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Rod Sims - "What's happening at YHS"

Welcome to our website, here you will find updates from Rod Sims about the last week, and the week ahead.

Page 1

  • Weekly Update - 15th January 2021

    Published 15/01/21

    Week 16 Update - 15th January 2021

    Well done to all of you who have attended your lessons and completed your work this week.  83% of students have accessed online learning this week.  A special thanks to all of the parents who have helped students over the last week. We will be rewarding our Home School Heroes with special postcards so keep an eye out for these coming through the door.  We want this figure of 83% to increase and I know that the Heads of House and pastoral team have been ringing round to support an increase in the uptake.  We have approximately 20 students awaiting Chromebooks and we have 80 on order - we have been given a delivery time of 1 - 5 weeks, not quite Amazon Prime! Let's hope that it is 1 week rather than 5.

    Students in Years 7 to 9  should have received an email from Miss Linsey about our reading challenge; reading is vital to progress and we want as many students as possible signing up for the challenge.

    After seeing the pictures this week of food parcels that some families were receiving I was very pleased that we have always issued vouchers.  We have always used the in school cost of Free School Meals.  From the week beginning 25th January we will increase this amount to £15 per week.

    We have made some changes to the arrangements for the children in school and as the numbers are higher than the first lockdown we need a more formal structure.  All students coming into school will need to be in uniform from Monday. 


    We have staff training next week and a final check from Public Health York on Wednesday. After that we will start testing staff and then students who are coming into school.  The school hall has been used for many things but never as a test centre. 

    As well as all of the other things that we are doing, we have not lost sight of our aim to return the school to a Good Ofsted judgement.  We have been ready for an inspection since March last year however COVID has changed the timeframe and the way we are to be inspected.  We have been informed this week that from January 25th schools that are in special measures such as ourselves can expect to be inspected virtually on the remote learning provision.  Upon returning to school we expect a full graded inspection. Can I ask that if you have a spare 5 minutes that you fill in the parent view survey on the Ofsted website? The link is you then have to register and give your views, good or bad, about the school.  

    Year 9 Options

    Look out next week for the subject videos that will help you choose your options

    Have a great weekend and as we enter week 3 of school closure lets keep motivated and keep working.

    All the best,

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 8th January 2021

    Published 12/01/21

    Weekly Update - Friday 8th January

    I only have praise this week for the staff, students and families that support York High School.  After all the uncertainty of the previous weekend you have all been fantastic.  The remote learning is not perfect but it is so much better than what we were able to provide before.

    We were able to have our second video parents evening last night, can I urge everyone to book appointments for future parents evenings as I think it is as good as the parents evenings in school.  Nobody has to worry about getting to the next teacher so they can stick to their times as all of the appointments are the same length. The conversations seem more relaxed and productive when it is private and not in a busy school hall.  The software makes it really easy to do from a phone, tablet or laptop.

    This school closure is very different from last time, the teaching staff are all working exceptionally hard delivering remote lessons and are not able to look after the critical worker and vulnerable students that are in school.  Our Teaching assistants and cover supervisors are looking after the students in school and are doing a superb job.  Next week we will have at least 65 students in school each day which is close to 10% of the school.  As the numbers are high we are having to make sure that our safety measures are in place. It will start to become difficult if the numbers go over 80 so if you are able to keep your child at home please do.  As a reminder, can we make sure that all students are brought into school at 8.40 to be ready for lessons to start at 9am.

    We have distributed over 100 chromebooks and we have 80 more on order but we do not have a confirmed delivery date so please be patient.

    Next week on Tuesday Year 11 will be off timetable during period 3 to attend a virtual assembly where they will be shown how to access the virtual York College taster sessions.

    Please be aware that we will have staff absence at times during the lockdown, students will be set work but there will not be a live part to the lesson.

    These are really difficult times that we are facing, the way that everyone has pulled together should make us all proud to be part of the YHS community.

    Take care, stay safe and have the best weekend you can.

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 17th December 2020

    Published 12/01/21

    Weekly Update - Thursday 17/12/2020

    Happy Christmas!

    We have made it to the end of what is always the longest, but this year has definitely been the strangest, term.

    I have mentioned on many occasions the great attitude of the students, your support and the fantastic efforts of all the staff who despite all the arrangements have delivered a great education for the students. Thank you one and all.

    An example of this is the fantastic efforts of Mrs Cooper in delivering the Christmas Mash Up that we released earlier today.

    Well done to Year 11 who have recorded the strongest set of mock exam results ever despite the disruption caused by school closure. Super effort Year 11 keep up the hard work and you will be successful in your GCSE's

    This week has seen the House Leaders deliver virtual rewards assemblies where good attendance and strong attitudes to learning have been rewarded. Hope you got a Christmas Tree!

    On a sad note Lynne Waite who had been a TA at the school for many years before retirement sadly passed away this week. Mrs Waite will be remembered with great fondness by students and the colleagues that she worked with.

    We look forward to 2021 and whatever it brings.

    Have a great Christmas and stay safe.

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 8th December 2020

    Published 12/01/21

    Weekly Update - Tuesday 8/12/2020

    It’s Beginning To Feel a Lot Like Christmas!

    Christmas dinner tomorrow at York High School: for the normal dinner price of £2.50 you can get the following:


    Roast Turkey Christmas Dinner

    Roast Vegetable Parcel Christmas Dinner


    Gorgeous Gravy

    Crackers Christmas Chipolatas

    Santa's Sage & Onion Stuffing

    Mrs Claus' Crispy Roast Potatoes or Creamed Potatoes

    A Merry Mix of Carrots, Peas & Brussel Sprouts


    Rudolph's Carrot Patch Cake

    Don’t forget on Friday it is Christmas Jumper Day where we are raising money for charity by wearing our Christmas Jumpers or anything Christmassy. Bring a pound for Save the Children.

    Next week we will be holding the house rewards assemblies by video where those students with good attendance and attitudes to learning will be rewarded.

    On the last day of term the students will be leaving at the following staggered times:

    Year 7 - 12.05

    Year 8 - 12.10

    Year 9 - 12.15

    Year 10 - 12.20

    Year 11 - 12.25

    Merry Christmas!

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  • Weekly Update - 27th November 2020

    Published 12/01/21

    Weekly Update - Friday 27/11/2020

    Well done to the Year 11 students whose attitude and conduct during the practice exams has been fantastic.   Mrs Arundel who runs the examination said “The Year 11’s attendance has been fantastic and the invigilators have commented on how polite the students are. I cannot fault this year group so far”.  Keep it up next week Year 11.

    As we get ready to emerge from lockdown into tier 2 I am pleased to report that we have had no positive cases for nearly two weeks.

    Thank you to the 44% of Year 8 parents who attended the video parents evening on Tuesday,  There were some technical issues as you would expect but on the whole it worked really well.  We can’t wait until we can welcome you back into the school in person but for now we will continue to operate this way.  Next parents evening is Year 11 on Thursday January 7th don’t be afraid of the technology it is really easy to use.  Massive thanks to Dawn Becton for organising the evening.

    In the things we like section from the parent survey

    Staff communication and humanity

    The staff don’t think they are better than you and are down to earth people (This one was my favourite)

    Communication to parents is very good

    The most important improvement

    Circumstances are difficult at the moment but adequate cover for absent staff so that teaching is not comprised

    Staffing is at the heart of our improvement journey and we try very hard for consistency,  We have left the days of students having 18 Science teachers in 5 years as some students had in the past.  It is difficult at the moment and we use our cover supervisor and regular supply teachers to get consistency.  In school today learning about the school we have 4 new members of staff who will be starting in September.  Mrs Young the new Head of English, Mr Jenkinson in PE and Mrs Bradley in Art.  The fourth member of staff is Miss Hodgson who is our new academic mentor who will be doing 1 to 1 interventions with KS4 English students as part of our catch up programme.  These are all high quality appointments who will be an asset to the school.

    Get out of special measures to attract a broad range of catchment kids

    I agree!!  After three and a half years of relentless work and improvement we cannot wait for Ofsted to revisit the school.  We expect a visit in the New Year and our self-assessment is good.  We will need your support to make sure that this happens.

    For those who listen to Radio York we have been school of the week this week.  Thanks to all who have appeared on the radio. 

    Have a great weekend

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 20th November 2020

    Published 12/01/21

    Weekly Update - Friday 20/11/2020

    Let me start by wishing the Year 11 students good luck in their practice exams over the next two weeks.  There remains uncertainty over the final exams which causes uncertainty for our students.  Our advice is to work hard and try your best.

    50% of Year 8 parents are signed up to our first video parents evening. If you have not signed up because you are nervous about technology do not worry, it could not be more simple.  Still time for the other 50% to sign up.

    Massive thank you to Nick Brignell Professional Beauty Systems Ltd for donating 4032 bottles of hand sanitizer to the school.  Thank you Nick and all at Professional Beauty Systems.

    Only one positive case this week, best wishes to the Year 7’s who are isolating.

    Another thank you to the 183 parents who completed the parent survey.  As always it is a real mix of views.  The chart above is with don’t knows removed.  Every category saw an improvement from the survey last October except for “York High school makes me aware of what my child will learn during the year” and unsurprisingly in this time of Covid restrictions “My child can take part in clubs and activities at York High School”.  

    In order to not overload you with information in answer to making parents aware of what their child will learn I would like to draw your attention to the following.  

    In the Curriculum area of the website there is a year group list. If you select the year group your child is in you will see a list of the subjects they study. By clicking on each one you can see the Learning Journeys which explain in detail what is being learned. 

    The following is a link to the curriculum page:

    Scroll down to the year group then pick a subject. We are currently in term 1b.

    Here is an example from History for Year 9 in this half term:

    In the things we like section from the parent survey:

    The stamps system encourages good behaviour

    The staff are approachable and deal with issues in a speedy manner

    The commitment and enthusiasm of the teachers and the inclusive atmosphere of the school

    The most important improvement:

    We are working on the menu and should have it finalised for next week

    We haven’t had a school report in a while:

    We send out our attitude to learning reports at the end of every half term.  The more formal reports relating to progress are sent at Easter and the end of the school year in a normal year.  Year 11 will receive a report on their practice exams just after Christmas.

    Should we go into another lockdown the work set should be a reasonable amount and explained in a lot more detail?  A lot of the work was very poorly explained on what was required.

    Show My Homework (Satchel One) was great for homework but did not allow for interactive explanation.  This is the main reason we have switched to Google Classrooms, although that brings its own issues.  If we have another lockdown the majority of lessons will be a 20 minute interactive explanation from the teacher on Google Meet and then the teacher will be available to answer questions during the rest of the lesson.

    Have a great weekend its December soon!

    Rod Sims

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