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Hessle High School

WEEK 14 - Friday 17 December 2021

I write this just before going out onto the field to watch the annual Staff versus Students football match and there is a palpable tension in the air. This fixture is a real rite of passage for our Year 11 students who look forward to it all year and the opportunity to test their skills and mettle against the staff. It is not much less competitive on the staff side and team manager, Dave ‘Mike Bassett’ Willson has selected a fine blend of youth, talent and experience with which to challenge the youngsters.

Nobody can remember a time when the students actually beat the staff in this fixture, although there was a draw a couple of years ago which the students celebrated fiercely. A quick glance down the staff team suggests that they are favourites to maintain their proud record although the Year 11 students did beat a Year 13 team last week in a warm-up game. Whatever the result, it will all be played in a good spirit (I sincerely hope so, anyway!) and I am sure that the spectators will enjoy the game too (if the fog lifts!).

The Year 11 lads were determined that their game should also help to raise awareness of, and money for, two very worthwhile charities and the boys themselves have chosen to support Macmillan Cancer as well as the fund set up to support workers from Bridgewood Plastics, which was hit by the fire last month. These efforts demonstrate the great sense of responsibility that our students show for their community.

After the game, we will say farewell to a couple of our staff who are moving onto pastures new and then everyone will go their separate ways to begin their Christmas break. The Autumn term is not only the longest in school but it is by far the busiest, crammed as it is with Open Evenings and Parents Evenings. There is little that can be done to spread these events out as they need to be held at the start of the school year. But it takes its toll on staff and, in the past few weeks, energy levels have dropped significantly. Nevertheless, everyone has mustered one last effort to help the students celebrate the end of term and there is a lovely atmosphere around the place. I can hear ‘Last Christmas’ playing in a classroom nearby as the tutor’s enjoy their end of term party with their tutees. There will be plenty of hard work ahead for all of our students in January and beyond but, for now, it is great to see them enjoying themselves.

Like you, I follow the news with increasing anxiety about what may happen next in the ongoing struggle with Covid. Despite what is rumoured, we have not been given any further guidance from the DfE with regards to what may happen in January as far as schools are concerned. Rest assured that, after a good break, I will be in touch with you before the new year, if there are any significant changes to announce. Otherwise, we expect to see all students back as planned on Wednesday 5 January.

The Groak family will be spending Christmas in Surrey with my wife’s parents. It is great for our children to experience another part of the country especially over Christmas. They will be spoiled rotten, I’m sure, but that will also give my wife and I the chance to nip over to Bristol for a few days too. It is a city I have never been to but, Covid permitting, we are looking forward to enjoying its restaurants and waterfront bars for a few days. And then it will be back home for a few more days rest before we start to prepare for whatever 2022 has in store for us.

Whatever you are doing over the Christmas holiday, I hope that you find time to enjoy it with friends, family and loved ones and that you are able to stay safe.

At the end of another challenging year, more than ever I am extremely grateful for your ongoing support both personally and to my staff.

From everyone at Hessle High School, a very Merry Christmas.

Mr Groak