Headlines – February 2017
Welcome to our new website, see below for articles from our Headteacher.
Headlines – February 2017
Headlines – December 2016
End of Term Headlines
Well where did that year go? As we come to the end of another incredibly busy year I wanted to say thank you to my colleagues, the young people at York High, our parents and wider community for their hard work, support and encouragement. Even though, as I have commented before, the challenges within education are not getting any easier I am still very proud indeed to be the Headteacher of York High and I am inspired in my work every day by the achievements of our young people and the challenges many of them overcome to be successful.
This year, like every other year, has not just been about the teaching in classrooms, important as that is, but it has involved so many other activities and opportunities for our young people. For me these events are equally important in preparing our young people for their future careers and adult life. The chance to travel to new places is an essential part of this and I am grateful to my colleagues who have taken young people to a range of different countries and places within the UK. The decisions we had to make around the Year Paris Trip this year and its subsequent cancellation was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make as a Headteacher because I knew this was denying students the kind of opportunity we are keen for them to have but at the same time recognising the huge responsibility that staff voluntarily take on board when organising these kinds of visits. We are very fortunate to have so many staff who are willing to give up their time to be involved with school visits.
On a more upbeat note our sporting successes, wonderful performing arts events, collapsed timetable days, Aspire Week and a whole range of other activities mean that young people have learned a lot about themselves and had fun along the way. These for me are the hallmarks of what makes York High the school it is and I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to these events.
As we come to the end of the year as always some colleagues are moving on and I would want to thank each of them for their contribution to York High. Miss Burton (PE) will be starting her maternity leave this week and the following staff are leaving York High
Mr. Walton (PE), Mr. Hollett (Maths), Mr. Palmer (KS3 Base), Mr. Ellwood (ICT), Mrs. Wisbey (Science), Miss Albin (English), Mrs. Bardy (Teaching Assistant) and Mrs. Binns (History)
The following new staff will be joining us in September:
Mr Willis (Maths), Mrs Stephens-Davies (Geography), Mr Stevens (English), Mr Crane (PE), Miss Mantle (PE), Miss Bramley (PE), Mrs Arundel (Achievements Officer), Mr Harker, Mrs Winteringham, Miss Watson, Mr Ward, Miss Jackson (Teaching Assistants)
Finally I would like to wish everyone a great summer break. The start of term for pupils will be on Tuesday 6th September at 8.40am for the new Year 7 and 11am for all other year groups and we look forward to seeing everyone then.
Headlines – May 2016
Today, 3rd May, is a hugely important day in the life of York High School as the majority of Year 11 students are sitting their English Language GCSE written paper, which combined with their coursework and speaking and listening test will result in their overall grade in this subject. I don’t need to remind anyone that in 2015 the disappointing results in English Language, as a result of changes to grade boundaries by the exam board, contributed to our disappointing results overall a year ago. Since that day last August when we received those results students in the current Year 11 and staff throughout the school have worked incredibly hard to ensure that we do not have a repeat in 2016. The 3rd of May also signals the start of the main exam season and I want to wish all of Year 11 the very best for the next few weeks. It continues to be a great pleasure to work with them at this important stage in their lives and it is clear to see the determination to succeed that so many of them have. I am also very grateful for the huge amount of extra effort that staff are putting in to help Year 11 achieve their full potential.
Important as Year 11 students are, York High is about many other young people too and I would like to acknowledge some of their achievements too: Firstly a group of Year 8 students spent the bank holiday weekend with Mrs. James and Mr. Walker in Wales which involved many physical (and wet) personal challenges. Both staff told me that the students were a pleasure to be with and everyone had a memorable few days. Secondly in performing arts a group of pupils took part in Rock Challenge at the Barbican Centre before Easter and although not overall winners they received a range of awards for their performance, technical abilities and again were excellent ambassadors for our school. Equally we will be again involved in the Shakespeare Festival at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal on 10th May and we will have Y Factor 2016 coming up soon!
Finally a huge thanks to all of the students and staff who were involved in our Sport Relief ‘Pass the ball to the Stade de France’ challenge which raised over £500 and was surely the contributory factor in England winning the Grand Slam!
Often students in school ask me the question “What do you actually do?” which is a very fair question. I thought I would use this latest update to give a small insight in to the job of being the Headteacher of a school of 800 pupils with about 100 staff.
Firstly it is a job I love and feel very privileged to have. It is extra special for me because I was the Headteacher involved in the creation of York High back in 2007 which is not an opportunity that many people are lucky enough to have. One of the consequences of this is that I have been involved in the appointment of every single person who has ever worked at York High and with such a large number of staff I am involved in selecting and interviewing staff on a very regular basis. We have, for example, appointed 6 new members of staff since the summer holidays. I am very fortunate to have such a dedicated team of colleagues to work with and part of my role is to ensure that they are both challenged to do their job to the best of their ability and also supported in their professional development and on a personal level too.
Of course the most important part of my job is to ensure that our young people are making the best progress they can too. This is obviously about academic achievement but I have always believed it is equally important that our students develop as people too. School should be as much about personal development as academic success. This means in the last few weeks I have been involved in a range of tasks, including talking to three large employers in the city about them offering apprenticeships to York High students, preparing a presentation for tutors to use after the events in Paris, working with Mr. Sims in planning an exam preparation day for Year 11 which involves colleagues from Fulford Barracks and motivational speaker Richard McCann.
York High School has a budget of over £5 million and part of my job is to ensure, especially in difficult financial times, that we use our resources wisely and I am regularly involved in trying to find additional funding to support the progress and opportunities for our young people. I also meet regularly with Primary School colleagues, York College staff and other secondary school Headteachers so we can ensure that the transition for our pupils through their school lives is as smooth as it can be.
In addition to all of that, I try to ensure that part of every day is spent in classes and around school talking to our students and seeing what is happening in classrooms and I have to report regularly to the Governing Body and the Local Authority about what is going on in school.
All of these things are really the tip of an iceberg. The best parts of being a Headteacher are that you never know what is going to happen next and young people will never cease to surprise you. The sense of pride in the achievements of our students, on occasions in the face of challenging circumstances, is the motivation you need to keep going. This week alone I have seen a brilliant Year 9 languages day about the ‘Day of the Dead’ a Mexican cultural festival, I have presented GCSE certificates to last year’s Year 11 and visited the York Teaching Hospitals Trust with 20 of this year’s Year 11 students who are hoping to gain apprenticeships. As you can tell, I am never bored!
The first month of the new school year has been very busy but very rewarding. There have already been many highlights. These include our Open Evening which was attracted record numbers of parents and Year 6 pupils. It was great to meet everyone and it was also an opportunity for our Year 7 pupils who started at York High School in September to guide our visitors around the school. The feedback I received about their work was brilliant and actually reflects the great start that Year 7 students are making in their York High School careers. There were also many other young people who helped out that evening and I was very proud of their contribution. I would like to express a big thank you to our young people and my colleagues.
After an extra long summer break this year it is great to welcome everyone back for a new school year. That includes an extra warm welcome to the 160 Year 7 students who have joined us for the first time and also the new members of staff.