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Weekly email – 12 January 2024

2024 > January > 12 > Weekly email – 12 January 2024
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A message from Ms Greenhalgh

Happy New Year to all, I hope you had a enjoyable Christmas break. It’s been great to see our students back in school and lovely to hear about some of their holiday experiences.

I wanted to extend my thanks to you all for your support with attendance over the last few months – we hugely appreciate it and it’s making a positive difference! Post-Covid, a huge number of schools across the country have seen lower attendance rates, but with your support, we are now seeing improved attendance rates. Compared to this time last year, we’re up 2.3% on overall school attendance (which is a big difference in a large secondary school) and up 2.2% for pupil premium students’ attendance. What’s more, the number of pupils still on 100% after term 1, is up a whopping 79%, which is fantastic. Research has shown that encouraging our students to create a ‘streak’ of continuous days in school is a key ingredient for their academic success. Please do talk to us if you have any concerns or questions about your child’s attendance, we’re here to help.

We’re looking forward to welcoming parents/carers of our Year 9 students into school next week for Parents’ Evening and the following week for Options Evening. Further information can be found below.

Congratulations to those students who were nominated by their faculty to have ‘Hot Chocolate With the Head’ today, including Joely, Eve, Imogen, Sampson, Hannah, Sonny, Cara, George, William, Esther and Leo.











We’re back on Monday for an ‘A’ Week. Wishing you all a great weekend.

With best wishes,

Gemma Greenhalgh

What is my child learning at the moment?

We know that most parents/carers will ask questions when they see their child after school. How has your day been? What did you have for lunch? Did you enjoy your club? What did you learn today?

We also know that some (perhaps many!) young people and teenagers might respond to the last question in a vague manner! “Don’t know.” “Can’t remember.” “Nothing.”

This, of course, is not true, but how can we empower you to start those conversations with your child(ren) to really find out what they are learning about and perhaps discuss their learning more productively at home?

We have decided to share with you one topic area, question or quirky fact from each year group each week. This will be on a rotation across our seven faculties (English, Maths, Science, Global Communications, Humanities, Creative and Performance). If your child is not forthcoming about their learning, you can then use this content to open up a conversation.

Please see below for this week’s learning conversation starters:

Year 7 – Faculty: English
Conversation starter
CS Lewis uses some excellent writing techniques to create his description of the Snow Queen in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Can we use some of the same techniques to create a description of our very own Sunshine Queen?

Year 8 – Faculty: Performance
Conversation starters

  • Drama: Scripted Drama – What is the difference between a sound effect and a soundscape? How does Willy Russell build dramatic tension in ‘Our Day Out’?
  • PE: Boys on Rugby or Football, and Girls on Gymnastics or Badminton.
  • Music: Band Skills – How to work out and perform chords on a ukulele and keyboard effectively as an ensemble.

Year 9 – Faculty: Global
Conversation starters

  • German: we are talking about how to be a good citizen; our rights and our responsibilities.
  • French: we are describing our dream and nightmare holidays.
  • Computing: we are revisiting how and why computers need and use binary and logic.

Year 10 – Faculty: Maths
Conversation starter

What do you need to know to describe a linear (straight line) graph?

Year 11 – Faculty: Creative
Conversation starters

  • Engineering: Completing Unit 1 coursework (deadline 31.01.24). Folder work to be completed for homework (1hr week)
  • DT (3D Design/Graphics/Textiles): Component 2 exam board themes launched at the start of January. Please ask your child about which theme they have chosen and what they are going to do on this. Tasks to be continued at home.
  • Food Prep & Nutrition: Completing NEA1 coursework (deadlines w/c 15.01.24) and preparing for NEA2. Parents should look for an email coming soon, outlining how to support students sourcing ingredients, planning their recipe, etc.
  • Child Development: Completing RO59 coursework (deadline 26.01.24). Students should be completing sections in class. From February, theory units prepare for the Feb mock and final exam. Students should be revising (1hr a week)
  • Art: (Check full parent email sent before Christmas) Students are completing Coursework 1 (60%) for the final hand-in: 26.01.24, whilst preparing for the Exam theme launch (40%) 17.01.24. Please ask your child about which theme they have chosen and what they are going to do on this.

We hope that you will find this information useful when talking to your child about their learning.

Additionally, you might want to take a look at the curriculum section of our website which has lots more information about what your child is, has, or will be learning over the academic year.

Year 9 Parents’ Evening

A reminder that our Year 9 Parents’ Evening will be held on Wednesday 17 January 2024. Parents/carers should have received details of how to book appointments to see their child’s teachers, but if you have any questions, please contact us.

KS4 Options Evening

We look forward to welcoming parents/carers and students to our KS4 Options Evening on 25 January from 5.00pm-7.00pm. The evening will consist of a short presentation from Headteacher, Ms Greenhalgh and Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Armitage. This will cover the options process including key dates in addition to an opportunity to visit and speak to the subject teachers for all the available subject options.

The presentation will run twice in order to accommodate everyone:

  • 5.00pm for students with surnames A-M
  • 5.45pm for students with surnames N-Z
Following the evening, the presentation will be shared on our website.

Post-16 applications

The deadlines for applications to sixth forms are coming up at the end of this month. If your child is in Year 11, can you please encourage them to submit their applications as soon as possible as most sixth forms are oversubscribed and won’t accept late applications.

For those applying to York College, students should apply as soon as possible and if at all possible, by the end of February.

If anyone needs any support, they should contact Miss Watts.

York College Taster Days

All Year 11 students attending the York College Taster Days should have received an email before Christmas with their timetable, supporting information and a link to some Taster Day FAQs. Can parents/carers please ensure their child has read the information before the Taster Days. The Taster FAQs link is Year 11 Taster Days | York College & University Centre

Unfortunately York College are unable to take any further Taster Day bookings.

If anyone is unsure about their Taster Day next week, in the first instance they should contact the school or college that they are attending. Following that, if students still have questions, they should speak to Miss Watts.

Eco Laundry – donations needed!

Our Eco Laundry provides affordable items of preloved uniform, all of which are clean and in excellent condition. We are however in need of stock again, so if you have been having a clear out over the Christmas break, we would like to ask you to donate your unwanted uniform and PE kits please. We will also gratefully receive any donations of revision guides.

Uniform and books can be brought into the School Office any weekday between 8.00am – 4.00pm. Thank you in advance!

Job of the week – Actuary

Each week we’ll be introducing our pupils to a ‘job of the week’. This week we have been looking at the job of ‘actuary’.

Actuaries scrutinise the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics and statistics to assess the risk of potential events, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimise the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.

For more information on becoming an actuary, you can watch this video.

Hear from one of the world’s largest engineering and manufacturing companies and home to the iconic KitKat!

Thursday 18 January 2024, from 5pm – 7:30pm

Home to some of the most famous food brands on the planet such as KitKat, Nespresso, Purina, Quality Streets and many more, this is your in-person golden ticket to this incredible company.

In a very rare opportunity, Nestle are opening up their doors to Year 11 students from across the region to come and see what it’s like working for one of the worlds largest food and consumer goods companies. With a particular focus on Engineering, Nestle will be showcasing what it’s like to be an engineer in their fast passed environment ensuring that their goods are produced and shipped off all around the globe successfully.

During the event you will get the opportunity to see what it’s like working in engineering at a Fortune 500 company, take part in workshops as well as having tour of their engineering facilities. As well as this you will have lots of opportunities to network with the Nestle team and hear all about their various student opportunities on offer.

This is such an exciting and rare opportunity and we anticipate places to book up very quickly. Please click here to secure your place.

Karaoke Club is back!

Karaoke Club which met at lunchtime today was a roaring success once again! The students didn’t stop singing and it was so lovely to see so many of them from all year groups having fun.

Safe use of QR codes

As we suggest students and their families use QR codes to access support information, it is perhaps timely to consider some safety and security aspects of using QR codes:

  • Where possible, use your phone’s built-in camera rather than a third-party QR reader app. Such apps may include pop-up links that take you to sites seeking to obtain data or which expose you to inappropriate material or viruses.
  • Look out for QR codes that have been tampered with, eg a sticker placed over the genuine QR code.
  • Never enter personal/financial details into a website you have been directed to from a QR code.

#WakeUpWednesday guides – Setting up Parental Controls on New Devices and Managing Screen Time

Some of our students may have been lucky enough to receive new electronic devices for Christmas and we appreciate that setting up parental controls can be something of a minefield. Fortunately, National Online Safety has produced this handy guide to help parents and carers set up controls on the most popular devices to ensure that all young people remain safe online.

You may also be wondering about what you can do to positively limit screen time. Fear not…National Online Safety have produced another amazing guide to help with this.

99% of current children will own a smartphone before they reach 18. With phones and other devices offering an increasing number of ways to pass the time, it can prove difficult for young people to set them aside. As a gateway to messaging services, games, television, music and more, digital devices can become borderline indispensable items in a young person’s life.

Studies have shown, however, that managing a child’s screen time can have positive impacts on their cognitive development. This #WakeUpWednesday guide provides you with some simple but effective tips to help you bring your family’s screen time down to a healthier level, while suggesting alternative activities that are far less reliant on technology.

Please do take a look at both of these excellent guides.

#WakeUpWednesday – Free Speech Vs Hate Speech

Contentious or provocative viewpoints are shared every second of the day online. That’s not to say, however, that an opinion is less valid simply because it’s initially unpopular: just think about Galileo or Emmeline Pankhurst. The facility to have our beliefs questioned – and to challenge other people’s in return – is often a catalyst for scientific and social progress. 

With disturbing frequency, though, some individuals post damaging hate speech online under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ – and unless young people can identify hate speech, there’s a risk of them being influenced by such harmful content.

This #WakeUpWednesday guide explores the crucial differences between free speech and hate speech.This is covered in lessons in school, but this guide will be really useful when discussing this with your child at home.


If you have significant concerns for the welfare of a child, in addition to being able to contact Mrs Cole, Mrs Cooper or Mr Beever during school hours by emailing, you may wish to make direct contact with the York MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on T: 01904 551900, option 3. They operate an out-of-hours service so concerns can be raised with them at any time.

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