Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Principal's Blog - March 2017

Dear Parents, Carers & Guardians

Under normal circumstances, I would send you my Easter Blog right at the end of the term, but I felt I needed to send it slightly earlier than usual, because this will be my last and eighty second Newsletter/Blog of my near fourteen years ‘in charge’. As I approach my last week in school I have, inevitably, found myself looking back and reflecting on my 42 years in teaching and I have to say that I have some great memories, many of which have been created by your children, so thank you for entrusting them to my care. Thank you also for your daily support, because teamwork is a powerful and potent tool especially when we are chasing dreams and aiming for the stars.

Things will be different for all of us after Easter, but please remember difference and change are powerful motivators, especially making a difference and, each day, that is what everyone who works at Selby High School is striving for.  All good educators are driven by this moral imperative and will always go the extra mile in the pursuit of excellence. I believe that what we have achieved collectively is very, very special and makes me feel incredibly proud!

Thinking about making a difference beyond the classroom, I am delighted to inform you that the total money we have raised for charity during my time as Head, up until my retirement next week, will be in excess of £70k. This is a huge sum of money and an amount of which I am also incredibly proud.

I would like to wish every student success in the future and I look forward to reading about all their successes in the years to come, together with those of the new Principal Mr Nicholas Hinchliffe, I’m sure he will be in contact soon to introduce himself personally. I will be sending individual electronic good luck cards to all those students who are taking public examinations this summer. I truly hope that all their (and your) hard work is rewarded with fabulous outcomes.

Finally, thank you for making a Lancastrian so welcome in your beautiful County. I am taking a whole host of wonderful memories away with me, not least your many kind words and good wishes. I will look back on my time at Selby with great fondness!

The privilege of serving yourselves and the Selby Community has been all mine and a great honour!

With every good wish.

Paul Eckersley

Important Dates for Your Diary

Monday 24th April
Training Day – school closed to students
Tuesday 25th April
School re-opens
Year 8 Raising Aspirations event
Wednesday 26th April
Year 4 MFL Taster Day
Thursday 27th April
Junior Maths Challenge
Friday 28th April
Year 10 More Able visit to Leeds University
Monday 1st May
Bank Holiday – school closed
Tuesday 2nd May
School re-opens
Tuesday 2nd – Friday 12th May
Reading and Spelling Tests for Years 7, 8 & 9
Thursday 4th May
Concert Pianist in school
Friday 5th May
Duke of Edinburgh practice weekend
Thursday 11th May
Year 10 Parents’, Carers & Guardians’ Consultation Evening
Friday 12th May
Year 11 LBMF Assembly
Friday 19th May
More Able visit to Hull University
Tuesday 23rd May
Year 9 Enterprise Day
Wednesday 24th May
Year 8 More Able Super Learning Day
Friday 26th May
School closes for holidays

Friday, 17 February 2017

Principal's Blog - February 2017

Dear Parents, Carers and Guardians,

This half term has flown by with a tremendous number of achievements to celebrate, which tells the story of what has been a short, but highly rewarding and exciting half term. The next half term, before we break for Easter on the 7th April is even shorter, but it will be just as hectic and jam packed with good news stories.

The targets we have set our students in respect of this summer’s GCSE results, whilst challenging, are achievable given the level of support that is available here at school and at home from yourselves. Please encourage your child (ren) to undertake revision/on-line learning and any required catch-up work during the half-term break. It is essential that students realise the level of commitment that is now required from them at this stage of their school career. Those students in their last year at Selby High School, that is Year 11 students, should be undertaking a minimum of twelve hours’ home study per week and beginning to make the social sacrifices which are necessary for success and which in turn will provide choices and chances!

This commitment should also be extended to ensure that they turn up for scheduled booster and intervention sessions that are taking place both after school and during the supported study programme from now until the end of June, some of which takes place at weekends and in the school holidays.

Remember, there is no substitute for hard work and, without doubt, it is the key to success!

Talking about working hard, I have some staff news. Mrs Fielden (Science) went on maternity leave at the end of January 2017 and Mrs Mackey (Science) and Mrs Stephenson (Music) will begin their respective maternity leaves on 10th March 2017. Miss Fletcher has joined the science department in place of Mrs Fielden. We are looking forward to welcoming Miss Brigg & Mrs Pickering back from maternity leave on 6th March 2017. With Mrs Pickering’s return we are saying good bye to Miss Martin who has been covering for her during her maternity leave. In addition, Mr Naveed (ICT & Business Studies) left the school at the end of January in order to take his career in a new direction. We wish them both all the very best for the future.

The interviews for my successor will be held on Wednesday 22nd March and Thursday 23rd March 2017. I am sure the Chair of Governors will inform you of the outcome of that process in due course, before my departure on the 7th April 2017.

Immediately after half term, we will be moving into the £1.1m ‘Eckersley Centre’. In addition, to the fantastic new changing facilities, we will have the use of six new state of the art teaching spaces; three of these spaces will be occupied by geography, two by physical education and the final one by English. We have also been able to re-allocate a number of teaching spaces, which in turn will ease the pressure on the timetable and movement around the school. Following the handover process from the contractors, which takes place during the half term break, I will arrange for some photographs of the new building to be posted on the school’s website and tweeted out to you, so that you can see them for yourselves.

In my December Blog, I told you about how much money we have collectively raised during the last 14 years. That figure has now gone past £66k and we received an exciting letter from ‘Comic Relief’, whereby they identified Selby High as one of their leading school money raisers. This notification came hard on the heels of similar news from the BBC Children In Need team. This is a fabulous double accolade and one everyone connected with the school should be justifiably proud of!

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s Talent Show. The theme this year was super heroes and, once again, the standard was incredibly high, which made it an extremely hard decision for the judges. The Lower School winner was a group of Year 8 girls; Charlotte Armstrong, Emily Hanks, Rachael Hanks and Harriet Leetham with Nicola Klimkowska a very close second. The Upper School winner was Daniel Toone with Matthew Stephenson as the runner-up.

Given that we have experienced some sub-zero temperatures of late, I should like to take this opportunity to remind you, that in the advent of adverse weather conditions, a decision as to whether or not to open the school will be made, at the latest, by 6.30am. If closure is necessary, an announcement will then be made on BBC Radio York & Minster FM. The school’s website will also carry information about any school closure and we will tweet and SMS message you with information. Once the school is open it will remain open until the end of the day unless it becomes clear that students risk becoming stranded, because of any worsening conditions. If the school has to close we will make a decision, whenever possible, by the end of the day in question, about the prospects for the following day.

Important Dates for Your Diary
Monday 27th February
School re-opens
Tuesday 28th February
Year 7 YPAA Day
Wednesday 1st March
Shakespeare Company working with Year 11
Thursday 2nd March
Recital & afternoon teas
Monday 6th March
Year 8 Options Launch - Assembly
Tuesday 7th March
Year 10 Science Live trip
Wednesday 8th March
Year 8 Enterprise Day
Wednesday 8th March
Year 8 Options Evening
Monday 13th March
Artsmark Discovery Day
Tuesday 14th March
Year 10 Inside Out
Wednesday 15th March
Year 11 Drivewise presentation
Thursday 23rd March
Romeo & Juliet trip
Friday 24th March
Non-uniform day for Comic Relief
Tuesday 28th March
Year 8 Technology Day
Wednesday 29th March
Year 9 School Leavers injections
Monday 3rd April
Media trip to BBC
Tuesday 4th April
Author workshop in English
Friday 7th April
School closes for holidays

Best wishes
Paul Eckersley

Friday, 16 December 2016

Principal's Blog - December 2016

Dear Parents, Carers & Guardians

Welcome to my December 2016 Blog.

It has been another exciting and spectacular half-term in respect of students excelling in the arts, science, sport, community service and charity fundraising. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our successes, on the website and through our Twitter feed, as much as we did creating them for you!

Once again, our Year 11 leavers have purchased a specially designed leavers’ hoodie. The hoodie is allowed to be worn in place of their blazer. Again, the 2017 hoodie has each student’s initials embroidered on the front. Your co-operation in helping to maintain the now established high standards of uniform, together with attendance and punctuality, from the outset of the Spring Term in January will be much appreciated. In this respect it is worth remembering that students should wear their blazers at all times, in addition to any school jumper or cardigan, unless instructed to do otherwise by a member of staff. 

Hopefully, all students will hit the ground running in January with regard to their academic studies. Please encourage your child(ren) to undertake some on-line learning, catching-up on any work missed and revision (mock examinations for students in Year 11 are planned to take place, at this stage, in late January). Talking about revision, we held a Super Learning Day for all Year 11 students on Tuesday 13th December, on how best to prepare for examinations having identified one’s strengths and weaknesses. This was a fantastic day with superb levels of engagement. It would be great if the parents, carers and guardians of Year 11 students could do some further work to support this process. Remember, there is no substitute for hard work! We will also be continuing our campaign, during 2017, to educate everyone connected with the school what bullying is and what it isn’t, together with convincing all concerned of the virtues of being a ‘telling school’.  

Miss Jill Pulleyne our new Data & Attendance Officer started work at the school on 14th November. She has settled in quickly to her new role. If you have any issues with regard to your child’s attendance, please don’t hesitate to give her a ring on 01757 244802. At the end of this term we will be saying goodbye to Mr David Martin (English teacher) and Mr Christopher Powell (Mathematics teacher). Mr Martin is going to pursue a career outside of the teaching profession and Mr Powell’s maternity cover contract is coming to an end with the return of Mrs Sellars and Miss Kirk. I am sure you will wish to join with me in wishing them every success in their future undertakings. Mrs Alix Charlton, our new English teacher, will take up her post at the start of the new term in January 2017. We are looking forward to seeing her achieve great things with our students!

I should like to take this opportunity to remind you, that in the advent of adverse weather conditions, a decision as to whether or not to open the school will be made, at the latest, by 6.30am. If closure is necessary, an announcement will then be made on BBC Radio York & Minster FM. The school’s website will also carry information about any school closure and we will tweet and SMS message you with information. Once the school is open it will remain open until the end of the day unless it becomes clear that students risk becoming stranded, because of any worsening conditions. If the school has to close we will make a decision, whenever possible, by the end of the day in question, about the prospects for the following day.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I always find my thoughts turning to those people who are less fortunate than ourselves and in this regard I am incredibly proud of the school’s record of raising money for numerous charities. This term our collective and in some cases individual efforts have been simply fantastic. I know we have great things planned for the next term, but in the interim why not visit our website and look at all the charities we have supported whilst raising the fabulous sum of £64,500 during the last thirteen years.

Construction of The Eckersley Centre’, which includes new male and female changing rooms, six new classrooms and additional office and storage space, notwithstanding the additional work required on the sports hall walls, is progressing really well. We are still on schedule for a February half-term completion. The underfloor heating is on and beginning to dry things out. I will send some up-to-date photographs out in January once the new windows are all in and the cubicles have been installed. Exciting times! Incidentally, I should say how proud and honoured I am that the Governors have decided to name the new centre after me.

Finally, I appreciate that Leeds Road is extremely busy. I would however, ask you to be mindful of the fact that we are situated in a residential area, and to be considerate to our neighbours when parking, especially if you find yourself blocking their driveway.

As we say at Selby High School, as we look forward to 2017, it is more important that we are more successful tomorrow than perhaps we have been today! So we are looking forward to an excellent and outstanding 2017. On that note I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the staff and governors to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Paul Eckersley

Important Dates for Your Diary

Tuesday 3rd & Wednesday 4th January
Training Days – School closed to students
Thursday 5th January
School re-opens
Wednesday 11th January                            
Young Voices at Sheffield Arena
Tuesday 24th January
Year 7 MFL evening
Friday 27th January      

Year 11 Taster day at York College
Wednesday 1st February
Year 11 mock exams start (provisional date)
Thursday 2nd February
Intermediate Maths Challenge
Tuesday 7th February
Year 9 Parents’/Carers’/Guardians’ Consultation evening
Wednesday 8th February
Robot Competition
Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th February
Year 9 trip to Battlefields
Wednesday 15th February             
ISA in a day
Friday 17th February                             
Year 10 mock interviews
Friday 17th February                                       
School closes for holidays (3.25pm)