Headteacher’s Blog – 23rd June 2023

Late on Sunday evening, 60 excited Year 7 students and 5 members of staff climbed aboard the coach, destination Normandy. We’ve had selected messages and photos over the last few days, so we know the ferry crossing was great, the hotel comfortable and the snail sampling variable! They are due back in Boroughbridge late this evening so I’m sure we’ll hear of lots more adventures in the week ahead.

Back in school, Mr. Woodward reports, ‘Wednesday was the Summer Solstice and, while “Tree Dressing Day” isn’t until December the 4th, we thought we’d get out and dress the tree that welcomes visitors to Boroughbridge High School. Ribbon, painted sticks, knitting and homemade leaf bunting adorned with quotes inspiring people to appreciate the natural world were draped and tangled around the tree. This activity formed part of a range of tasks that some of our students have been engaging in as part of the Woodland Trust Green Tree Schools Award that we’re currently working on.

But what is “Tree Dressing”? I hear you cry! It’s an event created in 1990 with the aim of encouraging people to engage with and celebrate nature in a non-religious homage to ancient rituals from around the world. Common Ground, the organisation who developed the idea of Tree Dressing Day, say,  Trees have long been celebrated for their spiritual significance. The simplicity of tying strips of cloth or yarn to a tree is universal and timeless. The old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a ‘clootie tree’ echoes the practice in

Japan of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems. The twenty-first century trend of ‘yarn bombing’ in Europe and North America transforms the local landscape with bright fabrics and yarns, like the Buddhist tradition of tying ribbons around the trunk of the Bodhi tree in homage to Buddha, or the annual Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan when coloured strings are tied onto trees and plants to call upon the power of nature to protect loved ones.

So, well done to Spencer, Piran, Oliver, Stan, Tyler, Tyla, Freya, Kowenna, Scarlett and Ruby for your excellent work and a special mention to Chloe and Katie from Year 3 at Boroughbridge Primary School for providing some lovely finger knitting to add to our decorations!’

Whilst some of Year 7 were in France the rest of the year group were immersed in poetry on Wednesday. Mrs. Macadam reports, ‘Year 7 spent an intense day on Wednesday with poets Rose Drew and Alan Glitch, owners and publishers of Stairwell books in York.  They learned the art of writing and performing poetry.  Each and every student responded enthusiastically to the workshop and the poets and teachers were stunned by the quality of the work that was produced during the day.  It was wonderful to see them grow and to see even the shyest of students go from reluctant to confident performers by the end of the day.  The visiting poets commented not only on the quality of the work but the immaculate behaviour of the students and their respect and encouragement of each other. It was a proud moment for the staff. ‘

Following the success of the inaugural Colour Run last year, 83 girls set off on Thursday to the North Yorkshire Sport Wellbeing Festival, held in Dalby Forest which featured team and individual activities created to support, listen, engage and challenge students through a fun creative and interactive experience including laser tag, yoga and rural Art. The Colour Run itself was a 2km course set within the forest with students starting the course in a white t-shirt and ending with a joyful rainbow of colour! A great time was had by all.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Knock took a team of students to Leeds for a day of inspiration and discovery all focused on women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) industries hosted by Stemettes and NewDay. Mrs. Knock e-mailed during the morning session to say ‘There are three other schools here and our students are currently in groups designing a chat bot for a financial website. So proud of the girls! They are working with other schools in groups, taking leading roles and making fab contributions.’ Purwa and Maddison’s group won the group competition. Well done!

The exam season is now over and we’re so proud of the way in which Years 10, 11 and 13 have approached this exam season. Year 11 will begin their celebrations with the Prom this evening. We’ll show you the photos next week!

And so, on Monday, we begin our new timetable. Not only does this enable us to create sufficient time to teach our option subjects at GCSE through our Stage not Age approach but it also gives all students a renewed sense of focus as we move towards the end of term. An added benefit is that it reduces anxiety over the Summer holiday as students have already experienced four weeks of their new timetable, new classes and new teachers and teachers can plan effectively for the year ahead, having already met and got to know their classes. Gains all round!

A reminder that it’s our Summer Music concert next Thursday evening at 6.30p.m.   All are welcome.