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Hessle High School

WEEK 35 - Friday 24 June 2022

Many of you will know that I am a season ticket holder at Hull FC and, when they win a game, it is rarely because of any individual achievement and is more likely to be achieved by team discipline and the fact that they ‘played for eighty minutes’. This saying is a bit of cliche but it speaks to a real truth in that success in sport usually comes down to executing the plans you devised in training and staying disciplined right until the final whistle blows. The same can be said for students and staff in school. Our curriculum is not planned to be delivered in 30 weeks or even 35. It will take us the full 38 weeks of the school year in order to deliver our planned curriculum. Gone are the days when the final weeks of term would involve bringing games into school or watching videos. There are plenty of other fun and enriching activities for students to enjoy at this time of year, such as our trips to the coast and Sports Day, and it won’t be long before they have six weeks off school. For those reasons, they, and you, will rightly expect us to teach them until the end of term. And the same expectations apply to our students. In recent weeks, we have spoken collectively to students about ‘playing for eighty minutes’ and staying disciplined all year around. It is important, not just for their education but also for the development of professional habits, that they maintain high levels of attendance and continue to wear their uniform correctly all year. We will urge them to do this and are delighted that they respond positively to this.

I thank you for your support with this. Each year, I speak to a small number of parents who are not happy that their child has faced a sanction for coming into school with the wrong uniform on or with inappropriate jewellery/nails etc, and invariably it is at this time of year when the temptation is there to lower standards. Our standards are high and I make no apologies for that; it is one of the reasons why we are so vastly oversubscribed and have waiting lists of parents that want to send their child to our school. I know that you value those standards and so I thank you for supporting us in upholding them.

On the subject of standards, I must remind parents that my discretion in authorising term-time holidays or other periods of absence is extremely limited by law and can only be done with plenty of notice and with supporting evidence. This can lead to very tricky conversations if a parent has already taken their child out of school and then asks me to authorise the absence with minimal evidence. The safest option is always to plan absences during school holidays or on weekends; I know that may not always tie in with parent work patterns and that holidays at that time are expensive (I know - I haven’t had anything other than an expensive holiday for over 20 years!) but they are not reasons that I can legally authorise an absence. Thanks again for your support.

Finally, those of you that drop your child off at school will see another new face on the school site from Monday morning. Ashley Chapman will be joining the school as our new Deputy Headteacher next week as part of our expanded leadership team. He will be our strategic pastoral leader, working closely with Mrs Anderson and Mr Sinclair to provide students and families with the best standards in respect of safeguarding, SEND, behaviour and personal development. I am sure you will all get to meet him in due course and he is keen to join us and get started.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mr Groak