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Hessle High School

WEEK 35 - Friday 21 June 2024

Firstly, apologies that this blog arrives with you on a Monday morning. Last week, time got away from us all and I was unable to complete writing this before we could get it sent to you. 

In my first year of teaching, I remember that older hands would try to reassure me when I explained how I was struggling to balance the demands of the role. “Wait until the summer,” they’d say, “and gain time.” 

I had no idea what this meant and had to be enlightened on this idyllic period when teaching apparently became so much easier, when lunch breaks could be properly taken and when – unbelievably – some of the teachers even slipped off to the pub at lunchtime! 

The cause of this was the departure of Year 11 students and so all their scheduled lessons suddenly became free, and teachers wallowed in time for the above. For a couple of years, I too found myself benefiting from this time and it was lovely. Although I don’t think anyone actually did go to the pub; even by the early 2000s, that was something well in the past. 

Of course, you only benefited from this if you taught Year 11 (or Year 13) in the first place and so it was only ever something that a proportion of staff experienced. Somehow though, over the years, this ‘gained time’ seemed to disappear. Probably with the increasing and ever-changing accountability framework. Instead of being ‘spare’ everyone just used the time to prepare for the next year or for other activities such as celebration events, sports days, transition activities and school trips.  

Our calendar in the last half term is choc-a-block with such activities and I find myself even busier in these last months of term that at any time in the year.  

Last week, for example, our senior leaders spent two evenings reflecting on our year and constructing our Development Plan for next year. This week, I will be involved in interviews (for staff, and for Head Students) as well as spending two days out of school with fellow Trust Headteachers (Thursday) and the wider Local Authority Headteacher group on Friday. It is also our Year 11 Prom (Wednesday) and Year 13 Prom (Thursday). In the remaining weeks of term, we will also have our Year 6 transition, Year 12 Induction, new staff induction, Sports Day, two Governors meetings and a Year 10 Aspirational Dinner. So much for ‘gained time’. But  


Last week saw the final exams for our Year 11 and 13 students and they have all, for now, left school. A good proportion of the Year 11 students will be back for Prom, for Sixth Form induction, for results day and then, in September, back in our Sixth Form. But for many, last week will be the last week that they ever spend a significant time at Hessle High School, as it will be for our Year 13s.  

The past few weeks have seen some lovely moments; farewell assemblies and shirt signing but also the very personal moments where a student arrives at a classroom door with a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates or a card for a teacher that has left their mark on a young life. I always find these very touching. And they are appreciated by our staff more than you could possibly imagine. 


Finally, I spent much of the weekend watching sport. Firstly, I was at the MKM on Saturday afternoon enjoying a much-improved Hull FC performance despite losing to Warrington. And then I was at Kirkella Cricket Club for most of yesterday watching my son playing for the senior Sunday team. He was one of three juniors, who all did really well playing against the men, each of them contributing to a win, including my son who took his first wickets in senior cricket. It barely seems any time at all that he first started playing ‘All Stars’ cricket, aged 6. His involvement in cricket means that I spend most of my time at games explaining the rules to his mum, or his grandma, so that they can enjoy it too! 

However you spent your weekend, I hope you managed to enjoy the sunshine which looks to be hanging around for another week. Thank you for your ongoing support and have a lovely week. 

Mr Groak