WEEK 6 - Friday 13 October 2023
There has not been a year in my 23 -year teaching career when I have not taught Sixth Form students. Even as an NQT, I was thrown in at the deep end teaching a Year 13 Business & Economics group after an experienced member of staff decided to resign in August! In that time, I have taught countless specifications and many hundreds of students. It has been the most enjoyable part of my teaching career and, even now, if staff see me walking up to Tranby House to see my Sixth Form group on a Tuesday morning, they'll notice the extra spring in my step. I love it.
As Headteacher, I desperately want as many of my staff to enjoy the same privilege. Maintaining a school Sixth Form is not easy. It is hard to maintain focus across multiple key stages and it is expensive when you consider that it mostly consists of smaller-than-average class sizes being taught by our most expensive staff. But there is something special about having a School Sixth Form. I went to a school sixth form and I know that the spotty, shy and awkward teenager that I was would never have prospered in a big Sixth Form College. I'd have been lost and never fulfilled my potential. So having a Sixth Form at Hessle is very personal to me and I am hugely passionate about it. But it is never guaranteed.
We face incredibly stiff competition from larger Post-16 providers in our area and we can never match their promotions, their 'Beverly Hills 90210' style environment or their range of courses but we can offer something they cannot – the benefit of the years-long relationships that students have built with staff, the familiarity with the school and the knowledge that, if they go through a tough time, there are people around who know them well and who can provide support. And, working with our partners at Cottingham and Wolfreton and more recently at Holderness Academy, we can still offer over thirty-five different Post-16 courses for students across a range of disciplines.
Next Tuesday is our Post-16 Open Evening at Hessle High. Anyone with a child in Year 11 or 10 at our school or elsewhere is very welcome to attend. You will hear from myself, from Mr Jarman, our Head of Sixth Form, and many of our teachers. Most importantly, you will get to meet and speak to our current Sixth Form students who will be able to explain exactly what it is like to study with us. It promises to be a busy, but highly engaging, evening and we hope to see you there from 5pm.
‘Hull Fair Week’ draws to a close in the next few days and today we have definitely seen the Hull Fair weather in school. We are hoping for a little Autumn sunshine this weekend which gives me an outside chance of one final cut of the grass before the lawnmower is packed away for another year. But best of all, the kids have a sleepover at their grandparents tomorrow which gives my wife and I the chance for a night out on our own. In the past six weeks, I don’t think we have spoken to each other for more than 15 minutes without a domestic responsibility or work job or conversation butting in. When we have time without the children, we always start with grand plans for a posh meal, cocktails and a night on the town but it almost always ends early, dozing on the sofa by 9pm with a glass of Baileys!
Whatever you are doing, have a lovely weekend and thank you for your ongoing support.