Friday, 20 December 2019

Principal's Blog - December 2019

We’ve had another excellent half term here at Selby High School. The Governors Awards Evening on the 6th November set the tone for the rest of the half term, showcasing the hard work and talent of our students - not least in the magical musical performances of the night. Selby Abbey was packed with students and their parents and carers, and students received awards for their achievement and effort in the full range of school subjects, as well as for Services to the Community and for sports and the performing arts. Keeping in this spirit, we have finished off this term with a series of Reward Assemblies for each year group, continuing our focus on celebrating the positives. 

As ever, the curriculum has been enriched with numerous additional activities. Our first Curriculum Theme Day took place on the 15th November. The normal timetable was suspended, and each year group focused on a different topic area related to our Values Curriculum. This year we are early adopters of the new Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) Curriculum that will come into effect for all schools from September 2020, and this was the focus for Year 8 and Year 11. Year 9 enjoyed the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Live Theatre Production, which explores risk taking behaviours in a thoroughly engaging way. Meanwhile our Year 7s became Young Entrepreneurs, inventing and marketing a new chocolate bar. For Year 10s, the focus was health and wellbeing. There will be two further Curriculum Theme Days later on in the year.

Another exciting addition to our curriculum over the last year has been our Year 9 Enrichment Curriculum, which takes place on a Friday afternoon and is designed to ensure that students continue to follow a broad and balanced curriculum, to complement their options choices. All students choose four different options throughout the course of the year. Options range from Oil Painting, to Bike Mechanics, to Play in a Day, to making an afternoon tea. The feedback suggests that students have really enjoyed their Friday afternoon activities, and this aspect of the curriculum has given the young people a chance to develop their talents as well as learn new skills. 

Events and trips in an out of school have also contributed to the curriculum. Lots of our Year 10 and 11 students and their parents and carers, came to our annual Careers Fair on the 18th November. Over 25 Colleges, higher education institutions and employers were represented at the event. The “Women of the Future Event” at Drax Power Station on the 20th November, was another event designed to give Selby students a wider taste of the opportunities that will be available to them when they leave school. Year 10 students have also been busy choosing their work experience placements which will be running in the final week of the summer term. Four of our intrepid Year 10 students have already gained some valuable work life skills through the Groundworks Project; for a day a week, the students involved have been working hard on improving the local area including tree planting and general maintenance. 

In addition, there have been theatre trips this half term to The Woman in Black and to The Wizard of Oz. Hopefully, these visits have whet the appetite for our own upcoming performance of Annie, which takes place on the 12th and 13th of February. Tickets for Annie will go on sale after the Christmas holidays, and we’re looking forward to seeing as many families as possible at this event.

I’m sure that many of you will have followed the amazing World War One project that Miss McCabe and a group of students have been working on, and which has received coverage on local radio and in the Selby Times. Following a visit to the Belgian battlefields earlier on in the year, the students who took part in the trip were asked to think of a project to demonstrate their learning. From this, came the idea of sending a letter to houses in Selby where a First World War soldier had lived before the war. Households were encouraged to display a card in remembrance of the sacrifices made by the people of Selby. This project really captured the imagination of the community, and brought the older and younger generations together in a very positive way. In recognition of this fantastic piece of work, Miss McCabe and the students involved, were invited to a ceremony in the tower of London, where they received the National Legacy 110 Award.

Selby students have revealed their generosity of spirit and creativity in other ways as well. There have been numerous activities to raise money for a variety of charities. Some of these have been whole school, like the Tug of War for Selby Hands of Hope, and the non-uniform day to raise money for Children in Need. Some have been organised by individual students, to raise money for charities close to their hearts, through collections and bun sales. It was also great to see the generosity of our students at harvest time, when hundreds of items of food were donated to support local food banks.

We’ve had a busy sporting schedule since last half term. Both our girls and boys football teams have been successful in the North Yorkshire Cup competition. The Year 8 and Year 9 Boys and the Girls team are still going strong, and will have their next cup fixtures in the New Year. In other sports, Anya Lyon represented Selby High School at the National Schools Equestrian Association in the Grassroots Regional Championships, and built on her previous finals qualification for 70cm by qualifying for 60cm and 75 cm and coming 5th and 6th respectively. Congratulations are also due to Issy Khosla and Ella Jellett who have been selected to play for the North Yorkshire Hockey team.

The Indoor Tug of War competition was a huge success, with students from all year groups competing and getting into the Christmas spirit. The Year 11 Sports Captains did an amazing job of ensuring that all four houses were represented by strong teams in all the events. The overall winning house was Hockney, but all houses won individual events. Staff also took part in their own tug of war competition at lunchtime, with ‘Team Field’ winning 3 out of 3 rounds. 

Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival
On Saturday 16th November a group of 10 talented dancers took to the stage to take part in the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival at Central Hall, University of York. The dancers had been working incredibly hard, rehearsing at lunchtime and after school since the summer and were feeling ready to perform and share their dance piece at this spectacular venue in front of a live audience.

The piece was choreographed as a collaboration between Miss Holt and the dancers, and used the festival’s theme of reflection to create a work that explored how we view ourselves and others, asking us to reflect on what is important. The performance was well received by the audience and our performers gained a standing ovation and high praise from industry professionals. Despite a few technical difficulties in the final performance, the dancers were extremely dedicated and showed exceeding levels of professionalism, maturity and outstanding ability to perform with control and confidence in this high-pressure environment. We are looking forward to participating in the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival again next year.

Active Life Skills Programme with North Yorkshire Sport
North Yorkshire Sport and Great Britain Olympic Swimmer James Kirton have been working with 7 Year 9 and 10 boys through the Active Life Skills Programme, which is designed to inspire young people to create a brighter future for themselves by supporting the development of skills and opportunities in their local area. The students have been attending mentoring and activity sessions run by James every Tuesday evening for 12 weeks at school. The programme has helped students to build their confidence and resilience, and the sessions culminated in the boys organising and running a successful Inter-School basketball competition for around 40 Year 7, 8 and 9 students at the school.

Thanks as ever, to all the staff- and students- who have made all the above events possible. This year, 73 students have been trained up as Sports Leaders, and it has been brilliant to see them provide great opportunities for younger students from our local primary schools as well.

Finally, I’d like to pass on my very best wishes to one of our PE teachers, Steve Field, who is taking up a new position in a local Special School after the Christmas Holidays. Over the years, hundreds of students have benefited not only from his teaching, but also from the many trips and activities that he has organised. 

I’d like to finish by wishing you all a very healthy and happy Christmas holiday and look forward to seeing all of our students again in January.

Best wishes,

Mr. Nick Hinchliffe

Forthcoming dates
6th January                   School re-opens
6th – 14th January        Year 11 Mocks
7th January                   Year 8 Consultation Evening
22nd January                Year 11 trip to Bishop Burton College
12th & 13th February   Production of ‘Annie’
14th February               School closes for holidays