Headteacher’s Update – July 2017

Welcome to the final update of the year as we review the many events that have taken place over a very busy final half-term. These include the completion of our GCSE, AS and A level exams, the traditional rites of passage of the final day at school for our Year 11 and 13 students and the Leavers’ Balls for both these year groups. These landmark events have taken place in addition to a wide range of trips and events involving all year groups, and they have occurred alongside our highly successful transition activities for the largest ever Year 7 cohort joining us in September.

Before I review the events of the last few weeks, I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to a former student of the school, Ella Batters, following the incredibly sad news of her sudden death. Ella was a beautiful, kind, talented and incredible young woman who brightened the lives of all who were fortunate to know her and to work with her within our school. The news of Ella’s death has caused profound shock and sorrow in our school community and our thoughts go out to her family and friends at this sad time. We feel immensely fortunate and privileged to have known Ella and to have been part of Ella’s all too short life.

In a very positive development, this term has seen the recruitment of the new cohort of student leaders within the school after a very competitive and incredibly high quality selection process. Details of the students appointed to the key posts are given below. I would like to congratulate all those appointed to these posts and to thank them for their work this term to provide such excellent support for our new Year 7 students during the transition process.

Student Presidents: Tim Brown & Lucy Brennan
Student Vice Presidents: Issie Foster & Kiran Thapa
House Captains: Abdulla Kadhim, Hollie Littlewood, Abby Collins, James Burlison, Maya Birch, Owen Formstone, Jimmy Leigh & Ava Patchesa
Vice Captains: Zach Bird, Alex Jones-Brown, Lucy Duguid, Katelyn Shankland, Anna Harris, Jacob Hodgon, Natasha Festenstein & Tom Fleet

Our Sixth Form Common Room hosted the recent rewards lunches for our students with the best overall end of year reports and our Rewards Assemblies have celebrated the fantastic range of achievements of students within each of our Houses. These events play a key role in recognising the strength and depth of student achievement across all year groups in the school. Our students should be particularly proud of their achievements this year and the part they have played in the continuing success of the school. This is reflected in the fantastic total of positive planner comments recorded by our students by 12/7/17 which reached a staggering 103,817.

The STEM work within the school continues to go from strength to strength as 60 of our Year 9 students had the opportunity to attend a series of workshops with the theme: ‘Chemistry at Work.’ The day explored the relevance of Science and included sessions on Atmospheric Chemistry, Food Science, Antibiotic Resistance, Molecular Modelling and Spectroscopy and Space Flight. Hopefully a new generation of Scientists have been suitably inspired! Thanks go to NYBEP and York University for facilitating this event.

Thanks go to Croda Chemicals, and to Phil Ruxton in particular, for running a series of workshops for our lower school students. These provided an introduction to real world engineering challenges. Students engaged with designing and testing a model chemical plant to cool reactants as quickly as possible. Over 150 students participated in these sessions receiving exceptionally positive feedback from all those hosting the activities.

In further Science success, congratulations go to Maya Birch, Joshua Bailey and Tom Flatters for achieving Ogden Physics awards sponsored by York University. The awards evening involved lasers, high voltage demonstrations, magnets operating at super cool temperatures and a fascinating lecture about bio physics – the interface between Physics and Biology. This event provided an excellent opportunity to recognise the achievements of our students and to further develop links between the school and the university.

This year saw another excellent set of results for the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. Our students deserve great credit for completing this challenge almost immediately after the end of their AS exams. The results are listed below-

Hannah Bailey Year 12 Certificate
Katie Billsborough Year 12 Copper
Jack Dorlund Year 12 Copper
Dorota Duklas Year 12 Certificate
Joshua Fernandes Year 12 Certificate
Thomas Flatters Year 12 Silver
Jessica Howden Year 12 Copper
Hannah Johns Year 12 Silver
Kiran Thapa Year 12 Copper
Martin Tse Year 12 Copper
Tom Wainwright Year 12 Silver
Oran White Year 12 Copper

Our Sixth Form Chemistry students have recently also had the opportunity to participate in workshops run by colleagues from York University. These involved investigating the use of NMR machines (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy!) to identify unknown substances. They also participated in a practical workshop investigating the underpinning theory of developing LCD technology. These workshops have provided excellent opportunities for our students to advance their learning well beyond the classroom.

In addition to this, our Year 12 students have just completed their work experience placements. These ranged from The Theatre Royal to The Waggy Dog Crèche to The University of York.

As part of the work of the Biology department, Hannah Bailey (Year 9) went to the Royal Society of Biology in London to receive her Gold award for the Biology challenge. This is a fantastic achievement which placed Hannah in the top 5% of students who entered the competition. In addition to this, 22 Year 12 students entered the Royal Society for Biology Intermediate Biology Challenge which is a competition open to all schools and colleges. We were again proud of our students’ achievements with our gold medallist Hannah Johns, 5 silver medallists, 7 bronze medallists, 2 highly commended and 2 commendations. Well done to all the students who participated in this event. We will be awarding these certificates to our students during national Biology week in October.

Ms Hickson, Mrs O’Toole and Mr Bonsels accompanied our Year 12 students on their highly successful residential visit to East Barnby Outdoor Education Centre in order to investigate animal behaviour, changes that occur on a rocky shoreline and to study the ecology of the North Yorkshire Moors. The weather could not have been better as students sampled different areas studying velvet swimming crabs, butterfish and bladderwrack seaweed, cowberries and grouse. The atmosphere over the three days was a brilliant mix of enjoyment and curiosity, coupled with focused work. A special thanks go to Ms Hickson for organising and preparing such a successful trip. Our students had a superb experience and achieved the highest possible outcomes from this study visit.

In an excellent example of primary liaison, our Science department has been supporting a Science Club at Elvington Primary school. This is run by Mrs Marjoram from Elvington and Dr Williams from Fulford. The club entered a Great Bug Hunt competition, which was open to all primaries in the UK, organised by the Association for Science Education. The Science Club won the Year 5/6 category based on their investigation of woodlice. The judges commented on how impressed they were with the information supplied coupled with the children’s obvious enthusiasm. They liked the use of independent learning skills and the creativity shown by the children. This is a fantastic achievement for our young scientists and this highlights the strength of our ongoing transition work and of our cross-phase curriculum collaboration.

If you would like to keep up to date with the achievements of students in the Biology, Chemistry and Physics departments please follow us on our new twitter accounts @fulfordbiology, @fulfordchemistry and @fulfordphysics

Our links with the wider community continue through our annual collaboration with York Cemetery through the Living History Walks project. Angela Johnson, one of the Trustees of the Cemetery and a key supporter of the project, spoke of how impressed she was by the quality of the thought, work and commitment of our Year 9 students and by the quality of their performances. The large turnout of parents and families supporting the students led to over £100 being raised for the upkeep of the Cemetery. Ms Greene deserves particular credit and thanks for her support for this project and for the time she committed to ensuring this was a success.

Our engagement with the performing arts continued through our Y9/10 History trip to see ‘Everything is Possible’, the Story of the York Suffragette. Some 40 students were able to see this production as part of their Power & the People GCSE History unit. In addition to this the History department hosted a drama production in school.

Year 8 were fortunate enough to watch “Your Country Needs You”, by the Quantum touring theatre company. This play explored the realities of life in WW1 by following the fate of sixteen players as they formed the ‘Football Battalion’, leaving Tynecastle for the fields of France. We were delighted to see a former Fulfordian, Nathan Unthank, in the cast of the show.

Our recent Sport Leadership Day saw outstanding performances from our young sports leaders as they fully engaged with all the training sessions and as they transmitted their enthusiasm for sport in the sessions they led for local primary school students. The external coaches and primary staff working with our students described them as ‘brilliant’ and noted that they were a credit to the school by conducting themselves with such confidence, patience and understanding. The Headteacher of Dunnington commented that it was great to see our students encouraging and helping our young players and setting a fine example of gamesmanship.

In individual sporting success, Jack Bachelor continues to make excellent progress in his tennis as he competes in the North region qualifier for the Road to Wimbledon National Finals which take place in August. Jack has also recently competed in the Scottish Open in Edinburgh and in the Tennis Europe event where he competed in both the singles and doubles competitions. Caitlin Parsons, in Year 9, also had individual sporting success in representing York City Rowing Club at the British Junior Rowing championships at Nottingham. Caitlin did fantastically well and her Quad reached the “A” Final where they were placed 6th out of 42 crews. In the Doubles event called the Omnium, she and her partner were placed 5th out of 74 crews. We hope to hear of further sporting success for both Jack and Caitlin in the future. A fuller round up of the sporting success in recent weeks can be found in the attachment below:
PE update July 2017

The summer promises to be a busy time for the school as we invest heavily to improve its infrastructure. We are installing new card operated security gates, a swipe card registration system for our Sixth Form students and we are completing major work to refurbish all the main toilet blocks. This work will enable us to improve the facilities we can provide for our students.

We are also investing heavily in new staff roles to improve the support we are able to offer our students. This is reflected in the creation of a Post-16 Learning and Well-Being Worker post and in the recruitment of a Student Welfare Worker for the lower school. The creation of these roles, at a time of financial stringency, underlines our values as a school and our commitment to removing barriers to learning and to maximising student well-being.

The final month of term has seen a series of activities and visits take place. These have ranged from the whole school Alternative Curriculum Day trips to venues such as Wimbledon, Fountains Abbey, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Flamborough Head, to visits to drama productions, to the university and the current study visit to Sicily. In addition to this the Sixth Form have had a highly successful Progression Day and accompanying Information Evening for Parents. This is in addition to our Year 12 end of year visit to Scarborough. As I write this, we are still hopeful of holding our Events Day on the penultimate day of term – weather permitting!

The recent Apollo House charity event to support the family of Katie Rough raised £1554 through a non-uniform day, bake sale and a talent show in the hall. Acts from across the year groups performed as comedians, dancers and musicians with a staff band concluding the event. Felix Crane hosted the event with Maya Birch and Anna Harris promoting the charitable cause via interviews on Minster FM. Thanks go to Mr Gatenby for organising this event and to all our students and staff for supporting this.

As we end the academic year, we prepare to say our farewells to staff moving on to new posts. I would like to thank Mr Beresford, Miss Norton, Miss Ridsdel, Mr Crockatt, Miss Gonzalez, and Miss Hornby for all their work in school in the last year. I would also like to thank Mr Davies for all his work in school over the years, both as Head of Physics and through his wider contribution to school life. Mr Davies has exemplified the generosity of spirit shown by our staff through his work in our school.

I would like to end by thanking our fantastic staff and students for their efforts throughout the year. The staff in Fulford are what make this a great school and they underpin the support and opportunities we are able to offer our students. I am very proud and privileged to work with such talented, committed and hardworking people. I would also like to thank our students for their efforts over the year. They remain fantastic ambassadors for our school and are a real pleasure to work with. I would also like to thank all the parents and carers for your support over the year and for the crucial role you play within the school. I hope you all have good summer break. Finally, I must end by wishing every success to our Year 11-13 students in their examinations this summer and in the years ahead.

Lorna Savage