As Chair of Governors it is my duty to inform you of some changes taking place over the next few months here at Minsthorpe Community College.
Our Principal, Mr Ray Henshaw, will be taking early retirement from April this year. This is a selfless act on his part and has been brought on by the financial cut backs the College has had to undertake this year.
Ray has worked tirelessly over the past five years to lead the College, staff and students, and recognised very early last year that a restructure of senior leaders was necessary, his own position being the first of these cuts.
In order to continue our success, and so as not to disrupt the excellent teaching and learning of the College, Governors have agreed unanimously to the two Vice Principals of the College, Mrs Rachael Merritt and Mr Mark Gilmore, to become Joint Principals.
Both have a wealth of leadership experience at Minsthorpe, they know staff and students at the College, and are both an integral part of all aspects of College life. Their move to Joint Principal at Minsthorpe will see little or no disruption to the running of the College, and their experience within College life will mean that the transition will be smooth.
The decision for Mr Henshaw to retire was a difficult one for him to make but Governors and the College are appreciative of his decision and his meticulous planning for the successful future of Minsthorpe Community College.
I am sad to say that at a full staff meeting held on Monday January 7th I announced my retirement from Minsthorpe in April 2019.
Minsthorpe Community College – like all schools – is facing an unprecedented financial crisis and has to make dramatic cuts in order to guarantee its future survival. As the highest paid teacher at the College I have decided to take early retirement so that my salary can be saved. The Governors have agreed to an exciting succession plan that will see my two Vice Principals, Rachael Merritt and Mark Gilmore, step up to become the new Joint Principals of the College. This move will save money but, more importantly, it will mean that there will be no loss of energy or momentum as both of these leaders have been crucial players in the success story of the College and will hit the ground running after Easter in order to continue to lead the College forward on its exciting and transformational journey.
From the moment I joined Minsthorpe in January 2014 I knew that this would be my last job as a school leader – simply because any other school would suffer by comparison. Leading this College has been an honour and a privilege and I am desperately sad to be leaving. The leadership team is the best I have ever worked with in my 36 years as a teacher and its staff the most dedicated and hard working group of people who care passionately about giving the students every opportunity to make a success of their lives. I will miss the students a great deal – their humour, their bluntness, their energy and their determination to be all that they can be has inspired me on a daily basis.
For me, the last five years have been proof of the adage that if you are in a job that you love then you will not do a day’s work in your life! Every day has been exciting and energising and it has been an absolute pleasure for me.
It has been said that you never truly leave a place that you love as you leave something of yourself behind and take something of the place away with you. This is so true! My whole career has been leading me to Minsthorpe and, for me it has been a source of enormous pride that I was chosen to lead this College and I will look back at my time here with a huge amount of pleasure and satisfaction.
During November 2018, the Computer Science department at Minsthorpe Community College took part in an international competition called "Bebras". The competition was run with over 500 students in Years 7 & 8. All students who took part will receive certificates for ‘Participation’, ‘Distinction’ and ‘Best in the School’. A special mention goes to Millie and Sally who both achieved results in the top 10% of the country. These students are now eligible for entry into the TCS Oxford Computing Challenge. This will take place in March 2019. If successful, both girls will be invited to Oxford University.
Mr Mallinson (Head of Computer Science) said "This was a great way to promote more students, especially girls, into the computer science industry. The tasks were delivered online and were fun, engaging and based on problems that computer scientists often meet and enjoy solving. With curriculum content becoming more challenging, this was an exciting opportunity for students to put their logical and computational thinking skills to great effect."
We have been asked by Network Rail to share a new educational video with students as they are aware that a number of young people are trespassing on the tracks. They have asked that we "urgently share this engaging video with young people before more young people are seriously injured or lives are lost."
The session is led by a Safety Manager from Network Rail and explains in less than 15 minutes why it is really important to stay safe near the track.
Due to the sensitive nature of the material we are asking that all of our Parents/Carers view this input and then plan a time to watch this with your child(ren) so that you are able to offer any support and answer any questions that they may have.
If you do not have access to digital technology and are unable to watch the video with your child, please contact the College and we will offer you a time for this to take place.
On Thursday 22nd November Post 16 students from Minsthorpe attended the graduation ceremony for the Progression Module Plus. This is a qualification that is supported by many West Yorkshire universities and involves students doing research on their intended career route in order to make an informed choice about whether to enter the profession with A-levels or a degree.
The Progression Module Plus course tutor was none other than the College Principal, Mr Henshaw, who was invited to form part of the Academic Honour Guard who applaud the graduates out after gaining their certificates. Mr Henshaw is himself a graduate from Leicester University and can be seen in the colours, cap and gown of his awarding university.
As you are probably aware, some of our students (and their teacher, Dean Jones) performed as the Minsthorpe Soul Band at a Go Higher West Yorkshire funded event, at Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Wednesday of last week. The event was to highlight some of the events/activities that young people, who are in GHWY postcode areas (which tend to have low rates of progression to University) have taken part in over the past year. The Soul Band originally performed and wowed, at the ‘Access All Areas’ event that took place at the Backstage Academy, South Kirby, earlier this year. The Band was so well received, that they were asked to perform at the event this week, as the headline act, both opening and closing the Event, with 2 further performances during the Event.
If you have seen/heard the Band perform, you will know what an amazingly talented group of young people make up this Band. On Wednesday the accompanying staff lost count of the number of people who approached them to speak about the ‘amazing’, ‘awesome’, ‘talented’, ‘fantastic’ (to name just a few adjectives used) students who performed. The students themselves were an absolute credit to Minsthorpe, their families and themselves. They were courteous, polite and their behaviour was impeccable throughout the day. As a group, the older students are perfect peer mentors, especially to the two youngest members of the Band, who have themselves integrated in to the Band, with seemingly effortless ease. They all obviously have a fantastic relationship with Dean Jones, who also performed with the band and who gives up so much of his time, to support these young people and nurture their incredible talents.
The students who make up the Band are: Neve, Alister, Ella, James, Matthew, Lucy, Abi, Terry and Ryan.
The College offers special thanks to Dean Jones for all his time in helping make this a truly memorable event.
Students from Minsthorpe Community College paid their respects to all those who have lost their lives in conflicts across the world in a number of ways in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday. Students from the Year 7 Nurture Group made a wreath to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice and each planted an individual poppy in The Oasis Garden – an area set aside in the College to remember the staff and students of Minsthorpe who have sadly passed away.
The Humanities Team have created a huge Thank You display in their curriculum area that has been decorated by students who have placed their poppies there to remember members of their family who have lost their lives in war or simply to say thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. On Sunday November 11th two students, Alicia Davidson and Kamil Wilczak, accompanied the Principal in the Remembrance Parade and laid a wreath of poppies from the College at the South Elmsall and Moorthrorpe War Memorial to honour the fallen.