WEEK 14 - Friday 15 December 2023
It’s been my great pleasure this week to read the words of praise from the staff who teach your children as part of our ongoing rewards programme. Through the Year 10 “Student Shout-Outs” platform, each member of teaching staff has been asked to nominate students they feel have demonstrated our school values of Respect, Resilience, Aspiration, Responsibility, Integrity, and Kindness. Each nomination has then been printed, alongside a message from the teacher, ready to be distributed through form tutors in the final week of term. Keep an eye out for any blue postcards and make sure they take pride of place somewhere at home (not in the bottom of a school bag!).
A special mention must also go to the students in Year 10 who have recently been taken on by our local rugby league teams: two at Hull FC and two at Hull KR, ensuring both sides of the city are equally represented. This is an outstanding achievement and one that these students should feel extremely proud of. Well done.
As we approach the end of term, it feels appropriate to reflect on some of the “bigger” questions and ideas we encounter in schools. This train of thought is perhaps linked to the current conflicts and uncertainties taking place around the world and the impact they have on the lives of people not only in other countries but also here on our doorstep, within our community. Although this blog is not the place for political discourse, the current situation has certainly sharpened my own focus on the need for tolerance and kindness within our lives.
As human beings, acts of kindness are fundamental to our happiness. Religions around the world are built on these principles. When we are in a difficult situation, an act of kindness can lift us out of it. As a father, when my daughter brings home a “kindness leaf” from her primary school, complete with a description of her actions that day, it makes me proud beyond words. Kindness matters.
At Christmas, we are often reminded of the need for benevolence and warmth towards others. It’s a message famously demonstrated in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in which the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge isolates himself from the outside word, living “as solitary as an oyster”. Through the visit of three spirits, he is forced to reflect on his cruel and callous attitudes towards others and, ultimately, learn the value of family, friendship and compassion.
Although it was written nearly two-hundred years ago, Dickens’ story still holds moments of significant relevance for us within our school community today. Early in the story, accompanied by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge visits his former workplace to see a Christmas party thrown by his old boss, Mr Fezziwig. Although the party isn’t a glamourous or expensive one, Scrooge realises that “the happiness [Fezziwig] gives is as great as if it had cost a fortune”, simply through the act of kindness towards others. These seemingly small acts can all add up and don’t go unnoticed: a kind smile or word for each other in a morning, keeping an eye on someone in lessons when you know something’s not quite right. It all makes a difference and contributes to the kind of school we all want to be a part of.
Dickens also teaches us that by reflecting on our past actions and attitudes, we are able to make positive changes for our futures. Fortunately for Year 10, we don’t require the ghostly interventions needed by Scrooge, but we can all make time to think about the version of ourselves we have been in the past, to open our eyes to the world around us in the present and to make changes going forward to improve our lives in the future.
With this in mind, I will end by thanking you for your continued support in reminding our students of the need for kindness, tolerance and understanding within our community, not just at this time of year but through our daily actions.
I hope you are all able to enjoy some time with loved ones during the coming weeks and I look forward to seeing Year 10 back in school in January, rested and ready for the Spring Term.
Head of Year 10
Assistant Head of Year 10