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Hessle High School

WEEK 37 - Friday 5 July 2024

It was nice to see that the first MP elected last night was the lady destined to become the next Education Secretary. Bridget Philipson will be the first Labour incumbent since Ed Balls in 2010. In the intervening time, there have been an unbelievable 10 Tory SoS Education Secretary in 14 chaotic years for the sector. 

In the past few years, there has been little appetite for change amongst the Government which has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we could barely stand any more radical change; a curse because the change that we do need – more funding, a change to accountability and reform of Ofsted was never going to happen in the last years of the Conservatives. 

Education has not been high on the agenda of Labour either and it is unlikely that we will see drastic change or funding for some time; although their promised Ofsted change will probably mean we will never see a one-word graded judgement again as a school. 

But where I am hopeful is that Labour are committed to improving public services more broadly. The work of school staff has grown and changed over the past fourteen years, and radically so since the pandemic. The years of austerity left public services under-capacity to deal with existing, and growing, need and I have written several times in this blog that schools have become the front line of public service for many families, for whom we just happen to be the most accessible. 

We are held to account for how well we provide for our students that are disadvantaged by poverty. To that end, my best hope for the new Labour Government is that they stop putting so many children into poverty in the first place. Then we can do the work we are best equipped to do. 

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This week has been Work Experience week for our Year 10s, the first time we have held this for some years. To give you a flavour of what they have been up to, let me share the message that Mr Scott sent me after going out to visit some of his tutees in their placements: 

“The students have all done our school and themselves so proud.  It has been brilliant going to see them out of their comfort zone and getting stuck into the world of work.  They haven't just been making teas and coffees and sweeping, they have been out measuring carpets and curtains for brand new homes, they have been putting orders through for car and motorcycle parts, they have been very professional with the public when chatting to them while they having their hair done or gone for a catch up with a friend in a coffee shop, they have been making burgers and other BBQ staples, they have been learning to service and use cranes, cherry pickers etc.  The students that are placed in schools have definitely had a taste of what it is like on the other side of the classroom and working with children.  They have been listening to children read and helping them with their Maths and Computing skills, they have helped with sports day, one has been sat with a challenging student all of the time to support them and has found a new appreciation of how the teachers feel when they play up.  Overall, it has been an absolute privilege to go and see our amazing young people do something that will benefit them not just next year but set them up for the world of work.  The employers have commented on how fantastic the students have been and have asked me to pass on that message.  As their form tutor it has been brilliant to see them grow from the end of Year 7 in covid bubbles to young people getting an idea what their future might look like.  I even got a free coffee to keep me going through all the visits, which was much appreciated!”    

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This weekend I shall be hosting my leadership team at our house for our annual summer BBQ. I am quite proud of my barbecuing skills and am looking forward to showing off some of my marinaded steak cuts, which will hopefully be eaten outside. Although, looking at the weather forecast, we may all end up huddled in my kitchen. By 5pm we will be anyway as we will be watching the England football game.  

Whatever you are doing, I hope you find some sunshine.  

Thank you for your ongoing support.  

Mr Groak

Headteacher