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