Monday, 23 October 2017

Principal's Blog - October 2017

Dear Parents, Carers and Guardians

The new school year has started in a really positive way, and in my regular visits to lessons, I have seen purposeful and engaged learning.  I’ve been delighted with how the vast majority of students have adapted to the new behaviour policy, including the expectations around uniform.  Many of our visitors this year have commented on what great ambassadors our students are for the school, and I wholeheartedly agree.  With this mind we have big plans for increasing the role of our student council in the new half term, and will be discussing ideas for student leadership with groups of students, including a proposal to have a Head Girl and Head Boy.

The two areas we are focusing on most of all this year in the Teaching and Learning strategy are literacy and resilience.  As part of our literacy strategy, all students now have vocabulary books which they are using across all their subjects.  We’re also championing the enjoyment of reading, and our aim over the course of the year is to encourage all students to read at home for pleasure.  We’ll be doing a number of Drop Everything and Read activities over the next half term, and the Peer Reading programme will also start after the break, in which year 10 students will work with younger students to help them develop their reading skills.  Resilience is a key part of our weekly tutorial sessions, and in the classroom the central strand of our approach is the Independent Zone.  This is around 10 minutes in the majority of lessons in which students work independently on a task set up by the teacher.

t’s been another busy, exciting half term at Selby High School.  We’ve had events and activities both in and out of the school.  The year 11 Geography Field Trip to Bridlington was a great success, and a group of Selby students also went to visit Cambridge University, as part of a range of activities preparing our students for their future choices.  In school, year 9 have enjoyed the workshops of two excellent external providers.  In “Re-Start a Heart” students learnt some crucial life-saving skills delivered by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.  We also welcomed YOLO - ‘You Only Live Once’, a North Yorkshire Theatre in Education Project - into school again.  Students explored some serious issues in a thoughtful and engaging way.

On Wednesday 11th October, parents, carers and guardians, governors and staff all gathered together in Selby Abbey to celebrate the successes of students from all year groups, including year 11 students who have recently left.  I’d like to pass my thanks on to all who were involved in organising The Governors Awards evening, alongside everybody who supported the event.  Awards were given in all subject areas, as well as for achievement in sport, drama, science and music.  It was also fantastic to be able to celebrate the work of young people in the community, and to recognise the great efforts of some who have made great strides forward in the face of adversity.  A huge well done to all award winners.

A complementary event to the Governors Awards Evening was the 100% Assembly that was held in school on Thursday, 5th October.  As Chair of Governors Grant Gibson said, attendance is an incredibly important factor in school achievement.  Whole school attendance currently stands at 95.65%, which is above the national average, but below the school’s best performance in recent years.  

Another very successful event was the Open Evening on Monday, 2nd October.  It was great to have the chance to welcome year 6 students and their parents, carers and guardians into the school, and I’d like to thank all staff involved for the exciting and engaging range of activities that they provided on the evening. Once again it was the Selby students themselves that perhaps made the most positive impact, acting as confident, well-informed guides; additionally two House Captains, and two year 8 students, spoke to a packed hall of visitors about their experiences at Selby High School.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a happy and healthy half term holiday.

Best wishes

Nick Hinchliffe

Friday, 21 July 2017

Principal's Blog - July 2017

Dear Parents, Carers and Guardians,
The last seven weeks have flown by, and my first half term at Selby High School is drawing to a close. I have had such a warm welcome from staff, students, governors and parents, carers and guardians, and have really appreciated the positive and friendly atmosphere in the school.  Selby High School is certainly a very special place, and I look forward to working with all members of the school community on the next phase of the school’s development.
As the school year comes to an end it is always a good opportunity to reflect on the many successes of the year.  The year 11 students conducted themselves extremely well throughout the examination period, and I wish them all the very best in their future choices.  Similarly, many of our local business providers contacted the school to say how well the year 10s did on their work experience.  Many of our subjects were teaching new GCSE specifications this year, and in key stage 3 a brand new life after levels curriculum was delivered.  Staff have been working very hard over the last few weeks to review, and improve even further, the curriculum on offer.
An impressive range of trips, visits, experiences and projects were organised during our recent Activities Week.  Students travelled to Barcelona, Paris, Snowdonia and London, and year 7s enjoyed their camp in the new location of Silverwood this year.  In school, the activities included the Segway experience, numerous arts and crafts activities and a historical research project.  I’m sure you will join me in thanking all the staff who put so much time and effort into ensuring that the week was a great success.
Other activities have enhanced our curriculum this half term, including Prison Me No Way, in which year 9 learnt about the crime and justice system. We have also continued our commitment to providing outstanding advice and guidance, to help students make their choices about the future.  The Careers Fair on 26th June was a great success and very well attended, and year 10 visited Selby College last week to experience the range of courses on offer to them when they leave school.  To top off an exciting and varied year, we had a tremendous Sports Day.  In a closely fought contest, Palin emerged the ultimate winners, and as Mr Block said, it was the extra points won by those who participated and completed events that ultimately sealed victory.  The year was topped off with two fantastic trips to Flamingo Land for our 4 Keys students.
As always at this time of year we need to say farewell to some of our colleagues.  Cheryl Baxter, Dave Potts and Ginine Smith are leaving our support team.  Dave is retiring after 10 years of service and we wish him all the best in the future.  Kelly Tomlinson from the English department and Lola Brackenbury from the science team are also moving on.  We are looking forward to welcoming three new teachers in September.  Mr Williams will be joining the English team, and our science team welcomes Mr Gilbert and Mr Foster.   In September, Simon Cahill and Sarah Cooke will be joining our site team.  Sarah will be shadowing Barbara Collinson, who is retiring in September after many years of service to the school and the authority.  We also appointed our first apprentice this week.  Ex-Selby High School student Amy Hurdle will be our Apprentice Science Technician.  We hope to employ several more apprentices over the coming year. 
I’m really looking forward to an exciting year next year.  Our two main teaching and learning priorities will focus on literacy, and developing independence and resilience in our learners.  We are also making some changes to our behaviour policy, which I know will lead to an even better learning environment for all our young people.  Thank you in advance for supporting the school by ensuring that students are in full school uniform and fully equipped on their first day back in September.
Could I finish by wishing you and your family a happy and safe summer holidays.  It is a great time for students to relax and unwind; I’d like to emphasise the safety information which was sent home to all families, and ask young people to take extra care when on-line and when out and about on the roads and waterways this summer.   It’s also a good idea to keep the brain active; some reading every day will make a big difference, alongside regular discussions around the news and current affairs.  I’d also recommend that our GCSE students put some time aside for going over their notes and ensuring that all tasks set by their teachers over the summer holidays are completed to the best of their ability.
Have a great summer.
Best wishes,

Nick Hinchliffe

Forthcoming dates (for a full list of events and activities please see the school calendar)

Monday 4th September                Training Day – school closed to students
Tuesday 5th September                School re-opens – Year 7 students only
Wednesday 6th September         School re-opens – Year 7 & Year 11 students only
Thursday 7th September              School open to all students
Friday 15th September                 School photographs
Monday 2nd October                    Training Day – school closed to students
                                                          Open Evening for prospective parents
Tuesday 3rd October                    School re-opens to students
                                                          Shakespeare Schools Festival Cast Workshop
Wednesday 11th October            Governors’ Awards Evening at Selby Abbey
Monday 16th October                  Year 9 Re-start a Heart day
Friday 20th October                      School closes for holidays (end of day)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Co-Principal's Blog - May 2017

Dear Parents, Carers & Guardians

The last few weeks have passed by so quickly and here we find ourselves already at the May half term break. It is fair to say though, that it has been a very busy few weeks for both students and staff alike. Anyone taking a quick look at our twitter timeline or news page, will see the many wonderful events and activities that have been taking place that have included, to name but a few, Year 9 students hosting a Y4 Spanish Taster day; welcoming a professional pianist, Richard Meyrick, who visited the school to give a piano master class; and, just this week Year 9 students enjoyed a very active Enterprise day. You will see from the ‘important dates for your diary’ below that the next half term promises to be even busier, but also very exciting.

One of the highlights of this week was the official opening of the Eckersley Centre, where we were delighted to welcome back Paul Eckersley as our guest of honour. I am pleased to say that the event went very smoothly and even the weather finally decided to bestow sunshine upon us, as we gathered at the front of the building for the official 'unveiling' to mark the opening of this fantastic resource which will benefit both students, and the local community, for many years to come.

Talking of Paul Eckersley, this week was actually the second time he paid us a visit since his retirement at the end of last term as, much to the delight of our year 11 students, he was also a surprise visitor at their leavers’ assembly.

Most importantly of course for our year 11 students, is that they are in the midst of their GCSE exams for which they have been preparing so hard. We are so proud of the way they have approached both their studies and their exams, and we wish them every success as they go forward onto the next stage of their lives.

It has been nice to have sunshine during the last few days, and as always when the weather is warm, students are allowed non blazer, or when really warm, non-tie days. However, we ask for your continued co-operation in ensuring that your child is wearing the correct uniform, including their House tie, together with bringing the right equipment to all lessons. It is, as always, vital that students approach their studies with the correct focus, attitude and determination to achieve at the highest level and aim for excellence in all that they do.

As the new half term starts so does our new Principal, Nick Hinchliffe, and I am sure you will all join us in giving him a warm welcome as we commence a new chapter in the school’s history.

Best wishes


Amanda Lumb              Jo Carter Mills
Co-Principal                  Co-Principal

Important Dates for Your Diary
Monday 12th – Thursday 15th June
Year 5 Specialism Days
Monday 19th – Thursday 22nd June
Year 5 Specialism Days
Monday 19th – Friday 30th June
Reading & Spelling Tests (Years 7, 8 & 9)
Tuesday 20th June
Years 8 & 9 Reading evening
Thursday 22nd June
Friday 23rd June
Duke of Edinburgh weekend
Friday 23rd June
Year 10 revision drop down day
Tuesday 27th June
Year 9 Prison Me No Way
Wednesday 28th June
Year 11 Prom
Wednesday 28th June
Year 7 Camp Assembly
Thursday 29th June
Year 8 HPV second injections
Friday 30th June
Year 10 More Able STEM Day
Monday 3rd – Friday 7th July
Activities Week and Year 10 Work Experience
Monday 10th July
Year 10 New College Pontefract careers
Monday 10th July
Year 8 Holocaust trip
Tuesday 11th July
Year 6 Induction Day
Wednesday 12th July
Year 10 Discovery Day
Wednesday 12th July
Year 6 Parents’ Evening
Thursday 13th July
Consultation Day
Monday 17th July
English Day
Tuesday 18th July
Puzzle of the Week finals
Wednesday 19th July
Selby 4 Key trip (Years 7 & 8)
Thursday 20th July
Selby 4 Key trip (Years 9 & 10)
Friday 21st July
Whole School Yearly Review
Friday 21st July
School closes for holidays

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Principal's Blog - March 2017

Dear Parents, Carers & Guardians

Under normal circumstances, I would send you my Easter Blog right at the end of the term, but I felt I needed to send it slightly earlier than usual, because this will be my last and eighty second Newsletter/Blog of my near fourteen years ‘in charge’. As I approach my last week in school I have, inevitably, found myself looking back and reflecting on my 42 years in teaching and I have to say that I have some great memories, many of which have been created by your children, so thank you for entrusting them to my care. Thank you also for your daily support, because teamwork is a powerful and potent tool especially when we are chasing dreams and aiming for the stars.

Things will be different for all of us after Easter, but please remember difference and change are powerful motivators, especially making a difference and, each day, that is what everyone who works at Selby High School is striving for.  All good educators are driven by this moral imperative and will always go the extra mile in the pursuit of excellence. I believe that what we have achieved collectively is very, very special and makes me feel incredibly proud!

Thinking about making a difference beyond the classroom, I am delighted to inform you that the total money we have raised for charity during my time as Head, up until my retirement next week, will be in excess of £70k. This is a huge sum of money and an amount of which I am also incredibly proud.

I would like to wish every student success in the future and I look forward to reading about all their successes in the years to come, together with those of the new Principal Mr Nicholas Hinchliffe, I’m sure he will be in contact soon to introduce himself personally. I will be sending individual electronic good luck cards to all those students who are taking public examinations this summer. I truly hope that all their (and your) hard work is rewarded with fabulous outcomes.

Finally, thank you for making a Lancastrian so welcome in your beautiful County. I am taking a whole host of wonderful memories away with me, not least your many kind words and good wishes. I will look back on my time at Selby with great fondness!

The privilege of serving yourselves and the Selby Community has been all mine and a great honour!

With every good wish.

Paul Eckersley

Important Dates for Your Diary

Monday 24th April
Training Day – school closed to students
Tuesday 25th April
School re-opens
Year 8 Raising Aspirations event
Wednesday 26th April
Year 4 MFL Taster Day
Thursday 27th April
Junior Maths Challenge
Friday 28th April
Year 10 More Able visit to Leeds University
Monday 1st May
Bank Holiday – school closed
Tuesday 2nd May
School re-opens
Tuesday 2nd – Friday 12th May
Reading and Spelling Tests for Years 7, 8 & 9
Thursday 4th May
Concert Pianist in school
Friday 5th May
Duke of Edinburgh practice weekend
Thursday 11th May
Year 10 Parents’, Carers & Guardians’ Consultation Evening
Friday 12th May
Year 11 LBMF Assembly
Friday 19th May
More Able visit to Hull University
Tuesday 23rd May
Year 9 Enterprise Day
Wednesday 24th May
Year 8 More Able Super Learning Day
Friday 26th May
School closes for holidays

Friday, 17 February 2017

Principal's Blog - February 2017

Dear Parents, Carers and Guardians,

This half term has flown by with a tremendous number of achievements to celebrate, which tells the story of what has been a short, but highly rewarding and exciting half term. The next half term, before we break for Easter on the 7th April is even shorter, but it will be just as hectic and jam packed with good news stories.

The targets we have set our students in respect of this summer’s GCSE results, whilst challenging, are achievable given the level of support that is available here at school and at home from yourselves. Please encourage your child (ren) to undertake revision/on-line learning and any required catch-up work during the half-term break. It is essential that students realise the level of commitment that is now required from them at this stage of their school career. Those students in their last year at Selby High School, that is Year 11 students, should be undertaking a minimum of twelve hours’ home study per week and beginning to make the social sacrifices which are necessary for success and which in turn will provide choices and chances!

This commitment should also be extended to ensure that they turn up for scheduled booster and intervention sessions that are taking place both after school and during the supported study programme from now until the end of June, some of which takes place at weekends and in the school holidays.

Remember, there is no substitute for hard work and, without doubt, it is the key to success!

Talking about working hard, I have some staff news. Mrs Fielden (Science) went on maternity leave at the end of January 2017 and Mrs Mackey (Science) and Mrs Stephenson (Music) will begin their respective maternity leaves on 10th March 2017. Miss Fletcher has joined the science department in place of Mrs Fielden. We are looking forward to welcoming Miss Brigg & Mrs Pickering back from maternity leave on 6th March 2017. With Mrs Pickering’s return we are saying good bye to Miss Martin who has been covering for her during her maternity leave. In addition, Mr Naveed (ICT & Business Studies) left the school at the end of January in order to take his career in a new direction. We wish them both all the very best for the future.

The interviews for my successor will be held on Wednesday 22nd March and Thursday 23rd March 2017. I am sure the Chair of Governors will inform you of the outcome of that process in due course, before my departure on the 7th April 2017.

Immediately after half term, we will be moving into the £1.1m ‘Eckersley Centre’. In addition, to the fantastic new changing facilities, we will have the use of six new state of the art teaching spaces; three of these spaces will be occupied by geography, two by physical education and the final one by English. We have also been able to re-allocate a number of teaching spaces, which in turn will ease the pressure on the timetable and movement around the school. Following the handover process from the contractors, which takes place during the half term break, I will arrange for some photographs of the new building to be posted on the school’s website and tweeted out to you, so that you can see them for yourselves.

In my December Blog, I told you about how much money we have collectively raised during the last 14 years. That figure has now gone past £66k and we received an exciting letter from ‘Comic Relief’, whereby they identified Selby High as one of their leading school money raisers. This notification came hard on the heels of similar news from the BBC Children In Need team. This is a fabulous double accolade and one everyone connected with the school should be justifiably proud of!

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Talent Show. The theme this year was super heroes and, once again, the standard was incredibly high, which made it an extremely hard decision for the judges. The Lower School winner was a group of Year 8 girls; Charlotte Armstrong, Emily Hanks, Rachael Hanks and Harriet Leetham with Nicola Klimkowska a very close second. The Upper School winner was Daniel Toone with Matthew Stephenson as the runner-up.

Given that we have experienced some sub-zero temperatures of late, I should like to take this opportunity to remind you, that in the advent of adverse weather conditions, a decision as to whether or not to open the school will be made, at the latest, by 6.30am. If closure is necessary, an announcement will then be made on BBC Radio York & Minster FM. The school’s website will also carry information about any school closure and we will tweet and SMS message you with information. Once the school is open it will remain open until the end of the day unless it becomes clear that students risk becoming stranded, because of any worsening conditions. If the school has to close we will make a decision, whenever possible, by the end of the day in question, about the prospects for the following day.

Important Dates for Your Diary
Monday 27th February
School re-opens
Tuesday 28th February
Year 7 YPAA Day
Wednesday 1st March
Shakespeare Company working with Year 11
Thursday 2nd March
Recital & afternoon teas
Monday 6th March
Year 8 Options Launch - Assembly
Tuesday 7th March
Year 10 Science Live trip
Wednesday 8th March
Year 8 Enterprise Day
Wednesday 8th March
Year 8 Options Evening
Monday 13th March
Artsmark Discovery Day
Tuesday 14th March
Year 10 Inside Out
Wednesday 15th March
Year 11 Drivewise presentation
Thursday 23rd March
Romeo & Juliet trip
Friday 24th March
Non-uniform day for Comic Relief
Tuesday 28th March
Year 8 Technology Day
Wednesday 29th March
Year 9 School Leavers injections
Monday 3rd April
Media trip to BBC
Tuesday 4th April
Author workshop in English
Friday 7th April
School closes for holidays

Best wishes
Paul Eckersley