Headteacher’s Blog – 24th March 2023

It’s that time of year when the blossom comes out on the trees at the front of school and Year 11 receive their Leavers’ Hoodies which now, as they move through their final weeks at Boroughbridge High School, becomes part of the Year 11 uniform. GCSE Progress exams were completed this week with the French Speaking exams and students are now receiving results, helping them to understand what they need to achieve in the coming weeks. 

Year 8 have had their own experience of exams in the Hall this week and Year 7 get the same opportunity next week. 

In assemblies this week, Mrs. Bauwens has been marking World Water Day (22nd March) which is held to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and the need to sustainably manage our freshwater resources by discussing changes that we can each make to collectively have a greater impact. Students watched the official World Water Day video starring the hummingbird who, in the ancient tale, faced with a great fire makes the decision to start to act, trying to put the fire out one drop at a time. The other animals laugh, but the hummingbird replies, “I’m doing what I can.” The short film then tells the story of the global water and sanitation crisis as if the world were a community of just 100 people. 

You can watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUkj3uwCPSE

It’s been the Year 7 Rocket Car challenge today. This morning students designed and created their cars, working as a team, before the racing began this afternoon. We’ll look forward to hearing who designed the fastest car!

 A reminder that it’s our Easter concert next week on Thursday 30th March at 6.30p.m. in the Main Hall. Entry is £3 or £2 for concessions. All are welcome.

Staying with the musical theme, Mrs. Skilbeck wanted to share that it is the Open Day on Saturday at the music centre in Northallerton where ‘Potential young players are welcome to come along on Saturday the 25th of March any time between 9:30 and 11:30am. Visitors can take the opportunity to have a look round, find out what we do and have a go on Clarinet, Trumpet or Violin. No experience is necessary, just bring along plenty of enthusiasm and a passion for making music. New members wishing to join us will be able to start from scratch in a new group from the Summer Term, with up to half a term free of charge. Young players with existing experience will be directed into one of our established ensembles.’  You can find out more at  http://www.northallertonmusiccentre.co.uk/home/and Mrs. Skilbeck will be there as a familiar face if any of our students are interested in attending.

Have a lovely weekend!






















Headteacher’s Blog – 17th March 2023

Headteacher’s Blog – 17th March 2023

A very well attended Options Evening on Tuesday showed the level of thought and consideration that goes into determining the next stage of education. After a talk in the Hall to put our aspirational curriculum into context, parents, carers and students had the opportunity to talk to option subject teachers about what the KS4 qualifications entail along with speaking to core subject teachers about progress being made. There is now a week for final choices to be made and returned via Google Form.

Assemblies this week also had a theme of the future and, as it’s British Science Week, Mr. Scott talked about the relevance of Science in all aspects of life both now and in the future. Students looked at the timeline of the development of mobile phones with disbelief whilst staff chuckled, remembering the early phones with a battery life of 2 hours and their only capacity to make a phone call! The clear message though was that Science has an important part to play in solutions around health, the planet and technological innovation. You can find out more at https://www.britishscienceweek.org/

On Wednesday we had our Professional Development Day and, whilst it’s often a mystery to students what happens on these days, let me reveal that staff maximised their time through professional development and discussion around areas which help us to challenge, motivate and support our young people including Curriculum, Climate for Learning, Safeguarding updates and Reading. 

Years 10 and 11 have been fully engaged in their second set of Progress exams as we march, at pace, towards the GCSE and BTEC Summer exam season. Year 8 have their own exams next week, followed by Year 7 the week after. 

Today has been non-uniform day as we’ve raised money for Comic Relief, making our contribution to projects in the UK and around the world supported by the charity which has been in existence for 38 years. How many red noses have you purchased over the years?

We’ve welcomed Mrs. Broadhurst as Pastoral Manager this week who will be working alongside Mrs. Hirst and Mrs. Donnelly.

Advance notice that in a couple of weeks’ time we have our Easter concert at 6.30p.m. on Thursday 30th March. All are welcome. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteachers Blog

Headteacher’s Blog – 10th March 2023

With a view ahead, Mrs. Bloomfield’s assemblies this week have focused on possible futures as part of National Careers Week (https://nationalcareersweek.com/) looking at the fact that there are numerous routes to different careers and, whilst our young people might not yet know the route they will take, there is a great deal to be positive about as they navigate their way towards future employment. They’ll be getting lots of support within school and beyond through our extensive Careers Education, Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) programme. Year 8 were introduced to their first opportunity to personalise their curriculum at Boroughbridge High School by choosing three subjects from Art, Drama, DT, FT, ICT and Music to deepen and enrich their studies in Year 9 whilst still having the full suite of GCSE/BTEC subjects to choose from at the end of Year 9.  And so, with Options Evening next Tuesday (6p.m.) for Year 9 and their Parents and Carers, this week they’ve been involved in taster sessions to inform their decisions. They’ll choose four option subjects and study two of these in Year 10 and two in Year 11, alongside their Core Subjects as part of our Stage not Age approach.

GCSE Food students have had a productive week of trial and triumph as they’ve completed their practical. From profiteroles to pasties and cheesecake to crunchy chicken, the results were both aesthetically pleasing and very tasty. Next week, Years 10 and 11 will be completing phase 2 of their Progress Exams which will enable them and their teachers to identify how much more they know and how they’ve developed their skills since the December Progress Exams and establish how they need to approach the next couple of months leading up to the exams.

Last night we held our Parent Information Evening on attendance and, in the following discussion, a lot more besides. Thanks to those who attended. Our next one is on Thursday 20th April at 6p.m. when we’ll be looking at Internet Safety. Please let us know if there are any other areas that you would like us to cover in the future.

The Year 8 girls football team were in action this week, competing against local schools. We came fourth and Mrs. Godsell-Wright said that the team played very well and were an absolute credit to BHS.

A reminder that we have a Professional Development Day on Wednesday 15th March when students do not attend school.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteachers Blog – 03.03.23

Headteacher’s Blog – 3rd March 2023

If you have younger children, then you’ve probably been battling with costumes of your child’s favourite character for World Book Day on Thursday. Here at Boroughbridge High School we’ve taken a DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) approach with teachers, for a couple of lessons in the day, choosing an extract from a favourite book or article relevant to their lesson, topic or subject and reading it aloud to the class before discussing it. So looking at a sample across school, in the Maths Department, Mrs Bloomfield read a passage to Year 7 from “The Number Devil – a Mathematical Adventure” by Hans Magnus Enzensberger which is a fun journey through the world of Mathematics through the eyes of a 12 year old boy who hates Maths but ends up dreaming about it!

In Mrs. Murphy’s Year 7 Maths lesson, student either read or wrote a short story involving a fraction. They then listened to the short stories, lots of food was mentioned in some really imaginative stories. Year 8 had a starter matching up descriptions with graphs. They were then shown a different graph and asked to write a short story that could be represented by the graph. Mrs. Murphy commented that ‘They all had a go and produced some stories that defied gravity.’

In Year 9 History, Mrs. Town read Chapter 1 of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ as they are starting to study the Holocaust.


In GCSE, Mr. Field shared an article tilted ‘Lizzy Yarnold: GB’s two-time Winter Olympic champion calls for stop on high-carbon sponsorship deals’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/winter-sports/64785138 which linked two topics that he has significant interest in; snowsports and the environment. The article also linked perfectly to the specification as it covered topics that students are about to learn about in GCSE PE, Commercialisation of sport.

Mr. Errington and his class read pages 52 to 55 of “Surely You’re joking, Mr Feynman” by R.P.Feynman. Mr. Errington says that ‘Richard Feynman was arguably the world’s greatest theoretical physicist and when I first read his books when I went to school in the 80’s, he inspired me to keep learning and my love of physics.’

In MFL, Y9 students looked at the bilingual (French & English) edition of ‘Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’ and heard excerpts in both languages. Madame Bailie reports that ‘They were very pleased with themselves to recognise some of the French vocabulary!’

Mr Woodward reports that in RE, ‘I read (in a slightly dramatic fashion) extracts from the Book of Job in the Bible to Y9 students as we analysed the Biblical response to the existence of unfair suffering in the world and then, during Lesson 5, extracts from Damian Hall’s “We Can’t Run Away From This” were shared in our exploration of the issue of climate change.’


So, not only did students get the opportunity to read and get an insight into their teachers’ reading but they may also have some ideas for future reading.

Setting the scene throughout the week in assemblies was Mr. Cockerill who talked about a range of books from different genres and different times and their impact at the time demonstrating the true power of the written word.



Next week is our Parent Information Evening on Thursday (9th March) at 6p.m. where Mr. Grierson (Deputy Head) and I will discuss Attendance in the first part of the evening and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions that you have during the second part. Please e-mail schooladmin@boroughbridgehigh.com if you’d like to attend.

Have a lovely weekend!





Headteachers Blog 24.02.23

Headteacher’s Blog – 24th February 2023

There’s been a definite feeling of Spring this week as we’ve returned from our half term break. With Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday 17th March, Mrs. Hunter’s assemblies this week have explored this theme, looking at people who’ve made it their mission to carry out a random act of kindness each day with students being encouraged to do the same.

As you’re aware our school community is benefiting from working closely with the NHS Wellbeing in Mind team who are based in the Bungalow. With the understanding that sleep is essential for our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, this week they’ve shared some tips for better sleep.

In sporting news, the Year 8 Handball Team were in action on Thursday and, whilst they didn’t win (17-9), Mr. Field reports that ‘After a nervous start they really proved their
resilience in putting on a good performance.  A loss that we will learn from and improve further.  As their first competitive fixture this was a good start and promising for future handball fixtures.’


This week we’ve said farewell to Mrs. Collings who is part of the SEN team and Mrs. Brokenbrow who is part of the Catering Team. We thank them for their considerable input to our school community and wish them well for the future.

A reminder that we have a Professional Development Day on Wednesday 15th March when students do not attend school. This will follow the Year 9 Options Evening on Tuesday 14th March.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteachers Blog 10.02.23

Headteachers Blog – 10th February 2023

Talk is such an important part of learning. Promoting the spoken word can have a huge impact in helping students to understand and voice ideas around complex topics, furthering their chances of progressing their understanding. So what ‘talk’ has been happening in lessons at Boroughbridge High School this week?

Some of the Year 7 Geographers have been discussing the factors which affect microclimate whilst others have just started the topic of earthquakes and have been talking about the devastating impact that the recent earthquake has had on the countries of Turkey and Syria.

In Year 7 French, students have been learning how to change adjectival endings when describing someone’s personality, and using this vocabulary in speaking activities to pay one another compliments whilst, in Food Technology, students discussed fats and oils and how they affect our health if we have too much or too little.

Mrs Macadam reports,  ‘Year 7s have been talking (excitedly) about and tasting food from the countries they have blogged about for their travel writing assessment. (Students prepared and shared a colourful array of food types: risotto, pizza, home-made Jewish bagels, Portuguese tarts, milk tart from Cape Town, Greek baklava, American cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, Moroccan bean stew and cilantro salad, homemade humus, Thai noodles, home-made  Irish soda bread,  churros and lots and lots more!) They were also very lucky to have a talk from Mr. Barfield on survival food from an Antarctic expedition – and got to taste and give opinions on their findings.  It was lots of fun!’

In English, Year 8 students have discussed what makes a great film poster as part of their work on the novel Brother in the Land. In Year 9 Music, good exam technique was discussed as students prepared to take their first listening exam of the mini-option course.

In Maths, Year 10 students have been discussing how simultaneous equations would be used in the world outside of school and what careers you may need to use them in. KS4 Computer Science students have been discussing the future of AI and if it’s a good or bad idea to keep developing AI. In RE, Y10 and Y11 students have been discussing the morality of nuclear weapons, the ethics of peaceful and non-peaceful protest and the multifaceted causes of terrorism. Meanwhile, Year 10 biologists have been discussing how our body responds to a change in the environment. Is it due to the nervous system and a reflex action or is it hormonal control?

Mrs Macadam’s Year 10 have been talking about symbolism, imagery  and recurring motifs in Act 2 scene 2 of “Macbeth”; hands were drawn and decorated with symbols and significant quotations were retrieved and explored.

The Year 11s were captivated by our motivational speaker Al Sylvestor MBE, ex RAF and South Pole explorer,  with thrilling tales of overcoming adversity,  frostbite, never giving up and succeeding against the odds.

He spoke about the qualities needed to succeed in one of the greatest human challenges, to complete a 600 mile walk unaided to the South Pole – hard work, teamwork, honesty, bravery and determination .  He enthused and inspired the students to reflect on how they could use those qualities to prepare and succeed in their GCSEs this Summer. Thinking of possible futures some of our Year 11 students went across to King James’s School, Knaresborough for the Sixth Form taster day. Exciting times ahead!

Assemblies this week have focused on ‘ the power of words’.

It was a busy Year 7 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday with lots of positive conversations about excellent progress being made. Thank you for your support with this.

Advance notice that we have a Professional Development Day on Wednesday 15th March when students do not attend school. This will follow the Year 9 Options Evening on Tuesday 14th March.

Have a lovely weekend and half term break!




Headteachers Blog 03.02.23

Headteacher’s Blog – 3rd February 2023

It’s been an important week for Year 10 and 11 BTEC students who, after weeks of preparation, have sat their first exams in Health and Social Care and Travel and Tourism. They’ve been revising hard, checking their knowledge with retrieval techniques before building upon it. They’ll now have to wait a few months to see how they’ve done. Year 9 students will be experiencing something similar next week as they sit their exams.

We’ve had a range of assemblies this week starting on Monday with Year 11 and Mrs. Town who, on a careers theme, talked with students about possible futures and the rapidly approaching deadlines for applications for post-16 institutions. Mr. Grierson talked to Years 10 and 9 with the theme of RESPECT, exploring how our words and actions demonstrate our respect for ourselves and others. Mr. Woodward talked to Years 8 and 9 about an exciting opportunity for them to become part of a team that improves the outside school environment including planting trees with a view to securing The Woodland Trust Green Tree School Award. Students can sign up before half term to become part of the team.

In footballing news this week, Mr. Field reports that

‘The Year 7 boys took on their second football match this month and ended their goal drought in spectacular fashion.  The fixture against Harrogate High School produced plenty of entertainment for those spectating with the net bulging 14 times in the match.  BHS started in a promising way with some good, neat football being played. This provided confidence to show resilience when they went three goals down and then began to dominate the game.  Goals from Flynn (3) Zak (2) Thomas (2) and Lewis (1) meant that they secured their first victory in BHS colours.  The fixture ended 6-8 to BHS and helped provide lots of smiles and enthusiasm for their future fixtures.’

Meanwhile, later in the week, the Year 10/11 football team took on Queen Ethelburga’s. Whilst the score was 4-2 to them, Mr Field, Mr. Lough and Mr. Richardson all remarked on what an excellent match it had been with the BHS team maintaining a high standard until the final whistle!

Year 8 Parents’ Evening took place last week and next week we have Year 7 Parents’ Evening to look forward to on Wednesday before our half term break starts on Friday.

Have a lovely weekend!

Headteachers Blog

Headteacher’s Blog – 13th January 2023

Retrieval practice has been a focus at Boroughbridge High School over the last year with our understanding that it will really help our students to learn and remember. But what is retrieval practice and why is it important?

Retrieval practice is when you try to recall information without having it in front of you to look at. To give an example, you may be trying to learn the processes that make up the water cycle. You could do retrieval practice by trying to name the processes and draw a diagram to show how they are sequenced without looking at a diagram. Once you’ve constructed all that you can remember, you would then look at your diagram to see what you had remembered and what you had missed to plug the gaps in your knowledge.

It’s important because, as we discussed at the Parent Expectation Evenings, research shows that without revisiting knowledge learnt, after 31 days, only around one fifth of knowledge will be retained. By retrieving, it can be retained. This is, of course, not new. You may remember revising yourself using this technique. What is different now is the growing body of research proving that this is the most effective way of building long term knowledge!

So, in order to ensure that our students have the opportunity to revisit topics and information to build their knowledge, we’ve been using retrieval grids along with a range of other strategies. This encourages students to retrieve knowledge from their short, medium and long term memory.

So in classrooms across the school this week, some of the retrieval grids used include the following, Year 9 Geographers have been using a retrieval grid to recall information from topics throughout the year including Resources and Sustainability and Places in the World. This was to help students to start to think about the knowledge they will need for their Year 9 exams later this term. Questions from topics covered a long time ago secured more marks. At GCSE, student used their grid questions to recap case study knowledge about an earthquake in Italy that was studied last week to see what they could remember.

GCSE Historians were engaged in exploring educational research themselves, at the beginning of the week, looked at the research underpinning what helps us learn and remember things and why retrieval practice and revisiting our knowledge is so important before looking at 3 key secrets of successful revision.

In Business GCSE, students completed a review sheet on strengths and areas to improve as they reviewed their progress to date whilst in Computing GCSE, students completed a list of exam questions covering knowledge from last week’s lessons as a start activity.

In Year 10 English, students completed questions from a retrieval grid on the opening of their Shakespeare set text (Macbeth). Questions ranged in complexity and covered things such as the significance of the setting of the play (Geographical and Historical). Students identified and commented on the themes introduced in the opening scenes and on the significance of the play’s imagery. They identified devices and analysed key quotations. The context (AO3) questions required the students to recall knowledge acquired from lessons and independent research last term. Bonus marks were given for unique interpretation and detailed responses.

In Year 9 Music, the retrieval grid prompted students to remember key vocabulary about the current topic: Musicals; the previous topic: score writing and minimalism; and some topics from as long ago as Year 7. Year 8 Musicians had facts to remember from this term’s topic: theme and variations; the previous topic: reggae; our first topic of the year: the Blues; and even some elements of music from Year 7. Top marks of 24 were available for both year groups with students aiming for the high teens.


Travel and Tourism BTEC students had a retrieval grid focusing on factors affecting global tourism including political, economic, natural disasters, extreme weather and health risks.


So, if you’d like a go yourself, here’s a Year 9 Maths retrieval grid. Good Luck!



Have a lovely weekend.

Headteachers Blog – 20.01.2023

Headteacher’s Blog – 20th January 2023

Schools are hives of activity and if you’d been able to see into every area of school at precisely 10.30a.m. on Thursday, celebrating a moment in time, you’d have seen the evidence.

Over in PE, Year 8 were engaged in inter-form badminton with Mr. Field, learning about working individually to achieve a goal as a team whilst also developing a sense of belonging and responsibility as part of a form group. An excellent way to develop resilience in a sporting context.

Meanwhile in Science with Miss Camy, Year 9 were learning what happens to animal cells when they are put in different concentrations of sugar solution; burst, shrivel or stay the same.  Mrs. Hutchinson was working in the prep room to make sure all of the different sugar solutions were ready for the required practical next week. Year 11 Physicists with Mr. Errington were engaged with equations of motion whilst Mrs. Weston was supporting Year 9 students in Biology, learning about osmosis; hypertonic, hypotonic and isotonic.


In English, Mrs. Wellock reports that ‘Year 8 students were gripped when reading ‘Brother in the Land’ as a shocking explosion and death left then wondering what will happen next and how will Danny (our protagonist) survive now?’ Meanwhile, Mr. Cockerill was reading and marking students’ drafts of their non-fiction piece about Mount Everest before they redraft it.

In Computing, Mrs. Knock and Year 8 were refreshing their understanding of binary numbers, changing decimal numbers into binary and back. Over in MFL, with Madame Reed, Year 8 were learning the immediate future tense and saying what they were going to eat and drink.

In RE, Mr. Woodward reports that ‘Y9 were discovering what support St James’ Church offers the local community as we try to work out whether religious buildings should be sold to help people living in poverty or not.’ Along the Humanities corridor, Mrs. Bauwens and Year 9 were looking at how the rainforest ecosystem works. They used key vocabulary learnt in science to describe how living and non-living parts of this biodiverse ecosystem are linked together.

Year 7 were exploring Surrealism in Drama by looking how our dreams skew our concept of reality. At 10.30a.m. they were watching a very creative and imaginative performance! Mrs. Coates was supporting a group of students who were acting out a scene as a Victorian reporter.

Mrs. Flowers was offering an extra session for NEA 1 for GCSE students who have recently been ill and missed their lessons. Alongside this, Mrs. Leeming was supporting a student to carry out an investigation of different flours and the starch content in them.

Discussing prejudice in PSHCE with Mrs. Murphy, Year 7 considered which things you can change about yourself and which things cannot be changed.

Mrs. Cummins was exploring methods for drawing linear graphs whilst Mr. Richardson was covering a Year 10 Maths group who were finding the equation of a straight line from the gradient and a point.

Up in the SEN base, Mrs. Thompson was supporting a student and Mrs. Collings was carrying out a Dyslexia Gold Literacy Intervention with a small group of Year 7 students.

Miss Stamper was working with the school council who have decided to raise money for Ukraine. One way that they want to do that is to learn Ukrainian. Over in the Bungalow our counsellor, Mrs. Buckley, was working with students along with the Wellbeing in Mind team.

Mrs. Town was having a telephone meeting with an Educational Psychologist to discuss how best to support students. At the main office the admin team were answering the phones, accepting deliveries and administering First Aid whilst the catering team were preparing the mid-morning break snacks! I had the pleasure of doing On-call, walking around the school, and going in and out of classrooms watching all of these excellent activities taking place.

In other news this week, we were delighted to be awarded the Runners Up trophy for a Tenpin bowling event held in York, particularly exciting as this is the first time that Boroughbridge High School has entered such an event. Well done to all and to Harvey who scored more than 100!


Have a lovely weekend!

Headteachers Blog – 06.01.23

Headteacher’s Blog – 6th January 2023

I hope that you’ve had a lovely Christmas break and a good start to 2023. We’ve had a positive start at school so thank you for your support with this. We had extra assemblies with each year group on Wednesday to remind students of our school standards, rewards, behaviour for learning and how we all act to ensure that everyone in our community is safe, happy and successful. We also talked about the importance of high attendance and how our curriculum maps and retrieval practice will continue to support high quality learning throughout the Spring Term.

From Mrs. Knock’s form, Alyssa, Eli, Bella, Lola and Daisy have led assemblies this week on online fraud and keeping safe online. They looked at phishing and push payments before exploring social engineering and the dangers of giving away too much personal information. Their conclusion included top tips to avoid becoming a victim which included never giving out personal or financial information, never clicking on text links or e-mail attachments from unknown sources and making sure that you have different passwords for every site. Students were confident in presenting and have helped us all to be safer online.

Developing their own speaking and communications skills, today Year 10 have been involved in a Speak Out Challenge Day. They’ve worked on skills and techniques before presenting on a topic they feel passionate about. A diverse range of topics were selected and the presentations proved to be of a very high quality. Well done Year 10!

This week we’ve welcomed three new staff to Boroughbridge High School; Mr. Groves has joined the DT department, Mr. Scott has joined the History department and Mrs. Pickering has joined the SEND team.

Have a lovely weekend!