Young people are incredible and show us that every day
Sometimes you have to pinch yourself in this job just to remind yourself that what is happening at Beckfoot is incredibly special and must never be taken for granted by any of us.
I try to make sure that I write this blog every two weeks. I started that tradition in September 2019 and, at the time, felt it was the right thing to do for two reasons. Firstly, I was not sure I would have enough to write about and secondly, I didn’t want to bore anyone with my ramblings. Four years later I always seem to have so much to share and that is reflective of our school and our students. They are amazing and doing the most wonderful things every day. Here is a flavour of what has been going on in the last 10 days.
In sport a number of students in years 7 to 11 took part in the recent Bradford Schools Cross Country Championships. They represented school brilliantly, running with real determination and grit in freezing conditions. Lara in Year 11 finished in 1st place in the intermediate girls race and Caden in Year 10 finished 3rd in the intermediate boy’s race. In the junior races notable performances came from Bella in Year 7 and Harry in Year 8 with both finishing 5th in their respective races. Other fantastic runs came from Sam, Harrison, Violet, Isabelle, Yelyzaveta and Lilly. As a result of their performances the following students have been selected to represent Bradford at the West Yorkshire Championships later this month: Lara (Yr. 11), Caden (Yr. 10), Sam (Yr. 9), Harry (Yr. 8), Harrison, Violet, Isabelle and Bella (Yr. 7). Ms Lawal, the PE team and everyone at school is beyond proud of their efforts and positivity. We cannot wait to see how they get on next.
Ethan in Year 9 has also being making the headlines in recent days. He has recently signed for Burney FC following a short trial period during which time he scored a hat-trick against Everton FC at their Finch Farm training ground. Ethan is thrilled to have this opportunity which will include a day release from school each week. He is incredibly humble and level-headed and is excited about what lies ahead. He is also determined to enjoy every minute and every experience that comes his way. We are immensely proud of him.
In debating our Post 16 students Lilia, Ruby and Halima (all Y12) took part in the second round of the ESU Mace debating competition. The girls debated in opposition to abolishing the House of Lords and came up against some fierce competitors from a number of other schools from Leeds, Bradford, York and more. Their argument was around the idea that we should reform and not abolish and gave superb arguments about how this should be accomplished. They spoke with conviction, persuasion, and nuance with most in the room relieved that they were not competing against them. Despite the strength of competition from both the state and private sector they WON and are now through to the northern regional finals, one stage away from the nationals. All three were stunning and showed the importance of oracy, listening and self-determination. Seeing them in action is an inspiration to so many and they are leading the next generation of debaters each week in school. Brilliant.
That is not the only thing that our Post 16 students have been involved in. This week sixteen Sixth Formers were trained to be Peer Mentors. They have given up a few hours of their time to be trained and coached as mentors and they will make a difference to those others they will work with. They are our ambassadors, role models and the ones who have the ability to really make a difference to the lives of others. We are thrilled with each of them and look forward to the impact they will undoubtedly have.
In school Mr. Braid organised a Maths themed wider learning day for Year 7. It was a huge success with the energy and enthusiasm never once waning throughout the day. The students used Maths to break codes, solve murder mysteries, complete morse code puzzles, deal with money and a wide variety of Maths based quizzes. The day allowed students to better understand the contextual importance of Maths but, more importantly, it instilled a love of learning in the subject for so many. It provided so many opportunities for our students to be challenged by the use of Maths in everyday life situations but also giving them knowledge and skills that will be so useful for them in their learning of Maths for years to come. As many of you know, I love these types of curriculum experiences and the positive feedback meant a lot to the Maths team who are already planning the next one!
This week our Year 11 and 13 students have been busy with mock exams. They have been a joy to work with and have approached each day with an energy and commitment that is very impressive They have come to realise the importance of these exams in helping them to determine next steps in their preparations for GCSE and A Level exams. They see the mocks as something to embrace rather than fear because the learning from them will be some of the greatest learning we can provide. The feedback from staff will highlight their strengths and areas for improvement and will help staff design the next phase of teaching to address the gaps in knowledge that need to be prioritised prior to the summer. I know they are tired but they are also incredibly positive. The first week finishes today and they go again for four days next week. No matter what happens we are thrilled with their maturity and efforts.
In Year 9 our student have been busy this week picking their options for GCSE study from June. My leadership team have worked with the Year team to meet each student for a chat about their thoughts and aspirations over the next few years. It has been a privilege to meet so many young people who have taken the process really seriously and were able to articulate clearly why they have made the decisions they have for GCSE study. At 13 or 14 years old I could barely tie my shoelaces! I was happy to chase a football around and didn’t really have the maturity to deal with anything that was about school or my future. The students I met this week were the complete opposite. They were bright, interesting, well informed, ambitious and just a pleasure to spend time with. If I have one dream for them it is simply that I want them to be happy, to be able to hold their own in any situation anywhere in the world and to always believe in themselves because they have talent and are entitled to a good life. That will take lots of effort and resilience on their part but I am determined that we will be shoulder to shoulder with them throughout and championing their exploits and efforts along the way.
Finally, I want to share with you some of the successes of our Place2Be mental health support provision in school from the Autumn term. From September to Christmas the P2B team have continued to be an integral part of the school community. Place2Talk continues to be a very well utilised service, with 187 sessions undertaken throughout the term. The one-to-one counselling has been supporting Year 11 students in helping them feel confident and able for their upcoming exams. It has also helped Year 7 students deal with the transition to secondary education and finding their voices and feet for themselves. It has been a privilege to see how well these two groups of students are doing and the ownership they are taking over their own mental wellbeing. Parent partnership is something that will continue to develop this term, by reaching out to parents and carers who we know need support, having seen students in one-to-one or Place2Talk. The team have delivered resilience workshops to students and are building their resources with more presentations being delivered across the school to support the universal Place2Be offer. It is hoped that this will enable all students to feel more in control of their own mental wellbeing. Our P2B team continue to meet their 48 hour turn around for Place2Talk when students refer themselves through the post box which is quite simply amazing. They are now focussed on delivering more group work on the theme of exam stress to Year 13 and Year 11 students. We are proud to have the level of investment that we do at Beckfoot. Whilst we are far from perfect, we are doing our best each day to look after our young people and, in doing so, show them clearly that they matter, that we care and that they will be ok and ready to make a significant difference to the world.
Thanks for reading.
Simon Wade, Headteacher