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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 - 5th February 2021

    Published 05/02/21

    Week 19 Update - 5th February 2021

    Next Wednesday we will be exactly halfway through the school year.  It’s really strange how time passes at the moment, it feels so long ago when we were all last in school together but it is “only” 7 weeks.  My favourite phrase this week has been ‘you only know when it’s the weekend because there is more sport to watch!’

    We received 70 Chromebooks that we ordered this week and 13 which have been very kindly funded by York Rotary Club.  All 83 will be distributed by the start of next week and we now should now have loaned tech to everyone who has requested support.

    We have received 65% of Y9 options choices. Please can you return these if you have not already done so.

    Free School Meals vouchers will be distributed next week for the half term. This is not a national decision, City of York Council are funding this provision.

    We started the term with the belief that all any of us can do is to do our best. It has been a real team effort throughout the term and I am delighted to say that 91% of students attended at least one lesson this week and the average attendance for each lesson was 66%.  Now we have resolved nearly all technology issues. I do worry about the students who are not attending, especially in year 10 where inevitably those students who are not attending will fall behind.

    On a lighter note, Mr Byrne and myself were experimenting with using voice notes to feedback to the students.  The voice recognition software struggled to cope with my Yorkshire accent and Mr Byrne’s Northern Irish.  Hello Katie became hello Kitty, Hi Reece became I respect you and I hope you are well became I live in hope that you are well!

    Keep it up for one more week everybody. It must be the weekend tomorrow because the Six Nations is starting.

    Stay safe and keep smiling,

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 29th January 2021

    Published 29/01/21

    Weekly Update - Week 18

    For once we have some almost definite news to share.  The government announced that it hopes that it will be safe to reopen schools from March 8th.  We have all been promised that we will have at least two weeks notice of the actual date.  We are expecting a further announcement as to the plans in the week beginning the 22nd Feb.  As always we will let you know what we know when we know it.

    Year 9 Parents Evening

    Year 9 parents evening went really well on Tuesday, here are some of the messages we received:

    Can I just thank all the teachers tonight who did an amazing job with parents evening for year 9’s, it was a great experience and made my children feel like we had a normal parents evening even though we was at home👍

    Hi can I just say how nice and easy the parents evening was well done thank you

    Numbers That Make You Proud to be York High

    Last week the Pastoral team made the following contacts with our students:

    260 Phone Call conversations

    124 Text messages

    59 Answer phone messages

    165 emails

    67 students spoken to in person either parents or students in school

    That’s a total of 675 contacts

    We are a school built on strong relationships; what a fantastic team effort.

    Children's Mental Health Week 

    It is Children's Mental Health week which comes at a really important time as lockdown continues.  The following is a link to a website where young people aged 11-18 can get free online support and counselling:

    The video link below explains what the site does:

    Lastly from me I just want to thank you all for your support and help with online learning.  We have said that all any of us can do is do our best.  Next week is the penultimate week of the half term, let’s keep our motivation high and push on through till we can open the school again.

    Enjoy your weekend,

    Rod Sims

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  • Weekly Update - 22nd January 2021

    Published 22/01/21

    Weekly Update - Week 17 

    My favourite part of the week is when I am actually teaching. It is not the same as when we are in the classroom, but the interaction with students is the main reason why we work in education.  I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching two way tables to Year 10 and inequalities to Year 11 but it is the moments of lightheartedness at the start of the lessons that have been my highlights.  Firstly I am always pleased at how caring and polite our students are; I greet everyone into the Google Classroom and the amount of students who ask me how I am never fails to bring a smile.  It is however those slightly strange but always funny interactions that make my week, my year 10’s engaged in a spirited debate about whether you should put butter on the bread if you are having Cheese on Toast and my Year 11 class were interrupted by a younger sister hoovering the room, was this a distraction or should we praise the younger sister for doing the cleaning!

    I teach very few lessons in comparison to my colleagues but 5 times a day in all year groups the YHS teachers will be trying their best to keep things as normal as possible for the students. As well as the teaching interaction, the Pastoral teams are in regular contact with over 200 of our students and I have just walked past the pile of reward postcards in reception waiting to be posted out. It sums up YHS for me in how strong working relationships between staff, students and parents underpin quality education.  

    If you have not already, please join Mrs Burton's Keeping Healthy Challenge, it’s great to see the pictures of you keeping healthy and having fun keeping healthy during lockdown.  One of the challenges is to make a sports person out of clothes, another is taking a photo whilst doing your daily exercise.

    For those of you in Years 7 and 8 make sure you join the Sumdog maths challenge over the coming week.

    Year 9 parents evening is next week - to discuss option choices please make sure that you are signed up.  The technology is really easy to use, just contact and someone will talk you through the process.

    We are now offering all staff a Lateral flow test at our testing centre, we will extend this to the students who are in school next week. 

    Have a good weekend.

    See you next week,

    Rod Sims

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  • 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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