WEEK 39 - Friday 22 July 2022
It is customary that I write to all parents and carers at this time of year to set out any major changes that you need to be aware of ahead of the new school year. I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the school.
It has been another tumultuous year for everyone associated with the school. Covid has cast a long shadow and this was felt at its worst back in January when we were hit with a significant wave of infections with over 450 students absent from school during that month, along with dozens of staff. The impact was not just immediate; the knock-on effects of the missed learning and social interaction have taken most of the year to unravel and, for many, are still continuing. I am indebted to my incredible staff for keeping the ship sailing and providing the students with the very best teaching, learning and pastoral care that they can under the circumstances. We hope that the impact of Covid will diminish in the new year and we can return fully to 'normal'. Like all schools, we do not dwell on this with students; we try instead to praise them for their resilience and celebrate their successes.
Another big impact, which I have written about several times this year, comes from our growth in student numbers. In September 2017, we had 1002 students on roll in Years 7 to 13. This September, we expect that figure to exceed 1350 - a 35% increase in just 5 years. This is great news for the school and allows us to grow our staffing, benefit from economies of scale and ensure that we can offer specialist services in school (such as careers and wellbeing workers) that some schools cannot afford. It also protects some of the smaller, niche subjects such as music, languages etc that can sometimes be unviable in smaller schools. We are prepared for September and have recruited well - a mixture of experienced teachers who have joined us from local and regional schools, as well as some who will be new to the profession. It is an exciting time and I look forward to you meeting these new staff in due course.
The past few weeks have been very busy with educational trips going off site. We have had students visiting Bridlington, Filey and Dalby Forest (Geography trips), the National Space Centre (Science) and the London Theatre trip, to name but a few. The Acklams coach will need its own parking space in a morning at this rate! Part of our school vision, and pledge to our students, is that they get the opportunity to go on school visits to places they might not normally get the chance to see, especially with friends and teachers. There is nothing like a school trip for energising the students and staff and building those relationships that are so valuable. And we want these experiences to be as inclusive as possible; to that end, we have earmarked a budget for next year to support those families who might not otherwise be able to afford for their child to take part. We know that household finances are extremely tight at the moment and we do not want this to be a barrier to cultural development.
Finally, at the end of this week, we will be saying 'goodbye' to a number of valued colleagues and friends who are leaving us for pastures new. I am sure you will join me in wishing 'Good Luck' to Mr Smith (Biology) who is taking up a post at Hymers College; Mrs Davison and Mrs Etheridge (both English) who have both been appointed as Assistant Headteachers at Cottingham High School; Mr Willis (Physics) who is taking up a teaching post in his hometown of Bridlington and who will save a fortune in petrol!; Mr Simmons (Science) who is leaving us at the end of a temporary contract; Mrs Burrows (French/Spanish) who is moving out of teaching to join an Educational Consultant company; Mr Read (Cover Supervisor) who will take up his first job as a Teacher of PE and to three of our Teaching Assistants, Miss Hodgson, Miss Burke, Mrs Richie-Goodrick. Miss Hodgson will be starting a teacher training programme, Miss Burke will leave us at the end of a temporary contract and Mrs Ritchie-Goodrick who is joining the Specialist Behaviour Hub school. Finally, to Mrs Ward (Engineering and Technology) who is retiring and who tells me that she will be jetting off on holiday in September when we are all returning to school! Whilst we will be sad to see them go, we are grateful for the contribution they have made to our school and our students and wish them all the very best for the future.
Next Wednesday, the Groak family will be on a plane to Rome and then onto Greece where we are visiting Athens and some of the Islands. I love my job but I would be lying if I said I wasn't counting the hours! Wherever the summer takes you, I wish you all a happy and relaxing time and look forward to seeing you all again during the new school year to come.
Thanks for all of your support.
Return to School
Monday 5 September - Staff training day, no students in school
Tuesday 6 September - Year 7 and 11 students return - Year 12 and 13 return for induction
Wednesday 7 September - All students in school
Key Dates and Events
As our student numbers have grown in recent years, it has become necessary to continue with a split lunch and break. This allows students to have swift access to food at these times and keeps the queues as low as possible.
Our policy on mobile phones and other devices remains the same as in previous years. Students are permitted to bring them into school and may use them outside of the school buildings during break and lunchtimes. However, between 8.15 am and 3.30 pm, they must be ‘Off and Away’ inside the school buildings. This has proved to be very successful in recent years and students have found many other activities to do instead of using their phones. Your cooperation with this is greatly appreciated.
A reminder that our online learning and communication platform will change from Google Classroom to Microsoft this summer. All students have been fully trained by the ICT staff in readiness for this change and will, from September, be using this new platform to access their emails and school work. If you have any questions or concerns about this please contact us.
There are no substantive changes to school uniform for September. We continue to insist on high standards of uniform and expect all students to wear the correct uniform at all times. Please note that our approved provider, Rawcliffes Schoolwear, has recently relocated and now operates from:
17 Savile St, Hull, HU1 3EF
Each year we are asked about suitability of shoes. We would strongly recommend that all parents choose a formal shoe; however, we recognise that some families may struggle to afford a ‘school shoe’ in addition to footwear that might be worn out of school. For that reason, we accept a range of different shoe types, providing that they are black and polishable. We have produced a detailed visual aid to help you make the correct choice of uniform this summer. This can be found here. Our school uniform policy can be found here
We are looking forward to celebrating the successes of our Year 11 and 13 students in August when external results are announced.
A Level results day will take place on Thursday 18 August and all students are welcome on site from 9am. Advice and guidance will of course be on hand for students once they have their results.
GCSE results day will take place on Thursday 25 August. All students are welcome on site from 9am. Results will be handed out on the main plaza and this will be followed by enrolment into Hessle Sixth Form College. There will also be plenty of staff on hand to provide further advice and guidance for students regardless of their chosen destination.
We will write to students directly with more details of how this will work so please encourage them to check their school emails in the next few days!
Over the Summer we are moving to a new Management Information System called Arbor. Please note that when we send email communications to you from Arbor - the email 'sender' will be email@example.com
School Meal Tariff
Due to the rising costs of food ingredients nationally, a number of items in the canteen will go up in price from September. However, our caterers, ABM, have managed to retain the same Meal Deal price of £2.60. The new menu tariff will be published on our website during the summer in readiness for September.
Support in the Summer
We know that the rising cost of living will place a great burden on many families, especially those on low incomes and where children may be entitled to free school meals. Many high street restaurants and supermarkets are supporting families throughout the summer with free or discounted food.
See the graphic below for more details.