Headteacher’s Blog – 26th April 2024

25 Year 9 students set off for their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition last weekend and 25 returned having had a great time and learned a great deal! Mrs. Murphy reports, ‘Our Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award participants completed their practice expedition in the countryside around Pateley Bridge last weekend.  We were very fortunate to have dry weather, but it was very cold overnight.  Some of the students also had the opportunity to have a guided tour around the dairy farm, where we were staying.  The 25 students learnt lots about navigating, camping and also themselves over the weekend and they all know what to change or improve for the qualifying expedition in June.’  We give a big thank you to Mrs Murphy, Mrs Bauwens, Mr Lough, Mr Groves and Mr Murphy for supporting the students throughout the weekend.

On Monday, in annual tradition, Year 11 received their hoodies, marking the fact that we are hurtling towards the start of the exams. With their focus firmly on this, the Primary School Sports event held at Kirk Hammerton on Wednesday was led by our Year 9 Sports Leaders, showing that they have what it takes to lead, support and encourage the next generation of students.

Back in school on Wednesday, the Science Department and Year 7 were revving up for the Rocket Car Challenge. Mr. Scott reports, ‘Students designed the shape of their car and then spent the morning with saws, files and sandpaper seeing their vision of the fastest car come to life.  In the afternoon all of the cars were sent down the track with the speeds being recorded. Speeds ranged from 50mph up to the winning speed of 72mph. All of the students really got involved in the day and produced some fabulous cars.’

As part of our Quality Assurance, over the last two weeks, we’ve been carrying out lesson observations with a focus on the areas that we’ve been developing. This has included routines for the beginning and end of lessons, targeted questioning and engagement of students. Across the school we can clearly see the impact of our work around learning phases including selecting students to answer questions. I’ll give you further details in my next Headteacher’s Update.

Retrieval practice continues to be a focus and, in History, Year 9 were retrieving their knowledge of the Holocaust whereas in Maths, they were using a retrieval grid to cover a range of topics, including converting measures and using angle facts. In RE, students took on a new, challenging take on retrieval grids based on “the wall” from the TV show “Only Connect” when reviewing their unit of work on evil and suffering. Year 7 have been using retrieval grids for the Living Together topic in Science, positive relationships in PSHCE and earthquakes in Geography. Meanwhile, in DT, Years 10 and 11 were analysing and connecting images to retrieve knowledge.

As April 22nd marks Earth Day, in assemblies this week, Mr. Grierson has been talking about the impact of plastics on ecosystems along with what we can all do to make a difference in the amount of plastic we generate with the aim to build a plastic-free planet.

Last week, you’ll have received the invitation to the Federation reading event hosted at King James’s School, Knaresborough. You still have time to book your place at Reading Evening Form The link will close on Monday 29th April.

Have a lovely weekend!