WELCOME TO OUR BLOG
14th November 2018
It’s the end of the first half term already! It’s gone really well with pupils working consistently hard across the school and achieving well in their subjects. But education is about much more than academic success. We have also had our first personal development day of the year with a whole school focus on developing pupils’ leadership skills and resilience. These are the kind of skills we think will be crucial for our pupils’ ongoing success in adulthood.
We also had our year 6 parents evening which was a great success. We welcomed over 1000 people to visit us and the feedback was very positive, particularly about our pupil helpers who represented our school with great maturity and confidence. We see ourselves very much as a learning community and this was very evident on the evening.
Hastings High School is launching an alumni association this year and is actively seeking ex-students to sign up and receive updates on their old school. If you know any ex-students or are an ex-student we would be grateful if you could pass on your details or subscribe to our “LinkedIn” account to receive updates. Alternately please email your details to [email protected] and we will get in touch.
Oracy is a major Teaching and Learning focus for us this year and it has been launched in assembly to all pupils. The theme of the assembly was, ‘Find your voice in a whisper’, encouraging even the quietest of pupils to find their voice and speak up, not only in lessons, but as part of the wider curriculum.
We are really looking forward to hearing what pupils have to say and building on this strong start!
4th July 2018
2017-18 has been another successful year for the school. We had a very pleasing Ofsted inspection, a great set of GCSE results and have continued to offer “Care and excellence for all”. Whilst exam results are very important, I like to think that there is much more to education than qualifications and one our great strengths is the all-round education we provide. 2017-18 has been a great year and we are working hard to make 2018-19 even better!
We have a number of new developments for next year, one of the most important of which will be a new focus on Oracy. Ruth Loxley, Claire Hardman and Matt Smith have some really exciting things planned to further develop the pupils speaking and persuasive abilities. We will let you know more about these in the autumn.
This is also the time of year when we have to say goodbye to our year 11s. It is always sad when pupils leave us but they have been a fantastic year group and we wish them the very best for their future.
22nd March 2018
I hope you have survived the “Beast from the East”. It’s been a long time since we had so much poor weather in what is technically Spring! Hopefully the Easter holiday will bring an improvement and we can finally put away our winter clothes.
Just a quick reminder that Friday 23 March is a non-uniform day in aid of Sports Relief.
We will be introducing a new uniform next year for the new year 7 and from 2019 for the other year groups. Pupils not in year 7 in 2018/19 can wear any combination of the new and old uniform. Swifts and Hole in the Wall are currently ordering the new items which will be ready in the summer.
The uniform consists of:
- A new grey blazer with school logo.
- White shirt for all year groups.
- A blue tie for all year groups. This has changed from the consultation. Several parents wanted some blue in the uniform and this tie is the same one we currently have.
- Optional navy jumper. This has changed as well from the black jumper in the consultation.
- Mid grey trousers. These must not be skin tight but can be slim fit. Again this has changed as a result of the consultation to ensure a greater range of sizes and styles.
- Girls can wear a grey tartan skirt instead of the trousers if they prefer.
- Black leather / leather look shoes. Trainers will not be acceptable.
- The PE kit remains the same.
We will be offering a free blazer to all pupils who currently receive free schools meals. Details to follow in the summer.
The new uniform looks considerably smarter than the current one and reflects the ethos and great success of the school. The phasing in over 2 years and choices we have made for trousers and shirts should minimise any extra costs for parents. We hope you like it!
Year 11 Exam Preparation
Over Easter we expect year 11 to revise thoroughly in preparation for their GCSE exams. The first exam is on May 14 which is only 5 weeks after we return. We would recommend that pupils revise a few hours per day most days over the holiday but also take regular breaks. There is a full revision programme on in school during the Easter break and this has been sent out separately.
GCSE exams can be a very tense time for young people and staff will be monitoring pupils closely to support anyone who finds it difficult. Each exam day will begin with tea and toast in the hall to soothe any nerves and we usually find that it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of it. If your child is finding it particularly stressful, please let us know.
Good luck year 11!
Year 8 Curriculum
Just a reminder that next year, when year 8 pupils transfer into year 9, they will be moving onto GCSE content (at an appropriate level) in all their lessons. This means that they will have 3 years of study before taking their exams in year 11. This is an extension of the current curriculum model which year 9 already follow. Traditionally pupils have started their GCSEs in year 10 giving only two years of study. This model will increase the GCSE study time but will ensure that they don’t have to narrow down their subjects until they are ready to make their final GCSE choices in year 9.
Year 9 options
The year 9 GCSE options process is now complete and the vast majority of pupils have been allocated their 4 choices. A small number of pupils have had to consider their reserve choices and these pupils have been meeting with staff recently.
The final options will be confirmed straight after Easter.
I want to finish with a few words from the inspirational Stephen Hawking:
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Happy Easter and thank you for your ongoing support.
Head of Hastings
5th February 2018
The spring term is already nearly half way through and the pupils are working hard on their studies, especially year 11, who have only 11 weeks left before their exams begin. They are on track for a great set of results, even better in some subjects than last year.
We have now closed our uniform consultation and I wish to express my thanks to everyone who has taken part. We had a large number of replies and 75% were positive about the need for a new, smarter uniform. See below for more details.
We have also been working on a new curriculum for the current year 8 for next year to increase the amount of time they have for their GCSE subjects. The changes are explained in more detail below and we will have a parent meeting in the summer term to present them.
The responses included some very useful suggestions for improving our proposal. For example, many replies mentioned the need for a wide range of trouser styles to ensure all pupils can find trousers which fit well. Several parents mentioned the importance of value for money and there was also a wish to include some blue in the uniform. Finally, some year 9 parents asked us to consider whether the year group is included in the new uniform as they will be in year 11 when it is fully introduced.
We will take all these points into account when finalising our plans and will get back to you with the final details after the half term break.
Year 11 Exam Preparation
Year 11 are now working hard to prepare for their GCSE exams in the summer. All year 11s are being given 1 to 1 meetings with senior staff over the next couple of weeks, to review revision plans and post 16 choices. The first of these have been very positive and the vast majority of pupils have already started revising which bodes well for the summer.
The mock exam results went out last week and, as a rule of thumb, we expect pupils who work hard and revise thoroughly to make at least one grade progress in most subjects between the mocks and the real exams. Last year, 2 grades improvement was not uncommon.
We are advising pupils to revise at least 45-60 minutes per night from now on building up to around 2+ hours per night as the exams get closer. We would also expect pupils to revise most days during their holidays although we do recommend regular breaks. The school website has a GCSE revision page with lots of useful resources and there are period 6 revision session on after school most nights. There will also be a revision programme on during the Easter holidays.
Year 8 Curriculum
Next year, when year 8 pupils transfer into year 9, they will be moving onto GCSE content (at an appropriate level) in their lessons. This means that they will have 3 years of study before taking their exams in year 11. This is an extension of the current curriculum model which year 9 already follow. Traditionally pupils have started their GCSEs in year 10 giving only two years of study. This model will significantly increase the GCSE study time.
We considered allowing year 8 pupils to choose their GCSE courses in year 8, to start in year 9, but decided against it. This is because we felt that year 8 is too early to narrow the curriculum and make choices which may affect future career pathways. Ofsted have conducted research into the year 8 options model and have concerns about this early choice of GCSEs for precisely this reason.
Our model means that pupils will continue to study the full range of subjects until they are ready to make their options choices in year 9 but will also have a significant amount of extra GCSE time.
Year 9 options
The year 9 GCSE options process is now fully underway and pupils are investigating their GCSE choices in tutor time and assemblies. The options brochure has been given out to all pupils and can be downloaded from the school website.
There is a parents evening on Thursday 8th February for parents to meet individual subject staff but if you want further information before then, please contact Mr Spetch, Head of Year 9.
We have recently introduced a new system for monitoring punctuality. Just as a reminder, all pupils should be in their form rooms by 8:30. For pupils who are late the following will apply:
1st late = 15 minute breaktime detention the same day.
2nd late in the week = 30 minute detention afterschool on the following Friday.
3 or more lates in the same week = 60 minute detention afterschool on the following Friday.
We are delighted to announce that our U13 table tennis team consisting of Oliver Wynne, Edward Brown, James Walker, Matt Halliday and Bevan Wale are now not only the area and county table tennis champions but also qualified for the Regional finals in Blackburn on February 3rd.
They have qualified for this stage by winning 3 out 4 fixtures at the zone finals in Grantham. Victory at the regional finals will mean that our team will compete in the national finals in Hinckley!
A big thanks needs to go to the parents for helping to both transport and manage the team.
Extra-Curricular PE timetable
- Year 7 & 8 rugby training with Leicester Tigers 3.15-4.15
- GCSE PE Badminton
- Year 7,8 & 9 dance and gymnastics 3.15-4.15
- Year 7 & 8 basketball 3.15-4.15
We are entering a number of teams into the upcoming maths challenge this year. Pupils from years 7, 8, 9 and 10 are currently practising hard for them and we wish them well. These challenges are an annual, national event and our pupils are often very successful in them.
Half term break: Monday 12th February to Friday 16th February
Easter holiday: Monday 26th March to Friday April 6th
7th November 2017
Dear Parents / Carers,
I hope you all had a good holiday. The first week back has continued the strong start to the year made in the first half term. Pupils have settled back well after their break and the school is running smoothly.
There are two big national events coming up this half term: Halloween and Children in Need. We will be covering firework safety in assemblies next week and hope that our pupils stay safe at any events they attend.
Children in Need will be on Friday 17th November and will be a non-uniform day with voluntary contributions to the charity of £1. The date is also our next personal development day where pupils cover a whole range of enrichment activities. For example, upper school pupils have the opportunity to visit the Skills Shows at the NEC as part of the careers programme. Our enrichment curriculum is a real strength of the school and is an important part providing an all-round education.
For the previous PD day in October, year 7 began the new Edge character building programme by holding a balloon launch. We have already had some of the post cards back and the first ones have already reached Norfolk. There will be a prize for the balloon which travels furthest and it would be great to get some responses from the continent or maybe even further afield.
The Duke of Edinburgh programme in year 10 is progressing well and the pupils were learning to put up tents last night. The warmer weather helped a lot and they quickly discovered it can be harder than it looks!
At the end of every year we hold an enrichment studies programme which includes a wide range of extracurricular topics. One of the activities last year was a 3 day science project aimed at the nationally recognised CREST award. I am pleased to report than 40 of our pupils achieved the prestigious award which was a fantastic achievement.
We will be sending out a parent survey next week to get your feedback on how well we are doing. Part of the survey will be about the uniform for next year. Many parents have spoken to us about the difficulties of buying suitable girls trousers and we will be asking for your opinions on how we can smarten our uniform in a cost effective way. Any changes would come into place for the 2018/19 academic year.
Finally, the national GCSE results were released just before half term and the school was ranked incredible highly. For the combined English and maths results our pupils were second in the county and in the top 5% of non-selective schools nationally. The current year 11 are actually ahead of the old year 11 at the same point so we expect to be even more highly ranked next year. The pupils worked really hard and we are delighted that they were so successful and expect to hear great things about them in the future.
Nick Goforth. Headteacher of Hastings