WEEK 11- Friday 26 November 2021
My main thoughts at the end of a tumultuous week are of sadness and relief.
On Monday evening, the devastating accident on the A63 caused many of our staff and parents a lot of inconvenience but it was only in the early hours that we learned that one of those who died in the incident was known to our school community. Alison Clark was not only a close friend of some of our staff but she had also served as a Parent Governor at our Primary School, Penhurst, some years ago. The tragic loss of a wife and mum in such circumstances is hard to come to terms with and our entire school community sends our sympathies to her family. It is impossible to find words to describe how they must be feeling.
We were probably still a little unsettled on Wednesday when we became aware of the fire at the plastics factory in Hessle. When the fire started, many staff and students were still on site and it was extremely unnerving to hear explosions and billowing flames and smoke spreading across an area in which we know many of our families and staff live. The reason for the relief is that miraculously nobody was injured in the incident and as I drove to school on Thursday morning it was incredible to see the skies cleared as I looked from Heads Lane down into the town. The emergency services did an incredible job and reminded us all of how important they are to us.
The priority on Thursday was ensuring that all of our students were okay. There were a small number that had been evacuated from their homes but, in the main, most had suffered no more than a few delays in getting home. Within an hour or so of the school day starting, everything was back to normal and they just wanted to crack on with their learning. I do believe that our young people are capable of coping with anything that is thrown at them. They have such remarkable resilience. One of them even said to me ironically, “Sir, do you remember when we only had the pandemic to contend with?” What amazing kids we have.
This week has also been the second week of ‘mock’ exams for our Year 11 students. This is the first time that this cohort of students have sat down formally in the sports hall to sit exam papers since they were in Year 9 and, as well as helping us to identify what they do and do not know, it has also been invaluable practice for them to manage their time, deal with the pressure and show what they can do. Their teachers have already begun their marking and the coming weeks will see lots of detailed feedback and development of strategies to help our students improve.
As we approach the Christmas holidays, I know that some families will find this an extremely difficult financial time. Following the controversy of the Marcus Rashford/Free Schools Meal situation last year, the Government has provided additional financial support to families through the Household Support Grant. Families eligible for free school meals may be able to apply for additional support with the costs of fuel, and warm winter clothing for their children. More information can be found here.
Finally, this evening is the great Hessle Christmas Lights Switch On. Many of our students will be there, either performing, volunteering or just to enjoy the atmosphere and spend time with family and friends. If you are heading down that way, I hope you enjoy yourself and find that magical first sprinkling of Christmas spirit. This morning I faced my first tricky dilemma of the Christmas when our Caretaker approached me, “Where do you want the Christmas Tree this year, Vince? Main Hall or Atrium?” Such are the huge strategic decisions that come with school leadership!!
Have a lovely weekend.
Have a lovely weekend.