First Term for New Headteacher

Pride, excitement, commitment, the opening words to an assembly delivered to all years by our new Head teacher, Mr Hodson; words that mean so much to Beverley Grammar School and all those within it, these are the words that epitomise everyday life.

Mr Hodson became our latest Head at the start of term and new school year, he took the step from Deputy to Head with expectation lying heavily on his shoulders, so has he delivered on this expectation?

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The answer that Staff, Students, Governors, and Parents would give, would be a resounding yes. In a time of economic frailty he has guided the school through its first term with academy status, ensuring the school has not been slashed financially. He has built upon the school (not personally); but used the student voice to find improvements that could be made from the student perspective, and for him to confirm these improvements; for example there are new toilet and P.E blocks, a new path, and re-laid paving around the English and Technology Blocks.

There are not just material improvements; again, he has taken heed from student voice, and staff to reinforce the highest possible standards, to emphasise mutual trust and respect, creating a safe environment for all through restorative practice, instead of archaic punishments, yes Mr Hodson has banned writing lines and installed a system where the student in the wrong should feel remorse and undergo restorative practice. He has strengthened the readiness to learn,  where all students are encouraged to be well equipped, and ready to learn at the start of every lesson. He has also reinforced the banning of chewing gum, this decision was welcomed warmly by all as it helps stop the amount of chewing gum that is being found underneath, tables, and chairs, improving hygiene and stopping it getting on clothes.

The most notable and effective change, from students’ view, is the introduction of detention slips. These work in pairs, the first detention slip you receive is a warning, the second a senior team detention on a Friday lunchtime. This change has acted as a deterrent to mis-behaviour in the corridors; it also improves the students’ attitude around school, highlighted in their high standard of uniform. I have been told by sources that the Friday detention has received few students, showing the commitment and pride the student’s exhibit on a day to day basis. The upholding of the open, caring and friendly ethos is another imperative for our new Head, who has reinvigorated the ethos that has always been so widely upheld and recognised.

To follow in the footsteps of such a hard working and committed Head Teacher such as Mr Goodwin, is not an easy task. However, I believe and many others believe that Mr Hodson is the right person to lead us in these times, of financial difficulties, and of public unrest. The future of our prestigious school, and most importantly the future and present students, rests in Mr Hodson’s hands. For if his first term is anything to judge by, I would say that this great school is in safe hands to steer us through troubled waters and improve on an outstanding school.

In Mr Hodson’s Own Words

Beverlonian How will you improve student’s creativity?

Grahame Hodson It is very important to support all creative subjects such as music, drama, and art. I will ensure that they have a major part to play in the curriculum, but also they are supported through many extra-curricular activities, such as the art displays, showcase, music concerts, and carol service.

B Do you think the new uniform policy has been effective?

GH The uniform policy has not changed, but it has been enforced. This is shown through the number of slips students receive, being very small. I feel that the students are co-operating fully with the standards agenda.

B How do you feel your first term has gone?

GH Very hectic, there have been lots of events; it is the longest term of the year. The attendance has been very good, over 96% for the year so far. The movement around school is very good. We are now emphasising the importance of learning and the readiness to learn ethos. Therefore, it has been a good start, but it needs to be maintained and built upon.

B Do you have any plans to change the school day in respect of student’s feelings?

GH We are reviewing the school day as the year progresses; any suggestions on how to improve the day are welcomed.

B Are there any changes to the school that you are planning?

GH Many areas of the school are in need of a little TLC. It is hoped that we will be able to refurbish certain areas on a rolling programme in the near future, but in the current economic climate that may be difficult. Our first priority has to be maintaining outstanding student learning and achievement, and upholding the open, caring, and friendly environment.

B Finally, are there any regrets about becoming a Head Teacher?

GH None whatsoever, it is a truly magnificent role to have within school and I hope to continue to have the support of staff, students, parents, and governors. I have been overwhelmed by the positive and supportive messages I have received so far, long may it continue!

by Jacob Hill (Year 11)
from The Beverlonian (Autumn 2011)