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Hessle High School

WEEK 5 - Friday 8 October 2021

This morning I met with officials from the local Public Health team and from the East Riding local authority to discuss the current Covid situation in our area. A little over two weeks ago, we experienced a dramatic increase in the number of positive cases being recorded, especially amongst Year 11 students. As you know, this prompted us to instigate elements of our contingency plan, including the re-introduction of face coverings in communal areas. I am pleased to be able to inform you that the compliance with this has been extremely high. Since this and other measures were introduced, we have seen a steady decline in numbers back to the pre-spike level. This is reassuring. However, we are still seeing positive cases reported to us each day and, as we enter the colder months and as Hull Fair is set to begin, we have made the decision to retain the use of face coverings until the half term break in two weeks time. We hope that this will give us an additional layer of protection, with minimal cost or inconvenience to staff and students. We will of course review this at half term. Thank you once again for your support with these measures and in general over our management of the pandemic in our school.

Yesterday afternoon was our first all-year-group Meet The Tutor event. Whenever we introduce new events such as this, a great deal of planning and discussion takes place in advance. However, until it happens we really do not know how it will run, how it will land with staff and parents or what the general feedback will be. But, if we don’t try new things, we will never continue to improve. The rationale for Meet The Tutor is that the tutor is the constant presence in your child’s school life - they are the one adult who they see every day, at the start of each day and as such they play a crucial part in ensuring they are happy in school. Given the changes we have made to our pastoral system in the past eighteen months and the pandemic, we felt it was important that you be introduced face to face (even if on a screen) so that you know who your child’s tutor is. These meetings are in addition to the normal Parents Evenings which will still take place later this year. In order that staff could potentially see all parents from their tutor group, we limited the online discussions to three minutes, a duration which we are conscious is not long but should be sufficient for brief introductions. Any deeper concerns could then be followed up.

In the event, nearly six hundred parents joined us for these meetings but we are aware that a number of parents who booked appointments did not make their appointments. In order to find out whether that was due to technical difficulties or that parents did not feel it was worth it, we don’t know. However, in order to improve this for the next time, we have sent you a short survey which can be found here to find out your views. Please take a couple of minutes to help us to improve this event in future as well providing some feedback to a few other questions.

This week, you may have seen that the city centre of Hull has been turned into a movie set for the filming of Enola Holmes 2. On Tuesday evening, after dropping my son at football training, I went for a run and headed in that direction to check it out. It really was quite impressive to see how they had transformed High Street and Land of Green Ginger into Victorian London. At Hessle, we have all been particularly interested in this movie as one of our staff members was all set to appear in it. Kirsty Simpson is a member of our English department and has long harboured thespian ambitions. She recently had a small part in another film which was shot in Hull and was all set to do likewise in the Enola movie but eventually was prevented from doing so when she was struck down with Covid. Nevertheless, we were delighted that one of our colleagues had such a fascinating interest and hobby and she is not alone. We really do have a talented body of staff beyond the classroom.

Recently, English teacher Garry Burnett appeared in his Mick Ronson-inspired show ‘Turn and Face the Strange’ at Hull Truck Theatre, which he also wrote. In that show was yet another member of our English department, Annabel Etheridge, who sang lead vocals. Garry is also a much-published author of educational books as well as children’s literature. Writing, it seems, is a common interest. I myself have had two sports books published, with a third scheduled for 2022, and Ben Shepherd and Monika Davison (both English, yet again) also have published works.

Elsewhere, Jordan Douglas combines working in the PE department with being the Goalkeeper for North Ferriby FC, whilst Geography teacher, Chris Adams, represents Beverley FC. In other sport, our Attendance Officer, Tina Brown is an ultra marathon runner who dominates the ladies divisions in most of her races (some of which are 80 miles plus!).  

Finally, some of you who follow local politics may remember Carl Minns who, between 2006 and 2011, was the leader of Hull City Council. Since leaving politics, Carl has entered teaching and joined us in September 2020 as a Maths teacher.  

We always tell the students to throw themselves into their hobbies and interests and to follow their passions. The pastimes of these colleagues shows that we also lead by example.  

Many of you will be heading off to Hull Fair over the weekend and it appears that the weather is going to be fine for it. We are giving it a miss this year and I am hoping that my own children won’t notice it is on! That might be wishful thinking but, if you are heading to Walton Street, have fun, please stay safe and have a lovely weekend.

Mr V Groak

Headteacher