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Hessle High School

WEEK 14 - Friday 15 December 2023

Chronic underfunding, excessive workload, rising expectations. Ofsted. Mobile phones, fruit-flavoured vapes. Snapchat, Instagram and Tiktok.   

A teacher recruitment crisis, a staff retention crisis, a crisis in public services which puts vulnerable families in a position where the only place they can turn to for support and help, is schools and teachers. Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat. The long shadow of covid and its impact on attendance and attitudes to school. A lack of political leadership. Tiktok, Snapchat and Instagram.  

These are just a few of the challenges you will face if you choose to become or remain a teacher in 2023. So why do we do it? 

For events such as our Awards evening on Wednesday night. This is our annual opportunity to celebrate the very best of our school community and it was heart-warming once again to witness the special relationships that underpin the success achieved by our students. 

Whilst some of our ‘high-achievers’ are rightly represented, we seek to reward hard work, effort and determination every bit as much as talent. Talent will only take you so far, as I told the parents and students on Wednesday. At the event, each of our subjects are represented by a member of staff who explains the reasons why they have chosen the three students nominated for each award. They then announce the winner. Most speak without notes and speak from the heart. There are some really touching messages and not a few tears. 

One of my favourite moments came when Mrs Hall, Head of RE, explained why Alex had received her Year 11 Award for her determination to keep improving her GCSE RE grade. Alex hadn’t achieved the highest grade but her dedication to improvement had impressed Mrs Hall the most. Alex wasn’t present; it turned out that she didn't think she had a chance of winning because the other nominees achieved higher grades than her. When she found out from a friend, she came into school the next day to collect her award. And brought a bunch of flowers for Mrs Hall. Moments like this are what make me most proud of leading this school. 

Another highlight of the week was our wonderful Xmas Fayre on Tuesday afternoon. Organised by Mrs Bourne, Head of Portia, this saw lots of students across different year groups selling a range of gifts, craft items and cakes in aid of the Downright Special charity which they have adopted for the year, and which is very close to our collective hearts at Hessle. Embarrassingly, I never had any money on me so had to borrow five pounds from Mrs Groak in order to ensure I could support them. Altogether, they raised over £500 on the night to go towards their annual charity effort.  And it was another busy night for Miss Raw, our singing coach/teacher, who performed some songs, having also done the same at our Awards Evening. Thank you to all concerned for a great whole-school event. 

Finally, this weekend sees the wider Groak family get-together which it is our turn to host. My daughter has written a quiz and pantomime, my son is making starters and dessert which leaves me with just the main course, which will be my meatballs speciality. Not entirely Christmassy, but it is still over a week away! 

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope it is as relaxing as the last weekend before Xmas can be and I thank you for your ongoing support.   

Mr Groak