Christmas is around the corner!

It’s incredible that 6 weeks have already passed since half term and in just under 2 weeks we will finish for the Christmas holidays. Indeed, it’s important to note that we will break up at the usual time on Thursday 20th December and students will return on Monday 7th January 2019. Staff, however, will return to work on Friday 4th January and attend the 2nd Beckfoot Trust conference at Beckfoot school. This year’s theme is Learning with Generation Z and promises to be very engaging, exciting and, hopefully, thought provoking.

As I write I am also looking at our second published book of anthology. It is titled, ‘Voyage to the Unknown’ and is a collection of writings from a group of Year 8 and 9 students. It is an absolute delight to read and I am privileged to have a copy signed by each student to keep in my office. Indeed, there is now a copy held in the British Library with its own ISBN number should anyone wish to buy one. My thanks once again go to Ms. Morgan and all the incredibly talented English staff in school for supporting the initiative, encouraging the students to believe in themselves and have the confidence to write from the heart.

Over the past few weeks our Year 11 students have each had a careers interview designed to support them to consider their future options and choices beyond GCSE exams. Many are busy looking at 6th form provisions across the city but most especially at Beckfoot School in Bingley and also College courses and, of course, apprenticeships. It’s a very exciting but also nervous time for each of them and increasingly they understand that the only way to secure the best possible route through Post-16 is to work hard now and achieve the very best results they can.

To support their progress and learning we are holding a Year 11 Parents Consultation Evening on Thursday 13th December from 4pm - 6.30pm. It is hugely important that every student attends and is accompanied by a parent or carer. On the night you will have the opportunity to talk to teachers and explore their progress following the recent mock exams, check on their Attitude to Learning and see how close they are to their targets for GCSE exams. It will also be possible to speak with Mr. McAteer and/or myself should you need to. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Staff have been busy this week investing in their own professional development and a number have been involved in the Trust’s Growing Highly Effective Leaders course. This means the world to me because we need leaders at every level in school. It’s one of the most important aspects of our work and I am very interested in staff being leaders of both themselves and others every day. Our students also, increasingly, understand the power of leadership and our BUHSL group presented on their work for 2018-19 to our Local School Committee on Monday. They were amazing. I loved their confidence, their passion and their desire to make Beckfoot Upper Heaton even greater.

Finally, we hosted an Ofsted visit last week upon request. I must stress this was not an inspection but rather an opportunity for Ofsted to come and see the work we are involved in on a daily basis. It was a lovely day and our visitor said lots of really lovely things about our school and students. I was so proud to hear what she had to say and I saw every student in the school this week to share what was said about them. I guess of all the things mentioned it was the manner in which she described our students that will stick with me. She described them as, ‘confident, friendly, proud and warm’. She was right because that is exactly what they are!

Simon

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