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Hessle High School

WEEK 34 - Friday 14 June 2024

I was delighted to be able to share with you the final Ofsted report following our inspection. Today, it has also gone live on the Ofsted website and can be found here.

Whilst I am delighted with the overall judgement and the comments made about the school, staff and pupils, we are putting the experience into appropriate perspective.

Our inspection was carried out under what is known as a ‘Section 8’ inspection which covers schools that are already classed as ‘Good’. The inspection team was small (three people on day one and only two on day two). In that time, they had to observe in depth four subject areas and hold many meetings with staff, students/pupils, Governors and leaders. The volume of evidence that they must collect is enormous and they then have to distil this into a one (or two) word judgment. The chances of them getting this wrong is what causes so much stress for people that work in schools, especially headteachers. Especially if they happen to come on an ‘off day’ when we have staff absence or issues are rumbling amongst students. As happens.

In the event, we had a very professional and courteous team of inspectors with many years of experience that allowed them to establish a ‘gut’ feeling of how the school operated and was led. Of course, the evidence of our strengths was compelling as you will see from the report but that level of experience and insight on the part of the team makes the whole experience more tolerable. I genuinely enjoyed working with them and hope that all schools could be inspected by the same team. They were keen to listen, learn about our plans, our ambitions and our challenges.

So, although we are pleased with the outcome, we are not shouting from the rooftops because the most important judgement is what you, and our students and my staff think about our school; and in that regard, we have every reason to be proud.

The Ofsted Parent View site (here) is publicly available here and this is where the feedback that you gave during inspection can be seen. This is overwhelmingly positive and when combined with the feedback from staff and students, it is overwhelmingly so. It tells us that staff want to work here, parents want to send their children here, and most important of all, students are proud of coming here. Thankfully, this was captured in the report in the following statement which is the one I am most proud of:

“Pupils demonstrate a sharing and caring attitude. This plays a part in the calm and purposeful climate for learning in the school. Pupils feel privileged to attend the school, and staff feel privileged to work at the school.”

***

Yesterday, we said our farewells to Year 11 students in their leavers’ assembly as they approach the end of their exams. I spoke to them about making sure they enjoy the moment; that these pivotal times in their lives happen quickly and you only realise the importance of them afterwards. I also thanked them for their contribution to our school, for being such fabulous role models and such funny, interesting and engaging human beings. There was some sadness in the air but mostly I felt happy that my team had done their job (and much more) in getting them to this stage of their lives and ready to write their own next chapters.

Finally, I wished them well for the future with the hope that they go on and live amazing lives, savouring everything that the world and life has to offer.

I am so fortunate to do the job that I do.

***

Last night, I was pleased to attend the annual Consortium Academy Trust Staff Awards event. This is the event’s second year and is a great occasion which celebrates the dedication and loyalty of staff across our whole organisation.

Staff in every school are asked to nominate a colleague who deserves recognition and four are then chosen from each of our schools, plus our central services team. Every role within schools was represented from Deputy Headteachers to caretakers; exam officers to teaching assistants. It demonstrated the importance of each role within our schools.

For Hessle, our four winners were Michelle Edwards, Clare O’Loughlin, Richard Sellers and Mark Owen.

Michelle is our Personal Development Co-Ordinator but that barely describes the range of work that she does to celebrate and promote our school. Michelle is often the public face of the school, organising events for the students, raising money for school charities and providing steadfast support to Kate Moore with our highly successful Duke of Edinburgh programme. Michelle wasn’t able to attend the event but she was a worthy recipient.

Clare is our longest-standing Head of Department and the best teacher I have ever seen. She has led the English team for many years, guiding staff and being an inspiration to literally thousands of students. This year, she has led the team through a number of challenges and yet has done it without complaint and with a determination to succeed. Her passion for her staff is infectious and she remains an absolute rock amongst our staff.

Richard is a hugely popular Physics teacher and new leader in the Science team. Students adore him for his passion for the subject and his dry humour but most of all because he likes his students more than anything else. He is also a great, supportive colleague and has recently been a mentor for new staff, putting lots back into the profession that gives him so much satisfaction.

Mark Owen is our Premises Manager, without whom the school couldn’t even open. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Mark who sets the example of service that the rest of his team of caretakers follow. I am delighted that Mark has been chosen for an award as his service to the school and the staff often goes unnoticed – another worthy winner.

Writing these notes has made me even more proud of the school but it was also lovely to hear similar stories told about colleagues working across all our schools. We are very fortunate to be part of such a thriving community of people who are all ‘shaping positive futures’ for our young people.

***

It will be good to get back to the MKM stadium tomorrow for a long overdue home game for Hull FC. Much has happened since the last home game back in May; and many of the team will be barely recognisable. My son is now a season ticket holder and part of the group of friends with whom ends that I have been watching Hull FC with for decades, and which now includes our kids. He is now as burdened with false hope and shattered dreams as I have been all these years! But we will turn up tomorrow hoping for the best. In total, it is a big sports weekend and we will no doubt watch the Scots tonight in the Euros, the England cricket team tomorrow night and then the England footballers on Sunday night. Chance of four wins for our teams? Slim, but we live in hope.

Whether you have any interest in sport, I hope you enjoy the weekend and the sight of some much overdue sunshine. Thanks again for your support.

Mr Groak

Headteacher