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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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Head's Blog

Beckfoot Night 2

Posted 26th November 2021

Lots to be proud of!

It is early on Friday morning and our students are having a day off so that our Beckfoot Trust community of staff and other key stakeholders from all ten schools can come together to explore the theme of ‘Belonging’. Essentially, we feel that belonging should not be a privilege for some, it must be a right for all. We have a number of very respected speakers that will challenge us all to think about how we can further develop the sense of belonging in our community. It promises to be a really exciting day and I am sure I will be letting you know much more about it in the next week or two.

One week ago today, our school community very much felt like a place where we all belong but also a place where our students canDSC_0001 amaze you with their selflessness and a determination to put others first. They were adamant that we would make this year’s Children in Need day one to remember and they didn’t disappoint. We had raffles, bake sales (the best ever cakes in my view!), sports activities, staff activities and so much more. We also had our traditional non-uniform day and the students raised over £1500 for the charity. We even got a response to our Tweet from the director of the event that evening! For me the day has always been about putting others first and our students have always understood that. Despite all that is going on in the school, they know they need to get it right in lessons and maintain the highest standards of themselves. They stand up forDSC_0003 what they believe in and put so much work into making the day special. CIN day is about our students working together as community contributors and making a difference. They certainly did that last Friday and I am very proud of them. Special thanks go to Mrs. Dobson and her team of student leaders.

FEkKxzAXMAAoIiNLast Friday also saw Beckfoot students contribute to the follow up Pandemic Recovery Summit which involved schools from across Bradford focussing on the key themes of Anti-Racism, Mental Health, Poverty and Disadvantage, LGBTQ+ and Student Voice. Beckfoot was asked to lead on an area of focus for both our school and the city in helping to determine next steps to support young people to recover from all things Covid-19 related. It also focussed on lost opportunities as a result of the pandemic and ways to better provide support to address FEkKxy_X0AYl2z3those going forward.

Our students focussed on LGBTQ+ and Student Voice leading the fourth session of the day. I listened to their presentation from my office and couldn’t believe that they would be capable of such maturity and consideration. The audience included members of the council, local politicians and others who can help make a difference based on the views of young people. They too were stunned at the quality of our students, their articulacy and passion. I was proud of them but also felt that we have an additional responsibility to continue the recovery work at Beckfoot and lead the way for both our students and the city.

I want to mention our Year 13 students who have sat their November mock exams since I last wrote. They too were incredible in their approach to the challenge of a week of exams. The learning that will come from those will be hugely important and beneficial to them as they progress towards Christmas and the new year. I want to thank them for their energy, commitment and patience throughout the week.

Continuing the theme of Post 16, we had our Virtual Sixth Form Open Evening last night. It was necessary to do it this way because our Covid numbers are falling dramatically, so bringing large crowds into school is not the right thing to do just yet. Having said that, we are determined to hold a face to face Open Evening early into the new year and will communicate more about that in due course. We dedicated our school website to the event and provided all the information needed for students to make an informed decision about next steps at Beckfoot. The staff have really thought about our provision and the information that is needed to help with those next steps. There is so much on there so please feel free to have a look.

Our Sixth Form students have also been helping us to revisit and reconsider our approach to the Sixth Form dress code. They considered our proposal which was about a more business-like appearance which we used as a starter for ten in our consultation with them. They were incredible in their approach to that process and met with us on several occasions to present their views and those of the wider sixth form community. The result is that we will be making some changes to the dress code that will involve a total ban on sportswear and hoodies but will keep the rest pretty much as it was. They want to be able to express themselves differently as post 16 students and I am happy with that. They fully understood the need for a democratic process but also their right to present their views in a very mature and balanced manner. I loved their passion, their preparedness to talk and their willingness to compromise all in the knowledge that we would arrive at a decision where the majority would feel listened to and happy. I want to thank our student council and others for their work in helping to get this work done. The new dress code is now on our website.

Finally, I want to mention two of our Key Stage 3 students. Fearne in Year 9 has recently been selected to represent West Yorkshire in Netball. This is a huge achievement and honour for Fearne, her family and Beckfoot. She is completely dedicated to her sport and studies. She manages to find a balance but also remains so humble about her talent and success. She came to see me last week and sat down and talked me through her journey to this point, including the moment she found out she had been selected, and the excitement felt by her and her family that evening. She is a very special young lady and we wish her every success for the season ahead. From Netball to Scooter Riding; Carter, a Year 8 student is an amazing Scooter rider and competes on the national and international stage to the highest level most recently competing in Barcelona at the world championships. Despite his young age he took part in the U16 competition where he not only qualified but finished in the top 12 riders. That achievement means he will return to Spain in July to compete once more. Carter now ranks number 11 in the world and he rarely says anything about his sport or his achievements; it’s incredible! He is supported hugely in his sport through some major sponsors who provide his equipment and expenses. He was happy for me to share the link below of him in action.

https://becbd-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/beckeh_beckfoot_org/EUtY3VqlFZ5BsYySyO0It48BgAAmNFELxt8YXSoYTHFDFg

I want to thank you for your continued support for our students and Beckfoot. I will write again just before Christmas.

Take care.

Simon

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Posted 12th November 2021

A busy start to November!

November is busy!

We are two weeks into this half term and already so much has been going on since we returned.

Yesterday, as is traditional at Beckfoot School, we remembered those who have fallen in battle and gave their lives so that ours could be better. Mr Darling co-ordinated the activities and we had lots of displays around school to remind staff and students of the importance of Armistice Day. At 11am Key Stage 3 students and their tutors remembered by observing a two minute silence and through various tutor time activities. The rest of our community gathered in the atrium and around the balconies on the first and second floors. After some brief words as to why we had come together the entire school fell into silence as The Last Post was played. It was such a special moment and incredibly emotional. As I stood on the stairs and looked around, I was reminded that Beckfoot is a very special place to work and learn; long may that continue.

Year 11 have been busy this week sitting mock exams in the hall. They have been the most incredible group of young people in the way they have approached these exams. Whilst it has been a long week with lots of challenges, they have risen to the task each day and made it very clear just how important learning and success is to them. I know that Mrs Powell and Mrs Harris are very proud of them and see this week as one of the most important in the Year 11 calendar because of the learning that will inevitably come from it. Well done and thank you to every member of the Year 11 community, their teachers and the exams team.

Attendance is creeping up slowly and surely to the levels we would normally expect, and I am grateful to students and families for their resilience in ensuring learning is the number one priority for all. It is so important that this continues so that we can continue to teach each of them well and make sure they are not disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic. That is our obsession and that is what we are determined to do. Please continue to make attendance a priority every day and support us in giving our young people the very best chances as a result.

Last week we had a busy end to the week. On Thursday we had a fire alarm practice. Many of you are well aware of my feelings about such events and what they tell you about a school’s culture. Despite very little sleep the night before, which is normal, I was thrilled with the manner in which all students exited the building, lined up in silence and returned to learning, again in silence. Approximately two thousand students and adults were clear of the building in just under five minutes and the respect for the process and the safety of others was palpable. I was thrilled and am very grateful to everyone who made it such a success.

On Friday we had our safeguarding review day which involved key school staff working with a team of external support staff lead by a trained Ofsted inspector. Whilst the day was intense and very challenging, it was a day of great learning and reassurance. We are doing so much here (quite rightly) to ensure our students are well cared and safe. Our systems are strong and very robust. Nothing is more important, and I am grateful to all involved in this critical area of work for our school and getting it right each day.

Finally, as you know, I like to share information about students when I can. Ben in Year 11 has, this week, signed scholarship forms with Blackburn Rovers. He will work with them over the next two years and we are very proud of him. He has been with the club for ten years and this has been the dream throughout that time. He has sacrificed so much over the years and dedicated himself completely to his goal whilst maintaining the highest standards in school. We wish him every success for the future. He is a very humble young man and very much deserves everything that comes his way because he understands the importance of hard work.

Simon

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Posted 22nd October 2021

It's Half Term!

Wow. Where have the past seven weeks gone?

We finish for Half Term at 2.45pm this afternoon and we reopen on Monday 1st of November as usual. Whilst it has been a busy few weeks, it has also been incredibly uplifting to be in school every day and watch our students embrace the challenges of returning to a new normal. Unsurprisingly, they have been magnificent, and I am so very proud of what they have achieved and how they have coped.

Looking back, we have returned to normal lessons whereby students can navigate the building once more and learn in specialist classrooms. They have missed that. Extra-curricular activities have returned as have sporting fixtures and creative performances. Students are having music lessons, our Beckfoot Student Leadership (BSL) is alive and kicking and we are seeing more and more students just sitting and talking to each during break and lunch times.

blog333It has also been a challenging few weeks in terms of dealing with the on-going pandemic. A relatively small number of students have had to isolate due to Covid and others remain anxious about how the nation is addressing the problems that are still present every day. That is understandable. What I would say, however, is that school is where students should be because it is a safe space where learning is our priority. Teaching face to face is what makes the biggest difference to young people and they need to be in school in order to make progress. I cannot stress that enough. Indeed, our GCSE and A Level students understand more than most the additional stress that school absence can bring. So, if it is a decision between being at school and not, choose school every time!

This week we had a Graffiti artist, Mohammed Ali, visit school to work with over forty of our year 9 students. He is incredibly well known in the art world and was an absolute pleasure to work alongside. The work created was, quite simply, stunning and will go on display in the Creative Block just after half term. He left with a really strong impression of our school, our students and our community. He was full of praise for our ethos and values and the drive to expose young people to a wide variety of experiences as we seek to build their cultural capital throughout their school journey.

This final week has also been busy on the staff development front too. We have had Wendy Bradford, a highly regarded consultant, working with staff on our Curriculum Intent and Implementation work. In simple terms, she has been looking at our new learning ambitions for students and how that is working in practice in lessons. She was very complimentary and gave us wonderful points to help us continue to develop that work going forward. She will return in the new year to continue that work which is incredibly exciting because it is totally centred on the student experience.

Added to that, we continue to work with Helen Morgan on our Instructional Coaching model for all staff. I am dedicated to working with professionals to support our staff to develop as practitioners and she is very supportive of our ambition for teachers to be able to continue to improve aspects of their practice in order to benefit themselves, their maturity as teachers and, ultimately, our students. It is a very important piece of work for us and will be for a number of years ahead.

I am telling you about this work because I would want to know as a parent/career, that my child is accessing the best teaching possible and that all staff are constantly being supported to be better every day. That is about culture, about ambition and about being both strategic and proactive.

I want to thank you for your support for our request for students to, once again, wear face masks on corridors and in communal areas. We took this decision following a small but sustained rise in cases in one year-group in particular. We will, of course, keep this under review. I was delighted with the response by students and families and everyone simply accepted this as something that was not a big deal and designed to help us keep our young people safe. As always, I am grateful for all feedback because it helps me try to get things right which doesn’t always happen - I know!

Lastly, thank you all so much for your support regarding the decision to stop allowing students access to mobile devices during the school day on school grounds. Again, I have been overwhelmed by the support for this and the sheer number of you who, like me, are worried about the amount of time young people are spending on phones etc. I also know that some of you have had one or two concerns and I have appreciated your honesty whether via email or direct conversation. Ultimately, I just want them to spend quality time with friends in a safe space that is school. I want them to be taught well and learn brilliantly. I am convinced this will make a difference as it has to many schools across the country. Our students totally understand the decision too which is great. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them like it, but they do understand which I am delighted about. So, immediately after half term I would like to remind students and families that mobiles phones can be in bags, but they must always remain out of sight and switched off, so they are no longer a source of distraction. Should they need to use their phone, they must do so under the supervision of an adult which will sometimes be for learning and sometimes for contact with home.

And finally, in sporting news, well done to Alannah in Year 7, who recently competed in the Yorkshire Women’s Artistic Gymnastics four-piece competition in Sheffield. She completed some incredible performance throughout the competition including a silver medal winning routine on the floor! Well done Alannah.

I also want to mention Rayyan in Year 7 and Aydan in Year 10, who took part in the ITF Union British Open Tae Kwon Do championships in Northampton recently. Both achieved a number of medal winning performances in the Sparring and Patterns competitions which we are very proud of. Well done to them both.

Have a wonderful, safe and restful half term and thank you for all you do for Beckfoot and our young people.

Simon

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Posted 15th October 2021

An explosion of talent and broadening horizons!

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The past few weeks have been as busy as you would expect, and I am delighted overall with the attitude towards learning across the school. Students are engaged, enthusiastic and, above all else, showing us every day just how thoroughly decent and caring they are.

We are continuing to serve their imaginations in all manner of ways, most recently through the vehicle of manufacturing and careers. Last week Mr. Wilkes ran assemblies and activities for all students on manufacturing and the opportunities that exist in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) world for our young people. This was followed by a Year 8 Drop Down day where those students were challenged to overcome STEM based challenges and, in doing so, demonstrate their resilience, creativity and innovative thinking skills. It was a huge success.

This week the theme of manufacturing continued for Year 10 Engineering students when they attended a Manufacturing Live event with Mr. Newton, where representatives from a wide variety of companies talked about the opportunities a career in engineering can bring.

This week we held our annual face to face Careers Fair. We had over 37 different stands with a mixture of employers, trainers and educators who inspired our students and staff to be excited about the opportunities locally, nationally and internationally for them. It was a joy to see them talking to the various professionals about their dreams, aspirations and ambitions for life beyond Beckfoot and so many of them were happy to share their learning with us throughout the day. I love these types of events because they provide so much context to what we are trying to do for students every day here. It is one thing to tell students something, but it is often a very different message when you can show them! A huge thank you to Sarah, Amanda and Holly for all the work that went into the event.

On Tuesday evening we had a great session on all things Curriculum for members of our Local Schools Committee (LSC). As many of you know, the LSC is our form of local governance and is a group that is tasked by the Beckfoot Trust Board of Directors to hold me to account on all things related to students and staff including things like wellbeing, performance, opportunities and culture. If anyone wishes to know more about the work of that group please follow this link https://www.beckfoot.org/about-us/governance/local-school-committee/

And so, to yet more sporting success. Last week we received the news that Eve Midgley, Year 13, had been selected to be part of the Leeds Rhinos U19 National Performance League Netball squad for the forthcoming season. This is a huge achievement for her and is very much a stepping stone to international honours and a possible career in the sport for Eve. She is an outstanding young person and is a role model for our younger girls – she truly represents everything that we believe young people can achieve with hard work and determination… #thisgirlcan!

Continuing with the theme of Netball, we have had wonderful news this week about girls in Years 7-10 who have been selected to represent Bradford Schools in Netball this year. They are:

U13 - Ella Harrison, Annie Grogan, Rosa Dixon, Alice Slater

U15 - Katie Eccles, Fearne Midgley, Joanna Oddie, Sophie Burrows, Vini Vangala

Well done to all the girls who trialled and to those selected. It is a very special honour to represent your city and we wish them all well in the weeks and months ahead.

Finally, it is half term at the end of next week. We will break up at 2.45pm on Friday 22nd of October. I hope you all have a well-earned rest and stay safe, especially as we enter the season of fireworks and bonfires.

Take care.

Simon

 

 

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Posted 1st October 2021

It's October Already!

I cannot believe that we have already been back a month. The past four weeks have flown by and I am delighted with how our young people have settled. They seem happy and that is incredibly important to me.

A lot has been happening as you can imagine and we are beginning to get used to being able to utilise our building as it was intended and there are few, if any, students having trouble finding their way around. The use of our stairs for one-way travel has made things easier and our students fill the school with the Beckfoot Buzz we have missed for so long.Year 10 shot putt

Extra-curricular activities are back, and I am thrilled. Seeing students involved in Sport and the Creative Arts during SPA time and after school is wonderful to see. Our Arts and climbing clubs restart in earnest next week and there is so much choice for students to get involved with. The offer ranges from a huge variety of sporting and creative activities to areas such as debating, student leadership, academic clubs and so much more. I am very privileged to have staff that are so dedicated and willing to give their time so freely.

We had our European Day of Languages last week and everyone got involved. Staff had to wear stickers with a greeting on for students to be able to read and understand. We had over 50 languages used. I was personally disappointed that the Irish Language (Gaelic) was not one of them and so I broke ranks and made my own! Dia Dhuit (pronounced jee-ah-gwitch) in Irish is hello or in its literal meaning, God be with you. I did my very best to educate as many staff and students as I could and was amazed at the linguistic skills of so many throughout the day. Perhaps it could be a part of our curriculum offer in the future! On a more serious note the day was a great success and highlighted the importance of language to our students. Not being able to fluently speak a Modern Foreign Language is one of my greatest regrets and I am very considerate of the need for that not to be the case for our students. Languages are important, they broaden horizons and open doors in a global world, and I loved last week for this reason.

DSC_0063We had our Year 11 Aspirations day last week also. We had some very cool young people with us for the day having travelled up from South London the night before. They are called Revolution Hive and they spent the day with our Year 11 students talking to them about their aspirations, hopes and dreams. More importantly, they worked with them to think about their attitude, their mindset and strategies to be successful not only in their GCSEs but also in life. It was a fantastic day and our students got a great deal from it.DSC_0160

We followed the day by inviting parents and carers of Year 11 students into school that evening to talk to them about the year ahead. We talked about our desire to create an environment for students built on support, care and challenge throughout the year but also about how we can work more effectively as a school with families. It was a lovely evening with just the right balance of message, I think. There were also a few tears as we showed the Derek Redmond video with his dad. It never fails to move anyone who watches it.

We had our second Curriculum Drop Down Day for Year 7 students on Tuesday. The focus was on Forensic Science as they tried toDSC_0155 discern who was the sporting cheat from Ms. Denham, Mr. Cooley, Mr. Darling and myself. They analysed a variety of samples and looked closely at other forms of evidence as they strived to reach a conclusion. In the end, most identified Mr. Darling as the cheat and they were right! That evening, our Year 7 parents and carers were invited into school to hear about the day from staff and students. They also got to see some of the school and visit a science lab which is where students did most of their work earlier in the day. Again, it was a very special event and it was really lovely to welcome families into our school once again.

And finally, I want to continue to share news about students who are doing great things in sport and other activities at the moment. Abbie, in Year 12, has enjoyed incredible success in swimming in recent weeks and months. She competed in a gala in Bolton last weekend winning a silver and bronze and qualifying for the upcoming national finals. Abbie is now ranked number 2 in Yorkshire and number 15 nationally and across Britain which is pretty special in my view. It is testament to her commitment and dedication to her sport over many years and we wish her well as the season progresses. She deserves all the success that comes her way.

Annie, in Year 11, has also been doing amazing things in her sport recently. Annie entered the RDA Regional Championships in two events, Show Jumping & the Countryside Challenge. She did incredibly well and went through to the National Championships. The results were shared last week, and Annie was ranked 1st place in both her events meaning she is now a double National Champion! She is so humble about her success and the dedication it has taken for her to reach this standard. Both girls are an inspiration to us all.

Take care.

Simon

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Posted 17th September 2021

A new school year begins!

Welcome back!

A special welcome to our new Year 7 students and those joining our Sixth Form from elsewhere. Both groups have already proved to be an amazing addition to our school.

I have been humbled by the manner in which our entire school community has accepted and embraced our re-opening and testing plans and more so by the manner in which they have approached learning since our return. It is an absolute delight to me that we have made such a strong start but it’s also important to remind ourselves that we each have to play our part to maintain that strength and build upon it as we progress through the year.

I have loved having the opportunity to talk to staff and students face to face once again. I have missed their characters, humour and energy. Walking around the school during lessons and break times has been a pleasure and it is so good to be getting back to some form of normality. Our students are navigating the building really well as they move from lesson to lesson. It is so easy to forget that, for so many of them, this is new. They tell me they are loving the opportunity to learn in new areas of the school and enjoying the specialist facilities that we have at Beckfoot. Long may that continue.

I want to thank every parent and carer who has trusted us with our plans to open. We had an attendance figure of 97% last week and that is stunning. We have been making slight tweaks to our plans each day as we learn more and more about the flow of students and how to make things better for them.

I have tried to get in to as many lessons as possible since our return and I have loved what I am seeing. I have been struck by the a72maturity of our young people and their determination to learn well. They have been engaged and happy to contribute fully to lessons which is exactly what we expect of them. Beckfoot has a special ‘soul’ and I have seen this at every turn.

I had the opportunity to visit our Oracy workshops with Year 7 on Friday. I listened to them stand up in front of their peers and introduce each other. I watched them tell of their dreams and ambitions for the year ahead and beyond and I loved the purity of their messages and confidence they needed to have to simply stand up and speak. I really want them all to become more effective communicators and this type of work will help.

Untitled-1Our Open Evening last night was an overwhelming success. We had our busiest ever evening with huge numbers of prospective students and their families coming to visit. Our building fizzed with excitement because we are proud of our school and we love to show it off. We had over 200 students who attended as volunteers to help throughout the evening. They were so happy to be with us and the feedback already has highlighted the role and impact they had on our guests. Our faculty areas came to life with all sorts of interactive activities and the whole event had a warmth about it that we are proud of.

I want to give a special mention to Kian and Lily in Year 7 who both made speeches last night. They described, in their own words, how they felt about Beckfoot after only being with us for 8 days. They spoke with great confidence and passion about their new school, the opportunities that exist and their hopes for Year 6 students and families on the evening. I could barely tie my shoes at 11 years old and I am so very proud of them both for helping me and representing our school so well.

Our extra-curricular timetable began this week with loads of activities available in Sport, Creative Arts, Debating and so much more. Our staff and students have missed the additionality that these activities provide, and it is so great to see waves of students getting involved in all that is being provided for them. I cannot wait for sporting fixtures and performances to return soon to our fields and hall in the weeks ahead.

We have had lots of special news this week including being awarded with the Music Mark award for the quality of our music provision across school and our contributions to music more widely across the city. I am thrilled for the team and our students because this recognises what they do week in week out and it so deserved for Matt, Mike and the team.blog3

We had news that Ms. Mitchell in English, has been accepted onto the SSAT Leadership Legacy course for 2021-22. This is an incredible opportunity for her to develop and shine as a participant and practitioner and she follows in the footsteps of Ms. Towler who completed the course last year.

And finally, I want to share news about two students who are doing great things in sport at the moment. Sian, in Year 12, has had an incredible summer in badminton winning national ranking titles and beating England players in the process. We are hopeful that she too will soon get to represent her country if she keeps progressing as she has been doing. Ben in Year 11, travels to London today to prepare to play for Blackburn Rovers against Chelsea tomorrow. It is another wonderful opportunity for him, and we all wish him well.

Thank you again for your support and the strong start to the year that support has facilitated.

Take care.

Simon

Simon Wade

Posted 21st July 2021

Thanks and Rewards

It’s Summer and we are looking forward.

On Monday the nation moved a step closer to normality. Whatever your views on that decision are, there has been a notable lift for all. Of course, we must continue to look after ourselves and stay safe but, it will hopefully mean a return to normal from September and we can begin to look forward to a better educational experience for all.

I want to thank our students for their amazing attitude over the past 16+ months. They have demonstrated that they can handle anything that is thrown at them. They have continued to come to school, engage positively with learning and make us smile every day. That is special and they must never forget how Brave, Resilient and Unique they are.

I want to thank our families for the unwavering support for our school and the decisions taken. I know we have not got everything right, but I do know we tried. Your support and, sometimes, challenge has always been appreciated and I hope you feel we have done our best for you and your children.

Finally, I want to thank the amazing staff. I am very fortunate to lead a school and staff that cares passionately about young people. The staff have been incredible throughout and I want them, and you, to know how grateful I am.

On Monday, we had a very special day.ice cream reward Over 1100 students were rewarded for their outstanding behaviour and attitude to learning They get it right every day and are doing amazing things at school. We were thrilled with the weather and each student got a 99-ice cream with a drink. They were then able to relax on the field in the sunshine with friends. Their appreciation and manners were humbling, and they very much deserved the treat.

We will return to school in the week commencing the 6th of September. Due to the requirements for us to provide Asymptomatic testing for all our students, there will have to be a staggered start to the beginning of term. We will provide all the necessary details to you today (click here) and ensure we have all students back in school before the end of that first week.

I would like to wish you all a happy, restful and enjoyable summer break. Get some rest and be ready to do the most amazing things in the next academic year.

Simon

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Posted 2nd July 2021

Pushing the re-set button!

June to June (and Tuesday) has given us all a lift...

On Monday we launched our new academic year. We were not able to do so last year and there has been a determination from all the staff and students that we just get on and do it this time around.

Our students and staff have loved the change and the opportunity to push the reset button so to speak. Students have moved to different parts of the building and the change of environment has provided a much-needed boost for everyone. Our new Year 10 students have begun their GCSE courses and they have also had the opportunity to move from lesson to lesson as a result. They have loved it and made a strong start. Thank you to all our families for ensuring students are well turned out and prepared for learning. It is so important that we continue to insist on the highest possible standards of learning through to the summer term. Our students deserve that.

Our new Year 11 students have been busy sitting mocks in the Sports Hall under strict exam conditions. They have been magnificent, and the experience will be invaluable to them as they prepare for GCSEs next summer. We have been hugely impressed with them all and thank them for the manner in which they have approached the week. Fingers crossed for good results for them but also that they learn a great deal from the feedback from their teachers.

Next week is our Transition Week for new Year 7 students. Despite the current pandemic we are able to welcome those young people into school on Wednesday, albeit in bubbles. I am so delighted we can do so as it will undoubtedly help them to better understand our school, get to know the place and our staff a little better, but more so for them to know that they are so important to us. In a matter of weeks, they will be Beckfooters and will begin a journey with us that I hope will last for seven years.

Finally, something very odd happened this week. I was lost for words! Following the fantastic result on Tuesday against Germany, a Sixth Form student burst through a set of our exit doors and came running towards me as I was on duty at breaktime. I had no idea what was wrong as he came to an abrupt stop with the biggest smile on his face. He composed himself and simply asked me ‘how are Ireland doing in the Euros?’ I was completely lost for words which rarely happens. He then began to giggle and was quickly joined by a good many others keen to understand if I thought ‘it was coming home’. I simply stated that I was delighted for England and felt they had a gilt-edged opportunity to do something remarkable for the country at a time when it is much needed. That was not the response they wanted!! A few other words were said, as you can imagine, but I loved the fact that they were excited about something again and felt they could involve me even for just a few minutes. This is a very special job and moments like that are priceless.

Oh...and by the way, I really do hope it’s coming home!

Take care.

Simon

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Posted 18th June 2021

Rites of Passage

On Monday I arrived at work knowing that there would be an extension to the restrictions we face as a result of Covid 19 and felt a mixture of sadness and relief. I have no problem operating as we have been doing if that means we can continue to keep students and families safe and continue to play our small part in ensuring that we can come out of all this by the 19th of July. Our students have done all that has been asked of them and I know I am fortunate to have a staff, parents/carers and student community that are supportive of what we are doing regardless of individual circumstances.

My sadness comes because of the impact of the extension on so many of our plans but mainly the plans to join our exam students on their Prom evenings. We had booked those events in July and the extension has forced us to cancel them in line with the current level of restrictions and DfE guidance. This is the second year that our students have missed out and I am devastated for them. I see events like the Prom as a rite of passage and we were all very much looking forward to spending an evening alongside wonderful young people. I am so sorry that I have had to take the decision that these events can no longer happen. I look to the future and hope that this never happens again.

Our TAG (Teacher Assessed Grades) process is almost complete. We have uploaded all our marks to the exam boards and we now await next steps. The plan for us is to have Results Day face to face in school. Those days are also a rite of passage and last year we had to send the results out electronically. It was tough not to be with our students as we would normally be hence our determination to do as we always have this summer. As a reminder, the exams results dates have changed this year and will now take place in the same week in August. Our A Level students will collect their results on Tuesday 10  August followed by our GCSE students collecting theirs on Thursday 12 August. More details will follow.

We have made plans to ensure our students can move up a year on Monday 28 June as part of our annual June to June curriculum provision. It means that, although we still have to maintain our bubble provision at Key Stage 3, our students will be moved to a new area of the school and begin their new year’s work immediately. It also means that our new Year 10 and 11 students can operate as one large bubble and move between rooms. I’m excited that we can move forward like this whilst sticking to our very robust Risk Assessments. Our students have been amazing in coping with our arrangements and it has not been easy on them. I hope they can continue to thrive in the remaining weeks until the summer. I know they can.

In sporting news, we were thrilled and proud to learn that one of our Year 7 students, Charlie Palmer, has been selected to play for Yorkshire County Cricket U12s this season. This is a great achievement as he is one of only 24 players selected in his age group across the whole of Yorkshire. In the coming weeks, Charlie will play in a number of games against other county opposition and we wish him well and hope he very much enjoys the experience.

Continuing the sporting theme, our Beckfoot Table Tennis Coach, Hans Soova, was recently presented with the prestigious National Pride of Table Tennis Contribution to Table Tennis Award. Hans has been a fantastic coach and role model for so many of our students over the years. In that time, we have had the privilege of getting to know him and his amazing life story. He is an incredible person and this Award is much deserved.

As you will be aware from recent Blogs, our Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme continues to thrive at Beckfoot. DSC_0034Over 100 students initially signed up to complete the challenges as part of the programme and, last weekend, they completed the Bronze expedition by walking to Blackhills campsite. On the Friday, the students spent the day on our front field learning how to pitch tents and cook for themselves. When I first learned of the activities, I was a little concerned that few of them would manage to eat given they were in charge! How wrong I was.DSC_0038 As I visited each group I was staggered to find that they had cooked, washed up and cleaned the area around their tents ready for the next challenge. They were cooking pasta mainly, but some groups were stirring in all kinds of wonderful sauces and some were even adding things like chorizo! However, one group left me staggered. As I approached them, I could see punnets of strawberries. They had finished their meal by melting large bars of chocolate and then dipping their fruit into the chocolate to eat. Amazing. I want to thank all the staff that supported both days especially Ms. Roberts, Mr. Owan, Mr. Hines, Ms. Osborne. I also want to congratulate our students and their families for their enthusiasm, good spirits and care for one another. I am thrilled that we have been able to continue to deliver this Award in school and I know many of them will now go on to achieve their Silver Awards and possibly even Gold in the years ahead.

Emma benchFinally, I want to let you all know that we have taken delivery of and installed a memorial bench for Emma Taylor who sadly died last summer. The bench is at the front of school and it has already been a joy to see it being used by our students. Emma was an amazing young lady and her family have worked with us to ensure she is never forgotten as a most wonderful and special person and student.

Take care.

Simon

Entrance

Posted 28th May 2021

Half Term and a very special day!

It’s half term and this is a very special day for our school community.

Today we say goodbye to our Year 11 and 13 students. It’s always a day you think you are prepared for but rarely are. We have watched them grow over the years into very special young people each with gifts and talent that have, hopefully, been nurtured with us. I guess this year, more than any other, will be very poignant. Each of those leaving today has had to deal with the most difficult of circumstances. They have seldom complained but often worried about the impact of the pandemic on their learning, futures and wellbeing. They have shown remarkable resilience throughout and have made it to this point because of the support they have had at home, in school and from others around them. I often ask our students to be kind, to look after one another and I have seen them demonstrate this during the past 2 years. I have little doubt they will make an incredible difference to the world and will miss them greatly. All any of us really want is for them to shine brightly as they leave us and begin to make their way in life. I have little doubt they will. 
Year 11

I want to say a huge thank you to the staff and students for their efforts in making the recent assessments work without fault. Our students have had a good experience I think and know what it is like to sit exams in a formal and proper fashion. This will be a good learning experience for them I’m sure. They showed maturity, determination and real focus throughout and I hope they feel they have done their best; that is all we have ever asked.

I also want to thank the staff for their incredible efforts in marking vast numbers of papers as part of the TAGs process. Most have given up their evenings and weekends over the past month to ensure we have time to dedicate to calculating TAGs for each student in each of their subjects. The staff here are amazing in my view but what they have done over the past few weeks has been exceptional and I am very grateful to them all.

We had our annual Post 16 graduation evening last week, albeit virtually this year. The virtual world has become somewhat normal for us all and enables us to continue to celebrate the achievement of our students. I want to congratulate all those nominated as well as winners in each of the subject areas. I especially want to congratulate Alisha Ali for winning the Debbie Murray Award for excellence in Chemistry and to Hope Gambill for winning the inaugural Emma Taylor Award for outstanding contribution to the community. 

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The Sixth Form is a very important part of our school community and they set the tone and example for so many of our younger students. We love seeing them around the building and are very much looking forward to the new cohort who will be joining us in June for their transition week and in September as our new Year 12s.

Continuing the theme of Post 16 we are constantly evaluating our practice to ensure an outstanding curriculum and enrichment provision for our learners. From next year our Sixth Form students will have access to a variety of weekly lectures from staff and outside speakers to be delivered on a wide range of topics including Adoption, Neurolinguistic Programming, Fluorescence and Cultures of Memory. It is the first time and we are very excited about it. Watch this space!

Duke of Edinburgh continues to thrive at Beckfoot, and we have recently launched our 2021-22 Bronze Award programme with Year 9.DSC_0080 Over 100 students have signed up to complete the challenges as part of the programme. Last weekend, joined by Ms Roberts, Mr Owan, Mr Hines, Ms Osborne and several other staff, the students set off walking from school at 9am and finished at 3pm. This was their first experience and will be followed after half term with 2 days of challenges culminating in a walk to Blackhills Camp. It promises to be an eventful and exciting few days and I hope they enjoy the challenge and all the Award has to offer over the coming months.

Finally, I hope you all have a very happy and restful half term. We remain hopeful that Boris will announce good news on 21 June and that we can proceed as planned with our June to June timetable. Whatever happens we will continue to look after one another at Beckfoot and make the best of things together.

Take care.

Simon

Entrance

Posted 14th May 2021

Staff and students make Beckfoot special

We have almost come to the end of the Year 11 and 13 Assessment exams and our students have been incredible in their application and attitude throughout. They never cease to amaze me when it comes to dealing with change. Our students have worked hard over the past few years and especially so in recent months. They have coped with an ever-changing landscape and adapted to everything they have been faced with. Uncertainty has been the biggest challenge for all and despite their worries and concerns they have shown that they can cope with anything and have done throughout with a smile. They are very special young people.

Extra-curricular activities are back, and I am so happy. We have students involved in sport, the creative arts and a whole host of other things in recent weeks. School is alive and buzzing with excitement long after 3 o’clock and it is exactly what we all needed and wanted for so long. Last night there were over 150 students taking part in a whole host of activities and the screams, shrieks and laughter to be heard has been missing for too long. I am so grateful for all those involved in creating these opportunities for our students.

DSC_0030 (Medium)On a similar theme, our Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is back. Last week over 100 Year 9 students signed up for the Bronze Award and many other in older years are continuing with their efforts to secure Silver and Gold awards. Ms. Roberts and her team do an incredible job and their efforts have never dwindled throughout lockdown with so many students completing a variety of tasks and challenges and gaining much coveted awards that will always demonstrate their commitment to leadership, consideration of others and care for their local area. I’m excited to see what our new cohort get up to on their journey with the scheme. Watch this space!

Eva Bell, in Year 8, has been making headlines on social media and the local and national press this week. On May 7th Eva had 16 Eva Bell 2.galleryinches off her hair in aid of the Little Princess Trust and the premature baby unit in the NHS. She has a close connection with both and decided to do something to help. Eva initially wanted to raise £150 but has, to date, already exceed that target with over £1000. She is a shining example of what we are trying to create at Beckfoot. She is selfless, caring, driven and totally determined in all she does. She is also very persuasive and has managed to get a good number of staff to donate. That in itself is impressive! Well done Eva.

We are, as many of you know, continuing to move forward at pace in terms of our work around curriculum development and teaching. We began that work last year and in January and February we worked with a consultant (an Ofsted HMI) to help us quality assure our work in the Core Subjects, SEND and Humanities. This week we have been working with an additional Ofsted HMI consultant, to do similar work with the remainder of our faculties (Creative Arts, Modern Foreign Languages and PE). What has emerged is that we are doing great things at Beckfoot and our plans going forward are very strong. Ultimately, this work is focussed on the quality of education we are able to provide for our students and I am excited by our plans for the next couple of years. I guess the most important thing is that the staff are excited too. They are determined to provide the very best curriculum and learning opportunities possible and that is very much part of the ‘soul’ of Beckfoot.

I have written to families this week about face coverings. The Bradford Public Health Advice differs slightly from that of central government. The main difference is about the use of face coverings on corridors and communal areas. Like many parts of the country, Bradford is being cautious in its approach and we agree with their advice. So, from Monday, students will not be required to wear face coverings in lessons but will be required to do so in all other areas of our building. This will not apply to outside spaces. The requirement for public and school transport remains. For me this is a very positive move and means our students, who have been amazing when it has come to adhering to expectations, can further continue to get back to some form of normality.

Finally, for many of our students and their families, it was Eid-ul-Fitr yesterday and I very much hope it was a wonderful day for all those celebrating. From what our students have been telling me, I have little doubt it was.

Take care.

Erin Firth

Posted 30th April 2021

Well done Jackie!

Last night, the annual Telegraph and Argus Bradford Teaching Awards ceremony took place virtually. Beckfoot staff were shortlisted in three award categories which is something that has never happened before.

Our school nurse, Jackie Drew, was announced as the winner of the Support Staff Member of the Year for her work over the last 8 years at Beckfoot but more recently for her work in supporting the school, staff and students through COVID. She is a wonderful, selfless person and I could not be more proud of her. Well done Jackie.

Claire Smith, our Year 8 Nurture Lead, was also shortlisted in the Secondary Teacher of the Year category. Despite not winning, I am also incredibly proud of her and all she has achieved since joining Beckfoot. She has a wonderful career ahead of her. Well done Claire.

In other news, we are looking for your support with our annual Trust surveys. Today we have sent out the surveys for students and parents/carers. These are important to me because your views matter and help us shape our work in the future. I feel we have made huge progress at the school and did our best through lockdown to do things to the best of our ability. I need to know from families and students whether you feel the same way or, indeed, if I am utterly deluded! If you could find ten to fifteen minutes to complete one for us by Monday the 10th of May, I would be extremely grateful.

Our Assessments for GCSE and A Level students begin on Tuesday next week. Staff have prepared them really well and I wish them all the very best of luck. Despite everything these young people have been through, we feel they are in a good place to shine do amazing things in the coming weeks. We are determined to look after them and provide them with all the support they need to do well. They are very special young people who will change the world in the years ahead.

Finally, if you are a follower of us on Twitter then you will know just how much is going here every day from Poetry competitions to the UK Maths Challenge, from music, sport and drama work to the developments happening around Teaching and Learning. It is an exciting time at Beckfoot and there is much more to come. We are in the midst of working on our new School Improvement Plan for 2021 – 2023 and I feel our ideas will continue to drive the school forward whilst staying true to our values and continuing to place our students and staff at the heart of all we do.

Have a wonderful long weekend.

Simon

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Posted 16th April 2021

Welcome Back

I hope you all had a restful and relaxed Easter break. It seems a distant memory as I write but it was nice to enjoy a bit of family time and refresh.

The summer term has begun and with it comes a lot of things to look forward to. I especially like the longer days and the improving temperatures though I was disappointed in that respect this week!

We had a visit from Emma Pinnock from the Equal Group this week as part of our work around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. This is a major focus for Beckfoot School and the Trust this year. Emma visited lots of lessons and spoke with a great number of staff and students throughout the day. This followed a number of meetings and interviews prior to Easter with myself and key members of my team. It was wonderful for her to spend some time with us and she felt strongly that we have a very special school full of the most incredible staff and young people. She said lovely things about our inclusive approach and is determined to help us to improve even more.

Assemblies this week have been focused on careers and futures. I mention it because it involved a local business and an ex student, Mollie, who has forged a wonderful career with a great company whose work is focused on social media. It was incredible to see Mollie again; see how she has flourished since leaving Beckfoot but also her desire to give something back. I guess the best thing for me was our students seeing what is possible with hard work, resilience and determination and that there are opportunities out there for each of them whether that be locally or beyond.

We have received some additional information about how things will work for our exam students this week and have shared that with those students and their families. Of course, there is more to come, and we will share everything in the days and weeks ahead. It was nice to be able to provide a little more clarity bit also to share some of the nice things we have planned for them this half term.

I believe very much in rites of passage for young people. I felt very proud that we were able to give last year’s cohort a special send-off even though it was at short notice, but I will always regret that they didn’t have a Prom or a proper results day. This year, restrictions permitting, we have booked Prom dates for both Years 11 and 13. We plan to make their last day special too with the usual shirt signing, food, speeches and tears. Those students have given so much to Beckfoot and endured so much too. They will always be special to us and I want them to know that they matter, and we care. I am not sure I ever had that at school, but my staff and I are determined to do all we can to say goodbye properly to them.

Between now and then there is much work to do. Our students continue to work hard, and they have been amazing this week. We have asked them to no longer wear coats inside and that has been a non-issue for them despite the cold mornings. They very much want to do well at Beckfoot and do something with their lives. They are ambitious for themselves, their school and their futures and they continue to amaze us every day.

Finally, we begin our second school improvement plan this week and hope to complete that work by the end of this half term. Our first plan will end in July and I am proud of how we have come as a school and community since September 2019 despite the challenges of Covid. Our second plan will very much complement our School Strategic Vision 2020-23 and I am excited about some of the ideas that are already emerging for our work going forward. The thing that I am most excited about is that everything is focused on our young people and how we can be better for them in the weeks, months and years ahead. Watch this space!

Simon

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Posted 26th March 2021

Easter...and one year on.

It’s Easter and a year on from when all this started.

Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the pandemic and brought back memories of how this all began and the impact on our young people. We said goodbye to our students, tried to give our exam classes a good send off and hoped that it would only be a matter of weeks until we were back together again; how wrong we were.

Throughout the last 12 months we have tried our best to get things right. We have listened to feedback, made improvements where necessary, evolved our practice and tried to put students first when it came to making decisions. I am grateful to you for your support and honesty. It has helped us to be better.

Our students are back and doing really well. We are looking after those who are struggling and also making sure teaching is high quality and learning is strong. The vast majority of our students engaged well throughout each lockdown and their progress has been really great. Others less so and we will support everyone to be where they should be in the coming weeks and months. Rightly or wrongly, we are avoiding talk of ‘lost learning’ and ‘catch-up’ because I don’t feel that is helpful. Students are already worried and language such as that will only add to their worries.

They head off today for the Easter break and many are already telling me they plan to do some work, others saying they are going to read more and some that they are just tired and will see how they feel. Each one, of course is fine. Our exam groups will perhaps need a different approach but certainly one that allows them to feel in control of their studies and revision.Picture1

Talking of exam groups, we have sent home a booklet this week that will help them to focus their revision in readiness for the assessments in May. We have asked a number of them for feedback on the content and each has been very complimentary about the content. Indeed, they are all saying that it will help them hugely both with their revision plans and stress levels. I am very relieved that they feel that way because of everything they have been through. Of all the students in school these are the ones that have been most uncertain and anything we can do to better support them is a good thing.

Two very special events took place in the last week that I must tell you about. Firstly, Red Nose Day was a huge success. Our students in Years 7 and 8 were the driving force behind the day and did an amazing job. They raised over £1700 which is incredible especially in the midst of a pandemic. The local bank were staggered when we paid in our monies on Monday which made them feel extra special. At such a young age they are exactly the type of young people we are trying to shape at Beckfoot. Students that are selfless, considerate, driven, proactive and utterly respectful. Meeting them this week to thank them was certainly a highlight.

On a similar theme, our student leaders were involved in the very first Schools Pandemic Recovery Summit which took place yesterday. Over 20 schools and their students came together with various council leaders, Trust CEOs and other very special guests to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the young people of Bradford. It was incredible. We had representation from Misha, Erin, Evie, Jamie, Nick, Evie, Jibrail, Will and Imogen and they were a major part of the presentations as they recounted their experiences and hopes for the future as we emerge from this period. I don’t really think there is anything more powerful that a young person or group of young people telling us how they have felt over the past year and what they need to help them recover and feel hopeful about their futures. There are already plans to follow up their ideas and we will be right behind them in any way we can.

I must thank you for your continued commitment to the LFT testing process and keeping us informed of any issues. It is very important that we continue to test twice weekly over Easter so that we can hopefully have little or no interruption to the summer term. The tests have been provided to students this week to help. Any problems please let us know.

When we return after the break, we have asked that all students are in full and correct uniform. Standards are very important in any school but especially so at Beckfoot. Our uniform consultation proved very telling that our students and families love the current uniform. That is great and I have listened. We have also tried to be very accommodating in the last few weeks with uniform issues and would ask that everything is sorted for the 12th of April. Again, I am grateful for your continued support in this matter.

I have been approached by a few very eloquent (and some more commanding Year 11 students!) who were keen to continue to wear PE kit to school on the days they have PE lessons. In all honesty, until we are through this, I have to agree with them. And so, we will continue to encourage students to wear Beckfoot PE kit on the days they have these lessons. I hope it helps.

Finally, on the theme of uniform, I am asking students to no longer wear their coats around school. It was important that we relaxed this rule whilst getting through the winter. However, as we get into the summer this is no longer necessary. In classrooms where it is cold, staff may well allow this to continue but not in corridors or indoor communal areas. I hope this makes sense and you can see we have tried to be very accommodating over the past 6 months.

I hope you all manage to get some rest over the Easter holiday period. The future is looking very promising and the vaccine rollout is helping. The government are also planning to continue to lift restriction bit by bit and I am optimistic about what the future holds for us all.

Take care.

Simon

Covid testing

Posted 19th March 2021

A very special community

Our students returned to school in a staggered fashion last week and it has been very special to welcome them back to school once again. This second full lockdown has been tough and more so than first one in my view. The students have settled back into learning and they have shown just how resilient and strong they are. Despite everything they have been through, they have just got on with it and we are thrilled to be in their company once more. As I said in my last Blog, we missed their smiles, laughter and presence. Those things are back now, and I hope we never have to inflict that type of isolation on them again.

Mass Testing is done! We have completed over 6000 Lateral Flow Tests since January with over 5000 of those done in the past two weeks. The efforts of staff in making this happen,and for it to have been done without impacting on teaching and learning, has been a huge positive for us all. Added to that has been our students who have been remarkable in their approach to supporting our desire to keep everyone safe. I have to say that it has been quite a humbling experience and in an odd kind of way we will miss the process...but not too much!

I also want to thank parents and students who have supported the request to wear masks in lessons. I know that is not easy and many struggle. However, it is making a difference in school to how staff, students and families feel about being back in the building. Of course, we have a small number of students who are exempt, but they too are doing their bit andare very supportive of their classmates and staff. We have a very special community at Beckfoot, and it is at times like these especially that becomes so apparent. Please keep up the good work with the testing at home. Staff have been doing this for a few weeks now and the process is simple. If you have any issues, please let us know.

In other news, our school nurse, Jackie Drew, has been shortlisted in the Supporting Staff Member category in the Telegraph & Argus Education Awards 2021. She is a very special member of staff and has been immense in her support of staff and students over many years most especially these past 12 months. It is fitting that she is recognised in this way and we will keep our fingers crossed for her!

I had a visit from some students this week who wanted to talk to me about Sarah Everard and the issues the tragedy has raised for many of our young people. I was delighted that they felt they could come to me but more so because they wanted to do something to make a difference to young people in their school and wider community. I am hoping we will be able to put something together just after Easter and both students have agreed to help me share a message of safety and solidarity.

It’s Red Nose Day today. I love these days. Our students in Years 7 and 8 have been busy organising a variety of activities to raise money for those less fortunate. Please can you give generously if you can and thank you, as always, for supporting us with these events. It is so important to me that our students grow as selfless young people and are constantly reflecting on how they can make a difference to society no matter how big or small.

Finally, I want to ask for your help in a couple of ways. Firstly, I know many of you are now collecting students from school on an evening. Please can you ensure that you are parking safely and legally and being mindful that we have a lot of students leaving school and crossing roads at the end of the day. I need your help to keep them safe and ask that you consider the safety of others when parking and pulling out into traffic. Secondly, can I ask that you remind your children to wear a face mask when using both school and public transport. This is so important in enclosed spaces and your support, again, would be very much appreciated.

Have a lovely weekend.

Simon

Testing

Posted 5th March 2021

Missing the buzz

It’s Friday morning and already the weekend seems to be somewhat of a delaying mechanism for the return of our students from Monday. We have been busy this week, especially getting the site ready once again and preparing for the testing of our community members over the next two weeks.

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this second period of lockdown and no matter how I try to channel my thoughts, I always return to the same conclusion; it’s been tough! I say that mainly because of what life has been like for a typical teenager in that time. Their entire world has been thrown into turmoil and everything they have always known has been either changed drastically or ripped away from them. They have not been allowed to see family or friends, they have been stripped of their activities like sport, music, clubs and other such things and they have been kept away from each other for large parts of the past year. And all of this when the days are short, the nights are long and it's cold and miserable. Not easy for adults but even less so for a child. 

Throw into the mix Live Lessons. Whilst the majority have been wonderfully engaged, many have struggled. I am talking here about students who have attended lessons regularly as well as those who have not. They are desperate to be back in school and learning alongside their friends. They crave some form of normality and we must be mindful of the need for them to transition back into learning routines in the coming days and weeks. The culture of Beckfoot is about ensuring high standards for all in the most caring and nurturing environment we can provide.

From Monday, we must try to avoid talk about 'Lost Learning' or 'Catch-Up'. I don't want them (or you) worrying about longer school days or summer schools. I simply want them back in lessons with their teachers, being cared for and taught brilliantly. I want them to get back into the swing of things quickly and for them to be supported in terms of their wellbeing, their learning, the consolidation of what was taught over lockdown and understanding that our plans will make sure they are well prepared for next steps whether that is moving up a year or taking exams in Year 11 or 13. 

On the subject of exams, I have been dealing with a number of students who have contacted me to share their worries and anxieties about exams and mocks in particular. They are terrified that the mocks are the only source of evidence we will use to determine their grades. This is despite my assembly to them on the Friday before half term! I will speak to exam year students again next week and reassure them that we want the best for them and will use a range of evidence to inform our decisions about grades. We will look carefully at what comes from exam boards in relation to mini assessments and set papers that will allow them to shine. We are on their side and we will prepare them in the most incredible way to sit papers in each of the subjects they are studying.

I want to thank you all for your support for our testing arrangements. As of last night, over 97% of you have consented to your child having three tests in school over the next fortnight. That is incredible. I also want to thank you for your feedback on the booklet we sent through to you this week outlining our reopening arrangements, system of controls and other, what I hope has been, useful information. I know you probably feel bombarded with information via Twitter, Facebook, email and text but I would rather over communicate with you all than risk you missing out on important information.

I am very excited about next week. I can’t wait to hear chatter and laughter. I have missed that buzz. We will look after your children to the very best of our ability and support them as we start to get back to some form of normality over the coming weeks. Nothing is more important than that!

You know where we are if you need anything at all.

Take care,
Simon

Main-Hall

Posted 8th January 2021

What a week!

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break.

I wish that I were able, at this time, to add a sentence about how nice it is to have our students back and learning with us face to face. I am truly sorry that they are having, yet again, to endure further disruption to their education.

I hope that our immediate switch, this week, to Live Learning is making a difference to students and families and that it is helping in some small way to keep a routine of learning for all of them. That is very much our desire. Indeed, we have learned a great deal from the first lockdown and have prepared hugely for this since our return to school in September. I have to keep reminding myself that I am incredibly lucky to have a staff who have embraced the opportunity to engage with students in this manner and have put considerable effort into making sure that their teaching is aligned to the curriculum planned at the beginning of the year.

I want to thank the masses of you that have sent in messages of thanks and support because these are hugely appreciated by us all and make a difference. Below is just one of the great many messages received this week. Thank you all.


Good evening,
I just wanted to thank each and every one of you at Beckfoot. [My child's] live lessons are running smoothly and amazing communication daily re. the Covid processes, not to mention such great support last year.
Proud to be part of such an amazing school - below is an email to Ofsted telling them the same.

Stay safe, kind regards

Good evening Ofsted,  
I've been so impressed and thankful to Beckfoot School where my child attends, so much so, that I wanted to email to praise them. We're guilty of first to complain and last to compliment. Communication at the school is impeccable as are the processes surrounding Covid, very clear and organised and the live lessons have run so very smoothly with minimal to zero issues. Proud my child is part of such a great school.

Thank you all at Beckfoot x


I also want to thank those of you who have shared issues with us, mainly to do with electronic devices, and I very much hope we have been able to respond to each of you and provide the support you and your children have needed.

Finally, as you know, the Secretary of State has confirmed, this week, that GCSE and A Level exams are cancelled. He has also indicated that they will be replaced by teacher assessments though the detail of what that means, exactly, has yet to be shared. I know that this brings additional uncertainty for our young people and we have tried to alleviate that, since the announcement, via our various communications and the assembly on Wednesday. What is most important now is for our exam students to continue to engage fully in the online learning provision and let us worry about the details. At this stage, we are not allowed to engage in any conversations about grades nor are we in a position, in January, to be able to provide those. We have many months of teaching, learning and assessment ahead of us and we need full commitment from our young people in order for them to complete courses, submit coursework (where applicable) and demonstrate their abilities at every opportunity. Once more information is forthcoming, we will be in touch.

Please continue to look after yourselves and those around you. Help us to fight this pandemic by sticking to the rules and never hesitate to get in touch if we can help you in any way.

Take care,

Simon

Winter Scenes for Desktop13

Posted 17th December 2020

It's Christmas!

What a year 2020 has been. Looking back to this time last year we were excited to finish for the Christmas holiday and spend time away from school with family and loved ones. I remember there being murmurings about some virus but there was little to know and it all seemed too far away for it to be a problem for any of us. How wrong I was.

2020 has brought many challenges to us all but it has also brought perspective and a great deal of camaraderie. As a school we have remained open throughout. We have provided food and support for families that have struggled, through no fault of their own, and we have worked hard to look after our students and keep them engaged in learning as best we could. We have not been perfect but I know we tried our very best to do things right. I am proud of our school community for all they have achieved during lockdown.

For the past four months I have had the privilege to lead this school in the most uncertain of times. I say that because Beckfoot, without its staff and students, is just a building. Nothing more. It comes alive every day when our young people arrive and it transforms into the Beckfoot we love; a place full of life and that special ’Buzz’. I have been working here for 18 years, on and off, but this term has demonstrated to me, more than any other, why Beckfoot is so incredibly special. My staff are central to that and they come here every day to make a difference. Covid 19 did not change that.

Since returning in September I feel we have done most things really well and, thankfully, you seem to agree. Our Risk Assessment has proved to be very strong and our attendance is comparable to any other year because you have trusted us. For that I am so grateful. We have had over 30 confirmed cases over the past 15 weeks and been required, on each occasion, to identify close and social contacts to send home. In almost all cases we have had the most incredible support from parents and carers which I am thankful for. Indeed, when I talk to other Headteachers it is clear we have done very well to operate as we have been doing and also to have such limited staff and student absence.

We have lots on this week but it is also very much business as usual. We want students to continue to learn as time is precious to them and us. We also want reward them for all they have achieved and things are happening all week culminating on Friday with the Virtual Staff Panto to be shown during period 5. At the time of writing I am concerned that the staff are taking things too seriously. I have heard them singing and acting and they really need to enjoy the process a little more because I know that their vocations lie in teaching and not in show business, so it should be entertaining at the very least!

Finally, I want to thank you all for your incredible support throughout this term. I want to wish you a very Happy Christmas and I sincerely hope that 2021 is a good year for you whatever it may bring.

Take care,

Simon

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Posted 11th December 2020

A challenging term

This time next week and we will be looking forward to our last day and celebrating the end of term with our staff and students. It has been a long and challenging term but also an exceptional one.

As is always the case at this time of year our students are getting excited and looking forward to the Christmas break. However, this year something is different. Our students are more reflective than ever and concerned about what many are facing this holiday and through the winter. They have united in their efforts to bring a little joy and comfort to others and I could not be prouder of them.

Our Sixth Form, led by Millie, have organised a toy appeal to support children via the work of the Samaritans in Keighley. They have amassed a huge number of toys for all age groups through local business sponsorship and the individual efforts of post 16 students. Millie is delighted that this work will allow some families to have something under the tree for their children this year and that is incredibly special.

In the lower school Hafeez and others have been collecting food for our local food bank. We have already donated a large amount of food items to the Bingley Foodbank and they were overwhelmed by our generosity. We are still collecting donations and will be dropping off what we collect again next week.  The staff at the Foodbank have said that they have enough pasta and soup currently but are happy to have anything else tinned/non-perishable, especially any sweets/chocolates for children over Christmas. If you can help in any small way, please do.

We are also happy for students to wear a Christmas jumper next Friday as long as the rest of their uniform is correct. All we ask is a donation of £1 per student/family which will go to the Bradford Soup Run, a charity that has been dear to Beckfoot for many years. Please donate via ParentPay if you can.

In October we were invited to nominate a student to be part of the First Give Student Advisory Panel. This panel will help ensure that the First Give initiative stays in touch with its core ideals of getting young people involved in raising awareness of others in their communities. We were very happy to nominate Hana in Year 10 because of her work and commitment to this cause last year and just last week we were informed by the First Give charity that she was chosen from a national field to become a member of the panel. It is remarkable and we are all very proud of her. She will be superb in that role without question.

In sporting news, Archie in Year 11 has continued his motorsports pursuits and has recently won the Junior Rotax PF International Autumn Cup. Archie is combining his studies with his love of motorsport to great effect and is a shining example of what can be achieved through sheer dedication, ambition and resilience. He has a great future ahead of him and we are thrilled for him and his family.

We have taken the decision not to close next Friday. The announcement that came from the government was not helpful in our view and I am very conscious of not impacting on students learning or families having to find childcare at short notice. We will close for the Christmas break at 2.45 pm next Friday as planned. I need to ask for your help in supporting our Risk Assessment with your children. We need them to ensure they are keeping themselves safe next week especially. They need to wear face coverings on school buses and public transport; they need to walk around school wearing them too and be extra conscious of the two metre rule at social times. I say this because, although case numbers are falling, the reality is that they are still coming through to us. Given our role in supporting Test and Trace I do not want to be calling families from Monday and telling them that students have to self-isolate over Christmas.

In addition, I will write to you all separately later today to let you know that my leadership and I have been told to work in support of the Test and Trace scheme until Christmas Eve just in case we have any reports of a positive case that we have to share with students and families.

Finally, although I will write my Blog again next week, I wanted to take this chance to thank you all for your unwavering support since March but most especially since September. We have tried our best to get things right and to communicate with you all fully and honestly. We have not always got it right but for the most part we have achieved a great deal as a result of working collectively to support our young people. They have been wonderful throughout and have embraced both the change and challenges of the Autumn term without much fuss. Indeed, I often find myself wondering how I would have coped, and I am not convinced I would have coped as well as our students. They are remarkable, unique and most of all, special.

Take care.
Simon

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Posted 23rd November 2020

A week of ‘virtual’ firsts!

On Tuesday evening we launched the first Virtual Creativity Showcase Awards on our website. It was a huge success! This event would normally be held in school in the main hall with the place filled with students and families looking at the work of our amazing students. Mr Hussain and Mr Stimpson were determined that we would not allow Covid to get in the way of celebrating the work of our talented young people and so was born the idea of a virtual event. Accompanied by Evie on piano playing a Stevie Wonder song, the event was an incredible journey into the Arts and the work of our special Creativity faculty, showcasing stunning art, music, drama and photography. So many students took part and I am very proud of all those who were nominated and those who were winners. The Creative Arts is a very important part of our curricular and enrichment work at Beckfoot and long may that continue.

We also launched our first Post 16 Virtual Open Evening on Thursday. Our Post 16 team took over the front page of our website to share all the information on the courses available, support, enrichment opportunities and what to expect over the next couple of years should our Sixth Form be an option you wish to consider. We hope it allowed you to make an informed choice about our Sixth Form provision for 2021.  All information can now be accessed in the Sixth form area of the website. Application forms must be returned no later than Friday 8 January 2021. Please get in touch with the team for any additional information or guidance.

In a week of ‘virtual’ firsts, we had our third Virtual Parents Evening for Year 9 last night. 99% of you managed to make appointments and keep them which is incredible. We are so grateful for your support for our school and students. It makes a difference to our young people when they know we are working in partnership, with their futures the most important thing to us all. Thanks also for your feedback with many seeming to prefer the online approach. Please do keep letting us know your thoughts on these evenings both positive and developmental.

The mock exams started on Friday morning for our Year 11 students. The exams will go through to Thursday this week. I know our students are anxious and we had a good assembly ahead of the first exam where I talked to them about how they are doing, what can be learned from the mock exams and how that learning will shape our collective approach to the real GCSE exams in the summer. The truth is that they are a very special bunch and doing well matters to them. They have been through a great deal of uncertainty and we are more determined than ever to look after all our students, but most especially those facing exams at the end of this academic year. I want them to try their best, learn from the experience and continue to work with their teachers, who care deeply about them, all the way through to June. What I do know is that I have a wonderful and dedicated staff who will work tirelessly to give them every chance of success and I cannot ask for more than that.

If I may, could I please ask you to support our desire to keep students safe by asking them to wear masks on all forms of public transport and when out and about in shops and in the local community. So many of them are meticulous when it comes to using face coverings, hand sanitising and keeping socially distant. However, a few, from time to time, forget and we need to keep reminding them of the need to follow guidelines and keep themselves and their families safe. Thank you in advance.

Finally, as the temperatures drop due to the onset of winter, I have been thinking about our COVID Risk Assessment in place in school. Part of the Risk Assessment is to ensure we are ventilating the building as much as possible. That means that all external doors and windows are open throughout the day to help keep fresh air circulating. That also means it is getting increasingly cold for our students. Whilst they have been great and don’t complain, I am acutely aware that for many of them it is becoming difficult. So, we have decided to allow all students to wear their coats in all areas of the building from today. They have been very supportive of our new PLS, our new COVID rules and our desire to keep them safe and in education full time. I hope this helps and that you can all understand the rationale behind this decision.

Two weeks of lockdown are now behind us, so we are now over halfway through. Keep positive and keep looking after those around you.

Simon

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Posted 13th November 2020

An eventful few days...

It’s been an eventful few days at Beckfoot and I want to share what has been happening around school since my last Blog a week ago.

We’ve had a relatively quiet week in terms of Covid and the slight spike in cases last week was not all that surprising following half term. Who knows what lies ahead but I want to reassure you all that we are determined to always stay open to educate our students and enable them to lead a largely normal life for much of their week. I say this because they are doing incredibly well at school. They are happy, engaged and amongst friends and I cannot stress enough the importance of this. I am also pleased that many of you feel able to share your concerns and we are all too happy to chat to you about these and, hopefully, put your mind at ease. Thanks, as always, for your incredible support and messages; they really do make a difference to my staff and me.

I have been meeting with my staff this week to talk about exam classes. I have been asking all 94 of them (yes, 94!) about their students and the progress they have made since returning to school. I have loved seeing the staff one to one and talking to them about things that really matter for our young people. I have been stunned by the level of preparation for those meetings, the detail they can go into about each child but, mostly, because of their care and passion for each student in their care. This week has provided yet another reminder to me about how fortunate I am at Beckfoot to have such committed and dedicated staff, further strengthened by the appointment of remarkable new staff.

The season of fundraising and getting involved in charitable causes has also arrived. Today is Children in Need day and, despite lockdown, we have asked each child and staff member, where possible, to contribute £1 via ParentPay for the privilege of wearing non-uniform. Many have been thinking about what to wear since last week and I’m sure the students have too! I love these events for lots of reasons but mainly because our students make a difference to the lives of others. They have spent some time in their tutor groups thinking about others and reflecting on what contributions they can make to those around them, and the wider world. Today will be a success regardless of how much we raise and the frustrations of not being able to do all the things we usually do.

The staff are also doing their bit and many of the male staff have embarked on the growth of facial hair for Movember to raise money and awareness of health and well-being issues facing men every day. I have paid my money and begun the journey of the moustache. At this point the feedback I have received has been mixed. In fact, it has been more pity than anything else. My children are no kinder, but I am determined to go the full 30 days and do my little bit at this time.

Continuing the theme of charitable work, I want to recognise and praise the efforts of one of our Year 9 students, Emma-Leigh, who has, for many years, been involved in a lot of charity work and is determined to make a difference to her city. She has recently received an NHS Young Hero Certificate of Appreciation Award in recognition of her work in her local area. She is currently working to raise money for Martin House and we are very proud of her.

The ‘All in Award’ cast of Beckfoot and Hazelbeck School have worked incredibly hard with Mr Lawal to produce a stunning video to celebrate Performing Arts. Click here to take a look.

As you know I really want to hear about and celebrate the achievements of students within and beyond school and this week we were told of some dance success. Emily in Year 10 and her younger sister have been selected for the Yorkshire Dance Elite Associates Team following rigorous auditions involving young dancers from across Yorkshire and the North East. Emily will now embark on a training schedule involving tuition from experts in the areas of Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Commercial Dance. It’s fantastic news and we are very proud of Emily.

Before I finish, I need to remind us all about the continuing need to keep ourselves safe. The use of face coverings is compulsory in school (on corridors and in communal indoor areas) and on all forms of public transport. Washing hands regularly and not touching the face are easy ways to help combat the spread of the virus as is the ‘Catch, it Bin it, Kill it’ approach to coughing and sneezing. Keeping apart two metres and avoiding face to face communication where possible also helps. I hope that if everyone sticks to the rules, we will get through this and look forward to the new year and a return to normality.

Take care,

Simon

Simon Wade

Posted 6th November 2020

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone. I hope you had a good half term and managed to get a rest from the everyday pressures of school and all the preparations that go with it.

We return to the news of a second national lockdown and that’s not easy on our young people and their families. I’m sure I would have struggled as a teenager, especially with the loss of sport and the freedom my childhood gave me. I am proud of our students for their resilience and determination and the fact that our school is open and intends to remain so throughout this pandemic. School, for me, is the best place for students to be. They are safe, well looked after, well-educated and can be with friends and enjoy a sense of normality every day. Having said all that, school is not without its challenges. We are constantly navigating our way through new challenges and it’s not easy. We have dealt with several confirmed cases this week, all of which have had minimal impact I’m pleased to say, and we are working tirelessly to reassure our students with the facts regarding Covid-19. Our Risk Assessment and the plan we created in the summer allow us to be very specific in terms of who must self-isolate and why. In all cases this week I have been so grateful for the support from all parents and carers we have contacted. We have phoned everyone since we had to start sending students home as I feel the personal touch is important in trying to reassure students and families. That will continue.

 Period 6 began this week for our Year 11 students. It is an extra lesson provided by our staff on a voluntary basis, to support students to achieve the best outcomes in their GCSE exams next summer. We had 90% attendance this week and we hope to ensure those targeted students maintain this dedication in the weeks and months ahead. It is not easy for them, but this provision is designed to encourage them to invest time into their futures now and, in doing so, help to ensure they will have the choices they need at post 16 to lead happy and successful lives.

We had our second Virtual Parents’ Evening for Year 13 last night and again it was a huge success. I feel it’s so much more personal that a written report and, despite the time being limited to just 5 minutes, we intend to stick with this provision for the foreseeable future. Our next Virtual Parents’ Evening is for Year 9 on Thursday 19 November.

Our Blended Learning Strategy is really developing, and we have had just two bubble closures since September. In both cases we have facilitated Live Teaching for all 25 lessons in the week. The staff and students have embraced this new way of teaching and learning, and it is so much better for everyone. For Post 16 lessons we are also developing our ability to deliver lessons with some students physically in school and others accessing those same lessons whilst self-isolating. We will monitor the effectiveness of this dual system in the hope that the technology will allow us to operate in this way for all lessons.

In other news, we have some sporting successes to celebrate:

  • Scarlett in Year 8 has been selected to represent Team GB in cheerleading
  • Charlie in Year 8 has been selected to represent the North East England u13 in Hockey
  • Annie in Year 10 won Gold in the 60cm competition at the West Yorkshire Equestrian Championships and silver in 70cm competition on a horse called Charlie

We are very proud of all three students and their commitment and dedication to their sport to achieve such elite honours.

We have also learned this week that Genevieve in Year 13 has achieved a Duke of Edinburgh Certificate of Achievement - Gold Award (Covid version). This is incredible and testament to her dedication, resilience, commitment and courage over the past few years.

In all cases our students are to be admired and congratulated on how they are managing themselves in these times. We must never lose sight of how special and unique each of them is.

Have a lovely weekend.

Simon

Posted 23rd October 2020

It’s half term!

What a few weeks it has been. Despite the trials and tribulations of the past few months it has been wonderful to be back at school and working alongside our amazing staff and students.

As you know, we have had our share of Covid related issues, but I feel we have dealt with them well and ensured the safety of our school community. We have provided work and a digital device where needed and we have also ensured no child has to worry about being hungry because they are away from school. I feel proud of that.

We have had to close just one class bubble since September and despite that we were able to support learning by delivering 25 hours of Live Teaching for those students throughout this past week. In truth, because of technology, it is easier to do this when an entire class is away. We are not yet at the stage where we can allow individuals students to interact with live teaching taking place with classes in school, but we are working on it. Having said that, our Blended Learning provision via Microsoft Teams and our online learning platforms has been well received because of the content and the alignment to our curriculum in each year group. As always, your feedback is most welcome.

On Wednesday this week I was invited for a three-course meal which was prepared and cooked by the students of class group 711. I arrived at 2.15pm and was escorted to my table and presented with a menu. I ordered orange squash to accompany my starter of Meatball and Tomato soup which arrived very promptly. I then had Sweet and Sour Chicken Wraps followed by Brownie Bites and Strawberries. The students looked after me brilliantly. At the end I gave my views on each course, though the empty plates were enough for them to know I was happy! They were magnificent and they all signed my menu as a keepsake of a very special and memorable afternoon.

We have also been celebrating our wonderful students by holding our Red-Carpet events this week. I have been thrilled with the way our new Positive Learning Strategy has been embedded and the fact that it focuses on our student’s positive attitude and behaviour. We had over 1200 students accessing those events this week as a result of their positive and proactive approach to their learning. They are getting it right in lessons every day and are being recognised and rewarded for it. It has been a special week for the staff and students, and I can’t wait until Christmas to do it all again.

We had our first Virtual Parents’ Evening last night. I must admit being very anxious about the whole thing. We consulted on the best route forward for communicating with parents and carers and all agreed that face to face conversations were better than written reports which can, at times, be a little soulless. The evening was a huge success and the feedback received from staff and parents/carers has been incredible. Of course, there were a few issues with technology at the outset, but these were sorted out quickly and the evening went very smoothly. This has given us the confidence to continue like this whilst we are restricted by the current circumstances and we are very much looking forward to doing it again as the year progresses.

We have been celebrating sporting success in recent weeks too. As many of you know, Creative Arts and Sport are very important to me. I want to celebrate the achievements of our students, write to them individually and mention them in my Blog. We are proud of them and understand the sacrifices involved for any young person who is doing remarkable things in and beyond school. I feel that there is a strong link between hard work and success, and one is rarely achieved without the other. We have been celebrating the following students over the past couple of weeks:

Year 7 - Harry who has been selected to represent the Bradford Schools U12 football squad for the 2020/21 season

Year 8 - Jamie who has been selected to represent the Bradford Schools U13 football squad for the 2020/21 season

Year 8 - Ollie who has been selected to represent the Bradford Schools U13 football squad for the 2020/21 season

Year 10 - Charlie who has been awarded a Rugby League scholarship with the Bradford Bulls.

I am delighted to celebrate the achievements of any young person who is doing remarkable things outside of school, but the truth is that we are not always aware. Please let me know about how your children are doing and I will do my best to recognise those achievements throughout the year.

Finally, thank you to you all for your support this half term. It has not always been easy, but you have placed your faith in us to get things right for your children. You have sent messages of thanks and support and you have also told us when you think we could be doing better; it all helps. Have a wonderful and safe half term holiday and take care of one another.

See you all on the 2 November when school re-opens.

Simon

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Simon Wade

Posted 9th October 2020

We’ve been back a month already!

Morning-3I cannot quite believe it’s October.

In the summer none of us knew what lay ahead, but our community has been amazing in the manner they have approached the new way of operating. A very special thank you to staff, students, parents and carers for the support you have each given us to facilitate a return to learning and a little more normality.

We had a Fire Alarm test on Tuesday this week. Why on earth am I telling you about that? Well, for me, this event is always a real test of the culture that exists within a school and for some reason, no matter which school I work in, I always get slightly anxious beforehand. I had little to worry about because our students were incredible in the way they calmly and silently vacated the building and followed all instructions. I was both humbled and grateful for how we all worked together to make it a safe and very smooth exercise. It is quite something to watch 1700 young people and the staff emerge from the school as they did. Really special to see!

DSC_0005I am sure many of you will be wondering how we intend to communicate with you when it comes to parents’ evenings and I am happy to say we have a plan. After conversations with several of you, we have decided to carry out virtual face to face meetings with teachers. Each meeting will last 5 minutes to maximise the number of parents/carers a member of staff can see. The technology we will use will end the meeting on exactly 5 minutes and move the member of staff on to the next appointment automatically. Appointments will be made on a first come first served basis and, although not everyone will get every appointment they require, it is a much more personal way to operate these evenings. As always, we will ask for your feedback after the first evening to see how we can further improve. This will be a first for us, so your patience and support will be greatly appreciated.

DSC_0007You are aware that we, like most schools across the UK, have had a few confirmed cases of Covid 19. We have followed the guidance as set out by the DfE and PHE. We are immediately asked to identify ‘Close’ contacts and ‘Social’ contacts and we use our classroom seating plans software to support that process. Once we are clear which students are potentially at risk, and therefore need to self-isolate, we ensure all families affected are spoken to personally about the situation, how to access work from home and when they can return. The support we have had from families of those affected and more widely has been phenomenal. For those that have ongoing concerns I have tried to ring each individually to provide reassurance. These are the times we are living and working in and I hope the communications are helpful. I know it can be frustrating that the exact details cannot always be shared.

Morning-2I cannot pass on the opportunity to remind you of our Health and Safety obligations. We require all staff and students to wear a face covering in communal areas. We ask that hand sanitiser is applied on entry to school and each lesson and we also ask that the 2-metre rule is observed wherever possible. We ask students not to mingle in groups of more than six at social times and when walking to and from school. We ask students to wear face coverings on school and public transport too. All these measures help to minimise risk, so I feel they are reasonable requests. Your support in reinforcing this message is appreciated.

DSC_0029Finally, I was delighted to welcome to school on Monday, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, parents of Emma Taylor who sadly passed away over the summer. We had a lovely chat about lots of things but mainly about Emma. They very generously presented me with a cheque for £5000 in her memory. We have agreed to spend the money in several ways. We intend to purchase a bench to be placed at the front of school so staff, students and visitors can remember her every day. We will purchase an award, to be presented annually to a deserving Post 16 student who contributes so much to our school. 

Some of the money will be used to support any young people who need help to pursue their dream of studying medicine beyond Beckfoot and, for those that gain a place at university, the money will also fund their first stethoscope. Emma, as many of you know, was an incredible young lady who loved Beckfoot and spent seven very happy years with us. She was due to study medicine at Liverpool and we want her memory to live with us in the years ahead. I am incredibly grateful to her family.

Take care.
Simon

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Posted 14th September 2020

Welcome back!

A special welcome to our new Year 7 students and those joining our 6th Form from elsewhere. Both groups have already proved to be an amazing addition to our school.

I have been humbled by the way our staff and students have accepted and embraced our re-opening plans, and more so by the manner in which they have approached learning. It is an absolute delight  that we have made such a strong start but it’s also important to remind ourselves that we each have to play our part to maintain that strength and build upon it as we progress through the year.

I have tried to get to as many lessons as possible since last Tuesday and it has been a joy. I have been struck by the maturity of our young people and their determination to learn, despite a long period of absence from their usual style of learning. They have been engaged and happy to contribute fully to lessons which was great to see. Beckfoot has a special ‘soul’ and I have witnessed that throughout our school this week.

I had the opportunity to visit our Oracy workshops with Year 7 on Friday. I listened to them stand up in front of their peers and introduce each other. I watched them tell of their dreams and ambitions for the year ahead and beyond and I loved the purity of their messages and the confidence they showed to simply stand up and speak. I really want them all to become more effective communicators and this type of work will help.

I have loved having the opportunity to talk to our students again. I have missed their character, humour and energy. Walking around the school during lessons and break times has been a pleasure and it is so good to have life back into our building because our young people have returned.

I want to thank every parent and carer who has trusted us with our plans to open. We had an attendance figure of 99% last week and that is stunning. We have been making slight tweaks to our plans each day as we learn more about the flow of students and how to make things better for them.

Thank you again for your support.

Take care,

Simon

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Posted 13th March 2020

Sometimes you are just left in awe!

What a few weeks it has been. Full of activity and an unprecedented occurrence.

Our BSL group began the term with a great Goalball event which was the result of a collaboration with Hazelbeck. They did an incredible job raising awareness of impaired vision and how a sport such as Goalball can be enjoyed regardless of disability. I loved it! The competitive streak was there for all to see amongst the staff and students who took part. It was great fun and I am grateful we have such selfless young people in school who are constantly thinking about others.

We have been busy these past few weeks getting ready for Sports Relief. The aim is to support young people in Bradford who suffer with their mental health. Indeed, 1 in 9 young people suffer with some form of mental health issue between the ages of 11 and 19. In Bradford that amounts to approximately 6608 students. The aim of the PE Department and the Sports Council has been to ensure that collectively our students walk 6608 km in support of mental health awareness and raise over £5000 for Sports Relief. Fundraising activities have included Sponge the Teacher, Dodgeball, staff v students netball, rowing challenges, pay to play sport, cheerleading, dance and lots more. I am really hoping they raise the money they are aiming for but, regardless, it has been an amazing few weeks and I am so proud of our entire school community with the Sports Council and Ms. Holmes leading the way.

In other news we were made aware of the students who will be joining us in September from primary schools in the area. We have in excess of 1600 families who chose our school and we have been allocated our full number of students which is great. Our sixth form has also been busy, and we have received over 500 applications to study with us in September. We remain a heavily oversubscribed school and I will never take that for granted because we must keep working hard to provide the very best education we can for the families that entrust their children to us each year.

Finally, I attended the Beckfoot Young Musician event last night. Wow! From the first to the last act, from the solo to the ensemble performances I was completely in awe of our students. I saw singers, guitarists, classical musicians, bands, pianists and a harpist which, in truth, very much reminded me of home. There was also a very cool rendition of the A-Ha classic, Take on Me by the hand chimes group. I had no idea how to pick any winners but thankfully that was not my role last night. In the end the award for Beckfoot School Young Musician of the Year went to Evie Kitching in Year 12. Her piano performance was breathtaking, and she is a very talented and special young lady. The evening was a huge success and I want to thank the judges, the BSL team, Ms. Roberts and the Duke of Edinburgh team, Mrs Clark, Mr. Jackson, our peripatetic team, the Creative Arts staff and most especially, Mr Lee and Mr Stimpson for all they do in to provide a wealth of opportunities for our students.

Finally, in this time of Covid 19, I want to reassure you all that we continue to follow the advice provided to us daily by both the Department of Education and Public Health England.

Simon

Simon Wade

Posted 31st January 2020

Head's Blog

Beckfoot continues to be a busy place with a lot happening. I love to hear about how our students are doing outside of school and I am thrilled to tell you about three young people who have achieved amazing things recently.

Esme, one of our Sixth Form students, entered a competition for the Geographical Association, where she focused on fires in the Amazon Basin and was picked to represent Team UK. She is one of only four 16-19-year olds in the country to be selected. She will be travelling to Istanbul with the team in August, to compete against young people from over 50 countries worldwide. We couldn’t be prouder of Esme and know that she will represent her team and Beckfoot brilliantly whilst abroad.

One of our Year 9 students, Owen, became the boys group B Yorkshire and northeast regional champion on the 3m diving board. This is an incredible achievement and is the culmination of hours of hard work, dedication and practice.

Also, in diving, Elizabeth, a Year 10 student, competed against top junior divers from across Europe in the prestigious Ulla-Klinger Cup in Aachen, Germany. The standard was high, including competitors from the Russian & Spanish National teams. Lizzie secured a Gold in the Mixed 3m Synchro event and in the individual events took Bronze on the 1m board. Following her success in Germany, Lizzie then competed in the Scottish Open & National Diving Championships in Edinburgh. In the 3m board Lizzie came away with the Bronze medal; in the Women’s 3m Synchro Lizzie and her partner secured Gold and in the team event she also secured the GOLD!

In other news, we hosted a STEM roadshow for Year 7 students who were gripped from start to finish. The roadshow was designed and delivered in partnership with the RAF and the Royal Navy with a focus on Energy and was a huge success proving both engaging and extremely informative.

Our BSL elections were held last week and the results were shared on Friday. It was a joy to see how our candidates promoted their manifestos and sought to gain the confidence (and votes!) of the school community. I also loved the voting process which replicated how we as adults vote in local and general elections. Being elected by their peers will empower them and give them confidence as individuals to be leaders their school. I can’t wait to introduce them all in our staff meeting!

At Beckfoot we recognize the importance of effective home learning and that this significantly improves outcomes for students. We are about to launch a home learning webpage that will provide clarity for students and families around what effective home learning looks like and what, exactly, students should be doing in each of their subject areas.

Mocks begin next week, and these are incredibly important exams. They will replicate fully the GCSE experience and will be a test of what students know and where their knowledge gaps still exist. I believe that if students do their very best over the next two weeks, the information that will emerge from their results and feedback will allow them to really focus their efforts and revision over the remaining weeks. I am excited about what our students are capable of if they remain determined, focused, honest with themselves and staff and continue to aim high. I wish each and every one of them well.

Finally, I would like to invite you to our next Parent Forum on Thursday 5th March. We will be sharing with you are new Positive Learning Strategy to be launched after Easter and seeking your views on the rationale that sits behind our thinking. I will also be talking to you about uniform and, again, seeking your views on potential changes for 2021. It would be great to see you there if you can make it.

Simon

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