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Beckfoot Trust is an organisation that links a group of local Bradford schools together so that they can collectively improve the life chances for young people within their schools. Our aim is to create a group of truly remarkable schools each with a genuine comprehensive intake. They will be wonderful places for young people to learn and grow up in. We want to make a difference. We want to create something special.





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I love this time of year

We are more or less through the winter and looking forward to longer days and warmer temperatures. It makes such a difference to us all to be coming and going from school in daylight and the green shoots of spring also remind us that we are often much more fortunate than lots of others because we get to learn and work at Beckfoot.

DSC_0005 (1) (1)Since my last blog we had the First Give final for our Year 8 students. First Give offers our young people an opportunity to speak about the social issues impacting their local communities, encouraging them to be more socially active, altruistic citizens. The core programme takes students on a journey as we ask them to identify a social issue that matters to them and pick a suitable local charity to support. From there, they carefully research and develop their own thoughtful social action projects in aid of their chosen charities. That very often means meeting those involved with the charity followed by huge amounts of fundraising from each tutor group. It really is quite special seeing them invest so much time and energy into their projects which culminated in the final last week.

At that final we had a team of judges including local MP Phillip Davies, local councillor Alison Coates, First Give Programme Manager Amy Calvert, Mike Midgley our Head of Key Stage 3 and myself. We watched 10 presentations from the various tutor groups and we were collectively blown away by the standard and quality of presentations, the knowledge and understanding of the charities and, more importantly, the difference each of us can make to the world we live in and our local area. The students spoke with conviction and passion and demonstrated the power that young people have to change the world. It was simply incredible.

DSC_0001a (5) (1)In the end Ms. Lowde’s tutor group won the £1000 for their charity POPI based in Keighley which will make a big difference for that organisation. However, for me there were a few more highlights. Firstly, the year group raised well over £2000 for local charities because of their efforts. Secondly, our students will never forget the importance of putting others first at times in their lives and lastly, it was humbling to watch them speak to a hall of over 300 people about something that mattered to them. In and amongst that there were also a few incredibly special moments from individual students that will live long in the memory. I want to thank each of them for what happened last week and through the winter. Amazing.

In other First Give news Beckfoot School has been selected to be a Case Study school for their website to highlight the brilliance of our programme to schools nationally. The link is here Beckfoot School Students’ Super Social Action  - First Give and it tells the story of some of this year’s work. It is not often that you are showcased on a national stage and we are more than proud of the work and partnership we have with them.

DSC_0010 (3) (1)World Book Day took place yesterday and, yet again, it did not disappoint. The library was transformed into the Wizard of Oz film set with its very own Lion and Tin Man. More staff than ever dressed up to demonstrate the importance of reading and the power of books for us all. We had quizzes, competitions, reading, free books for Years 7 and 8 and book tokens for everyone in school. Reading is such an important aspect of our work and sharing our collective love of reading with our students yesterday will make a difference without doubt. IMG_1524 (1)The follow up in lessons will also support that work and give students a greater understanding of the importance of reading to such things as their vocabulary, imagination, writing and so much more. For me though, reading also allows them to travel to places in their minds like nothing else can and instils in them a sense of curiosity and wonder. For many of our students that is so important. Again, I want to thank everyone who made the day possible and who supported it in whatever way they could.

In debating, the levels of interest continue to grow at a pace. Last week alone we had over two hundred students involved and we have never known anything like that at our school. The idea is that we give students a platform to think, reason and present their arguments around a range of topics. It is supported by our Talking Tuesday’s initiative and centred very much around the desire to support students to be better and more confident communicators. As they progress through the school, they get better and better because they have practised and begin to really find their voice. On Wednesday three of our Sixth Form debaters took part in a North of England final against 16 other schools. They were incredible and I am immensely proud to share with you the news that our students won again! They scored 75 which was the highest score of all 16 schools by some margin. The feedback from very experienced judges described Milla as simply 'flawless' and offered work experience to her at the courts. Isa was told he was brilliantly prepared and knowledgeable and Aldo told his hard work and effort shone throughout the event. More detailed and official feedback and next steps will be with us soon so I will let you know more then, 

As you know I love to share news about our students whenever I can and this week it is about the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. Two Sixth Form students, Lois & Jess, have recently achieved their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award which they started over 12 months ago. Both have been involved in various residentials, catering activities and so much more community based work. They undertook their qualification expedition walking for 4 days, camping in freezing temperatures for 3 nights and, at all times shown they are determined, committed and resilient to whatever life can throw at them. The DoE programme has a long association with Beckfoot and the Gold Award represents the pinnacle of achievement for anyone. Lois and Jess are incredibly special young people and we could not be prouder of them both!

Finally, I really want to share with you something for which we are so grateful to you. Last night we had our Year 10 parent’s evening and just over 98% of parents and carers attended. That is incredible. We have just one parents evening left for Year 8 in a couple of weeks but from the 7 we have had thus far our average attendance is just above 96%. We have never known levels of engagement with school like this. It matters to families to be involved in their child’s learning and progress and I am so grateful for your support. We are not a perfect school by any means but we are trying to be better every day in often the most challenging circumstances. Our attendance is rising and our students are doing wonderful things every day. Sometimes it is good to just think about the positives and acknowledge when something is good. So from me to you all, thank you.

Take care.

Simon Wade, Headteacher

Link to Ofsted Parent View questionnaire

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