We know from the 2019 outcomes that those who attend also achieve, so Mrs Ryder has been giving powerful and unambiguous messages to our students about attendance over the last week in special assemblies. Thank you for your ongoing support with this; we cannot emphasise enough the importance of this. You can see Mrs Ryder’s presentation here.



It was on a school trip to New York in February 2019 that our students were first captivated by Mark Levy, a veteran activist whose most distinguished contributions to the civil rights movement came in the March on Washington in 1963 and the Freedom Summer in 1964.

This week, as part of Black History Month, we invited Mark to Elliott Hudson College Boston Spa to tell his story to our Year 12 and 13 students. As in New York, Mark didn’t fail to amaze us with his life story. As a teenager organising a school prom in 1957 he learnt quickly that racial and gender based discrimination existed in every facet of American life. Explaining feelings of guilt at being complicit and not standing up for his fellow classmate Melba Torres, he quickly embarked on life-long struggle for civil rights and social justice.

Examining personal motivation and experiences along the way the high point of Mark’s talk came when unravelling the military style organisation of Bayard Rustin and A Philip Randolph that underpinned the March on Washington in 1963. Known for the iconic “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Mark intrigued students with the overlooked aspects of the day. Of particular interest was the fact that of the numerous speakers at a march about equality only one was female and her speech was written by a male colleague. Similarly, the most quotable parts of King’s speech were unscripted and added to the end of the planned speech after he was told to “preach” by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who was also on the stage. However, it was the almost unthinkable task of making the 80,000 cheese sandwiches to feed the peaceful protesters that was the most thought provoking. Where do you get 160,000 slices of bread in a time before sliced bread was widely sold?

Mark ended by reminding students that whether it be civil rights, Black Lives Matter, #metoo or the fight against climate change, it is as important now as ever to take a stand and make a difference. The fight for equality is never finished. In the words of Levy himself, “the civil rights movement is not over”.


I wrote last week about the excellent number of girls participating in our Drama Club, while reflecting that we needed more boys; well it was a thrill not just to have over  30 boys audition for parts in the musical ‘Fools Gold’, but also to find such confidence and enthusiasm.

It was also exciting to see the numbers increase at the second rehearsal of the community choir. If you know of anyone who might be interested in joining please encourage them to attend the next rehearsal, which is on Tuesday 22 October.

They are rehearsing Adiemus and Seasons of Love for their debut at our Christmas Concert on Wednesday 11 December.


On Tuesday 8th October as part of our careers programme at Elliott Hudson College Boston Spa we took students in Years 12 and 13 to the National Apprenticeship Show in Harrogate. Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground 40 employers and apprenticeship providers showcased opportunities and vacancies to our students in a lively, interactive, fun and informative setting. Keen to learn more about apprenticeships as a future destination, our students engaged with providers and businesses such as Mercedes Benz, Amazon, the NHS and many more. The show was the perfect opportunity for students to gather information about the opportunities that await them when they leave Year 13.


Congratulations to Joanie Groves, Izzy Bostock, Lewis Bailey Hague, Dulcie Parish, Ted Heffernan, Isabella Wade, Aaliyah Harding, Fraser Douglas, Elisha Anderson, Megan Sykes, Juliz Tchouankwe, Archie Hamilton, Imogen Edwards, Emily Bell, Jason Marks-Smith, Katie Watson, William McDonald, Sherise Findlay James, Ava Harper, Joe Young, Isabella Hanson and Kiran Hussain who I met during PD Hour this week.


Our Key Stage 3 Craft Club members were getting creative with ‘Bondaweb’ this week with a selection of fabrics to create the next stage of their mural. Next week it is tissue paper paintings!


Our U14 girls’ 7-a-side football team travelled to Ralph Thoresby for the first merit cup tournament of the season, facing schools from around Leeds.  Team: Ella Ritchie, Tejha Smith, Connie Edwards, Jessica Tucker, Megan Sykes, Grace Sykes, Izzy Srinivasa. We played Crawshaw, 5-0; Bishop Young, 5-0; Lawnswood, 1-0; Cardinal Heenan, 2-0; Brenton Park, 1-0 and Cockburn, 5-0. What a brilliant performance! Our player of the tournament was Connie Edwards with 10 goals!

Tuesday saw the first event of this year’s Gorse Games (an inter trust competition between the five academies across a variety of sports). We were runners up last year, and are keen to go one better for the 2019/20 tournament.

We made a great start with the Years 7, 8 & 9 girls’ football, playing 9 games and not losing a single one.

Year 7 drew 0-0 with The Farnley Academy and 1-1 with The Morley Academy and then beat Bruntcliffe Academy 1-0 with a winning goal from Layla Smith. Our player of the tournament was Abi Rushworth. The team was Abi Rushworth, Izzy Cleary, Layla Smith, Isla Sutcliffe, Emily Bell, Imogen Edwards, Rhiannon Kelsey, and Edie Trutch.

The Year 8 team secured three wins with a 3-0 against The Farnley Academy, 2-0 against The Morley Academy and 1-0 against Bruntcliffe Academy. Our player of the tournament was Megan Sykes and the team was Poppy Burton, Grace Sykes, Megan Sykes, Tejha Smith, Izzy Srinivasa, Connie Edwards, and Ayva Bernard.

Year 9 beat The Farnley Academy 1-0, drew with The Morley Academy 0-0 and beat Bruntcliffe 3-0. Our players of the tournament were Ella Ritchie and Jessica Tucker. The full team was Ella Ritchie, Millie Watson, Jessica Tucker, Emily Hessey, Natalie Moor, Molly Reynolds and Megan Reynolds.

On Wednesday evening the Year 9 boys’ football team played their first cup match of the season against a very good St Mary’s Menston team. We were alert and attentive from the start and after only 10 minutes we opened the scoring and took a 1-0 lead. We continued to play with purpose and passion but conceded a goal just before half time. In the second half we conceded 2 penalties with the game ending 3-1 to St Mary’s. Marley Wilson was our player of the match.