Preparing for 2018/19 and the Weather!

I cannot write without mentioning the weather. Snow is beautiful when you are on holiday, or have nowhere to go particularly, but when you are trying to run a school it’s a nightmare! We have been really tested these past few weeks and I am thrilled, that on each occasion a decision had to be made, we made the right one. It’s so important to demonstrate to our students and families that inclement weather, whilst testing, is no excuse for taking time off or indeed not trying to get on with normal routines. Our site staff have done an incredible job to make the site safe and allow me to open the school. Once safety is guaranteed, learning comes first and always will.

We are also now preparing for the next academic year and have been busy educating Year 8 and 9 students about the importance of GCSE option choices. For the first time we are involved in the options process with two year groups. Year 9 is when we usually engage students in this activity but this year we have made the decision, for students in Year 8 and those following, to move to a three-year Key Stage 4. Staff have been incredible in terms of preparing our students and they have had assemblies, tutor time discussion, a booklet and a parental engagement evening to help them make the right choices. Added to that they will each receive an interview with a member of my Leadership Team to support them. I remember when I was at school no one asked for my opinion on what I was good at or what I enjoyed. I did what I was told regardless of whether it was right for me or not. Thankfully things have changed and our young people have positive choices to make when it comes to their education. As long as they are grown up about it and they listen to the advice and guidance given, they will be fine. It’s exciting really! Before finishing this point, I want to thank staff, students and parents/carers for making both evenings so positive and special. Indeed, over 90% of you attended and I am grateful for your positivity and the support for both your children and school.

Mr. Venables has been delivering assemblies all week based on the theme Equality and Diversity. They have been very informative, emotionally moving and celebratory all at the same time. We have an incredible diverse school population. We have students from all over the world, over 20 first languages and an Irish Headteacher! We all get along, we care for one another and we share a collective ambition for our school; it’s fantastic. However, the is sadly not the case everywhere and in certain parts of our world human beings are not so fortunate. That is why we have to create a special school here at Beckfoot Upper Heaton and why we must all work together to give our students the best possible opportunities in life both within and beyond our school.

We had a visit yesterday from Mr. Michael Jameson, Strategic Director of Children’s Services in Bradford. I was delighted to welcome him to school and even more delighted to show him around. We had a lovely morning chatting about our journey, our vision and ambition and it was special to meet so many incredible staff and students, who were so very positive about our school. He was very complimentary about his morning and I am grateful that he took the time to visit.

Lastly, Ms. Knight and her Year 7 class have been busy establishing a French-style Café in school. Staff were invited to enjoy some food and drink and were looked after by the students. The only requirement of those working in or visiting the café was that they had to speak French only. What a wonderful idea. Our students loved it and found many of the attempts to communicate from staff hilarious. I popped in briefly and was very happy to say hello, goodbye and give them every indication that everything was fine and nothing was a problem. They were kind to me thankfully. Indeed, as I write this Blog I am nibbling on a croissant from the café! Thanks so much to Ms. Knight and her class for creating yet another wonderful and valuable experience for our school.

Simon

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