Blog: 5th February 2021

The early morning drive into school is starting to happen in something that doesn’t completely resemble winter darkness.  The first traces of bulbs planted are starting to pop their heads up around the school grounds as we anticipate explosions of colour decorating our beautiful campus.  We are one week away from half term and the first signs of spring give us hope of better times ahead.

This week has been officially designated ‘Children’s Mental Health Week, and every day of every week we are mindful of the mental health of the young people who we look after.   The theme for this year is ‘Express yourself’.  There are lots of great resources available at

https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/parents-and-carers/

In this week’s blog I thought I’d give you a little flavour of the types of things that we’ve doing to look after our young people’s mental health who come into school.

The importance of exercise is so important to help get the happy chemicals flowing and Mr Field has been providing a number of activities from badminton to football to fitness drills.  Mrs Godsell Wright has helped to provide some light relief with her dance classes in the dance studio – let’s do the time warp again and the macarena both popular.

At breaks and lunchtime, the hot chocolates have been popular, warming them up as our young people enjoyed sculpting the snow and having some playful snowball fights.

The importance of music was emphasised as Mr Grierson shared with the students ‘the top ten songs scientifically proven to make you happy – don’t stop him now cause he’s having a good time. Some of our talented musicians have been accessing our drum kit and guitars to give them a well-earned break from the computer screen.

Our pastoral team have been having one to one catch ups and staff and students have been boosting each other up with kind words of encouragement.

Since the last lockdown we’ve had a 500% increase in the number of children coming into school and this has made it increasingly challenging to deliver our remote learning and live lessons whilst keeping the school going, so if you’re a key worker and there is scope not to send your child into school some of the time, that would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great weekend, stay safe and look after each other.


Blog Guest writer Mr Grierson Deputy Headteacher

 

Blog: 29th January – Back to The Future

It’s almost a year ago to the day the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the UK.  It was just down the road at the University of York.  Little did we know that a full year later, our normal lives, including our schooling would be so dramatically affected.  I thought it would be interesting to look back at what we were doing when normal was just normal, and not the ‘new normal’.  The idea for this blog is based on the large number of repeats currently on tv, and the recent scientific revelations that nostalgia is good for general well-being.

Here’s a flavour of what we did when we took normal for granted:

If you’ve ever cooked too much spaghetti, then Year 7 may have the solution for you. They’ve been making spaghetti measurers of all shapes and sizes taking on a variety of themes! In French, Year 7 have been increasing their vocabulary before using Quizlet live to compete in teams against their classmates, demonstrating their increasing grasp of the French language.

 In Year 10 PSHE this week, students have been exploring risky behaviours and learning how to keep themselves safe. Topics have included healthy relationships and appropriate use of social media. It was lovely to see so many parents and students at the Year 10 Parents’ Evening on Wednesday. Questionnaire responses will be published on the website next week. BTEC students in Years 10 and 11 have an important week ahead with their first external exams in Health and Social Care and Travel and Tourism.

 Year 11 will also have the opportunity to experience the future as they embark on A-Level taster days at King James’s School on Wednesday and BHS on Friday.

Thinking even further ahead, Year 9 will have the opportunity to go to Bewerley Park to experience the Great Outdoors in July. 

Instead of assemblies for most year groups this week, we’ve been visiting tutor groups to see just how they prepare for the day ahead. We’ve seen planner and uniform checks, reading, homework time, equipment checks, quizzes and birthday celebrations! Classes also marked Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday by watching a video and carrying out thoughtful activities to remember the millions of people who were murdered or whose lives were changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. 

Year 11 had their assembly today and we welcomed visitors from the National Citizen Service who shared with students the Summer time opportunities that the scheme can bring. A large number of students got involved last year and benefited greatly from the experience so we’re hoping for the same this year.

On a positive we have been given a tentative date of the 8th March to start to come back and we’ve enriched our vocabularies with term like circuit breakers, lockdowns, pandemic, flattening the curve, whilst simultaneously enriching our scientific knowledge about r rates, spiky proteins and vaccine efficacy.

Thank you for all your continued support.

Take care everybody and keep an eye out for Mr Grierson’s weekly remote learning news on Monday.

Blog: 15th January 2021

As we move into the second week of remote learning, let’s begin by focusing on the learning taking place at Key Stage 3.

In Geography, Year 7 have spent the last two weeks consolidating map skills. Through solving puzzles and creating mystery maps, they have been practising using direction and grid references. To complete the topic of ‘Weather and Climate’ Year 8 have been learning how hurricanes form, creating a storyboard to show the different stages.  Some excellent work has been submitted by students investigating Hurricane Katrina, the world’s most expensive hurricane to date! Year 9 are continuing to investigate Tropical Rainforests and this week have begun to look at why they are such a valuable resource.

In Science Year 7 and 8 are looking into space. Challenging stuff as the next time they revisit this topic will be in Year 11 and, as Mr Errington says, which other subject lets you look back in time every time you look up at the stars?

Doing some time travel themselves, in Year 7 History students have been investigating how the Barons dealt with their frustrations towards King John’s rule, and how the Magna Carta came to be created in 1215. Zooming forward, Year 9 Historians are looking at the causes of World War Two whilst in Religious Studies, students are learning about the teachings the Buddha gave to help his followers manage the inevitable suffering that all people experience as part of the human condition with Year 7 students continuing their introduction to Buddhism and the Life of Siddhartha Gautama and asking the question “Where is happiness found?”

In French, Year 7 have been describing their personalities using complex adjectives and honing their pronunciation skills and, despite the snowy weather, Year 8 have been ordering their favourite ice cream flavours- une boule de glace au chocolat s’il vous plaît!

In Art & Design, as you can see, Year 7 have been using mark making to create tone, texture and form in their work on insects while in ICT, they have been exploring Scratch to develop their programming skills, using variables to store data such as the score. At a time when computers have taken on even greater significance, Year 8 have begun to look at how computers work, starting with identifying inputs, outputs and storage devices used in computers.

In DT, Years 7 and 8 have been looking at client and user needs whilst in Year 9 energy has been the focus with students looking at where it comes from and how sustainably it is produced whilst in Food Technology, Year 8 students have been set a practical linked to their theory lesson on carbohydrates.

In Maths, Year 7 have been investigating angles and using angle facts in problem solving, Year 8 have been finishing off algebra, working with some challenges whilst multiplying out double brackets and understanding inequalities. Meanwhile, Year 9 are studying compound measures (speed, distance, time & pressure, force, area) as part of the ratio and proportion unit.

Students have also been accessing their drum and piano lessons in a Google Meet lesson.

With an eye on the Sport England research that says that only 44.9% of children and young people are currently meeting the guidelines of taking part in sport and physical activity for an average of 60 minutes or more a day, the Strava Club has now gone live at Boroughbridge High School. This will help students to stay in touch with and motivate each other whilst they take part in their daily exercise. This coincides with the launch of the whole school ‘Couch to 5k’ challenge. Completing the weekly training through the NHS app will keep students active and provide a valuable break from the computer screen. To help document all the personal achievements each student has been tasked with creating a weekly activity blog to showcase their physical achievements and their creative writing skills.  Mr, Field reports that some Year 9 students have already submitted some fantastic examples and we are looking forward to receiving many more to see what activities everyone has been doing.

Having had a live session with Mr Grierson on Looking After Yourself during Lockdown, which will be a regular feature, next week Key Stage 3 students will begin their live subject sessions too.

They’ve gone really well for Key Stage 4 students this week with a Year 11 Maths group catching up via a live lesson with the focus on ensuring that students had access to the many resources used and know how to get the most out of them. Meanwhile, in French, students have enjoyed live lessons and practising ‘crazy’ translations live using ‘flippity’. The first live lesson with the GCSE PE group was a great success too with a fantastic turn out and some great work produced.

So, all year groups will start with their new timetable next week designed to support them in creating a good working routine whilst also ensuring that they experience a wide range of teaching and learning activities. Bring on Week 3!

Take care.

So here it is, 2021! It’s not been the start to the term that we were all expecting, or indeed hoping for with a return to Home Learning for most students. However, as usual our whole school community has risen to the challenge.

With the Summer exams being cancelled and the DfE and Ofqual working on a fair way to award grades, it’s essential that our exam classes continue to work hard and complete all work to put themselves in a strong position and so I’m going to focus on what our Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students have been learning this week, some in a classroom at school and many more in homes in surrounding settlements.

Getting 2021 off to a more positive start, in French, students have been writing their New Year’s Resolutions in French using the future tense of course!

With health and wellbeing at the fore, in Health and Social Care students have been analysing how our choices affect our lives in the short and long term. Thinking of physical health and fitness in PE, students have been looking at the long-term effects of exercise and injuries in sport with pictures of gruesome sports injuries! With solutions in mind, students have developed the knowledge of how to prevent and treat these injuries should they encounter them. Keeping healthy from within, Food Preparation and Nutrition students have started their coursework and have the choice of researching, planning and cooking from the three tasks set. The impact of mobile phone use on health, along with how robot arms are performing operations in hospitals, has been the focus for Computer Science students as they’ve begun to look at the legal, ethical and environmental impact of computers.

As our first winter snow is falling, GCSE geographers have been looking at the impact of extreme weather in the UK as part of a unit on natural hazards, focusing on the impact of storms. Staying with Humanities, in RE, students are beginning their independent study of the ethics of human relationships whilst in History, students are investigating the key question, ‘How did Hitler establish a dictatorship?’.

With an eye on times of greater freedom, Travel and Tourism students have been working on a tourist information guide for a UK destination. Where would you choose? Researching sources of finance available to large and small firms and identifying the advantages and drawbacks of each has been the focus of Business students. In Art, Craft and Design students have been starting to consider design ideas for their final piece based on the theme of Disguise, looking at artists to inspire their design choices.

In Maths, Year 10 students have been working on a range of topics with some students recapping earlier topics and others calculating averages and using data in a real-life context. Year 11 have been working on compound measures, estimation and accuracy, creating constructions and accurately drawing loci and exploring 3D shapes, looking at formal calculations for volume and surface of prisms, cylinders, cones and pyramids, with spheres to come next week.

In Science, all KS4 students have been plugging gaps in knowledge identified from the Progress exams whilst in Design Technology, some online revision has been taking place with students also getting to grips with their design ideas, adding labels and notes, ready to analyse against their specifications.

A-Level students have been completing their UCAS applications, identifying their Universities of choice and using their personal statements to demonstrate their wealth of skills and achievements. They’ve also shown their usual high level of initiative by creating Google Meet groups so that they can discuss their lessons virtually to keep connected during this period of home learning.

Geographers have been studying the main stores and flows of water in the world and how changes over time in one can have significant global consequences, along with pollution in urban areas and how it can be reduced. Biologists have been focusing on exam technique for longer answer questions from Unit 4. Taking full advantage of the National Theatre’s offer to provide schools free access to a range of their plays during the lockdown period, Year 13 English Literature students watched a love production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ starring Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois. Following that they will be revising the dramatic devices used by Tennessee Williams in the play.

Year 13 Psychologists have been studying psychological explanations for schizophrenia on Google Meet lessons and Year 12 have been learning about the behavioural approach. Year 13 Mathematicians have been looking at the normal distribution and working on trigonometric identities which they first met in Year 12. Historians have been researching 16th Century Spain for their Non-exam assessment.

So, whilst the school building may be closed for the majority of students, learning certainly isn’t. Thanks for your support with this. Take care.

One hundred Christmas cards were carefully written with festive messages and best wishes by the Health and Social Care group and, following a quarantine period, are being delivered to Boroughbridge Manor and Riverside Court. We were also very grateful for the £165 donations from staff and students to buy food for our local foodbanks.

Christmas Dinner got us into the Christmas mood on Tuesday and, in and amongst the festivities, we’ve continued with high quality learning with Year 7 making cakes with many different flavourings. Meanwhile, with temperatures beginning to fall, Year 7 scientists have been doing a small science project on insulation using the Raspberry Pi computers and a temperature probe. Mr Errington reports that the students have made a really good start with Charlie and Isaac managing to connect some LEDs and light them.

The Christmas window competition has reached new heights as gradually around the school, windows turned into festive extravaganzas. You can see a few of them here. Decision making was tough so we decided each year group deserved a winner.

Meanwhile, around the school, we’ve also been able to view the Christmas baubles that KS3 classes have been producing.

And so, to end the week with a flourish, we’ve been wearing our Christmas jumpers today and have raised £302 for Save the Children. During extended form time, students received subject awards for their hard work and achievements. They finished by watching a unique staff video performance of ‘Last Covid Christmas’ to a tune you’ll be very familiar with performed by Bertie and Ewan (Year 13) and a range of staff in varying locations.

Thanks again to all parents who completed the survey on remote learning. We’ll share the outcomes and our follow up actions in the New Year.

So, as 2020 draws to a close, I would like to thank you for your support through what has been a challenging year for us all. Your commitment to remote learning during the lockdown period has formed a strong foundation for us to support students in making excellent progress this term. I hope that you and your families have a restful and peaceful Christmas and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

Christmas is in the air this week with Mrs Godsell-Wright’s virtual assembly focusing on Advent and the true meaning of Christmas. Taking on these themes of thinking of and helping others, the BTEC Health and Social Care class will be following our annual tradition of writing cards with Christmas messages to take to local care homes. We’re also collecting monetary donations for local foodbanks. If you’d like to contribute, please put your donation in an envelope marked ‘Foodbank’ which can be handed in at Reception or to the Pastoral Team.

This week has seen the launch of the Form Christmas window competition, as an alternative to our usual Christmas door competition. 7SW set the standard with their excellent Remembrance window display so we’ll see how the forms and their tutors rise to this particular challenge. Judging will take place next Thursday.

Other things to look forward to next week include Christmas Dinner Day on Tuesday accompanied by festive music. Students who are less enthusiastic about Christmas Dinner will be able to have a sandwich alternative. This would also be a very appropriate time to thank the Kitchen Team for their hard work throughout the Autumn Term to maintain our range of hot and cold meals for students despite these challenging times.

Students will hopefully use a few minutes this weekend to find their Christmas jumpers to wear on Friday on our non-uniform day. We’ll be raising money for ‘Save the Children’. Donations can be made through ParentMail.

A reminder that school will close for the Christmas holidays after students have registered at 1.30pm on Friday 18th December.

Have a lovely weekend.

Blog: 4th December – Around the World

Headteacher’s Blog – Around the World

At a time when travel isn’t possible, I thought that it would be interesting to see where students have been going to in lessons this week.

Have a lovely weekend!

Blog: 27th November 2020 – Making Good Progress

Progress exams are well underway, giving students in Years 10 and 11 a real experience of taking an exam in the Exam Hall under JCQ regulations. These exams will be a learning tool for all, as students develop their revision and exam technique and teachers get the information that they need to plan the teaching and learning ahead.

Lower down the school, Year 7 have been involved in Science practicals including chromatography and how to use a Bunsen burner. This morning, in ICT, they were using the Raspberry Pi to begin their exploration of the world of programming and electronics.

Our thanks go to those Key Stage 3 parents who have been supporting their children with Home Learning over the past week. We’ll look forward to welcoming students back later next week.

Our Professional Development Day on Wednesday was focused around developing our remote learning offer with staff expanding their use of the GoogleDrive and GoogleClassroom where students can access their work when self-isolating. A final reminder that the survey on remote learning can be found at the following link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GXMZC3NThis will be open until Monday 30th November.

All successful communities have respect for one another at their heart and this formed the basis of Mrs Godsell-Wright’s virtual assembly this week. As the definition for respect is ‘due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others’, students were asked to reflect on the fact that words and actions have consequences. This was reinforced by watching the 2020 Anti-Bullying week video on the theme United against Bullying which can be found here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOeRmP3XRHg

Finally, as we move towards Federation with King James’s School, you should have received a ballot pack with information about the nominees for Parent Governors and how to vote. Students were given this in form time on Thursday and parents of those self-isolating will have had them posted to them. If you haven’t received yours then please contact schooladmin@boroughbridgehigh.com

Have a lovely weekend!

Blog: 20th November 2020 – Practically Perfect

It’s been a practically perfect week with students across the school being totally hands on!

In Food Technology, Year 7 students have been developing their cutting and chopping skills by preparing fruit salad, Year 8 students have been making and baking muffins in many different flavours and Year 9 have moved on to the main course with pasta and meatballs.

Over in Design Technology, Year 7 students are in the middle of their Blockheads projects. Year 8 students, having finished their designs for their mood lights, are putting in requests for their LED units so that the making process can begin. Meanwhile Year 9, having worked on technical drawings to figure out how to cut and create joints, are now making their MDF trinket boxes.

Up in the Science labs, Year 11 students have been investigating refraction and exploring how acids react with metals, bases and carbonates to produce salts. Chromatography, a process for separating components of a mixture, has been the focus in other classes. Year 10 students have been exploring electrolysis and are also engaged in a fully topical issue; extracting drugs from plants to make vaccines.

There have been a wide variety of sports taking place over in PE. Year 7 boys have been developing their basketball skills whilst Year 7 girls have been getting to grips with a hockey stick. Year 8 girls have been playing netball and Year 8 boys, badminton. Year 9 boys have been playing volleyball and Year 9 girls, football. At Key Stage 4, students have been playing basketball and trampolining. Meanwhile, in GCSE PE, students are starting to appreciate the finer practical points of fitness testing.

A reminder that it’s a Staff Professional Development Day on Wednesday (25th November) when students don’t attend school. Staff will be focusing on further developing our remote learning offer for students who have to self-isolate. The survey for feedback on remote learning is still open at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GXMZC3N

Finally, our thanks go to the Knaresborough Rotary Club who have very kindly donated ten laptops to support students in both their learning at school and at home. This generous gift will make a huge difference and is very much appreciated.

Have a lovely weekend.

Blog: 13th November 2020

Our Remembrance wreath was laid at the War Memorial by Year 13 students, Harvey and Ewan on Monday morning. With form classes decorating their windows, by the time we all stopped on Wednesday at 11am for the two minutes silence, to pay our respects, the school site was a sea of poppies. Well done to 7SW for their very impressive display.

Today has been a Children in Need extravaganza with a non-uniform day and many children participating in a sponsored walk. Following the deluge of rain in the early hours, we were very relieved to see the rain clouds part and a beautiful crisp autumn day appear. Students enthusiastically walked or ran around the field enjoying the fresh air, safe in the knowledge that they were also raising money for a very good cause whilst, at lunchtime, Key Stage 4 students were also involved in a 5 a-side football competition. Thank you for your support. We’ve raised £1032. Our thanks go to Mr Field for organising this day long event.

It’s been a week of celebration. Your child may have received a certificate congratulating them on having the highest number of positive points available. Today, a large number of certificates and sweet treats have been given to students who, for Attitude to Learning and Behaviour for Learning, achieved good or excellent across all subjects with 30% or more in the ‘excellent’ category.

Our congratulations go to Heather in Year 11 who, this week, was accepted on to the oversubscribed and very prestigious Cambridge University’s Love Languages Masterclasses. C’est superbe!

On the horizon for Year 11 students, and Year 10 for option subjects, are Progress exams which start on Monday 23rd November. These will not only help students to develop their revision skills and exam technique but will also enable teachers to further identify where students have gaps in their knowledge.

You’ll have received the ParentMail asking for your feedback about remote learning. The link is here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GXMZC3N and will stay live until Monday 30th November. Thanks for the many responses that we’ve already received.

A reminder that we have a Professional Development day on Wednesday 25th November 2020 when children do not attend school.

Have a lovely weekend.