Principal’s Blog – 15th July 2016

  • Year 11 Prom 2016 Image 1
  • Year 11 Prom 2016 Image 2
  • Year 11 Prom 2016 Image 3
  • Year 11 Prom 2016 Image 4
  • Year 11 Prom 2016 Image 5


Active Brains

The summer can be a long break for young minds that need to be kept active. It can also be a testing time for parents who have to deal with bored young people on rainy summer days. There are many websites that might come to your rescue and that can educate your kids as well as entertain them. Dip in and out – it might just save your sanity!

Fond Farewells

No school stands still and on Friday July 15th we will be losing a number of talented staff. Year 12 will be sad to lose Jane Bourne having guided them all the way to Year 11 and into the sixth form. In Maths we say adieu to Becky Worrell. We say farewell to Jennie Chapman from PE and in Science to Mark Dwyer who starts a one year sabbatical and to Isabel Forrester, Paula Shannon and Hannah Martin. Targeted Pathways says farewell to Steph White (née Raikes) and English to Rachel Rodgers and Clare Watson. Kieran Murphy is also leaving from Humanities. From the associate staff we wish all the best to Sue Bradford, a TA, and to David Mansfield, a HLTA and also to Tony Gray, a Maths tutor. Simon Newton, our SSPO, has been promoted as has Liz Fairhurst who becomes the new Principal at Airedale Academy. Our longest serving employee, Gill Earith, retires after serving the college since 1987! Minsthorpe, like all schools, has to continually reinvent itself and as one door closes, another one opens. In September, I will be providing some introductions to the new staff who will be joining us and bringing new ideas and enthusiasm to Minsthorpe and, in the process, reinvigorating the college by adding their story to our proud history.

Students Shine at Minsthorpe!

The Shine project has been an incredible success this year. Those boys identified as underachieving in Year 7 have made incredible progress in Year 8 compared to a control group. 7 out of the 15 participants reached a level 7B with two participants gaining a 7A and one participant reaching a level 8B in a Shine Assessment! A further 4 students reached a level 7 and were one sublevel behind their target. 3 students achieved a level 6A with only one student achieving a 6B. The students reported on a disaster, wrote poetry about space, produced creative writing on the theme of war, experimented with Gothic writing and visited the Beamish Museum where they immersed themselves in a role play that showed them what life would have been like for a child in the workhouse in 1800. Now we hope that they continue to shine in their first year of GCSE!

The Talent That is Minsthorpe

Two great annual events took place last week. On Wednesday July 6th we had the Sports Awards Evening and our sporting heroes and heroines were honoured for their prowess and dedication. Then on Thursday July 7th we held the Summer Concert and, as ever, our students showcased their extraordinary musical and dancing talents. A great end to a great year!

Having a Ball

The Year 11 Prom took place on Thursday July 14th at Tankersley Manor near Barnsley. The students – as ever – did us proud and looked absolutely magnificent dressed up to the nines and arriving in all manner of transport. There is always a danger that an event like this can become too stressful for students to actually enjoy – the need for the perfect date; the need to look one’s best; getting the coolest transport – sometimes the occasion can seem too important to be able to relax and enjoy! For Year 10 parents who will be embarking on the preparations for the 2017 Prom my advice is this: Keep the financial investment modest, the arrangements simple, the expectations moderate and the companionship focused on friendship. Then, not only will your son or daughter go to the ball – they will also remember the Prom with pleasure as one of their important Rites of Passage.

Life on Mars

On July 15th 1965 the unmanned spacecraft Mariner 4 passed over Mars at an altitude of 6,000 feet and sent back to Earth the first close-up images of the red planet. NASA’s current mission to send an astronaut to Mars is driven by development of the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The capsule spacecraft is being designed to take humans back to the moon by 2020. In later years, by rendezvous with Mars-bound vehicles assembled in orbit, it may actually take the first humans to the Red Planet. However, future Mars missions are already in development and will take place long before any human visits the planet. Scientists hope that robotic craft can delve far beneath the Martian surface to return data, and possible samples, of the planet’s geology. Such missions could even find signs of the water and, perhaps, life that may lie hidden beneath the planet’s forbidding exterior.

Ray Henshaw