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Principal's letter to parents - 11 September 2017

Dear Parent / Carer

May I extend a warm welcome back to all parents and carers, including those of our new Year 7 cohort.   As Principal, I will write to you on a regular basis to update you on the latest news and events from Colne Valley High School.

Supporting our local communities.

Our commitment to students, families and the Community that we serve is unquestioned and we were deeply saddened by events in the Community last Wednesday afternoon. My thoughts are with all of those who have been affected as a result of this dreadful incident. I can assure you that I am working closely with the Police, the local MP and Councillors to support the Community during this difficult period. Plans are in place to work alongside the Police, external agencies and other local schools on a regular basis to ensure that our communities receive the help and support that is required. I have also sourced the help of Huddersfield Town AFC and will be working with them this week to provide additional support to particular members of the community who have been affected. I am eager to work with the club and endorse their ‘#nolimits’ mind set.

I would like to acknowledge the phenomenal amount of support shown by our parents / carers over the last week and applaud the resilient, mature and respectful behaviour that our staff and students have demonstrated in response to the unfortunate event last week. The values that we adopt for our school are Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Aspiration (RITA) and these have been demonstrated by our students, staff and parents throughout the week. Despite a challenging week, the reaction shown makes me even more proud to be leading Colne Valley High School, a large school in the heart of our Community.

New Staff and new beginnings

I would like to recognise the immediate impact shown by our newly appointment staff who have joined our school over the summer. I have described previously how excited I have been to start the new year having made some incredible new ‘signings’ to the staff body and to start work with a new vibrant, enthusiastic and highly driven Senior Leadership Team. I have received some incredible feedback from both staff and students about the quality of the new staff.   At the end of Monday’s Staff Training Day which was led by members of our newly appointed Leadership Team, the day was described to me as “the best Inset I have ever received on a staff training day” and was a great start to the week.  I have also received feedback from a student in Year 11 who told me how he now “loves English” because of the enthusiasm and personal interest shown by his new teacher.  In addition, I have held discussions with new members of staff who are keen to run extra-curricular trips as a way of further engaging, inspiring and developing our students.

The New Year 7 cohort

What an amazing start by the new Year 7 students, with not one of them falling short of the high standards and expectations demanded by our ‘Behaviour for Learning’ system resulting in none of them receiving a sanction. The students have settled in quickly and are a credit to their parents / carers and their Primary Schools. They have shown a desire and willingness to ‘do the right thing’ and we will harness these attitudes to ensure that this is reflected in their performance. The most satisfying result from the first week has been seeing the students smiling and enjoying school. As a parent, who has a child starting school for the first time this week, there is nothing more reassuring than knowing that your child is happy and safe.

Class Charts

This year, we have introduced a new behaviour tracking system in school called ‘Class Charts’. This is a live system which allows members of staff to recognise and acknowledge positive attitudes and if required to record any instances of low level inappropriate behaviour. This has had a huge impact immediately. As leaders we have been able to acknowledge students who are receiving high numbers of ‘positive points’ and to support any student who may need refocusing. Our ‘Behaviour for Learning’ system is not designed to be punitive and I want praise and recognition to be central to promoting positive attitudes, rather than the risk of consequence. The data available within the system allows leaders in school to track the use of positivity to raise achievement. The data clearly shows an overwhelming positive difference between the use of praise compared to sanction. It isn’t a coincidence that the number of classroom sanctions were lower last week compared to the same week in the previous three years! This is something that we will continue to maintain to ensure that praise and recognition is the driver of outstanding attitudes to learning. Students perform better for teachers who make them feel positive.

Effective communication between all stakeholders is a whole school focus of ours. We welcome feedback and regular communication and encourage you to make contact with individual teachers, form tutors or school leaders whenever you feel necessary. If you are unsure who to contact then please send an email to and we will guide you to the appropriate person.

Our Parent Feedback Questionnaire is always open on our website at and we welcome your comments and feedback there too.

I am very much looking forward to working with you all in my first full academic year as Principal to ensure the best possible outcomes for your sons and daughters.

Yours sincerely

J S Christian (Mr)