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Batley Buzz

The Batley Buzz was evident throughout our school last week as our learners all returned to school. We were all elated to be back and it was truly wonderful to see our boys engaged in their learning in our classrooms. Attendance was excellent, and a real sign that young people are pleased to be back and have missed school, and missed interacting with their teachers and friends over the lockdown period. Blended Learning has worked superbly well throughout lockdown, yet nothing beats children on site learning with our expert teachers .

Our boys were incredibly smart (as always) and wore their masks well, many had their Covid tests and all boys followed the guidance about social distancing and regularly handwashing and hand sanitising. These measures are the 'new normal' and are working very well in school with children remaining in their year group zones, and our teachers moving around the site.

Now that learners are back with us, our mission is to settle them into school routines again, which happened superbly well last week. Then, the most essential ingredient in a high quality education is first rate teaching. All of our teachers are subject experts and highly skilled in their role. Teachers provide first rate lessons each and every day, our mantra being "every lesson of everyday Good or better". During these lessons teachers use a range of diagnostic assessments to assess where children are now, and how much learning has taken place throughout lockdown. These assessments are engaging and interactive- they are not just a series of exam style tests. There would be nothing worse than children returning to school and spending their first two weeks sitting exams. Highly skilled teachers can attain that same knowledge by using diagnostics during lesson time- which is far more efficient, effective and engaging for young people. 

Free Tuition and Holiday Classes
Our after school sessions have already recommenced for our GCSE learners and Easter school is planned for the next school holidays at the end of the month. At Upper Batley High School we are not just waiting for the summer holidays,  we are taking action when it is needed the most.  Our diagnostic assessments show us exactly what support and intervention each child needs, and we plan that accordingly. Our after school, and holidays tuition classes are free of charge to our young people, and these sessions provide additional, bespoke and focused tuition to those children who need it. These are targeted tuition sessions, delivered by our highly skilled staff team.

We know our learners very well and provide the support they need. For some children that is praise and encouragement, as they have worked well and made great progress throughout lockdown, others need free tuition and catch up. We have recruited additional staff who are already in post to provide targeted tuition and intervention during school hours as well. Some learners need support for emotional health and wellbeing, as they may be suffering from grief or anxiety caused by some of the pressures families have experienced throughout the pandemic. We provide first class pastoral support from our dedicated team of Year Leaders and we buy in a counselling service for those boys who need it. We also use research to determine the interventions we use at school, and research from the Education Endowment Foundation (the government designated centre for what works for education) shows that small group tuition maximises progress by at least 4 months, and metacognitive work by 7 months. See summary below and you can see the full details at: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence-summaries/teaching-learning-toolkit/

Small group tuition                         + 4 months progress
Social and emotional support       + 4 months progress
Metacognition & self regulation    +7 months progress
One to One tuition                          + 4 months progress 
Reading Interventions                    + 6 months progress
Summer schools                             +2 months progress
Extending the school day              + 2 months progress

So as you will see just extending the school day, or running summer schools are ok, but there are also other ways, and better ways, to maximise progress as well. At UBHS we are not interested in headline grabbing slogans, but we are interested in providing the very best education, care and guidance for our young people. We use a wide range of strategies to maximize the progress our learners make, and that's why our boys are successful and why we are in the Top 7% of schools nationally, with boys' progress being way above average nationally as well. 

Year 11 GCSEs summer 2021
Although the year 11 boys will not be sitting the traditional style GCSE examination series this summer, they will be assessed on a range of factors and the teacher assessment will be based on assessments such as:
  • Internal mock examinations (Year 10 mocks, December year 11 mock exams etc)
  • Coursework and portfolio work
  • The quality of their work during lockdown
  • The quality of their classwork
  • Exams in May/June 2021.
Teachers are now producing evidence portfolios for every learner so they will be able to accurately moderate and standardise their work, and the exam board materials are expected to be released to schools at the end of March. Once the national consultation has finished we will inform parents and our learners about the exact details. We will share this information as soon as we have it from the government. For now- learners need to work hard every lesson of every day and demonstrate their full ability to their teachers.

Ofqual have shared this really helpful infographic for parents:
 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964613/Infographic_-_how_GCSEs__AS_and_A_levels_will_be_awarded_in_summer_2021.pdf

Thank you to parents and families
We would like to take this opportunity to say an extra special thank you to all our parents and families who have supported their sons with their home learning. Our families have been fantastic and have helped to ensure that our children made progress, and were sat their computers by 8.30am every morning ready for their live lessons, and blended learning. We know that home schooling isn't easy for parents, especially when there are several siblings at home, and parents are trying to work at home themselves. We thank all our families and say well done to you

£1 million Investment
In 2020/21 we received additional funding from the government for site wide improvements. This money has been spent wisely and our school site looks amazing. You will have seen images in our previous newsletters and the virtual tour of school that you can see on the school website. Improvements include:

  • A brand new roof over our Creatives department, learner services and part of our PE department
  • A brand new main reception
  • Full school painting
  • New classroom furniture
  • Upgrade high speed wifi
  • Over 400 new laptops purchased for learners
  • A proposed built careers library in the heart of our school
  • Fully refurbished Creatives department
  • Fully refurbished library, and extended book collection (including online books)
  • Lockers for every learner
Additional £700, 0000 investment
In 2021 we have secured an additional £700,000 to continue with our site improvements and this money will be invested in further roof replacement and;
  • Refurbishment of our PE changing rooms
  • A brand new learner entrance
  • Refurbishment of our Humanities and maths areas
Our entire school building is a tool for learning and we cannot wait until visitors are allowed on site again so you can see first hand how amazing our school facilities are for your son. At UBHS we work hard each and every day to be the best that we can be.
Batley: Beds, Biscuits and a Brilliant Education for Boys.