I am very sad to have to share with you news of the untimely death of our former colleague Jon O’Neil, who had a brain haemorrhage during the Easter break, aged 47.
We have very fond memories of Jon; he was an important member of our staff. We were delighted to recruit him in the September of 2004 following a successful period with us as an ITT student. Given his skills, there was an inevitability that we would one day lose him to another school, as we did when he joined Harrogate High in 2008.
We valued Jon’s excellent relationships with young people; he was a first rate form tutor, and was well regarded by staff, students and parents. He was a natural teacher, coupling great subject expertise with good humour and personal warmth. He was a genuinely likeable man, about whom no-one heard a bad word.
Our thoughts are with his wife Beth and two children William and Matthew.
I understand that Leeds City Council have concluded their analysis of their survey and on Monday sent a letter to Lord Agnew. Whenever I have written to Lord Agnew it has been my practice to send a copy to leaders in Leeds City Council ensuring that we are taking an honest, open and professional approach to the dialogue. I have twice written to Mr Walker and Mr Eastwood asking that they extend this same courtesy to Boston Spa by providing us with a copy of their letter; as of yet they have not replied. Given that Leeds City Council have now written to Lord Agnew, we can only hope that clarity on our application to join TGAT is close.
Over the holidays I was really pleased to read a report written for Lord Agnew by a group of our families. Their work was prompted by the inaccuracies and contradictions in the supporting data presented by Leeds City Council alongside their survey. With thoroughness, significant due diligence and an admirable attention to detail they have produced the very document that Leeds City Council should have originally published. It is dispassionate, balanced and evidence based; it presents another example of the humbling support we have received from our community. We are really grateful.
TGAT OFSTED INSPECTIONS
Congratulations are due to David Holtham and the team at TGAT’s Elliot Hudson College whose ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report was published during the Easter break. It is spectacularly good, and I commend it to you.
When we opened our dialogue with TGAT in 2017, the trust had three Ofsted reports with ‘Outstanding’ judgements. That was a sufficiently compelling argument for Governors to determine that we should enter into a partnership. In the following months, three ‘Outstanding’ judgements have become seven, which is quite remarkable. It now means that a child living in the south of the city can enter reception and arrive at University while only attending ‘Outstanding’ provision. This is transformational for a community.
It is also really unusual that a Multi Academy Trust has this level of sustained impact; I know of no other with this proportion of ‘Outstanding’ judgements. It was a real coup for our locality that Governors secured agreement that the next phase of TGAT development would be in the outer north east of Leeds, and we remain optimistic that Lord Agnew will shortly allow this work to begin.
We have for a number of years worked successfully with the LGBTQ charity Stonewall to promote their principle of ‘acceptance without exception’. We were very pleased earlier this year to have been recognised as a Stonewall ‘Champion School’.
As part of our work with Stonewall we will, over the next few weeks, be promoting their ‘No Bystanders’ campaign. This will be launched in assemblies and will include a pledge from every member of our school community, students and professionals alike, never to be a bystander to any form of bullying. More will follow in future blogs, and parents and carers have received a letter with more information from Mrs Ryder.
Assemblies this week have reflected on World Health Day. For me the most emotionally challenging element was the story told above by one of our younger students who is also a young carer at home, carrying huge responsibilities. It is so moving to read her description of her own tiredness, but to see how she is still sufficiently emotionally aware to speculate about that which her mother experiences.
Many of our children will have chores, but few live with the range of responsibilities described above; we are very proud of these children. If this slide raises issues in your home about which you would like to speak to someone in school please contact our Safeguarding Officer, Mrs Spink, via Reception. She will be pleased to talk with you.
Brilliantly we are currently 5th out of 110 schools in the northern region of the POD GAMES!! The competition is based on the number of Pods streamed in relation to the numbers of students we have in Years 10 and 11. I had no idea there was a competition, and now I so want to win!
To date Boston Spa students have streamed a massive 8,173 pods, Maths are in the lead with 1,810, followed by English Literature with 1,233. In a surprise third place comes Geography who have sneaked up on Physics with 1,202 pods streamed.
Well done to everyone using these revision resources, there is more detail on access here.
BOSTON IN ANDALUCÍA
I am very grateful to Miss Brierley, Miss Forster, Mr Dodds, Mr McKernan and Miss Smith who took our group to Spain during the Easter holiday. You can read an account written by Isabel Couldwell (Year 9) and Maddie Tue (Year 10) here.
BOSTON IN BERLIN
I am also grateful to Mr Brennan, Miss Burman, Miss Miller, Mr Hunt, Miss Morgan, and Miss Joshi who lead our Berlin trip. You can read Mr Brennan’s account here and view more photos here. It was lovely to hear Mr Brennan describe this as the best Berlin group ever.
We never take for granted the support of our staff for these types of events. It is one of the joys of working in our community.
As with every week, the best part of my week is the few minutes I get to spend with excellent students during PD Hour. Well done to all of the following who were sent to my office for praise: Bradley Kirk, Maya Philpott, Eliana Harrison Bould, William Harrison, Callum Parkinson, Bailey Clayton, Sophia Towns, Harvey Williams, Madeline Cole, Taylor Baxter, Cameron Holmes, Luke Jessey, Hollie Robinson, Bobby Isbell, Rebecca Speight, Angel Marie Cook, Till Brown, Emily Warbrick, Daniel Garlick, Hollie Coulthard, Saskia Benjamin, Kirtan Roth, Emily Meehan, Selina Foster, Stella Jacquiss, Freya Smith, Millie Hefferman, Millie Edwards, Maise Trutch, Lewis Bailey Hague, Alfie Allanach, Meg Beasley and Ali Thompson,
HOT CHOC FRIDAY
My Hot Choc Friday guests were Freddie Fulman and Freya Foster, two Year 11s doing well. Freddie plans to join our Sixth Form and take A Levels with a view to studying French, while Freya is impressively applying for a naval apprenticeship that will lead to qualifications in nursing.
I am very appreciative of the commitment and time our PE team give to extracurricular sport. It is an extreme rarity that a blog ends without some report from fixtures that have taken place. In addition they have also launched their summer in-school programme which I commend to you.
This week our Year 11 boys’ football team faced Horsforth in the semi-final of the city play-offs. We got off to a great start with Owen Hindley scoring directly from a corner in the second minute of the game. However, our opponents took full advantage of an injury to Jonas Ndombasi and we were trailing 2-1 at the break. Our equaliser came after an exquisite ball from Louis Fletcher, enabling Sam Green to score the 121st goal of his school career.
With the game at 2-2 we went straight to penalties. Both teams scored the first two, with Callum McNamara then saving well to give us the advantage. Unfortunately for us it wasn’t to be our day and we missed our last two penalties losing 4-3.
The Year 7 boys’ football team had two quarter finals, first in the city champions play-off and secondly in the city cup competition.
On Wednesday we went to Cockburn. The first half was a cagey affair but we took the lead through Bobby Isbell only for Cockburn to reply before the break. However we came out much stronger in the second half, looking threatening with every attack and easily dealing with the opposition threat. Bobby then slotted another one into the top corner from distance to give us the lead, before Jake Rogers secured the victory with a well taken goal. Player of the match was Finn Brooks for an exceptional display of skill coupled with fantastic desire.
The following evening the boys then hosted a very strong Temple Moor side. In a very close first half littered with chances for both sides, we took the lead through Dan Myers with a cool finish into the bottom corner. Despite numerous good saves from Jack Rogers, Temple Moor scored on the stroke of half time. However, the second half was to be ours and we took control of the game. Finn Brooks, Jake Thompson and our captain, Oliver Thomas, were excellent at the back stifling our opponents’ attacks with relative ease. Bobby Isbell gave us the lead with a great strike from distance before Brooklyn Atherton handed us the win, latching onto a loose ball. 3-1 was the final score with Alex Kay player of the match for an excellent job screening in front of the defence.
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