· Announcement ·

SUBJECT PARENTS EVENINGS

 

Year 7, 9 & 10 Subject Parents Evening will take place on Tuesday 5TH MARCH 2024, 4.00PM-7.00PM.

Year 8 & 11 Subject Parents Evening will take place on Thursday 21ST MARCH 2024, 4.00PM-7.00PM.

 

The booking system is now open to add appointments. Please check on Go4Schools and work with your child to identify the Subjects/Teachers you would like to see. 

 

The booking system is now open to add appointments.

Click Here

A new year; no need for a fresh start

Happy New Year I know it must feel like a lifetime since you were dancing and singing, as you welcomed the new year in, some 12 days ago, but it’s worth offering that greeting, nonetheless – it’s just polite and the ‘right thing to do’. I do very much hope that the break did you some good. […]

Read More...

Happy Holiday Season

Happy Christmas all The longest of long-terms is now done. I send this knowing that for many this is just the start of a very busy period. That said, I hope that you can have a well-earned and decent break, over the next couple of weeks. Take the opportunity to kick back, relax and enjoy […]

Read More...

Jolly nearly there

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, whether it’s an important religious festival for you or not, in fact, even if you want to hide under the duvet until it’s all over, there is something in the line… ‘tis the season to be jolly’. At this time of year, whilst we still endure a few more […]

Read More...

Winter warmth

I know that at this time of the year going into school or college, any educational establishment, can feel like dragging a heavyweight up the hill, in the snow and in the cold. It’s been a long old run since the half term already, and for many of us that’s on top of a long […]

Read More...

Spend wisely

Another week passes and we shuffle ever closer to the extended Christmas / New Year break. All of our staff, children and young people are putting their ‘backs’ into his long run in. We have lots to complete, lots to do and it’s a long one, that’s for sure, but we’ll get there and we’ll be in […]

Read More...

Our Professional Learning Day

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of our community for bearing with us all as we held our Inspire Learning Trust Professional Learning Day. It was a fantastic day, with professionals from across the Trust and from the full range of curriculum areas and professional services teams, coming […]

Read More...

Remembrance

I hope that week has been manageable. There has been so much happening across our schools and in the college. For many I am sure the weekend break will come as something of a welcome relief. Many of you will be marking Remembrance Day, either tomorrow at 11am or at a service on Sunday. Thomas […]

Read More...

A sense of pride

I hope that the return after the half term break has been positive. I know that when the clocks go back it can feel very different in schools and colleges. It won’t be long before we are arriving in the dark and leaving in the dark.   Those cold winter months do drag on somewhat. […]

Read More...

#HellloYellow

I hope that you’ve had a good working week. It’s a week when we’ve recognised, in our schools and college, World Mental Health Day, through the #HelloYellow campaign. For many years we would look to focus, at least for this particular day, on the issues of mental health. It seemed then to be something taboo; […]

Read More...

World Teachers’ Day

Had a good week? I hope so.  Did you take time this Thursday (5th) to say thank you to the teachers and staff in school or in college? I am guessing that, as always, some of you did and some of you didn’t but it didn’t feel that different to any other Thursday. Why do […]

Read More...

Bake o’clock

Another week passes and we move out of the very long month of September. 30 calendar days and 21 working days – I think we’ve actually been in school and college every single day in September that we could have possibly worked and, as always, the start of the year has brought challenges and wonderful […]

Read More...

Changing seasons; changing lifes.

The weather has felt decidedly autumnal over the last few days. But, as always, we have worked through that in support of our children and young people. I know that it is difficult, on occasions, when we have the blustery wind, which does affect the children’s and young people’s psyche somewhat. And then, some have […]

Read More...

To sport …

As the term now has something of a rhythm about it and fewer work related messages need to be shared, maybe it’s a timely opportunity just to reflect upon World Cup Fever.   Sport, and particularly watching sport, does have a significant impact upon our lives; good and bad. Generally, it doesn’t just make for […]

Read More...

The sun shines on our return

I hope that this has been a good week for you. In our schools and in our college it’s been a little warm, on occasions, but all of our institutions now have pupils and students back full-time and, hopefully, firing on all cylinders. The children and young people that I have met were polite, eager […]

Read More...

Happy holidays

Well done! Whatever you have got planned for the summer, whatever time you’ve got to get away, or at least not have schooling to do, we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief at navigating the route to the end of the academic year. As always, the year has had its ups and downs. […]

Read More...

The end of the academic year – well nearly.

The students and staff of Thomas Rotherham College began their well earned summer break on Friday. The staff and pupils and Sitwell Junior School and Oakwood High School have one more week to go – they are nearly there! The long hard trek to the summer break is nearly done. Just a short final park […]

Read More...

The long goodbye

It’s the season… not to be merry but to be quietly emotional and reflective. We haven’t quite hit the end of the academic year, although it’s 5 days and counting for TRC and 10 days and counting for Sitwell and Oakwood.  We are at the time of the year when we are saying goodbye to […]

Read More...

The courage to lead

Thank you, once again, for your efforts this week. As we move into the final weeks of the academic year, the rhythms and routines are disturbed somewhat. We’ve had highly successful taster days and transition events across our schools and the college. All that comes on top of many of our children, young people, families, […]

Read More...

Tough Times

The exam season is now over and we move into a very different period in the school and college calendar. I do recognise that some internal examinations are going to take place in the coming weeks, but those external exams have now been completed and we look forward to the August results. I usually like […]

Read More...

A Scorcher? – not quite

As the temperatures have risen (metrologically) and we’ve done our very best, within the schools and college, to keep the temperatures down somewhat. For us all there are two sides to it. There are the endeavours to ensure that the buildings aren’t too hot and will allow for a conducive education. And there are the […]

Read More...

Let there be light – oh and some power too

It’s been one of those weeks – do we say that every week? The power cut of Thursday, which affected us all in different ways, and for different lengths of time, has just been another event of some significance for us to cope with this academic year. It really has been one of those years. […]

Read More...

Summer Sun?

All half term breaks, when they come, are well deserved and much appreciated. Whatever time you’ve got in the coming week, you’ll certainly have at least a decent weekend and a bank holiday. The Whit break is always more challenging, to some degree, than the other breaks we have. Why…? We are all in the […]

Read More...

Look after yourself!

Within our schools and college and nationally this has been an important week: Mental Health Awareness Week, and as a country we have moved on so much? Although we can now legitimately and openly have conversations about one’s mental health and well-being at any time, this week we have all been thinking that little bit […]

Read More...

Seasons in the sun

I hope that this shortened week has been positive and pleasant.   We are in the season of seasons.   Firstly, a massive congratulations to Rotherham United Football Club who secured their place in the Championship for another season, in the last week or so. I’m pleased to say that my club, Middlesbrough, did the […]

Read More...

The Coronation …

A four-day week and another bank holiday weekend to look forward to. I thank everyone for their efforts this week. The rhythm and routines aren’t as we usually experience and we know that does impact upon our children and young people. Together we remain consistent in our approach, focusing on what children and young people […]

Read More...

May Day

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had something of another dislocated week, but, as ever, the pupils and students have risen to the challenge of managing a more complicated Thursday than we otherwise would experience. We’ve got next Tuesday as another day of action and, I’ve no doubt, we will all yet again, […]

Read More...

Eid Mubarak

Welcome back. I hope that you had a decent break over the Easter period, whatever that was and however much you got. The weather didn’t quite ‘hit the spot’ but there’s enough spring warmth to keep us going. Equally, I hope that the return to work has been positive and enjoyable. Today (Friday), with a […]

Read More...

Spring has sprung

Congratulations! You’ve got to the end of another long term. The spring term can be quite lovely, if we get that spring sunshine and see those daffodils and snowdrops early in the season. However, this year has not been that great. We’ve had poor weather; certainly, a very mixed bag. We are now, though, at […]

Read More...

The little things do make a big difference

It’s been a long old haul. This year, the disjointed and disconnected run from January through to the Easter break, has been something of a challenge. With snow and industrial action possibly making it more difficult this year, than usual, for the pupils and students, for parents and for the staff. And in addition, we […]

Read More...

Red nose?

I recognise that this has been another very difficult week for us all in schools and in college. There’ll be no comments about the strike action taken, but I recognise that, whoever you are and whatever position you’ve taken it will not have been an easy week for you to manage. I really do hope […]

Read More...

IWD

In amongst all the noise about the weather (typically British topic of conversation, although to be fair it has been quite a dump) and the governmental approach to asylum seekers (I’m with you Gary!), you may well have missed a really important day / date. Something which has passed many people by, but which should […]

Read More...

A good read?

Meteorologically Spring has sprung, although it really doesn’t feel like it. And another World Book Day has come and gone. Depending upon the stage and age of your child this day has a differing resonance. That said, parents of younger children, will face World Book Day from a challenging perspective. On this day we have […]

Read More...

One year on

Thank you for your efforts this week, after we returned from the half term break. Although for most of us it was welcome, having that break, it came at a challenging time of the year. But, as we move out of the winter months and into something which looks and feels a little more like […]

Read More...

Happy Half Term Break

Thank you for your endeavours this last half term. As we know, it’s always difficult returning after the Christmas break and having to face dark mornings and evenings, winter weather and those bugs and viruses which tend to be rampant at this time of year. This year, probably as a consequence of the last couple […]

Read More...

In league, not in tables.

As you know, the leaders and leadership teams of our schools and the college cannot, and will not , not engage in discussion about the merits or otherwise of this week’s industrial action in the education sector and beyond. That’s just how it is. That’s how it has to be. However, the schools and college […]

Read More...

Holocaust Memorial Day

We are battling through the winter months. Very soon we’ll be in February and spring time then seems to be in touching distance. We’ll have some dark wintry days between now and those bright spring mornings but as each day passes we move closer to that light and that warmth. Just last week, in an […]

Read More...

It’s not true, Blue Monday

Thank you to everyone for their efforts this week. It’s been, in a meteorological sense, a much better week. I know that it’s been cold and defrosting the car or putting on the gloves (if we’re walking into school or college) before you set off on the morning can be something of a pain, but […]

Read More...

In memory …

Luckily, there’ll be no mention of Friday the 13th today. As we move into January and the rhythm of our school and college lives returns we can take time to reflect upon what we might describe as ‘our lot’ today. It’s relatively easy, at this time of year, to see so many negatives in our […]

Read More...

Happy New Year – for the final time

Happy New Year. That’s the last time that I will say or write that phrase. There comes a point when you have to draw a line under the thoughts about moving into a new year. I do genuinely wish everyone a very happy 2023 but, and you don’t have to look too deeply into the […]

Read More...

Maybe it’s cold outside

The end of term is now in sight. I know that we’ve all been working especially hard last week to ensure that our run in towards the end of term is as strong as possible; be that in our usual lessons or though the exams being undertaken at Oakwood and Thomas Rotherham College. As always, […]

Read More...

Christmas is coming

As we ease into December many of us will have noticed that the winter, Christmas, break is very much just around the corner. You don’t need to wander down too many high streets, or residential streets for that matter these days, to see the lights are up, the trees are set and a festive cheer […]

Read More...

Sport and/or Politics?

We are over the hump of the half term now. It’s downhill through to the Christmas break. I know that you know that does not mean we will be taking our foot off the pedal. I know that you know that this period means hard work, persistence and commitment, which will need to be maintained […]

Read More...

I doubt it’s coming home

We are in strange times. We know that and we see that every single day. The most discombobulating event in these strange times is surely though a men’s football World Cup tournament being held in November and December. I could comment upon whether a World Cup in Qatar is the right thing or not. I […]

Read More...

Remembrance

Another week passes. Autumn seems to be with us, but with strangely (inclement) warm temperatures. It seems so strange to see leaves on the ground and yet it is 16 or 17°C. A time to be thinking about COP 27 and the implications of a rise in global temperatures. Thank you for all of your […]

Read More...

Turbulent times? Not here

It’s been a long half term. Thank you for all your efforts, your support and your commitment to schools, college and children and young people of this community. Whatever you are doing next week, however much time you get away, I hope that it is restful, relaxing and you can recharge. We are living in […]

Read More...

#HelloYellow

We count down the days until the very well-earned half term break. This is a long half term. I also know that there’ve been quite a few bugs around and about, which have knocked some people back. That absence can affect us all. It’s an appropriate time, therefore, to be celebrating World Mental Health Day […]

Read More...

Noble Noble

Once again, thank you for all your efforts this half term. Over the past few weeks, we have recognised and acknowledged that autumn is on its way. This week we can be confident in saying that autumn is here right now! We’ve got a couple of weeks to go until the half term break, which […]

Read More...

The crisis is real

Thank you for your efforts this week. This is a long and challenging half term that we are now over halfway to the October break. As of Monday, we will be working in October and the holiday will be within touching distance. As I discussed last week, the closing of the night, the challenges of […]

Read More...

Don’t touch the clocks just yet

Thank you to everyone for their work this week. Even though it has been a slightly shorter four-day week I have absolutely no doubt that you have wedged in five days of work – the staff certainly have. We are well and truly into the rhythm of the year right now and the summer must […]

Read More...

Quiet Reflection

Thank you for all of your efforts this week, as our children and young people return to us from their summer breaks. I know that it has been an exciting week for many and those children and young people will be thinking about their futures and the opportunities we present and what they can take […]

Read More...

Have a lovely summer break

This is the shortest of messages as you’ll not be wanting to read any guff from me as you gallop off into your summer break. I write to say thank you. Thank you for being just amazing this most difficult of years for Oakwood High School. The challenges of the last few days have reminded us […]

Read More...

Phew what a scorcher

Phew, what a scorcher That’s the old headline, for those of you who remember the tabloids in their terrible heyday, of the seventies and eighties. We don’t seem to read the newspapers these days, we take our news via alternative means. Those tabloids may not have had the highest journalistic standards but at least they […]

Read More...

Here comes the sun

For the sake of your sanity, I would hope that you have all been so focused on your work or any other distractions this week and that you have not become caught up in, or engrossed in, the goings-on in Westminster. If you have taken some interest you’ll have (metaphorically speaking) had, no doubt, your […]

Read More...

Moving on, moving forward

I must thank you for all of your efforts this past week or so. As we rattle towards the summer break I know that the challenges we all face do not diminish, the pace of work remains and there are many deadlines to meet, with and for our children and young people. As always, your […]

Read More...

The National Day

We battle towards the end of a long year. We’ve got plenty more to do; whenever we conclude our business and whichever day we finish. And so today I will revisit an annual theme which I think I’ve neglected this year. Hopefully it’ll bring a smile to your face. It’s such a difficult time at […]

Read More...

Consistency is key

I hope that you have enjoyed the 48 hours of warm weather. Although it’s not been as sunny as might have been expected it has been pretty warm. By the time you read this it is likely to be much cooler and probably much wetter. Typical for the British summer time? Undoubtedly the climate is […]

Read More...

We are Rotherham

I hope that you had a good half term week – if you did manage to get some time for yourself. As I wrote prior to the break, at least we would’ve all had that four-day weekend to make the most of. Whether you were partying in a very Jubilee way or not, I’m sure […]

Read More...

The Platinum Jubliee

Fortunately, this week has been significantly calmer. That said, we have all continued to work extremely hard doing the right thing with and for our children and young people. This is most likely to be seen, at the moment, at the start of the exam season. Prior to this week there were exams taking place […]

Read More...

Oh what a week!

We all know that in our schools and the college every single week will bring known and unknown challenges – sounding a little bit like Donald Rumsfeld there! And, through these weekly messages, I do welcome the opportunity to spend a significant proportion of my time saying thank you to my colleagues, the pupils, the students and […]

Read More...

Just one more heave

I hope that you’ve had a good week. Four days in work; five days of work? I was never very keen on the phrase ‘we are all in this together’, not least because it was very clear that many of those espousing such sentiments didn’t know what being ‘in it’ meant and they certainly didn’t […]

Read More...

Eid Mubarak

Welcome back. I hope that you had a decent break over the Easter period. And, equally, I hope that the return to school and college has been positive and enjoyable. The run-up to the Easter period for Christians is significant, leading up to the holiest period in the Christian calendar; through Lent into Easter. If […]

Read More...

Thank you

At the risk of sounding a little Harmony Hairspray (for the senior members of the team)… Were you, or weren’t you? What on earth am I talking about? Well, just in case you missed it, yesterday, Thursday 26th May was officially designated, by all leaders in the DFE, as ‘Thank a Teacher day’ – And […]

Read More...

Rest and recuperate

By Jove (now there’s a phrase we don’t hear enough of) we needed some good news. I was reticent about wishing the Millers good luck last week – as my thoughts a couple of weeks before seemed to jinx Middlesbrough, England cricket – both the men’s and women’s teams. But luckily, I didn’t get to […]

Read More...

Seven days down, seven to go

Thank you for all your support of our work again this week. As we rattle towards the end of a long half term, with the variable weather, we can all now have the prospect of a break within our reach; just five more working days until we all get an Easter break. They say a […]

Read More...

The cost of opening crisis

Before I move onto this week’s message I’ll just quickly refer back to last week. As is the way with sport, the football and the cricket didn’t go as I might have hoped. But Comic Relief was great! With the Chancellor’s spring statement this week, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the consequential impact upon […]

Read More...

A little (comic) relief

Writing these messages week on week is often a pleasure. However, there are times in our history when it’s more difficult to find interesting, motivating and even uplifting messages to share with you. It’s been a terrifically difficult few years and, more particularly, the last few weeks have been, as you all know, incredibly hard, […]

Read More...

The value of service

I hope that your week has been as positive as it can be. At this time in our history it might be difficult to feel awfully enthusiastic about your work, schooling and education. It’s very easy to be distracted. We will all have found ways of coping with the horrendous news coming at us from […]

Read More...

UK to Ukraine

Welcome back and I hope that you did get an opportunity to take some time out and away from work over the half term period. It would be wrong of me in this week’s message to ignore, pass over, not reference, the terrible conflict in Ukraine. If we ever need to understand the fundamental point […]

Read More...

Inspire Trust

Thank you! It’s been a tough half term but it’s been absolutely wonderful to see so many of our children and young people engage so positively with their education despite the difficulties we’ve all faced. Pupils and students from across the two schools and the college have all been productively and positively working together. I […]

Read More...

Monday is for what?

Thank you for your continued support this half term. We have four more school/college days to go before the staff engage in their INSET day and we all then go into a well-earned half term break Away from education, the country will be split down the middle this weekend. There will be those who are […]

Read More...

Inward looking, outward facing

Beyond our doors, and even beyond our shores, things can look particularly bleak, even depressing, at times. The national political and economic situation looks particularly dire at the moment. And then when we look overseas we can see dark clouds; particularly in eastern Europe. It can become quite overwhelming at times. When things are tough, […]

Read More...

The value of education

Over the past few weeks we’ve had to face the significant challenges that exist, as a matter of course, in our schools and the college, which are just part of our duties. The Omicron wave has hit us hard with the absence of pupils, students and staff but we seem to have seen off those […]

Read More...

Inspire Trust

Whatever your connection with our schools, the college or the Trust, thank you for all your endeavours, your commitment and your willingness to go that extra mile over the last week or so. It has been a difficult couple of weeks since our return from the Christmas break. Many of you have stepped forward and […]

Read More...

Not New Order

Those of you who have had to read, or even endure, my missives over the years may feel I’m a little premature today if I discuss Blue Monday. Can I just say that there is no obligation to read this Friday message; you won’t be tested on it! As I have written in the past, […]

Read More...

I resolve to have a Happy New Year

Happy New Year. As we have been back for a few days now, and there was a decent run after the New Year celebrations itself before we returned to school or college, it seems like the New Year and Christmas celebrations were a lifetime ago. That said, many of you may well be reminded on […]

Read More...

Merry Christmas

Read More...

It’s (nearly) Christmas

No mention of Plan B or Christmas parties. I think many of us are just worn out by what COVID keeps on bringing/doing. And by the shenanigans and behaviours at Westminster: be that this year or last. As I write there is something to cheer me up. After two tired and quite terrible days, England […]

Read More...

The Advent …

As we rattle towards the Christmas break we are all determined to keep our foot hard to the floor, right up to that very last day of term, for and with our children and young people. We know that is the way it needs to be and has to be. We have too much ground […]

Read More...

A dark day?

I hope that you’ve had a productive week. I know it can be a grind at this time of year but we just need to see off the next couple of weeks and we are there. I’m not sure whether this Friday has been a boon day for you or not. If your inbox is […]

Read More...

Working with you, working for you.

I recognise that this is a particularly difficult half term. I’ve discussed, in previous weeks, the dark nights, cold days and that long haul into the Christmas break. I just want to say thank you for maintaining your patience, persistence and good humour. It keeps us all going and it keeps the children and young […]

Read More...

Remembrance

As I have discussed in recent weeks, the autumnal winds, the changing weather and the dark nights make this half term particularly difficult. What you don’t need is a phone call from OFSTED on a Monday morning in November. As many of you will know, OFSTED did call Monday and did visit Oakwood High School […]

Read More...

Autumnal Leaves

I do very much hope that you had a lovely break, over half term – if you had a break, that is, I know that some will have worked, fulfilling their duties. If you did get that break it did need to be restful. The long half term behind and ahead, as the winter nights […]

Read More...

The new normal

You’ve done it! You’ve made it to the end of this extremely long and challenging half term. Mostly you / we have done that without incident or injury. For that I thank you and I congratulate you. As I reflect upon the last half term and how we’ve all had to work (be that staff, […]

Read More...

Miss Emma Longstaff

This will be a short message this week. Sometimes less is more. Many of you will know that, just this last weekend, our friends and colleagues at Sitwell Junior School tragically lost a highly valued, highly regarded and much-loved friend and teacher. After a short, but incredibly brave battle with illness, Miss Emma Longstaff passed away […]

Read More...

#HelloYellow

It would be wrong not to spend time this week focusing on mental health and well-being: through the #HelloYellow, Rotherham’s ‘Be the One’ campaign and that the World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year – this year’s theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘Mental Health […]

Read More...

World Teachers’ Day

It’s time to celebrate. It’s our annual, global opportunity to celebrate and recognise the contributions that teachers make in our schools and colleges. It isn’t fanciful to suggest that teachers are the glue which holds firm communities, societies and even countries. It’s been no accident that some of history’s greatest tyrants have gone after teachers […]

Read More...

Bond, James Bond

We’ve had another great week in school and college. This long half term needs us to all (pupils, students and staff) work at pace and with a consistency. I’m confident that we all understand that and we will all endeavour to meet those standards, over the coming weeks. As we move into autumn it’s important […]

Read More...

Welcome, Secretary of State

As discussed last week we certainly now have routine and rhythm in our working world. The summer break seems like such a long time ago. With the working days passing quickly, with the daylight getting shorter, with the weather being less predictable, it certainly feels autumnal at the moment. Here in Rotherham we may not […]

Read More...

A welcome return

Well done you! It will have been the first full week for many people and for a significant period of time. The rhythm and routine of the academic year has been reasserted and, as might have been expected, we’ve then had a good dollop of summer sun and warmth – after almost 8 weeks of […]

Read More...

Return after the summer break

I’ll make this first weekly message of the year short and to the point. It’s a simple message: just to say to you that I hope that you’ve had a fantastic summer break. Whatever you did (whether you managed to get away or not) I hope that those activities provided a suitable and substantial distraction […]

Read More...

Have a lovely summer break

I hope there have been more opportunities for you to come together this past few weeks. It really is wonderful to see people together. We under-estimate, at our peril, the need to be part of something bigger, to be part of a community of like-minded souls working with a common purpose and to a common […]

Read More...

Take some time

As we rattle towards the end of term and the end of another, what we might euphemistically call, a very interesting academic year we will all be taking the opportunity to look forward to what the summer might bring. That’s right and very natural. Whatever you do and whatever your connectivity with the schools or […]

Read More...

A sporting weekend

In the schools and the college, we continue to countdown towards the end of term. For those of you in the schools, it’s two more weeks to go, and for those at the college, just five more days before the summer break – although depending upon timetables and induction it may well be much less […]

Read More...

We value education

It seems that pretty much on a weekly basis another report is issued which in some way divides the educational sector, divides the country or vilifies some young people. It can be that those reports are politically motivated and are posted as almost (pseudo) academic studies, by which think tanks pursue a particular political agenda. […]

Read More...

Principled Leaders

Last week the musings focused on the frivolous things; football, cricket and a bit of summer sunshine. The football continues this weekend – by this time you read this you may well be celebrating an English or Scottish victory in the big game. The test match (cricket) was a poor show. The sun did shine […]

Read More...

Here comes the sun or it’s coming home

There was something for everybody this weekend. Whatever you are interested in, whatever puts a spring in your step there was something for us all to enjoy. So, what is it that we all had to look forward to? Firstly, the second test match between England and New Zealand continued from Edgbaston. Even though you […]

Read More...

For some the end of an era

Unusually it’s been a day of goodbyes. In some cases, those goodbyes have been in absentium, in some cases they have been virtual and, in most cases, they have been in the flesh, with tears and all. Usually we experience these days much later in the year, but the post COVID assessment and examination grading […]

Read More...

Tweet of the day

We are rattling towards another half term break. This has been an incredibly intense period for us all working in schools and college; staff and pupils and students alike. When that half term break comes it will be well earned and I implore you now to think carefully about what you are going to do. […]

Read More...

Reflection and celebration

Sometimes I use these blogs as an opportunity to have a serious look at local, national or even global events. Sometimes I use these blogs to be frivolous and even foolish. Today I feel it is absolutely appropriate to recognise that many of our friends and colleagues will be celebrating Eid ul-Fitr. To all of […]

Read More...

Springtime – really?

I don’t know about you but it’s felt all a little strange towards the back end of this May day week. We are at that time of year when there is so much to do (and maybe more this year than any other year) and with there being a four-day working week we end up […]

Read More...

May Day

It’s a long weekend. A bank holiday in the bank holiday season (Easter, May Day and Whitsun all bunched together).  There are differing reasons for the bank holidays; in the main for historical religious reasons. Most people won’t recognise that, and probably don’t care that much, as long as they get the day away from […]

Read More...

Leading leaders lead

It really isn’t my place, through these missives, to be overtly or overly political. Sometimes it’s hard not to look at what’s happening in the world, in particular when we consider politicians and politics, and not be tempted to put out a personal position. However, there have been occasions when I’ve been known to have […]

Read More...

Welcome back

A belated welcome back. I hope that you all had a relaxing and restful half term break. As it is the way in schools and college, I’m sure that break feels like a lifetime away right now. It’s been a little more difficult than it has needed to be this week solely on the basis […]

Read More...

Happy Easter

Well, it looks like we’ve got to the end of another term. All of you have survived and some of you may well have even prospered. In the rapidly changing environment within which we live and work and in the context of the ever-shifting sands of COVID it is easy to forget how much we […]

Read More...

Dates for the diary?

There are annual markers. Some are in our diaries year on year and we cannot shift them; just like the Mother’s Day of last weekend or the up-coming change of the clocks. There are other regular events which we might not diarise but we welcome none-the-less; the biennial Comic Relief (Red Nose Day) or the […]

Read More...

#ChooseToChallenge

I should start by saying an enormous thank you for ensuring that this week, in supporting the return of our pupils and students, has been as smooth as it could possibly have been. It’s interesting, talking to many of you out there, those of you who don’t spend every working day in schools and colleges, about […]

Read More...

A summer break?

The strange time distortion continues. The days seem to fly by yet lockdown seems to drag forever. It’s difficult to keep track of where we are at and when we might see something change. I guess that’s the position for the wider community but for us in schools and college we do have some significant […]

Read More...

Be kind

Welcome back and I do hope that you managed to get something of a break last week. Notice I say welcome back. I do get irritated with the media suggesting that reopening, on Monday 8th March to all pupils, students and staff, means that is when we are all back at work after a period of […]

Read More...

We’ve come a long, long way together

Well we’ve done it, we’ve got through another half term. As each half term passes we reflect upon how challenging it has been and we look forward to things being a little simpler and more manageable in the next and upcoming half term. Sadly, that’s not been the case in the last 12 months or […]

Read More...

Be kind to yourself

The weeks continue to pass. Each day, of each week, seems to fly by, yet this third lockdown period seems to be going on forever. It’s that strange disconnect between time, reality and perceptions. Some weeks ago, I wrote about new year’s resolutions. Many of us will have now completed our resolution period – I’m […]

Read More...

The magnitude of loss

This isn’t the week for facetious comments from me or mildly amusing jokes from aged British comedians. This isn’t a week which has been more tragic than others recently, it’s just that we have passed a significant milestone, in respect of the people / individuals lost to COVID. I think sometimes that when we hear […]

Read More...

National Treasures

Thank you, yet again for the patience and commitment you have all displayed again this week. It’s been a good week, on the whole. I know that many of our learners have started to perfect your blended learning. You will have established a rhythm which allows you to work productively. I know that it continues […]

Read More...

It never rains but it … snows

Another week passes and it’s another opportunity for me to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for coping with the collective challenges we face and for participating in and supporting our children and young people. At this time, we know that we have a great responsibility in watching and caring for our children and young people. […]

Read More...

It’s the new year!

Happy New Year Unlike previous years there won’t be anything about New Year’s resolutions. You may have resolved to do something, give up something or change something but many of us will have said …’not this year’. For those who have known me for some time you might be expecting something about me giving up […]

Read More...

It’s Christmas

I’m sorry that I have so few words left in me – I know! Other than to re-say thank you and … Take time to rest, take time with your family (in whatever construct you can manage) and take time to think about and repair your own self. Happy Christmas.

Read More...

Christmas Cheer

Other than Santa, I’m minded to talk about dark tunnels and bright lights – which now seem a little brighter than they once were. We can now see the light at the end of the term (tunnel). Many of you will have worked without a significant break since mid-August, and I know that there are […]

Read More...

Snow is falling …

We’ve hit December and if we were in any doubt that winter was here we’ve had our first flurry of snow and there’s been a significant drop in temperatures. I don’t mind that. I much prefer those meteorological conditions to it being just wet and windy – no comments please! Maybe the change in the […]

Read More...

Working together

Can I thank you, yet again, for the support for our schools and the college during this very difficult time? None of us take for granted that professionalism, commitment and hard work of the staff. But we want to recognise that all of us who live the experience, day in and day out, fully understand […]

Read More...

Des O’Connor – yes really!

As we are just about halfway through this most recent lockdown and we all know that it is pretty difficult on the ground.  For the staff, for the children and young people and for their parents and families, in and day out, we are just trying to keep this ‘ship’ afloat. As someone said to […]

Read More...

It’s all about people

It is a difficult piece to write this week as many staff at Oakwood have just come out of being part of John Wilks’ (the caretaker for 22 years) funeral service. Some of you will have known Mr Wilks very well. A gentle, kind and caring giant of a man; who died suddenly and unexpectedly […]

Read More...

It’s all politics?

Welcome back and I hope that you had something of a restful and relaxing half term break. As I discussed, prior to the break, it had and has been a terrifically challenging eight or nine weeks of work; on top of all the personal and educational challenges that you would otherwise typically face. Woven into […]

Read More...

Leading by example

Well done you! However you made it, whatever you’ve done, however difficult it’s been, it looks like we finally made it – are they words from a song? It’s been a long old haul but we have now finally got across the half term line. Well done and thank you to you all. You’ve not […]

Read More...

Take it easy

Another week passes and we slowly drift another week closer to a well-earned half term break. At this stage we still presume that it will be a one week break but the notion of a ‘circuit breaker’ is gaining more traction across the region. For now, we should plan for just one week away from […]

Read More...

It’s good to talk

The longest half term trundles on. This half term is a significant proportion of the academic year and in this context, we still all have to manage day to day with the ongoing COVID crisis. Our schools and the college continue to respond to government guidance, public-health guidance and the circumstances on the ground. As […]

Read More...

Debate about the debate

I recognise that it has been, for many friends and the wider community another difficult week. I think now we all understand that we are in this for the long run. We certainly cannot be thinking that, as some politicians may want us to believe, this will all be over by… you add your own […]

Read More...

Seasons in the Sun

I know it’s been a tough week for many of us in our community: be that in school or college or out in our homes and workplaces. For many of us we have faced, within the context of our working environment, a tremendously difficult period of time; with pupils and staff absence being higher than […]

Read More...

Hail the Scientist

Thank you for your continued efforts this last week or so. Reflecting upon our return, many of us may well have naïvely thought that we would establish some sort of rhythm and routine which would allow us to settle back into the new term. However, I now realise that each week will be very different […]

Read More...

Anything but COVID

Thank you, once again, for all your efforts of the past couple of weeks in supporting the schools and college in ensuring that we could open safely and, importantly, completely and in full. There is nothing that can replace face-to-face, in person, teaching and learning. I fear that through these messages, if I’m not careful, […]

Read More...

Welcome back and thank you

I wasn’t sure a weekly message from me would be welcome, however it does now indicate some sort of return to normality. I’ll just take some time this week to say thank you for all that the staff, pupils and students have done since the return. It has been, undoubtedly, an intense period in our history and […]

Read More...

Return to School arrangements, September 2020

Please click here to view Head’s letter to parents.

Read More...

The end of the school year

Well you’ve made it. It is officially now the end of the school year. I’m not sure that it feels like it. It doesn’t have the same resonance as usual. That said we have all certainly earned something of a summer break. It has been the strangest of periods in our history. Many of us […]

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 16

We are battling towards the end of the term and the end of the school year. Last week I talked about things becoming more normal. It’s felt, this week, that we’ve taken a few steps further forward in that respect. In this vein, it seems strange to be watching live football and switching to live […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 14

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 15

After 105 days of the national lock down tomorrow as something of a red-letter day (unless you live in Leicester). Some of those leisure activities, which previously we’d taken for granted; for example, the pub or the restaurant; and some of those necessary services; for example, hairdressers and barbers; will reopen. This presents me with […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 13

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 14

The sun has been shining this week (although the Sun isn’t shining as, for the first time in 40 years it isn’t Britain’s best-selling newspaper – not going to even mention which paper is now #1), there are more pupils back in school, there are more staff  back in school, Liverpool have won the Premier […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 12

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 13

I hope that you are all as upbeat and buoyant at the end of this week as I am. I know that the return of our children has been rather limited but it has felt like we are slowly stepping back towards some sort of normality. Our school is not an educational institution without our […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 11

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 12

It is relatively easy, as I discussed quite early in the lockdown period, to get one’s self into something of a whirlpool of despair, upset or even depression; particularly in these days. The lockdown as a consequence of the coronavirus, the shocking and saddening actions, from across the Atlantic, which resulted in the death of […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 10

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 11

When I consider, on a Friday, what I’m going to discuss in my weekly message I can sometimes find it hard to identify something serious to discuss; or there are too many serious things to discuss, or there is something enormous and too significant which can’t be discussed. This week is an example of one […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 9

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 10

As this has ‘officially’ been a half term holiday I intend to just to share a brief message this week. I do genuinely hope that you have taken some time this week to rest up, stay away from emails and make the most of this absolutely fantastic weather. The present national and international circumstances continue […]

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 9

’m sure you won’t need reminding but, it is the half term holiday and there are no expectations on anyone to be completing work. You all need that break. Take some time away from the work. Turn off your computer. Don’t check emails. Give yourself some brain space. It’s fitting that I can say this […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 8

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 8

It’s all but I can do this week to just not spend the next few paragraphs ranting. We all waited on the governmental announcement of the weekend and we were looking for some clarity as to where we might be going and how we might get there. Sadly, the communication was not as clear as […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 7

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 7

This will be something of a short message. I’m not expecting anybody to want to read this on a sunny bank holiday. It makes a nice change for the sun to be shining over the bank holiday weekend, even if it does not feel like a typical bank holiday; I’m not sure whether that’s as […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 6

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing. Please Click here to view Covid-19 Parental Guide

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 6

I want to publicly thank all the staff at Oakwood High School and all the parents and carers for all your work with and for our children and young people. These are, as we have discussed on many occasions, very strange times and we have all been presented with personal and professional challenges, the likes […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 5

Dear Parent / Carer Please Click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 5

We now have returned from our Easter break and have completed week 5 of lockdown. How long this will continue I cannot say. What I do know is that we have all been doing your bit again this week to support our children in their work and beyond. I know many of you are very […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 4

Dear Parent / Carer Please click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 4

It really is still the Easter break and, as I said last week, I wouldn’t usually be sharing a message. But I will and you can choose to read, or not. A rhetorical question: Am I just doing these for my own sanity / routine / structure? We’ve had a number of pupils in school […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 3

Dear Parent / Carer Please click here to view our weekly briefing.

Read More...

Lockdown: Week 3

As it’s (nominally) the Easter break I wouldn’t usually be sharing a Headteacher’s message / blog – you all have a whole lot of other things to be doing  rather than reading this nonsense. That said; now I’ve got on something of a roll with the messages and themes are developing it may well be […]

Read More...

Week 2 of lockdown

We are now at the end of week 2 of lockdown.  And we are ready to start the Easter break? That sounds and feels very strange. I can’t quite get the ‘end of a long term, time to relax’ vibe going. There has been loads of stuff online and in social media this week designed […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 2

Dear Parent / Carer Please click here to view our second weekly briefing.

Read More...

Week 1 of lockdown

At the end of week one I’ll try to keep this short. I’m sure many of you have had it with looking at screens this week. Thank you for everything that you have done to adjust to our new ways of working and thank you for supporting our each other and our pupils; all of […]

Read More...

Closure Briefing 1

Dear Parent / Carer We thought that we should update you all as regularly as possible. It is our intention to send out a weekly briefing for parents / carers and the pupils.  Please click here to view.  

Read More...

Temporary closure

We are living through extraordinary circumstances and we have communicated so much, so frequently and (hopefully) clearly throughout the past few weeks. We are where we are right now and we are in a situation none of us would’ve wished for or imagined.I do believe that, as a community we have, as always, reacted with […]

Read More...

We face difficult days ahead

We face difficult days ahead. The magnitude of the current crisis is becoming clearer by the day. In these exceptional times I just wanted to take some time to reassure you that we, at Oakwood High School, are doing all that is necessary, recommended, reasonable and proportionate in the face of the pandemic.  We have […]

Read More...

Just thinking ahead

I want to thank all the staff, pupils and parents for their efforts this week. The weather has been a little bit better and, as a consequence, the atmosphere around the school has been a little bit more relaxed. It’s great when the children can get out and have a bit of a run-around at […]

Read More...

The globe is close to home

After a week away from the ‘chalk face’ we have been back at it again this week. It’s interesting what can happen and how events can move when we have a week away from school. In the 21st-century, news, information and events move so quickly. It’s not quite Wilson’s ‘a week is a long time […]

Read More...

Valentine’s Day

We’ve got to the end of another half term. This past six weeks has been pretty good on the whole. The weather hasn’t been too bad; notwithstanding the odd storm, strong winds, sleet showers, downpours and so on and so on. Pretty typical for this time of year I guess. We know that by the […]

Read More...

At least we are talking

This week has been ‘Children’s Mental Health and Well-being week’. A national opportunity for us all to stop and think about supporting children and young people with their mental health and well-being. For many of the older generation this might seem a little strange. In years gone-by, when I was a lad and all that, […]

Read More...

Random Acts of Kindness

A couple of things this week. Firstly, just referring back to the message of last week about ‘Blue Monday’. It was interesting and reassuring to read on the BBC website that, according to psychologists Blue Monday is ‘a load of rubbish’. The phrase was coined by a psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004. He came up […]

Read More...

There’s no need to be blue on Monday

We’ve got over that period of New Year’s resolutions – the continuation of those resolutions with some of us and the slippage with others. That old line about ‘picking yourself up and dusting yourself off’ comes to mind. It is important to have something to commit to do but we shouldn’t make it a millstone […]

Read More...

Happy New Year

Probably for the final time this year: Happy New Year. I hope that you all had a wonderful break and you have been able to recharge the batteries. We know how challenging that first term can be for everyone; staff and pupils. The nights get longer, the days get shorter and colder and the challenges […]

Read More...

The Election

Having avoided, week on week, the election… I know that many of you will have voted this past few days. Some of you may be happy with the result, some of you may not. As Headteacher of Oakwood High School I really do try to make it my business to be professionally apolitical. It isn’t […]

Read More...

Christmas is coming

Thank you for your efforts this week. We countdown to the Christmas break. We have a couple of weeks to go at the end of a long long term. I know that it isn’t easy to get up and out and into school every day but the overwhelming majority of pupils do so with good […]

Read More...

Black Friday

I’m concerned about you all. I’m concerned that the opportunity to drawn into the carnage that is Black Friday might be too much for you. You just might get drawn into the madness that is Meadowhall (other large retail outlets are available) and you’ll end up spending your well-earned or hard-earned cash on ‘stuff’. That […]

Read More...

It’s good to talk and listen

As we move into  the depths of this Autumn I am absolutely determined not to talk about the general election and/or politics. In particular, I’m not going to discuss how politicians should or do behave – on the campaign trail or in office. If I state that I might just have half a chance of […]

Read More...

Past and Present

I’ve topped and tailed my week this week with work with Year 11’s. On Monday we hosted our annual ex-year 11 presentation evening. It was, as always, a lovely evening and was, this year, very well attended by the pupils. It is amazing to see how much those young people had changed in such a […]

Read More...

And it rained.

It’s not been the best of weeks really. Not that it’s been that bad at school necessarily, but the week started with defeat for England at Rugby World Cup final and ended with terrific floods locally and the sad news that a woman has died, having been swept away in floodwater. All I can say […]

Read More...

The half term is upon us

It’s the end of the longest half term and as such there seems little value in trying to find clever things to say to keep people motivated and ‘up and at it’. All I need to do is say thank you to everybody for their contributions over the past eight weeks; be that pupils, parents […]

Read More...

Bulgaria 0 England 6

Like many of you I watched Monday’s England football game (0-6 by the way) in Bulgaria. It was a strange experience. On one hand I felt angry and repulsed by the overtly racist behaviour being displayed by significant minority of fans. And on the other hand, quietly proud of the England team, all of the […]

Read More...

It’s a day

I think I need to start with an apology. In my general irritation with the accountability framework that schools and colleges have to face I forgot that it was one of the most important days of the year last week. You might have missed it too. On Saturday 5th October we should have all been […]

Read More...

To Ofsted or not to Ofsted

Those of us who work in education understand that we must be held to account for the performance of our children and young people. We may not like the OFSTEDs of this world but we are realistic about their existence and the demands that they will place on schools and colleges. It is with this […]

Read More...

Thank you

In considering what I might discuss this week it has been immensely difficult to avoid the momentous national ‘judgements’ and related political and constitutional discussions that have subsequently taken place. It would have been relatively easy to make some play over the Supreme Court judgement or the conduct of MPs in parliament; I have heard […]

Read More...

Being a teacher

Last week I talked about the positivity I felt having worked with some colleagues newly appointed to the Trust. This week, amongst other things, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing some colleagues for key teaching roles within the Trust. That got me thinking about the teaching profession in general. There is something of a crisis […]

Read More...

Inspire Trust

Education is complicated these days. Long gone are the days when we had simple constructs. To a degree we knew we all knew where we were within those constructs. The central government directed the local government and the local government directed schools and colleges. We are now in a much more complicated educational landscape. That […]

Read More...

The return to school

Thank you for all of your efforts this week. However much we prepare for the return of pupils it isn’t until they are in the building that we fully realise what is needed and what we need to do to support them in their learning. However much the pupils prepare it isn’t until they are […]

Read More...

Welcome back

I hope that you have all had a wonderful summer. We are all back and at it from the first thing this morning. It’s been particularly strange time, meteorologically, but it seems that that is something we are going to have to get used to. Looking into the future the climate seems to be on a course […]

Read More...

All about cricket?

Thank you to all staff, children and parents for all your efforts this week – the first week of the new school year!. It’s always that little bit more interesting when we have our new year 7s in. On the whole they have been very good and have managed themselves well around the school building. […]

Read More...