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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.

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  • Weekly Update - 20th March 2020

    Published 23/03/20

    Weekly Update - 20th March 2020

    In the middle of all the upheaval of school closures I want to finish the week by focusing on the group of students who school closures has hit the hardest and that is our Year 11’s.   They have had 11 years of education and were 7 weeks away from GCSE exams when in the space of two days their education has finished.  Prom is very unlikely and all the nice things about finishing such as shirt signing and leavers assemblies were going to be missed.   Many people outside of education think all students will have been delighted to be sent home however YHs was a sad place on Thursday as many of our Year 11 students were deeply upset by the fact that they had lost the last part of their education.

    Firstly let me discuss the key points from the Education Secretaries announcement about how GCSE’s will be awarded after the announcement late this afternoon.

    1. Predicted grades based on practice papers and where appropriate NEA’s
    2. GCSE’s will be awarded by the end of July
    3. Further details about the process that leads to the predictions will follow
    4. There will be a round of exams early in the next academic year for those unhappy with predictions

    In light of this there seems little point in our year 11 completing revision tasks as there will  be no exams.  We will be asking all  subjects to put on SMHW bridging work or reading that would benefit students who are going on to study the subjects in Key Stage 5.

    We will release more info about the hoodies, photos and the process to calculate grades when we get it.

    We are pleased to say that we did have a leaver’s assembly where the students signed shirts and received end of year awards.  For all of our previous students as is becoming traditional, once again we repeated the excellent you are born at this wall assembly! We also gathered on the mound for a farewell picture.

    We are all very proud of our Year 11 and we wish them all well for the future. 

    Stay Safe

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Round-Up - 14/2/2020

    Published 14/02/20

    Week 21

    Busy end to the half term at York High.  Year 11 looked immaculate for the year group photo at the start of the week.  With the House system it is not often that they gather as a year group and I felt very proud of them.  Today Year 11 have been working hard during the Science Practical day where they are learning the practical experiments that they will need for their GCSE.

    Earlier in the week Mr Longbottom had taken a group of students to Science Live. He said:

    “On Monday students studying triple Science had the opportunity to attend "GCSE Science Live" at the University of York. The students were given lectures from leading innovators in Science from a range of subjects including nuclear fusion and time travel! The event was also attended by an AQA examiner who gave clear and practical advice in preparation for the summer exams. The students represented the school community extremely well and enjoyed the day.”

    Our careers programme runs throughout the school year and on Wednesday year 9 had a presentation from Men in Childcare

    Children in the UK have their care and education experiences provided predominantly by female staff. Nationwide only 3% of the Early Years workforce are male and only 14% of Primary sector staff are male with 25% of Primary Schools have no men working in them.  Research shows that there are huge benefits from having men in childcare, such as providing male role models, eradicating gender stereotypes and helping fathers engage with their children.

    Karl, from 'Men into Childcare York' came in to deliver an assembly for year 9. He told us about his own pathway into his current career as room leader at Muddy Boots nursery and NVQ assessor for York & Scarborough. Pupils were told about the varied career options available in Child Care and Health & Social Care and the different routes into these, including apprenticeships.

    Here is the link to the organisation if interested, Karl,

    This half term has seen the high profile Tell Someone anti bullying campaign and it finished with the offer for anyone to come into school to meet Mr Louth or myself.  Nobody took up the offer but going forward we want to make sure that anyone feels able to contact us any time to discuss bullying.

    The teaching staff are back in school on the 24th February and the students are due back on Tuesday 25th. Also, we have a Southbank Trust training day on Friday 6th March.

    Have a lovely Valentine’s Day and a great week.

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Round-Up - 22/1/2020

    Published 22/01/20

    Special weekly Briefing


    Good Afternoon

    Unfortunately as I was out of school I was unable to write to you with the weekly briefing last week. I do however want to update you with the work that we are doing to tackle bullying in the school. As previously mentioned Mr Louth launched the Tell Someone Campaign with assemblies in the first week. We followed this up with 200+ posters spreading the message of Tell Someone if you are being bullied. This advertises the different ways that we have for students to tell us about bullying.

    Students can text on 01904 500057, e mail on, send a message on the Facebook site or use the anonymous Drop Box outside Mr Louth’s Office.

    We always encourage students to tell members of staff in particular the Heads of House who are experienced in dealing with these issues. Communication is the key when dealing with bullying and that can often be several conversations over a period of time.

    One of the problems that we face is that there can be confusion over what happens out of school. We have had recently a really unpleasant incident at one of the local parks late on a Friday evening which involved several of our students. We as a school can only take sanctions against what happens in school not what happens on an evening or during a weekend. We have no legal powers outside of school, these incidents should be reported to the Police.

    We are not perfect but just like all other aspects of the school we are trying to improve all the time. This week we have seen all the Senior Leaders and the Heads of House wearing Tell Someone T shirts during the school day to spread the message. Before half term Mr Louth and myself will be setting aside an evening for anyone who wants to come in and discuss any bullying issues that they feel have not been handled correctly.

    We have a joint responsibility as a school and as a community to challenge bullying wherever we see it.

    During last week we had 6 incidents reported that we classed as bullying, 5 involved name calling and one was where a student was hit with a whiteboard. All students involved were challenged over their behaviour and the appropriate school sanctions were given.

    We will continue to challenge any bullying that is reported to us with your support.

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  • Weekly Round-Up - 10/1/2020

    Published 10/01/20

    Week 16


    Happy New Year and welcome to 2020.  I hope that you all had a good Christmas.  At YHS we have hosted the Pathfinder trainee teachers on Tuesday and Thursday they were given a tour of the school by the students and observed lessons.   The feedback that we received was overwhelmingly positive about the friendliness of the staff and the students.  As always when we have visitors from outside of the school they were full of praise for how hard our students worked, how smart they were and how well behaved they were.


    Our Head of Catering Becky Crossley won the regional finals for School Chef of the Year and will be representing York High School at the national finals in March.   As a result of her success Becky has featured on Radio York this morning and has had an article in the Press.  Well done Becky!



    Looking forward to next week Year 11 haver their taster days for York College and other Further education establishments next Tuesday or Thursday.  Our Year 9 students haver their options taster day on Tuesday.  Year 9 parents evening is on the 21st January, make sure that you have booked your appointments.


    On another note this weeks assemblies have been presented by Mr Louth launching our anti bullying campaign Tell Someone as a response to the recent student and parent surveys.  More information to follow in the coming weeks.


    Have a really nice weekend and see you next week.

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Round-Up - 13/12/2019

    Published 13/12/19

    Weekly Update

    Special update this week focussing on the recent Parent Survey but first a quick update on what has been happening in school.  Careers fair was fantastic on Monday we had 31 exhibitors in total from colleges, 6th forms, local and national businesses.


    This week in the English department we had a visit from Tony Bower from York schools Youth Trust. He worked with students in years 7, 8, and 9, delivering stories and dramatizations of real people who showed bravery and who suffered during WW2 as a result of the Holocaust. The students in each class were able to write their own inspired poems, expressing the emotions felt during and after the War. Some poems focused on the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who showed great bravery when she hid people in her home, and when she faced a soldier in later life whom she recognised from a concentration camp. We were incredibly impressed with the quality of the writing from all our groups. Tony is currently collating students work to be displayed in York Minster in January as a part of Holocaust Memorial Day, and he was so impressed that he will select some of our students work to be a part of the display – watch this space for more information!

    Sports News

    Y10 lost 4-1 to Rossett School this week however on the plus side Alfie H and Jack H were outstanding and have been asked to go to North Yorkshire county trials.

    Y7 entered a 5 a side tournament won one game, lost three but did a great job. Ewan scored in every game and scored a hat-trick on the last game.  

    Unfortunately we are having to cancel the Christmas concert next week after Mr Fisher has badly broken his leg and is off school at the moment.

    Brilliant news ahead of the Year 11 parents evening 70% of parents have appointments, look forward to seeing you then.

    Congratulations to Reece S, Year 9, who won York and District Junior Player of the Year!

    Parental Survey

    We ask you your views every term about the school and we act upon the feedback that you give us.  Clare McGarry is the new Parent Governor at YHS and when we met last week to discuss Parent school communication, we discussed the parent survey.   As a result of these discussions we are publishing the results of the survey this week.

    156 Parents responded to the survey so thank you for your time.  We do not expect 100% approval and can only improve by listening to you.  The majority of responses are very positive.  We have taken out the ‘don’t know’ responses.  Our style is that for many issues the question only indicates a problem and that we need to understand the problem in more detail to resolve it.  We currently use approximately 20 Digital governors to consult with over email.  In the New Year we will look to recruit more and will consider the issues below in greater depth.  Today I will look at the three lowest answers.

    1. York High school makes me aware of what my child will learn during the year (48% agree/strongly agree)

    YHS Response

    We are currently developing department on a page documents that will be published on the website.  There has been some excellent work in History where the History postcards have been very effective in informing parents about what children are learning.  This is an area that we will look to develop further.

    1. York High School lets me know how my child is doing.

    YHS Response

    It is early in the year before many of the parent’s evenings have taken place.  We currently report every half term on Attitude to Learning Grades.  We know that the ATL grades are an indicator of success in a subject and they are much more than effort grades.  If you are getting a 2 you are doing well.  Twice a year we provide parents with actual attainment grades based on final GCSE outcomes.  It is really difficult to be accurate and this is why Mr Burton is currently looking at a different way to assess progress in Key Stage 3.   We will use the digital governors to look into this issue further.

    1. When I raised concerns with York High school they have been dealt with properly

    YHS Response

    73% of you agree or strongly agree with this comment, however this still leaves 1 in 4 parents who disagree or strongly disagree.  I find this very worrying and am keen to find out what the issues are.  I think that the figures may tie in with the 15% of parents who were unhappy with the way that bullying was dealt with by York High.  In the New Year we are launching an anti-bullying campaign so look out for that in January.  This is an issue where I would welcome any further details either through e mails or through direct messages.

    We are not perfect but we are very honest and open, not many other schools ask for parent’s opinions let alone publish the results.  We have always been very clear that only through effective partnerships between School, students and parents will we improve.

    Have a lovely weekend

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Round-Up - 6/12/19

    Published 06/12/19

    Week 13 Update

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Not the weather that’s for certain.

    Christmas Dinner in school on Wednesday followed by Christmas Jumper day next Friday.  Please bring in a donation of £1 that will go to Save The Children.  Wednesday 18th is the Christmas Concert which starts at 7 pm.  On the final day of term school will be closing at 12.20.  Look out for the new YHS Star Christmas tree decorations that we are giving as rewards this year.

    Year 11 have been amazing over the past two weeks the effort that they have put into the exams has been fantastic.  There are some very weary students at the end of this week.  The exam system that we have in this country is tough, imagine writing for three hours solid every day for two weeks!  Hope to see as many of you as possible on the 17th for year 11 Parents Evening to find out the results.

    Careers News

    Today 21 students visited the University of York to inspire them to go to University.  The students were fantastic receiving a lecture in Psychology and a tour of the campus. 

    On Monday 30 different businesses and post 16 education providers will be in school for the Year 9 and 10 students.

    Poetry Live (Miss Crossley)

    On Thursday 5th December, the English Department took a group of 15 Year 10 and 11 students to Poetry Live at the Town Hall in Leeds. Students heard eight award winning poets like Carol Ann Duffy; and the current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage recite their work and talk about their inspiration. They also had an invaluable session with the chief examiner on how to approach the poetry section of their GCSE exams. The students were a delight to take and thoroughly enjoyed their day - especially seeing John Agard making his way home! 

    Enjoy putting up the decorations this weekend

    Rod Sims

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