Presentation Evening 2010

Presentation Speech
by Mrs M. Hughes, Headteacher
Good evening and welcome to the parents, staff, governors and friends of the school.
A particular welcome to Dr. John Stephens the Director of Children’s Services from the
Local Authority. Dr Stephens is always very supportive of the school and I am
delighted to see him here tonight.
Cllr Hogg our Chair of Governors and Mrs Denise Griffiths, Vice Chair and fellow
Governors of the school whose support I have found invaluable are also here this
A very special welcome to our Guest of Honour, Peter Herring. He is the Chief
Executive of the Countess of Chester Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust.
As you can see from your programme Mr Herring has held a series of high profile roles
in the NHS. He is also an ex-pupil of the school.
To start the proceedings Lauren Selby-Hughes will sing Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ from
Porgy and Bess.
Vocal Solo – Lauren Selby-Hughes
‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess.
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 2)
Corporal Marc Taylor R.E.M.E. (1976-2004)
Before we continue with our speeches and presentations it is
only proper that on this 11th day of the 11th month that we
should remember Corporal Marc Taylor who attended our
school as a pupil from 1988 to 1993. He joined the army in
the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
On the 28th September, 2004 whilst on patrol in South-West
Basra in Iraq Marc and another soldier came under fire as
they tried to rescue other troops from an armoured
Landrover that had been hit by a rocket propelled grenade.
Marc was evacuated to the British Military Hospital where he
died from his injuries.
I would like us to pay our respects to Marc and all other
military personnel who have been killed in action on our
behalf. Please stand and observe 2 minutes silence.
The Last Post was sounded by Alex Astbury
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 3)
Presentation Evening is one of my favourite events of the school year. It is a special
occasion when we are able to focus upon and celebrate the achievements and work of
staff and pupils. Tonight I would like to review some of the successes of the past year
but also to look forward to things that will impact upon the school in the future.
A good quality school is outward looking and plays a vital role within its community.
My theme this evening is to demonstrate some of our achievements and to
acknowledge some of the reasons why The Whitby is well regarded by its community.
In a large, busy and successful high school like ours, with over 1,600 pupils it is
sometimes easy to take for granted all the positive things that happen on a day to day
basis. If I listed them all this would prove to be a very long evening indeed.
Consequently I intend to pick out some events that were real highlights during the
year across a variety of areas.
Our Junior High continues to be a tremendous success. It provides an opportunity for
over 150 primary school pupils of Year 5 & 6 from across Ellesmere Port and Neston to
enrol on after school courses, ranging from robot making to a CSI forensic
investigation of an imaginary crime. These run throughout the year. Youngsters have
been incredibly complimentary about the courses. In their evaluations one pupil said
she didn’t want the courses to end because they were so great. The Junior High
Scheme has been an overwhelming success. Alongside it we have introduced our
Adult High which is gaining momentum. The latest addition to the High School stable
is an Academic High for our Gifted and Talented primary school pupils in the Borough.
No doubt, that too, will prove to be a success. Junior High has undoubtedly helped
youngsters, settle into the school when they join us in Year 7.
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 4)
Last year some 479 families placed us at the top of their list when applying for a place
in secondary school. Our popularity is clear for all to see and the numbers of
applications reflects our standing in the community.
Very few schools offer pupils an opportunity to study Latin. Our Gifted and Talented
linguists have been challenged through the University of Cambridge Latin course.
Pupils have demonstrated their commitment by attending early morning classes twice
a week. The first cohort will sit their first part of their GCSE in January. To them
Feliciter Velim!
In the Arts our achievements were celebrated when we were awarded Arts Mark Gold.
If you have seen any of the high quality art work in school or been privileged to attend
either a GCSE or A level exhibition you know that the standard is incredibly high. The
Art Department only seems to deal in the highest grades in external examinations!
Arts Mark Gold is the highest accolade that can be given to any school and very few
secondary schools achieve such dizzy heights!
All the arts subjects played their part in us being given the award. Both music and
dance were able to showcase their contributions in their production of ‘Joseph and
his Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat’. The show was one of the most professional
school productions that I have ever attended. Everything about it was truly
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 5)
In the sporting arena the pupils excelled in a variety of events. Teams won
competitions at local and national events in rounders, softball, tennis, netball,
athletics, football and rugby.
Year 8 boys qualified for the Emerging Schools
Festival which is a particularly prestigious competition. Our Girls Football Team
made history by holding on to their title as Cheshire Champions for the second year
running. The girls were just as successful in the District netball league, Years 7 and
10 were both second and Years 8,9,11 and the sixth form were all winners.
Two particular individual successes that I would like to mention are Daniel Finlay, who
is the boys’ javelin champion for Cheshire - and Danielle Bentley, who has
represented England in athletics. She is currently the Cheshire girls’ champion and
has held the title for 3 years. The PE department are certainly living up to their motto
to ‘Build Winners and Champions’.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme continues to go from strength to strength.
The Award Scheme runs at three levels. The Bronze award is for pupils aged 14+,
Silver for 15+ and the Gold Award 16+. Over 100 students completed their Bronze
expedition in July and 26 Year 12 students completed their Gold expedition in North
My thanks go to all the staff who gave up their precious weekends to assist with the
expeditions and to Mr Simpson whose hard work and innovative ideas have led to the
extension of the scheme.
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 6)
The Maths Department have been busy working in the community too. A group of
Gifted and Talented pupils took part in a project with Liverpool University. Their work
was to create maths trails for Chester Zoo and the National Waterways Museum for
primary schools to use for educational purposes. The pupils designed, tested and
completed 2 different trails involving mathematical, historical and informative
elements. Both have been professionally produced and are being used by the public.
Throughout the year we saw a variety of trips and residential visits. One that proved
particularly popular was a night, locked in the London Science Museum with other
groups from across the country. This is the second year on the run that we have been
invited to participate due to the quality and behaviour of our pupils which was quite an
accolade. Luckily none of the exhibits moved! It was a strange and never to be
repeated experience for everyone involved.
For the last five years, as many of you will be aware, we have worked on a series of
technology projects with a school in Norway. In June a group of our students went to
Bakkeløkka School in Nesodden, just outside Oslo to work on a technology based
project. The aim was to enter a national competition in Norway at the end of the week.
This they did and won. Last week the Norwegian students came to The Whitby to
work on the next stage of their project. It was a delight to see students working in true
partnership and producing high quality products using state of the art technology.
When they left last Sunday there were tears all round!
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 7)
The culmination of the last academic year saw some outstanding examination results.
A stunning 87% of pupils gained 5A* - C grades at GCSE. Over the last 3 years results
have risen by 27%. 1,859 GCSE grades were awarded to The Whitby High School
pupils with 240 A* and A grades.
At A level there was equal success with a 100%
pass rate and with 41% of pupils achieving the top grades. All students were
successful in securing places in Universities or Higher Education.
We are one of the top high performing schools in West Cheshire. Most certainly these
are results to be proud of and both staff and pupils should be congratulated on their
achievements. The school is undoubtedly successful and at the heart of our local
community. It is important that we continue to provide a top quality education for all
our pupils and offer them opportunities to excel in both academic and extra curricular
So where next for The Whitby in times of change? It is clear to us all that we live in
challenging times. Rising costs of Higher Education, the introduction of Free
Schools and Academies, a move towards schools training teachers rather than
Universities. All of these will impact upon schools. However, I believe that no
school can stand alone and work in isolation. An excellent school, like ours, should
work in collaboration with key players in the community, particularly our partner
primary schools. One way to achieve this is by becoming a Trust School.
Over the last year Governors have been exploring the possibility of moving towards
Trust Status.
Presentation Speech by Mrs M. Hughes (part 8)
Trust Schools are maintained schools and remain part of the family of the Local
Authority supported by a charitable foundation. This is called a Trust and it appoints
some of the Governors. The Trust involves partners and in our case, these would be
in the main, our partner primary schools. Other partners would be Universities and
Acquiring a Trust helps schools to build long term, sustainable
relationships with their partners and use their experience and expertise to strengthen
leadership and governance and to help raise standards.
Parents and staff will
obviously be consulted about this and be able to contribute to the debate over the next
few months.
I am certain that The Whitby High School will continue to have a bright
I agree with Michael Gove, the current Secretary of State for Education when he said
that ‘nothing matters more than having great teachers’.
Throughout my career I
have always believed that there is no profession more noble, no calling more vital, and
no role more important than teaching.
Teachers have the ability to inspire future
generation to great things. Research has proven that teacher quality is the single
biggest influence on pupils’ educational progress.
In this country we have the best
generation of teachers ever. In this school we have teachers who work tirelessly to
provide opportunities for students to gain academic success and to become involved
in the very best of extra curricular activities. Without their hard work, the support of a
loyal Senior Leadership Team and that of the Governing Body we would not be such a
successful school. I wish to extend my grateful thanks to them all.
I would now like to invite Mr Herring to present the prizes.