Friday, 2 March 2018

Principal’s Blog – March 2018

The last half term was a short one, but as always we managed to fit a lot in.

The term started with two intensive weeks of mock exams. Year 11 revision has been enhanced by GCSEPod. This fantastic resource covers the vast majority of subjects studied by students at Selby High, and students from all year groups are able to log in and use it. It’s great for reviewing the work completed in class during the week, keeping on top of previous learning, as well as for more targeted revision for exams.

On the evening of the 6th February, 43 Year 9 students, accompanied by 5 members of staff, embarked on a memorable journey to the Battlefields of Western Europe. Although this trip has been an annual event, it continues to be shaped by the individuals on the trip and the questions it raises about warfare and the horrific conditions endured by so many from both sides. Students had the opportunity to explore a range of monuments around the Ypres Salient. They visited Essex farm where Captain John McCrae wrote his famous ‘In Flanders Field’ poem. Students also placed a signed Leeds United shirt at the exact place the soldiers got out of the trenches and played football in 1914.

Some students traced the tracks of their ancestors at Tyne Cot Commonwealth cemetery and were able to lay a poppy in remembrance of a soldier they had found. The final day involved a trip down to France to the area around the Somme. Here students were able to explore the Wellington Quarry caves that hid over 24,000 soldiers prior to the battle of Arras in 1917.

Although the days were long and involved many thought provoking activities, students also had the opportunity to explore the medieval Belgian town of Ypres and many bought chocolates from the world famous chocolatiers of Belgium. Students’ attitude and behaviour on the trip was a shining example of the high expectations that students set themselves and they continued to ask a range of inquisitive questions back in history lessons after half term.

The students at Selby High made history again this year when they took part in Young Voices, the largest school choir concert in the world. The students performed a wide variety of music spanning the ages; from Stevie Wonder & Toto to contemporary TV theme tunes. The Young Voices concert was an amazing day, and is now a memory that the students will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

It has been another busy term for sporting activities. This half term the school teams have been competing in boys 5 a’ side and Girls 9 a’ side football at Barlby with great success.

Several Selby students took part in the Regional Badminton Final as part of the North Yorkshire School Games. KS3 boys and KS4 boys and girls qualified in late 2017 to represent the Selby District area and the finals took place this week at York RI sports club. The students faced the winning schools from the other 6 districts within North Yorkshire guaranteeing that their badminton performance would be pushed to its limits. The KS4 girls had a good set of results which saw them progress to the semi-final stage. They faced the 2016 champions and were edged out of the competition after a brave performance; they did manage to secure 3rd place in the finals, the best result Selby have experienced at this tournament in recent years.

In other sporting success, the Year 8 Boys football team are through to the Quarter Finals of the North Yorkshire Cup competition following a victory against Archbishop Holgate School. These boys are also still trying to win the York league and are still in the York and District cup competition. The Under 13 girls played Richmond in the quarter finals of the North Yorkshire Cup; a fantastic game was played by both schools, and it went to penalties after finishing 1-1. The girls won on penalties, and showed great resilience to keep going and not give up. They will now face Rossett School in the semi-finals. Our Under 16 girls have progressed to the semi-finals of the North Yorkshire Cup; they will play St John Fisher.

We took three teams to the Yorkshire rugby competition held at York St John University by York City Knights. U13 girls lost out in the last 10 seconds of the game and the U16 girls lost out to Settle school. U15 girls progressed through to the finals. Great rugby was played by all girls.

Continuing the drive for range and diversity of sports offered, nine adrenaline-fuelled Selby pupils took on the thrills on offer at Snozone, Xscape as part of the school’s first trip to a Freestyle skiing lesson. The pupils were taught the basic skills of taking on a ‘kicker’ and a ‘grind box’ under the expert tuition of Snozones’ specialist freestyle coach.

As always, I’d like to pass on my thanks to all the staff who have taken students on activities this half term.

This half term we have been refocusing on our vision and values. In our work with students and staff, the importance of community, participation and working together has been emphasised. Once again several students have out these ideas into practice through their work to raise money for charity. Kennedy Whitehead, in year 8, put on a cake sale with a group of friends to raise money in memory of her best friend, who died of a brain tumour. Kennedy works hard to raise money for her friend’s charity, “Fin’s Journey”. Well done to all other students who put in time and effort to raise money, including Year 7s who raised over £100 for their chosen charity of Selby Hands of Hope by selling Krispy Kremes. 

Please remember to check the school calendar via the school website where you will find details of forthcoming events and activities.

Best wishes,
Mr. Nick Hinchliffe

Friday, 22 December 2017

Principal's Blog - December 2017

Dear Parents, Carers & Guardians,

At this time of year, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on some of the fantastic things that our students have been involved in and achieved. 

A number of students across the school have taken it upon themselves to raise money for charity, giving freely of their time, and showing a huge amount of initiative and creativity. Isabella Robey, Isabelle Wilton and Leah Astin in Year 7 have shown commitment and energy whilst supporting a number of cancer focused charities, including York against Cancer and Macmillan cancer support. Another intrepid trio, Leah Hodgson, Shanice Mackay and Ruby Mannion organised a fundraising event for Selby Hands of Hope earlier this month in which they sold Christmas-themed biscuits over lunch time. I’m very proud of all students who give so much to our community and would also like to thank our House Captains who attended Selby Cemetery to take part in the Service of Remembrance in November.

We’ve had numerous enhancements to the curriculum since the half term. At the end of October a group of Year 10 History and Sociology students flew to Berlin to visit a number of sites linked to the Holocaust as well as those related to Germany’s history of democracy and dictatorship. Thanks to Abi Minton, Chris Jones and Matt Burnitt who gave their time during half term to lead the trip. In school, students from the University of York have worked with our Sociology students, and Year 7 students were treated to an Enterprise Day in which they designed a new range of chocolates. Just this week we’ve seen more amazing work from year 7 through the castle project homework in History and the results of the students’ home experiments as part of the Science Fair. On 15th December the whole school came together to ‘Drop Everything and Read’ for 15 minutes as part of our whole school literacy strategy which aims to foster a love of reading in every student. 

The school is working in collaboration with FutureHY as part of a government initiative to raise participation in Higher Education. We have had a positive response from students with many signing up to take part. A number of students have already benefited through participation in activities as part of the project. This has included working with York based health provider Benenden in conjunction with York Cares to run Project Dare. In this project students were encouraged to aim higher whilst working on a marketing project to raise awareness of mental health. It was wonderful to see how brilliantly the students rose to the challenge of the marketing task they were set and how much more confident they became over the course of the three sessions. If your child was invited to take part in FutureHy and has not yet signed up, they will have another opportunity to do so in the New Year.

I’d also like to give a special mention to Year 11 students and teachers who have made Session6 so successful. In Session6 students attend additional classes to help them improve in their key subjects, and there are general revision sessions in the hall where students can receive support and advice. Session6 has been enthusiastically attended by students and is making a real difference to their performance. 

The year 11 mock exams begin straight after the Christmas holidays, and we hope that a brand new resource that we have in school - GCSE Pod - will enhance the students’ revision activities over the Christmas holidays. GCSE Pod is a digital service that provides focused learning in a unique ‘Pod’ format and offers students a great way to revise core concepts and consolidation of work done in class. It has thousands of revision podcasts across the full range of subjects, and students in other year groups will be able to benefit from it as well in the New Year as they prepare for tests and exams over the coming months. 

It’s also been a busy term for our Performing Arts team. It was a real privilege to attend the Joseph Rowntree Theatre in York to see a brilliant performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the national Shakespeare Festival. The official review of the performance summed it up brilliantly: "This was a playful, magical and lively Midsummers from a mature, engaged and able cast." Home Alone in Selby, the Christmas show, penned by our very own Nicole Sullivan, also entertained an audience of staff, students and parents and carers who were treated to a wide range of song, dance and drama. Thanks also to all members of the School Choir, led by Mr Lanzillotti, who filled Selby shoppers with Christmas cheer at the start of December. An exciting term was topped off with the Year 7 visit to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Playhouse in Leeds. 

Our sporting teams have also enjoyed success in an active term of fixtures. Our Year 7 and 8 Girls Football team are through to the EFL 6-a-side national rounds in January, and the U13 & U16 Girls are through to the 11-a-side quarterfinals of the north Yorkshire cup. Boys’ sport is also going strong, with our Year 8 footballers recently recording a superb 8-0 win against Bootham and Year 8 boys’ rugby team winning 2 RFU organised tournaments against Selby and York schools. 

The range of sporting opportunities offered by the PE team is really impressive. Selby High is well into its 2nd year of the All Schools Rugby Programme with the RFU – giving pupils greater opportunity to become involved in Rugby Union and develop the core values of the sport. In the York and Selby All Schools Cross Country, 5 boys and 3 girls got through to represent North Yorkshire. All year groups performed really well in the Cross Country competition and Year 7 boys and girls came second out of 12 York and Selby schools, the best result the school has had in many years. In rugby, 4 Girls have represented Yorkshire Rugby U15 in 3 matches and won all 3 – well done to Darcie Edmunds (selected as captain), Erin Bradley, Ella Parsonage and Izzy Sturmey. Dylan Cusworth has been selected into the GB training squad for Octopush, a globally played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal by propelling it with a hockey stick. 

The Junior Equestrian Squad - Ellie Mcneil, Isabella Khosla and Martha Ward- attended our first ever equestrian competition at an NSEA "friendly" competition in Bishop Burton on December 3rd where they competed in the 80cm show jump and came 4th, with Ellie also being 4th individually. 

The Sporting calendar was topped off by the annual Indoor Tug of War event, a hard fought competition, which Garrett eventually won by the slimmest of margins. Well done to all students who have participated in sporting activities and done Selby High School proud, win or lose. 

I’m sure you will join me in thanking all staff who have given so freely of their time to ensure that our students continue to have so many exciting opportunities. The pictures below just give a small flavour of some of the events which have happened over this half term. For full details of these, and other events, please see the ‘News’ section of the school website. 

As ever at this time of year, we have to say goodbye to a number of staff. Joan Gibson, our Student Services receptionist, is retiring, having worked for the school for 24 years and Maggie Gibbons is retiring as our textiles teacher after 18 years of service. We also say goodbye to Carl Cousins, who will be taking up a new role as Assistant Principal at Saint Michael’s CE Primary School in Doncaster, and Jane Ashworth, who is moving to Scalby School in Scarborough. Katherine Fielden and Laura Stephenson are returning from maternity leave this week; I’d like to pass my thanks on to Anne Todd who has been covering for Laura, and who will also leave us at Christmas. 

Finally, could I thank all of you for your ongoing support of the school. It was great to see so many of you at the recent Year 11 Parents Evening and the Consultation Day. May I wish a happy, healthy and restful Christmas and New Year to you all.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Nick Hinchliffe

Dates for the Diary:
Monday 8th January                          School re-opens
Monday 8th January-Friday 19th
January                                             Year 11 Mock Examinations
Tuesday 16th January                     Young Voices at Sheffield Arena
Thursday 25th January                    Year 9 Parents'/Carers'/Guardians' Evening
Thursday 1st February                     Intermediate Maths Challenge
Tuesday 6th February                      Year 11 targeted Parents'/Carers'/Guardians' Evening
Friday 9th February                         Year 11 Mock Results Assembly
                                                          Year 9 Meningitis Vaccination
                                                          School closes for the holidays