year 7 had their eyes opened to the exciting world of Computer Aided Design (CAD). Having designed some Alessi inspired spaghetti measurers, they began the tricky task of transferring their designs to a computer programme to be eventually cut out on the laser cutter.

In DT, Year 8 saw the culmination of their design and technology skills as they completed their USB lights. Mrs Flowers says that, ‘It was fantastic to see their faces light up not only with the colour changing LED light from their creations but also with the realisation that using their own skills they’d made something fantastic!’

We welcomed Mr Cooper to the Pastoral Team this week. He’ll be looking after Years 9 and 10 and, during conversations with students, he explained the importance of dealing with stress and to ‘box’ it away until it happens so that you don’t worry about everything.

In Health and Social Care, Years 10 and 11 were doing role plays to demonstrate how care values are important when working with people. In GCSE PE students discussed how athletes may be tempted to use performance enhancing drugs. Meanwhile, down in Maths, Year 10 were extending themselves solving quadratic algebra problems including completing the square, factoring to solve, curve sketching, sketching inequalities and solving iteration problems.

In History, Year 12 were using a collection of contemporary sources to study the attitudes and arguments against women’s suffrage using a speed dating type activity.

Mrs Rainbow, our Careers Adviser, visited Askham Bryan College to see and learn about their unique range of FE and HE courses. They have a great choice for Post-16 and Post-18 education ranging from agriculture, animal care, public service, sport, motor sport and engineering.

The Professional Development Day on Wednesday gave us the opportunity to put together online resources for study at home and, little did we know that less than 36 hours later, the decision to close schools for the majority of students would be announced.

Thursday was a day of confusion as Year 10, 11 and 13 students and their teachers were coming to terms with the fact that they wouldn’t be sitting exams and, for Years 11 and 13, that they would be leaving much sooner than they had anticipated. Whilst we hope to have further celebrations later in the year, we took the opportunity to have a Year 11 leaving assembly this afternoon, celebrating the achievements of our students. Year 13 were presented with their own personalised leaving card, including a photo of their Year 7 selves. We will, of course, continue to provide support to these students in the weeks ahead.

So, as you’re aware, school will close for the majority of students today, opening only for children of key workers and vulnerable students from Monday.

I’ll keep in touch in the coming weeks and will look forward to the time when we all return to school and when, I suspect, we will have a different view of the things we value.

Take care.

Blog: 13th March 2020

You’d be forgiven for thinking that A8 had become the set for Masterchef over the last two weeks as GCSE Food students have been creating three course meals as part of their practical assessment. There’s a great deal of pressure in producing a three-course meal in a set time but students have confidently risen to the challenge. It will probably not surprise you to know that there was no shortage of staff available for the tasting session!

Year 11 have also been completing follow up mocks this week so that we can assess just how much progress they’ve made in the last couple of months and further focus teaching and revision in the coming months.

Tuesday saw the dawn of this year’s Race for the Line Challenge. In Science and Technology lessons over the last few weeks, Year 7 have been designing and refining their plans for their Rocket cars. On Tuesday morning, the filing, sawing and shaping of the polystyrene blocks began with cars being completed by lunchtime. Year 7 then gathered around the outside of the tennis courts as one by one the cars were timed. Some moved so quickly that they were almost impossible to see, with the winning car reaching 94 mph, so we’re feeling quietly confident as we approach the next round. I’d also like to pass on our thanks to Treves in Knaresborough for being our sponsors.

Meanwhile, over in Pateley Bridge on Tuesday, Year 12 Geographers showed strength of character in carrying out primary data collection in wet conditions that were less than ideal!

It was great to hear that many of our students were involved in raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance by taking part in the Knaresborough Young Farmers annual tractor run last weekend. We’ll be fundraising for Sport Relief with a non-uniform day next Friday (20th).

Year 9 demonstrated on Wednesday night that they’ve been doing some serious thinking about their futures at Parents/Options evening. With the opportunity to talk to teachers about their current progress before exploring the subjects that they can take, students left feeling confident about what they will study over the next couple of years. Thank you to those parents who attended. Students need to return their forms by Thursday 19th March.

A reminder that next Wednesday (18th March) is a Professional Development Day when students do not attend school and Parent Exam Information evening is on Thursday 19th March from 6-7pm.

You will have received a further letter today about our response to the current Coronavirus situation. We will continue to keep you informed of any updates.

Have a lovely weekend.

Blog: 6th March 2020

Recognising the challenges that lie ahead during the exam season, assemblies for Years 10 and 11 this week focused on successful revision by looking at the little things that make a big difference; the importance of a revision plan, exercise and eating properly, having a good area to work at home, having the right equipment, completing past papers and using feedback from teachers to improve. Students were also reminded of Easter School which takes place during the Easter holidays from 14th to 16th April. A letter explaining how it works and what’s on offer has been sent out. If you’d like to find out more about the exams process then please come along to our Parent Exam Information evening which is on Thursday 19th March from 6-7pm.

As part of Year 9 Futures Week, students had an Aspirations Event where they had the opportunity to consider possibilities by researching careers. This included meeting and working with Ambassadors from Teesside University followed by using a variety of career-based websites including taking the icould ‘Buzz Quiz’ which enabled students to learn about their personality, strengths and possible career direction.  On the Government website students gathered information on the key question ‘What is an Apprenticeship?’ along with learning about Child Employment Regulations.  Students all received a work booklet ‘Thinking About Your Future’ which you could look through with them at home.  Then, in advance of choosing their options, students spent Wednesday experiencing the different subjects that are on offer. There were many enthusiastic conversations throughout the day about the Key Stage 4 curriculum. We’ll look forward to seeing Year 9 students and parents on Wednesday 11th March at 5pm for Parents’ Evening.

On Wednesday afternoon, the ‘Under 13s Girls’ footballers made their debut with schools from across the Harrogate and Craven region. We played well and demonstrated that we have great potential in the coming months and years. We’re at the left of the photo!

Over in the Sixth Form, Year 13 have been completing Mock exams and on Thursday in the Music Block, students and staff were participating in Open Mic night.

Thanks to the parents who attended the Federation consultation meeting. A reminder that the closing date for written responses is Monday 15th March.

It was World Book Day on Thursday and, in assembly on Tuesday, Years 7 and 8 were encouraged to pick up a book and read. Perhaps we should all find a few moments to read a few pages over the weekend. Have a good one!