Prior to writing my monthly dispatch for the dales most popular publications, The Upper Wensleydale Newsletter and Leyburn Life, I ask students and staff to tell me about what they‘re been up to recently.
I am always impressed with the amount of good work going on in school and humbled by our students‘ varied achievements. This term, for example, our students have: dominated the local badminton competitions; raised thousands of pounds towards a visit to Amala, India, through enterprising and charitable means including quizzes, curry nights, and pie and pea suppers; qualified as young singing leaders working with youngsters at our partner primary schools; impressed in the Richmond swimming gala; and contributed to the school farm.
Wensleydale is a small school with big ambitions!
January exams have taken place for students in Key Stages 4 and 5 this term and students have responded to the challenge admirably.
This term we also held our first Learning Focus Day. We collapsed our normal timetable and engaged students in crosscurricular activities designed to develop transferrable skills such as teamwork, empathy, self awareness and independent study.
Year 11, for example, investigated the world of science fiction imagining what the school would be like in 2050 (a staffroom full of holographic teachers, apparently!) whilst Year 9 worked with local business leaders and the North Yorkshire Business and Enterprise Partnership on designing a festival.
A wealth of Wensleydale School musicians – Cantabile, Showstoppers and our instrumentalists – have all been hard at work preparing for the Wensleydale Tournament of Song in Leyburn.
The school farm continued to grow this month. Following the success of our two pigs whose combined weight by slaughter was almost 180kg, we now have two new pigs for fattening. The ducks and geese are relieved to be able to get back in the ponds after the cold spell that rendered the ponds solid for over a month! Our brood of Silky cross hens are starting to lay small eggs and the others are laying well too.
The term ended in high spirits – or at least on high slopes — with many of our students enjoying the Austrian Alps on the first of our two ski trips for Years 8, 9 and 10.