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Earlier newsletters 
 
Commonwealth MP’s visit Archbishop’s
 
We were delighted this month to host a visit of 24 Commonwealth MP’s, all of whom were in the UK for a fortnight to study the way the UK parliament works.  In addition to study seminars in London on such matters as procedures, parliamentary committees and the role of the speaker, the MP’s visited number 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister – and also paid a visit to Archbishop Holgate’s to see English education at first hand.
 
20 countries were represented from across the Commonwealth, from Australia, Canada, the Cayman Islands and the Falklands right through the alphabet to Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda.  After asking a lot of questions about the school and how UK education works, the 24 MP’s with York MP Hugh Bayley sat in an English lesson to experience the new Literacy strategy for themselves, before moving into discussion groups with Year 10 pupils.  We received many requests to keep in touch, and excellent feedback – “a great pleasure … the delegates were most impressed with your school.”
 
from Newsletter to Parents 154, March 2007 
 
 
York St John University survey on pupil wellbeing
 
Archbishop Holgate’s School pupils like school more, look after each other better, have healthier lifestyles and give more to the community than York pupils as a whole.  These are the findings of a survey just published of pupils conducted by York St John University and the City of York Council.
 
The survey shows that considerably more Archbishop Holgate’s School pupils like school than the citywide norm.  Indeed, year-on-year comparisons show that over recent years the number of Archbishop Holgate’s pupils liking school has increased.  The great majority of pupils report never feeling lonely at Archbishop Holgate’s – significantly better than the city as a whole.  The story is also very good in healthy eating and exercise where much higher proportions of pupils at Archbishop Holgate’s School report that they eat healthily most days or every day.  Exercising sixty minutes a day also emerged as an area in which Archbishop Holgate’s pupils considerably exceed the city norm.
 
I am particularly pleased by the figures on bullying, with significantly more pupils at Archbishop’s reporting no bullying.  No less encouraging is the story on voluntary work, which show a significantly greater proportion of Archbishop Holgate’s pupils participating in charity fundraising or voluntary work.
 
This is one of a number of surveys which indicate good pupil welfare, echoing a similar story told by the parents’ surveys conducted at Parents’ Evenings and the recent Local Authority’s parents’ survey in which parents placed Archbishop Holgate’s School scores significantly above the Local Authority average on every one of the twenty core questions, ranking the school first or second among York secondary schools on nineteen of them.  We look carefully at parents’ views, and many improvements come each year from parents’ suggestions.  Meanwhile, results like these from York St John University are only possible because of the very strong support for the school from parents: thank you very much.
 
from Newsletter to Parents 151, January 2007
 
 
More national recognition for Archbishop’s
 
I am pleased to report that Archbishop Holgate’s has been named as one of the first thirty-two secondary schools in the country to be given the new title of National Support School.  This is a result of our work with schools in challenging circumstances through our Leading Edge partnership.  Six of the thirty-two schools are in the Yorkshire and Humberside region; it is particularly satisfying that our partner lead school in this Leading Edge work, Huntington School, is also one of the thirty-two schools recognised in this way. 
 
This accolade is a significant recognition of the expertise of the staff of both Archbishop Holgate’s and Huntington.  The Heads of both schools were invited to the National College for School Leadership late in October to be given the title of National Leaders in Education, as part of which they will be asked to advise schools facing difficulties and will be consulted by ministers and DfES officials on aspects of Government policy as it is being developed. 
 
from Newsletter to Parents 148, October 2006
 

Another memorable year

2005-2006 has been another memorable year.  It started with the news that examination results for both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 were significantly higher than the national norms, in both cases showing very high added value – a welcome recognition of the very strong progress made by pupils at Archbishop Holgate’s.  The Government is piloting a new measure of contextual added value: on this count, too, we are in the top group of schools nationally.  The 2006 Key Stage 3 results already in make very encouraging reading: we look forward keenly to seeing the full KS3 and GCSE results over the summer.
 
Partnership working has been a strong feature of the year – through our Science College status, our Active Citizens programme, our Pathfinder status, our partnership work with primary schools, and our Leading Edge status.  These collaborations have encouraged the Government to invite us not only to submit a bid to redesignate for a further term as a Science College, but also to take on a second specialism.  Both provide real opportunities for further enhancing the opportunities open to pupils and we trust both will be successful.
 
There has been much else to celebrate … seven trips abroad, including one to the townships of Cape Town; many other curriculum trips and events including an excellent Industry Day;
pantomime, alive and well in April, and a Summer Concert featuring our new orchestra, jazz band and soul band; enthusiastic take-up of healthy eating, our second Healthy Week, and the Healthy School award; the first Archbishop Holgate Science Lecture at the new National Science Learning Centre; real concern for Fair Trade; strong out of hours learning; very strong parental support in a Local Authority survey of parents’ views about Archbishop Holgate’s; a record number of sporting trophies – indeed, as far as memory serves, a record for any local school; a year of generous fundraising to help others less fortunate than ourselves – £11,000 so far and still counting; partnership work with the Civic Trust making masks for the mystery plays; excellent links with York Theatre Royal involving several subjects in substantial partnership projects; an unscripted finale to a unique Speech Day with the Archbishop leading the band on bongos… the list goes on and on.  Such a memorable year has only been possible through the commitment of pupils, the dedication of staff, and the support of parents: thank you very much.
 
from Newsletter to Parents 145, July 2006 
 

Visit of His Grace the Archbishop of York

I am delighted to report that the new Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, will be making a special visit to Archbishop Holgate’s on Wednesday 15th March.  The visit lasts the whole morning. 
 
The programme mixes the normal with the special.  Dr Sentamu will take a tour of the whole school, paying a brief visit to every classroom, to allow him to see something of the working atmosphere on a normal working day.  He will be in discussion with a number of staff on current issues facing the school.  He will also be present at a special whole-school assembly; many pupils will be using part of their RE lesson this week to help prepare for this assembly by considering their hopes for the future – for the school, the community, the world – so that a group of pupils can offer a dramatic prayer embodying the thoughts of the school.  He will be accompanied throughout the visit by the Bishop of Whitby, who has maintained a close association with Archbishop Holgate's since Dr Hope’s move to Ilkley, including willingly carrying the burden of Chairman of Governors.
 
It was a particular delight that two Archbishop Holgate's pupils were invited to assist with Dr Sentamu’s installation at York Minster on 30th November.  He has already committed himself to a return visit to Archbishop Holgate’solgate;’ in the summer term when he will be our Chief Guest at the annual Speech Day and Presentation of Awards on 19th July. 
 
The link between the school and successive Archbishops of York has been continuous ever since Archbishop Robert Holgate founded the school 460 years ago in 1546.   Part of Holgate’s vision for the school was a four-way partnership between Archbishop, Minster, City and School, embodied in the Foundation Deed, that continues to this day.  The responsibilities of Archbishops of York have of course increased very greatly over the centuries; indeed, Dr Sentamu’s role has been further increased, not least in that he carries a burden of national responsibilities significantly greater than that of his predecessor, and I am therefore particularly delighted that, despite the very crowded nature of his diary, he is committed to continuing the link with Archbishop Holgate’s School. 
 
from Newsletter to Parents 141, March 2006

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