Principal’s Blog – 19th May 2017

  • Go Higher West Yorkshire
  • Barnardo's Positive Identities Service
  • Next


Going The Extra Mile

Minsthorpe is really benefiting from the extra funding that we have secured this academic year from the Go Higher West Yorkshire project. Whilst a number of our Post 16 students go on to Higher Education – many of them the first in their family to do so – we are in a so-called ‘Cold Spot’ in that less students from our area think seriously about a University education earlier in their school career. The college has received significant extra funding for the period January – July 2017 and will receive a further injection of money to cover the period September 2017 – July 2018. This is allowing us to do some innovative projects that would, frankly, not be possible in the current economic climate that are aimed at raising achievement at both GCSE and A-level. One programme is called MyTutor. In this 10 Year 11 students have been randomly selected to take part in a trial that sees University undergraduates providing live, online one-to-one tuition twice a week for a month in Maths. They are getting bespoke advice on their areas of weakness from students studying Maths at University and we hope to see significant improvements in their grades. Another exciting innovation is the Manglish Residential which will see 30 students spend a weekend at Tankersley Manor to enjoy the splendour of the hotel’s facilities and also receive some concentrated tuition and support ahead of their Maths and English GCSE examinations. Over the next 18 months every student in this college will benefit from this extra funding in one way or another.

Minsthorpe – Proud To Be An Inclusive College

Students are far more receptive today about the gender and sexual orientation of others and I was proud to see this confirmed by Barnados who have been working all week with both staff and students as part of their review of our LGBT provision. The researchers were blown away by the way in which our students celebrate diversity in the college and by their acceptance of different lifestyles. As a college we see this as a core part of The Minsthorpe Way but it is good to see it also being praised by external agencies.

Whatever Next?

Visitors to the college might be surprised to see the appearance of a number of mannequins in reception that are all dressed in Next uniforms. These have been designed by students in Year 7 and Year 8 as part of a number of work-based learning programmes that we have set up with the Next Distribution Centre just up the road from the College. Students took Next on as a client and designed some new uniforms for the workers in the Centre from the brief that Next gave them. Next judged the best three and made up prototypes which are now on display. At Minsthorpe we actively promote this type of applied learning that allows students to see how the world of work operates as it gives them the chance to learn by taking part in real-world, real-time activities.

Funding Problems

On our website today is a letter issued by all of the secondary heads in Wakefield outlining the scale of the financial crisis that is facing schools all across the country. Pound-for-pound the crisis facing all schools is every bit as serious as the NHS. However, it is obvious in hospitals when patients can’t get seen in A&E or spend the night on a trolley in a corridor. In schools the impact of these cuts tends to get hidden by having larger class sizes, less services such as mental health care and fewer options. With a General Election looming it is time to ask all the political parties what they intend to do to stop schools having to go to four day weeks or making massive staffing redundancies as the idea that schools can cope with less funding in the face of increased numbers of young people needing school places and yet standards not be affected has to be challenged.

Ray Henshaw