My last update of the year offers the chance to reflect on the last half term and to look ahead to the new school year in September. This has been a particularly busy period with our GCSE and A level examinations taking place in addition to a wide range of visits, activities and transition events.
Our Year 8 students had a great time in the South of France during half term where they participated in rock climbing and undertook a range of water sports on the Mediterranean Sea. Students then spent three days in the Ardeche undertaking activities which developed their skills in team work and resilience as they descended sections of the Ardeche river in two man Canadian canoes. I would like to thank all the staff involved in the visit with particular thanks going to Mrs Jagger for her leadership of this trip. Congratulations go to all the students involved in this visit for the way they participated in these activities and for their excellent behaviour.
Our Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award cohort completed their practice and final expedition weekends this term, further developing their skills in teamwork and resilience. 52 of our students worked to plan out their routes and then used their navigation and team working skills to successfully walk the routes in Rosedale and Nidderdale. In each weekend, students had to set up camp on the Saturday night as well to prepare their meals. Mr Maloy and Mr Wood said all students involved were a real credit to the school and to their families. Staff noted that our students showed a high degree of organisation and resilience when working together to successfully complete the activities set. The last weekend in Nidderdale proved more testing with typical mixed expedition weather but our students showed how to pack the right type of clothes for every eventuality!
In a new initiative for the school, we have 16 Year 8 students participating in the Archbishop of York Young Leaders scheme. This project encourages young people to ‘be the change they want to see’ in the community. The students involved with this scheme have led on a number of charity events and have individually volunteered within the local community. They led the Christmas shoebox appeal sending 176 Christmas Shoeboxes to Romanian orphanages in addition to organising a collection for the York food bank, hosting the OAP valentine tea party, taking part in litter picking in the community and by completing individual volunteering at local care homes, youth groups and through sport coaching. The students involved in the project received well deserved praise from the Archbishop of York himself in his recent visit to the school and I would also like to add my congratulations and thanks to all the students involved in this for their fantastic work in the community.
We have seen a record number of students apply for in-school leadership positions this year. 26 students have applied for posts as Student Presidents and Senior House Captains with almost 30 students applying for the Junior House Captain roles. Details of the appointments are given below.
Student Presidents – William Stokes-Roberts and Tara Sherwood
Vice Presidents – Philip Selvaratnam and Ellen Hart
Atlas Senior House Captains: Megan Kniveton and Amina Rizvi
Atlas Junior House Captains: Ryan McGettigan and Sita Riley
Atlas Vice Captains: Daisy Barber and Theo Lockett
Athena Senior House Captains: Sarah Griffin and Molly Killeen
Athena Junior House Captains: Josh Barwick and Lucy Williams
Athena Vice Captains: Ojas Pandy and Jana Prelle White
Apollo Senior House Captains: Grace Millington and Olivia Wright
Apollo Junior House Captains: Agata Hodur and David Walters
Apollo Vice Captains: Phoebe Gergely and Sam Flemming
Artemis Senior House Captains: Alizee Currell and Frances Rigby
Artemis Junior House Captains: Charlotte Middleton and Henry Austin
Artemis Vice Captains: Hannah Derry and George Penn
Congratulations go to all the students who were appointed to these roles after an incredibly competitive selection process. All the applicants for these posts are to be commended on their applications and on their performance in the interviews.
Our recent Alternative Curriculum Day saw students engaged in a wide range of activities and visits. These included visits to Fountains Abbey, Flamborough Head, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and to Wimbledon and Wembley. In addition to this, a range of activities ran in school to support students in Science and in Maths and to prepare our Year 12 for the next steps in their progression. These activities involved problem solving tasks including a treasure hunt, bridge building and an oil trading game for Year 10, and a series of workshops and talks for Year 12. Thanks go to all the staff that led, organised and supported these activities with particular credit going to Ms Booth for her work with the Year 12 progression events.
Students attending the Wimbledon and Wembley visit had a brilliant time watching live tennis on courts 1 and 2 with some students being lucky enough to see Roger Federer warming up for his semi-final. Students also saw the Williams sisters playing in the doubles semi-final, Heather Watson playing in the mixed doubles against Martini Hingis and tennis legend Martina Navratilova training on the practice courts. In addition to this, students enjoyed a stadium tour of Wembley where they went behind the scenes into the changing rooms, the press room and they walked up the 107 steps to the platform where teams have received the FA cup. Thanks go to the staff who supported this event and to Mrs Jagger for leading this.
Full details of our extra-curricular sport are given in the link below. I would like to congratulate and thank all those who have participated in extra-curricular support this year and to everyone involved in our forthcoming Events Day. Thanks also go to the many staff who have given so generously of their time and support to allow these activities to take place.
We continue our involvement in a wide range of STEAM activities and this has been a particularly busy and successful time for our activities in this area. On 23rd June we worked with NYBEP to host a workshop for 20 budding engineers to mark the National Women in Engineering Day. This event was held to raise the profile of women in engineering and to focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available for women in this exciting sector. Students enjoyed presentations by engineers that outlined the range of careers and opportunities that come under the umbrella of engineering and then worked in groups to complete a Lego skyscraper challenge. Students worked with a range of variables such as height, foundation structure, design, build time and resource limits with the final designs being scrutinised on cost and overall design quality. Congratulations go to Julia Sinkinson, Rosemary Goldthorpe and Isabel Robinson who emerged as the winning team. Thanks go to NYBEP for their part in organising this event and also to the team of STEM Ambassadors who gave up their time to lead the workshop.
Our success in STEAM activities continued when a team of 15 students represented Fulford at the annual Elvington STEM Inspirations event. Our students spent a great deal of time planning, creating, testing and amending their designs to meet the range of briefs given for the competition. An impressive range of prizes were won on the day thanks to the high quality projects and excellent presentations from our students. The winners were:
Kaitlin How, Beth Sucking, Evie Bradley and Katie Marsden (Winner of the out of school Product Design category and the School Team Award for their product to monitor dust levels in working environments). This team impressed the judges so much that they will now progress to represent the county at the national final in the NEC next year. This is a great accolade for our students.
Congratulations go to all our winners and thanks go to the DT department, especially Mrs James, Mr Jobson and Mr Ball for their work in preparing the students for this event and for their support for our students on the day.
In further STEAM work and as part of our programme to develop employer links, a team from Croda, the global speciality chemical manufacturer, led by Phil Ruxton, visited Fulford on Wednesday 5th July. They gave six of our year 7 Science classes a taste of what it is like to work in the chemical industry by carrying out risk assessments, following standard procedure and formulating chemicals. They also contributed to running a lunchtime STEAM engineering challenge for around 30 students. The activities were very well received and our partnership with Croda is one that we are looking to further develop in the future.
Team STEAM have had another successful year of outreach work, helping to engage students in our local primary schools in science and technology based activities. Mr Gillen and Mr Lynn have run a successful bridge building challenge with our cluster primaries and we have also run several sessions for St Oswald’s year 3/4s on the theme ‘Particles’ and ‘Magnetism’ . Team STEAM also ran the highly amusing and often competitive ‘water wobble’ for St Oswald’s primary and as part of the House Cup competition here in school. Team STEAM are currently finalising the STEAM challenges for next year and are looking forward to another excellent year of STEAM promotion within the Fulford community.
In continued Science success, several of our Year 12 Chemistry students gained highly creditable results in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. Usually around 50% of students entered for the Challenge, both nationally and internationally, gain an award, however this year all Fulford entrants gained accreditation. Congratulations go to the students listed below for our best results ever – five Coppers, three Silvers and a Gold. This is particularly impressive performance given our students undertook this additional challenge voluntarily straight after their AS examinations.
In Drama, our Year 10 students have just completed another excellent set of promenade performances in York Cemetery as part of the Living History project. This involved students researching the lives of York residents buried in the cemetery and devising and performing pieces relating to the lives of those named individuals. This was a powerful piece of drama as well offering a fascinating insight into our local history and that of York Cemetery. I would like to thank Ms Greene and Mrs Taylor for their work to support our students in the preparation for this event and for their support for the performances on the day. Well done to all those involved.
Thirty of our Key Stage Three students recently performed in the York Schools’ Cluster Festival’s version of ‘The Tempest’ along with seven other schools. The performances involved 188 performers from local primary and secondary schools and it also involved a very moving performance from a large group of students from Applefields School. Ms Greene said our students were absolutely excellent, and noted that it was a wonderful experience for them to perform in the newly renovated theatre. Jenny Sayer deserves particular mention for stepping in and performing brilliantly as Prospero as a last minute replacement for a student from another school who became unwell.
Our redevelopment programme continues with work well underway to re-site the Drama and Photographic Studios, to enlarge the small Food Technology room and to construct an additional classroom. In addition to this the redevelopment of the kitchen and canteen is well underway, however emerging issues on site are likely to mean that the new canteen area will not be open for the start of school. We are currently working hard to put contingency arrangements in place to ensure we will be able to continue to cater for all our year groups when they return to school in September. The new facilities will be well worth the wait!
As we near the end of the academic year we regretfully say goodbye to several of our staff in school as they move to new posts or enter retirement. I would like to thank all our staff who are reaching the end of their Fulford careers this year but I must single out Ms Fairbairn, Mr Towse and Mr Lunn for particular mention given their length of service and their contribution to the school.
Ms Fairbairn has been involved with a large number of extra–curricular sports teams and residential visits in her time in school. She was also a key part of the team that saved the life of Alex Cowes following his cardiac arrest in school. We wish Ms Fairbairn every success a she leaves us for a very well deserved promotion.
Mr Towse leaves us after nine years at Fulford and he deserves particular thanks for his work in MFL in addition to his leadership of numerous French Exchange visits and his work with the DoE scheme. Mr Towse asked me to share his view that our pupils are amazing and that they have been a pleasure to work with. He said ‘they have always been fun to be with and have behaved impeccably… I will look back on those times very fondly’. In thanking his staff colleagues he said ‘I have worked with the most amazing people… I will sign say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart’. We wish Mr Towse all the best as he takes up a new post closer to home.
Lastly, we say farewell to the legend that is Mr Lunn. Mr Lunn has been at Fulford for 27 years and now leaves us for a well deserved retirement from teaching. In his time in school, Mr Lunn has worked as teacher and Curriculum Leader for PE, Head of Year and most recently he has served as Director of Learning for Atlas House. We will all miss the larger than life presence that Mr Lunn brings to the school through his humour, his care, his desire to do his best and his undiluted passion for sport. We wish Mr Lunn a long, happy and healthy retirement.
The end of year has been marked by our highly successful Year 11 and Year 13 Proms to mark the rites of passage of these year groups. We have also just finished hosting our Rewards Lunches in the Sixth Form Common Room for the students in Years 7-10 who have made most progress in their reports. Congratulations go all those involved in these lunches for their great work and effort over the year. In addition to rounding off this year, we have just completed our Year 6 transition activities in preparation to welcome our new Year 7 to the school in September. We are looking forward to welcoming these new students into our community.
2015-16 has been an exciting and memorable year for our school. We are bigger than ever with over 1400 students in the school, we have new facilities through our new classroom block and the long overdue Sports Hall and new tennis courts, and we enter 2016-17 with more new facilities on the way.
I would like to end the year by thanking everyone in our school community for their work, support and commitment over the year. As Mr Towse has already said – our staff and students are fantastic. They make Fulford School a very special place to be. I would also like to thank our parents and our governors for their continued support over the year and for the important part they play in ensuring the success of the school and of everyone within it.
I wish everyone a restful and enjoyable summer break and I send my best wishes to all our students for their exam results this summer.
Enjoy the summer holidays and I look forward to welcoming you back in September.