Headteacher’s Update – November 2015

Welcome to the latest instalment of our update as I highlight the recent developments and successes within our school. It has been another busy and successful term with very well attended Open Evenings for Year 6 and Year 11 and the start of our Progress Review and Parents’ Evening cycle.

Our students are now fully enjoying the benefits of our new Newton block. The additional space in the new Common Room and Sixth Form work area are very welcome, especially given we have our largest ever Sixth Form numbers. I am delighted to report that the Sports Centre is progressing well and is on schedule to be handed over in the second week of December. This will be a fantastic facility for both our students and for use by the local community.

ISO39_BHF_15.9.15_LSFulford has been heavily involved in the British Heart Alex + teachersFoundation’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign with Alex Cowes and the staff who saved his life featuring in their video campaign and Fulford students starring in their latest posters.  The fantastic actions of our staff have been recognised in their success in winning the York Community Pride Teacher of the Year Award and through their invitation to St James’s Palace to meet the Duke of Edinburgh. Our commitment to health and safety continues through our work with the North Yorkshire Ambulance service to train all of our Year 7 students in CPR and in our efforts to provide additional defibrillators for the local community. Over £2500 has now been raised by the school and this will be used to purchase an additional three defibrillators which will be located in other sites in the school and in the local area. Thank you to all who have supported the fundraising for this very worthwhile cause.

STEm challenge in actionAt the start of November we had the pleasure of hosting two Palestinian teachers from our partner school, Taumun Girls’ School. The visit comprised three days in school which included a skyped STEM (scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical) challenge and the opportunity for some of our students and staff to learn more about life and education in Palestine. This was a fascinating experience for all involved and I would like to thank Mr Lynn for the months of planning to organise this visit and his work in making this such a success.

Our STEM work continues through a range of activities. The DT department took twelve Year 8 students to the National Railway Museum to a STEM day event. The day involved a variety of scientific and technological activities and culminated in a bridge building event. This visit offered an excellent insight into different aspects of engineering within the railway industry, in addition to being an enjoyable day for all involved.

Scarborough DT 1DTSome of our Year 9 students visited Scarborough for the annual Engineering Fair which gave a further insight into the world of STEM careers. Students learnt about a variety of areas of work including robotics, welding simulation, virtual reality simulation and rocket cars.  In addition to this, all our Year 9 students spent the recent Alternative Curriculum day tackling a range of challenges intended to highlight the importance of STEM skills when designing objects. Students visited the bridges along the River Ouse to research how engineering knowledge and technological developments have allowed increasing distances to be spanned by bridge designers.  They then applied this knowledge to build their own structures and tested them to destruction!

Ypres Nov 15Ypres 2 Nov 15The History department have led another highly successful series of visits. All of our Year 7 students took part in the open top bus tour of York highlighting the historical development of the city. In addition to this, 46 Year 9 students attended the annual battlefields visit to Ypres. Following a midnight departure from York, students visited a variety of WW1 sites around the Ypres area including Tyne Cot, Langemark, Hill 60, Sanctuary Wood, In Flanders Field Museum and of course the chocolate shop.  In a mark of respect and commemoration, our students laid a wreath on behalf of the school at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

In a fabulous development, Jack Bachelor in Year 8 has been selected to compete in the Junior Orange Bowl (World Championships) tennis tournament in Miami this September.  Jack continues to go from strength to strength in his tennis career and is certainly a name to look out for in the future. It is worth noting that the last GB winner of this was Andy Murray! We wish Jack every success in this competition and look forward to an update on this in 2016.

In further sporting success, Ava Patchesa in Year 9 has been selected for the Girls U15 National Development Basketball squad. This is a fabulous achievement for Ava and reflects her talents as a basketballer.  We wish Ava every success in her next steps up the national basketball ladder.

Congratulations go to Jess Howden for her stunning progress in the last 18 months since taking up Archery. Jess came second at the Yorkshire Indoor Championship, first at the Northern Counties Outdoor Championship for her age group and has won a number of other local competitions. Additionally, she achieved the highest possible status for a junior – that of Junior Master Bowman. As a result of this Jess represented Yorkshire at the Northern Counties, Five Counties Archery Tournament achieving a new PB, which meant that she gained an award, a six gold arrow end at her longest distance – her first ever! These are fantastic achievements for Jess and again we look forward to hearing more about the progress of her Archery career.

Bridge 1 Nov 15Two teams of bridge players attended the Yorkshire Teams championships held at York Bridge Club on Saturday 14th November. The Bridge Team consisting of Corey Eastwood, Amit Portnoy, Conor Cooley, Henry Brock and Josh Glover played valiantly to win the title of Yorkshire Schools’ Teams Champions while the Minibridge Team consisting of Harrison Nichols, Nathan Millett, Tom Harvey, Daniel Seavers and Jonah Stevens battled to win the title of Minibridge Team Champions.

Our Year 7 students represented Fulford at the recent ‘Kids Lit Quiz’ held at King James’s School in Knaresborough.  The ‘Kids Lit Quiz’ competition is an annual event for students aged 10-13, with the eventual winners from the UK traveling to New Zealand in the summer of 2016. Lauren Cozens, Gina Nicholson, Safia Miles and Gabby McLeish had to answer 10 rounds of questions based on Literature; ranging from super heroes to famous animals. Gina Nicolson said, “It was very inspirational and I would love to do it again.”  The girls finished 21st putting in a very strong performance and they thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

Shoebox appeal 18 Nov 15As we move towards the festive season, our annual Christmas Shoebox appeal has met with excellent success, with 151 boxes filled and forwarded by students in the school. This year’s appeal was organised by 18 students who are currently involved in the Archbishop of York Young Leaders Award. Our student leaders worked with Children in Distress, a charity who support disadvantaged children and young adults in across the Balkans and Eastern Europe, to organise and co-ordinate the collection. They raised funds, including £75 from a cake sale, which enabled them to a visit to a well-known discount store to buy items to create additional shoeboxes and to ensure all the boxes were complete. This was a fantastic example of student leadership in aid of a very worthwhile cause.

Our fundraising continued last week with our non-uniform day and lunchtime event in aid of Children in Need. An impressive total of over £1500 was raised by students in the school.

I would like to draw your attention to a recent change in recording absence made by the DfE. The threshold by which pupils are defined as a persistent absentee (PA) has changed so that any student who has absence of 10% or more is on track to be a PA. This will mean that many more pupils will be regarded as PAs.The average absence in York primary schools is less than 4%, whilst in secondary schools average absence is less than 5%. In the light of this it is important to note that any students with absence of 10% will be missing more than double the average number of school sessions. Anyone concerned about the school absence of their son/daughter or who wishes to discuss any attendance issues should contact Student Support in the first instance.

As you can see from the above, it has been another busy and successful time for the students in our school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in our community, and in particular the staff who give their time to provide these opportunities, for their efforts to support the many activities listed above, in addition supporting the ongoing work of the school.

Lorna Savage