There was some significant disruption to journeys to and from school on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, particularly for students coming to us from Brigg and Scunthorpe. The site team of Mr Bray, Mr Brinklow and Mr Pulling worked hard to salt the site to clear any issues with ice. We closed for three days last year as the bus companies could not transport students to School. Should there be a closure this year, I endeavour to let parents and students know as early as possible. Information is published on the Twitter feed, the school website and is broadcast via local radio stations. I work with the headteachers at Caistor Yarborough and the Primary to present a unified decision for local families. Student and staff safety is always the priority.
Holocaust Memorial Day
We acknowledge Holocaust Memorial Day this morning. This year’s theme was ‘home’ in light of the displacement that millions face as they seek refuge in another country or region. My thanks to Dr Wilton, who coordinated the assembly, and the following students in Year 12: Ewan Martin, Tegan Hinch, Anna Carter, Verbena Sajjad, Jyothi Cross and Henry Montgomery. My thanks also to the students in Years that listened attentively and considered in silence what they could do to make their communities a better place.
Congratulations to Jyothi Cross (Y12) who has been selected to represent England and Wales at the International Public Speaking Competition in London in May. Around 50 participants from 50 countries, aged 16-20, all national public speaking competition winners, will spend a week in London taking part in competition heats, public speaking training as well as cultural activities and social events. Jyothi and Toby Hibbert also represented the School at the regional English Speaking Union at Hymers School in Hull on Tuesday but lost to strong teams from De Aston, Market Rasen, and Huntington School, York. Mr McTernan accompanied Jyothi and Toby. Their return journey was delayed due to snow.
County cross country championships race – Stamford
We had a strong team at the county championships this Saturday in Stamford. I’m pleased to publish the following results: Year 7 girls – Alice Fearn finished 4th; Year 7 Boys – Rhys Smaller finished 58th; Junior Boys – Robin Smith was 27th; Junior Girls – Claudia Smith 31st; Inter Girls – Ella MacPherson 6th; Inter Boys – Henry Cullen 6th and Joel Cottingham 7th and Freddie Fearn 19th; Senior Boys – Thomas Christie 10th. Alice, Ella, Henry, Joel and Thomas all qualify for the Anglian Championships in Northampton on February 2. Ella and Henry automatically earn a place in the National Championships in Leeds on 16th March. (Alice would have qualified for the Nationals with her high placing but for some reason, there is not a National race for Year 7 students). Alice has also qualified for the U13 girls at the UK CAU Inter Counties Cross Country Championship. I hope you agree that there were some wonderful performances here. Thanks to Mrs Buck who supervised the students and to the parents that supported the students and the School in the cold.
Be aware – website updates
Our “Be Aware” page has been updated with two new fact sheets. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPPH) have produced an excellent fact sheet to help parents/carers. The RCPCH say there are no ‘safe’ amounts of screen time and the amount of screen use that is right will vary from family to family. The leaflet offers up a few simple questions which will help parents/carers in this tricky area. Simple suggestions are then made on how to reduce screen time in your household from having a plan and sticking to it to thinking about your own media use and whether this influences your children.
Video games have a significant impact on the way in which the world can be assimilated for students. We have also published a free online safety guide for schools to share with parents and carers about Grand Theft Auto (GTA); the 18+ rated game. Popular for its criminal narrative, the GTA series encourages users to break the law in order to succeed and progress through the game. With over 100 million users on the game’s online social club alone, despite the age restriction, Grand Theft Auto is hugely popular amongst young people under the age of 18!
I have been meeting with Year 11 this week to discuss their mock exams, their plans for the next few months and beyond. They really are a superb bunch of students and it has been a privilege to be their headteacher for the last two years. They have come up with some very good answers to the questions concerning what they like about the School and what they would like to improve. We are slowly trying to improve facilities and to expand the curriculum at A level in particular, subject to demand. Many plan to stay on into the Sixth Form. They should submit their entry form by the end of next month to enable Mr Sunter to construct the 2019-20 curriculum. Please be aware that we are in a position to offer support to some students for whom travel costs might present a barrier. Application forms for the bursary are available from the School.
The Department for Education published its School league tables yesterday. You can see the School’s entry here. Our Progress 8 score for GCSE was 0.6, while the average GCSE grade that last year’s Year 11 obtained was a little over a ‘7’, effectively an ‘A’ grade. Our value added score for A level was 0.07. I am very proud of what our students and teachers achieve in examination results. More importantly, the range of opportunities available here is incredible and that comes from the time that teachers and support staff give to make everything work. I am also proud that we are an inclusive community. 8.5% of our students are eligible for free school meals, which is substantially above the national average of approximately 3% for selective schools and in line with the FSM allocation for the top 500 non-selective schools (9%). Overall absence was 2.8% – another strong indicator of a purposeful and happy school.