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Hessle High School

WEEK 22 - Friday 4 March 2022

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine during the half term break, our thoughts at the start of this week were focused on our families that originate in Eastern Europe. We do not have any students who hail from Ukraine but we have several from Russia and many more from the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) as well as Poland, Georgia and Romania. Given the proximity of these countries to one another, there are many links to Ukraine. During the week, we have paid close attention to these students, especially those whose families come from Russia in order to check that they are okay and to offer any support with their emotions. Thankfully, we are not aware of any of our school community that has come to any harm but there is obviously a great deal of concern at how the situation may unfold.

On Tuesday morning, we spoke to all of the students and sought to explain what is going on in Ukraine and the impact it is having on the country and its people. We emphasised three key messages;

Firstly, to follow events but to do so using reputable sources of information. As with most things, there is a lot of disinformation and propaganda around this event which can lead to a very distorted view. We urged students to watch the mainstream media and newspapers for their information and to discuss their thoughts and views with adults who they trust.

Secondly, although this event is taking place on the other side of the continent, it is affecting real people and will also be a concern for the people in our school, who have already mentioned. We spoke to the students about treating one another with respect and with compassion.

Finally, we know that this has upset some students, especially some of our younger students. We have explained to them that it is okay to be worried and that it always helps to talk to people about their feelings and emotions. Their tutor room is a safe place in which they can do that daily.

I am pleased to say that our students this week have dealt with this news very well, have shown great resilience and have made a great start to the new term. 

We are also delighted to be able to support a local effort to collect materials for refugees leaving Ukraine. A contact of one of our staff is already on his way to Poland driving a lorry laden with supplies, some of which were donated by staff in our school earlier in the week. Every little helps.

To turn our attention to brighter matters, we have made good progress towards the organising of our Year 11 Prom recently. The date for the prom this year is Friday 1 July. You may have seen in the local news last year that we held our Prom at the school due to the closure of other venues and that we launched our first ever Prom Hire Shop to support our students and to ensure they had access to quality outfits for the big event. We never imagined how popular this would become and we were given donations from all over the local community and ended up with over 100 dresses and many, many suits. This is all stored at the school and we have started promoting the hire shop in school to students.

We have created a hire shop website (which is available to Y11 students through their Google sign in), we are still uploading outfit images but many are available to view. The cost to hire outfits is very low (£10 to cover dry cleaning) and means that the Prom experience can be enjoyed by as many students as possible without too much worry about the cost. Once again, thank you to everyone that has supported us with this venture. To enquire about hire or to organise a viewing/fitting contact 

Finally, one of the great privileges of my job is to be able to hear about and celebrate the very many successes that our students achieve, both in and out of school. In recent weeks, two of our students have been very successful in the worlds of swimming and rugby league.

Last month, Nathan B competed in the World Para Swimming Championship Series in Aberdeen.   Nathan had his leg amputated when he was 18 months old and has not only managed to live a very normal and healthy life with a prosthetic limb but he has also managed to compete at the highest level as a swimmer. Nathan’s ultimate goal is to represent the GB Para Swim Squad. Nathan is an incredibly modest young man and much of his success was relatively unknown to many people until quite recently. He is a credit to his family and the school and we are very proud of him.

Alfie W is in Year 10 and has long held an ambition to play Rugby League. He has worked and trained very hard for the moment when he might have the opportunity of joining a scholarship scheme. Prior to half term, he was very nervous as the decision was imminent and this week we were delighted that he has been offered a scholarship with Hull Kingston Rovers. He will now be guided and trained by their professional coaches which will be terrific for his chances of progressing in the sport. As a fervent Hull FC fan myself, I have broken the news to him that, sadly, I will now never be able to speak to him again but he took the news well!! All joking apart, we are very proud of Alfie and wish him all the best.

Working with all of our young people is a joy and a great privilege but we know we cannot do it without your support at all times. Thank you once again for the support you give to my team in the work that they do.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mr Groak