27th June 2017

A letter From the Principal

Dear Parent / Carer

Another busy and productive year for Ashington High School is coming towards a close and there are a number of updates I would like to share with you.

Firstly, I’d like to thank all students, parents and staff for their support this year. Our second year as a secondary school has flown by and things are settling well after the upheaval of last year’s reorganisation. The vast majority of our students continue to respond positively to the developments that have been made and school life is progressing well.

End of Term and Summer 2017 staff training day
Please be notified that having looked at the school calendar and reviewed our plans for the remainder of this academic year we have decided to move back our previously published staff training day from Monday 3rd July to Monday 17th July. School will now be open as normal to all students on Monday 3rd July, and will be closed for students in Year 7 to 10 on Monday 17th July.

Year 12 students have a pre-arranged trip to Northumbria University booked for Monday 17th July and this will still go ahead as originally planned. Thursday 20th July will be the last day of term for Year 12 students.

Challenge week activities will run again in the last week of term on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th July, and House Sports Day is scheduled for Thursday 20th July. A separate letter about Challenge Week be given to students and Mr Walton will be talking to students in assemblies about the chance to once again access a wonderful range of activities.

School closes for the start of the summer holidays on Friday 21st July at 12.20pm. School transport will be ordered for this time for students who require it.

Summer Progress Exams
Summer exams for Year 12 students have started well this week. Testing sessions are also planned in core subjects for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 students as you will know from Mr. Redpath’s letter. I must stress again that for our youngest students these tests are not something to be worried about. They are about providing practice and experience for students in a more formal setting; we are more concerned with attitude and conduct as well as getting our students ready for the exams they will eventually sit. When Summer Progress Exams are completed and marked we will write out to you with a summary of your child’s performance.

Site Safety
After some awful incidents that have made the news recently (Manchester and London terror attacks, Grenfell Tower fire) I’d like to reassure parents that the school complies fully with all existing health and safety regulations and will continue to update our practices as necessary and whenever updates are released. We are in touch with Northumberland County Council and local Police officers whenever a serious incident occurs locally or nationally and follow all official advice with regard to student wellbeing and safety. A minute’s silence was also observed very respectfully by students for each of the terror attacks.

September 2017
School re-opens to students after the summer break on Wednesday 6th September 2017; Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th are staff training days. Please note the staggered start to the first day back:

• New Year 7 and Year 8 students should arrive for 8.40am.
• Year 9, 10 and 11 students are required at 10.00am.
• Post 16 students to join us at 11.30am please.

North East Learning Trust
You may recall that back in June last year our Chair of Governors wrote to parents about the school’s position with regard to Ofsted Special Measures and the legal requirement for the school to become a sponsored academy. This letter highlighted an organisation called the North East Learning Trust (NELT) as one that had shown an interest in sponsoring Ashington High. Work has been going on throughout the year with NELT and the school will become a sponsored academy as part of the NELT Multi Academy Trust in September. Schools who join NELT sign up to share a simple vision – that every child experiences excellence every day, something we can all agree is the right aspiration for our children. Our Chair will write to you again before the school year ends, in the meantime click on the document below to view a fact sheet about NELT in full screen mode. A letter from NELT to parents will also be sent home in due course.

Finally, I would like to thank members of staff who are moving on from Ashington High School this summer. We have a small number of teachers moving on to new opportunities. We wish them well in their future ventures and appreciate all that they have done whilst they have worked at Ashington High School. In their place we have made four excellent new teaching appointments and I am very excited about the group of staff who will be working with our students in September.

This will be my last letter to you as Interim Principal, as next year under the leadership of NELT I will return to my previous post of Senior Vice Principal. Leading this school for the last two years has been the proudest achievement of my professional life to date and I have enjoyed every day of the incredible opportunity to be the Principal of Ashington High School. I have worked in Ashington for 11 years now and from where I stand it is clear the students, parents and staff in this community are working harder than ever to ensure the provision on offer is of a good standard. I believe the school has made great strides in the last couple of years and I look forward to some excellent exam results this summer and many more success stories over the next few years.

The last thing that remains is for me to wish you all a wonderful summer break.

With very best wishes

Gary Douglas
Interim Principal