As we approach the October half term holiday, it is a pleasure to write to you about some of the highlights of the academic year to date. A particular welcome goes to the parents of our new Year 7 students.
The start of term on Tuesday 4 September seems like a long time ago and, indeed, at 8 weeks long, this is the longest of our half terms this year.
We have enjoyed a very smooth start to the year, with students quickly settling into their new timetables and to the different timings of the day that we are now operating. As I am sure you are aware, we now operate 5 x 1 hour lessons each day, starting with tutor time/assembly each morning, with break time after Period 1 at 10.20am and lunchtime after Period 3 at 12.45pm. Students at Whitby Sixth Form follow slightly different timings to allow for our staff to transfer between the two sites.
Our new Year 7 students have settled into College life very well and Miss Harrison has written to all parents of Year 7 students this week detailing some of the highlights from the last eight weeks. I would also like to congratulate our Year 8 and Year 9 students who, having spent five weeks on our Normanby site last summer, quickly settled back into the routines we had established with them.
We are delighted that over 60% of Caedmon’s Year 11 students from last year enrolled at Whitby Sixth Form. These students, and those continuing on into Year 13, are really enjoying the facilities available on the new site. There is a relaxed, but purposeful atmosphere around the building that I am sure will promote further excellence in the standards that our sixth form students achieve.
Examination Results 2019
The Department for Education have recently published KS4 provisional results for all schools in England. You can access these via https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/find-a-school-in-england. At Caedmon College Whitby, we were pleased to see that the improvements made in 2018 have been built upon. One of the key measures used to compare schools is ‘Progress 8’ - a so-called ‘value-added measure’. This measures the attainment of each student against students nationally with the same KS2 SATs scores and calculates whether, on average, they are making more or less progress than might be expected nationally. Our Progress 8 score of +0.05 shows that, on average, Caedmon College students in 2019 did make such progress. Provisional information about post-16 results will be published by the government in January. Given the number and variety of centres that offer A-levels and vocational qualifications, these results inevitably take longer to process. In summary, we saw a rise in the average grade attained at A-level, and over 40 of our students have now started university courses this autumn.
As you know, we have reorganised our sites this year, with our Normanby Site now accommodating students aged 11-16 (Years 7-11), and our Scoresby Site now housing ‘Whitby Sixth Form’. We had a very busy summer upgrading the Normanby site, installing a new food technology room and a new drama studio, and remodelled our Learning Resource Centre. On the Whitby Sixth Form site, we carried out major refurbishment works to make it more suited to educating post-16 students. These works have included remodelling our reception area, creating a cafeteria/common room in what was the main hall, modernising classrooms, and forming a large library/independent study area upstairs. We have also developed a salon in which our partners ‘The Academy of Hair and Beauty’ are now running vocational courses. We are indebted to the Normanby Trust, the Yorkshire Coast Opportunities Area and North Yorkshire County Council whose financial support made all of these projects possible. I would also like to recognise the guidance and expertise that we have received from BHD Partnership (our architects and principal designers of the Whitby Sixth Form site), our principal contractors, Ivy Construction and the many, often local, tradesmen who carried out these works over the summer. Several of these contractors are former students who took tremendous pride in being able to ‘put something back’ into their old school. I would particularly like to thank my colleagues, David Orton, James Gilpin and Jackie Hunter for ensuring that these projects were carried out in a timely and safe manner.
Attendance and Punctuality
Thank you for all of your help in ensuring that attendance at the College is good and continues to improve. Up to last Friday, the overall attendance in Years 7-11 was 95.0%, compared with 94.6% at the same time last year. Although this may not seem like much of an increase, I can assure you that significant effort goes into maintaining good levels of attendance on a daily basis. Many congratulations go to the 245 students who managed full attendance since the start of term, and the other 132 who have had, at most, one day’s absence.
May I remind you that, in common with other schools in North Yorkshire and nationally, we do not authorise family holidays during term time. Such absence is extremely disruptive and breaks up the flow of learning for students.
We have also focused on establishing good punctuality at the College. The College day starts at 8.55am each morning, on the Normanby Site, for our students in Years 7-11. This is the time at which students should be waiting outside of their tutor’s base room. Any students arriving after the second bell which sounds at 8.58am are marked as being late. The vast majority of students have perfect punctuality records and your help in maintaining this, by ensuring that your son or daughter arrives on site in good time before 8.55am, is much appreciated.
Thank you for ensuring that your son/daughter returned to school in September in the proper uniform. Individually and collectively our students look very smart when dressed in proper uniform. Can I take this opportunity to remind you of some of the uniform issues with which a small number of students occasionally ‘test the boundaries’, particularly when we return from holidays. Jewellery should be limited to a watch and a single pair of stud earrings, and students are not allowed facial piercings or false nails, on health and safety grounds.
There is a lot of debate nationally, and internationally, about whether mobile phones should be allowed in schools. Indeed, the French government has recently banned them outright from all state schools and, in this country, research into the effect these might have on student attainment and well-being is currently being undertaken. At Caedmon College, we are taking a pragmatic view. We are conscious that many of our students live several miles from the College and have long journeys to and from home. Since September, we are now insisting that mobile phones are not used during lesson times or as students move between lessons. For the time-being, we are allowing students to use their phones at break and lunchtimes only. This, of course, relies on all students using them sensibly and appropriately. We ask for your help in discussing issues relating to the use of mobile phones with your son/daughter. On the rare occasion that a student abuses this approach to mobile phone use, their phone will be confiscated and stored safely until a parent or responsible adult can collect it from the College Reception.
We are sad to be saying ‘farewell’ to Stuart Mortimer, one of our ICT technicians, who is leaving us to take up a promoted post. A former student at the College, Stuart joined us two years ago and quickly acquired a detailed knowledge of our network and ICT infrastructure, and many staff and students have benefitted from his help and technical advice. We wish him well with his future career.
Social media and website
We have recently launched a new website - www.ccwhitby.org. From here it is easy to navigate to our dedicated sixth form website - www.sixthformwhitby.org. Alternatively, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter @cc_whitby and @SixthFormWhitby, for more regular updates and news.
Dates for your diary
- Whitby Sixth Form Open Evening Tuesday 19 November
- Year 7 Parents’ Evening Thursday 12 March
- Year 8 Parents’ Evening Thursday 27 February
- Year 9 Parents’ Evening Thursday 5 December
- Year 10 Parents’ Evening Thursday 2 April
- Year 11 Parents’ Evening Thursday 23 January
- Year 12/13 Parents’ Evening Thursday 30 January
- Training Day 2 Monday 4 November
- School closure day Friday 29 November
(in lieu of staff training after school throughout the year)
- Training Day 3 Tuesday 14 January.
Coming up in the next Half Term
We have a full and very busy programme of events coming up in the next half term. In addition to all of the regular sporting and extra-curricular activities, these include, in no particular order:
- Children in Need Day, including Caedmon College’s very own Talent Show organised by the students in Ms Ruberry’s Year 10 form group
- National Takeover Day, including some of our Year 7 students running the Captain Cook Museum for the day
- Year 8 theatre trip to see a production of “A Woman in Black” - the book which students are currently studying
- Trips and visits as part of our on-going careers education programme
- Year 7 trip to the pantomime in Darlington
- Various Christmas festivities
- And… dare I remind the parents of Year 11… GCSE mock examinations.
Thank you for your continuing support of Caedmon College Whitby and Whitby Sixth Form. Can I remind you that both sites re-open on Tuesday 5 November, following our training day.