Development Project News – June 2020

We are delighted to confirm that two exciting development projects will be getting underway on Monday 29 June.

The Artificial Grass Pitch project, funded by City of York Council as part of the expansion of Scarcroft School, will create a fantastic sports facility available for use all year round for Millthorpe and Scarcroft students, as well as children in other local schools and for the wider community. After more than four years of waiting, we are eagerly looking forward to children finally being able to gain all the benefits to physical and mental wellbeing this will provide, hopefully just as the easing of restrictions makes group sport and outdoor activities more and more accessible.

The Applefields Satellite project will provide purpose-built accommodation for Applefields students on the Millthorpe site, allowing them to integrate with mainstream students whilst still receiving  dedicated support from Applefields staff. This supports our commitment to an inclusive ethos for our school community, as well as allowing us to draw on their specialist expertise and experience.

In both cases, the construction has been planned largely to take place during the summer break and is expected to complete in October.

Black Lives Matter – what Millthorpe School says

Black Lives Matter

One of our core values at Millthorpe is that all of us have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. All of us try to live up to that value every day, so when we see things such as George Floyd dying in the most horrific circumstances, and we remember the countless other black lives lost senselessly, it makes us sad, angry, and full of despair.  We understand the strong emotions we have seen in the protests globally – however we want to act for change through education rather than politics – it is where our power as educators lies.

We are proud that we try to champion those who are not treated with dignity or respect in our country, our society and our community. For example, we know our work to support LGBTQ students and our work on Holocaust education has had impact. We also recognise that for our black and other ethnic minority students and their families, there is much more that we can do.

We are sending a message to all our black and minority ethnic staff, students and their families, that they deserve dignity, respect and equal opportunity in Millthorpe School, in our community and in our country.

We are very aware that like York as a city, we are a school which is overwhelmingly white, in which our curriculum falls far short of acknowledging the rich history and heritage of black and ethnic minority people. For a number of years we have covered aspects of black history within our curriculum, and we currently teach about the American Civil Rights movement including the KKK, Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. We link this to racism in Britain including work about Stephen Lawrence and the disproportionate use of exclusion and imprisonment for black Britons. When the GCSE English specification changed, we lost the study of literature from diverse cultures but we are adding multi-cultural poetry and prose back into the KS3 curriculum from September 2020. We have given assemblies to celebrate Black History month. While this is a start, it doesn’t do justice to the richness of Black history and culture globally, nor does it speak strongly enough about the experience of BAME people in the United Kingdom.

We also know that casual racism is sadly a part of daily life for many black people and is often hard for those on the receiving end to speak up about. As a school community, we need to become better at not just dealing with racist incidents as they occur, but at stamping out the root causes of racism, which we will do with the help of our students, who overwhelmingly support this aim including many who are passionate about it. We must give more confidence to both our BAME and our white students to call out racism whenever they encounter it.

We are currently grappling with the wider opening of school for Year 10 students and with early planning for September, but the senior leaders within Millthorpe yesterday agreed that we cannot let another black death, and the protests arising from it around the world and in our own city go unmarked.

We promise to act.

We will:

  • review the experience of our black and minority ethnic staff, students and families;
  • look at our curriculum, especially in history, English and personal and social education to see how we can better recognise the culture, heritage and pride of BAME people;
  • review how we can make our pastoral system even more effective at dealing with casual racism so that we can stamp it out;
  • make a commitment to celebrating Black History month each year;
  • do all this jointly with BAME staff, students and parents, inviting them to guide us so that we can make their experience free of casual racism.

We are proud that the overwhelming majority of our school community believes that there is no place for racism here, but we promise to keep working until there is none within our school, our BAME students feel safe and our white students understand at least in part why and how racism destroys lives.

Black Lives Matter.

The Senior Leadership Team, Millthorpe School

BROTHERS SLEEP OUT FOR 50 NIGHTS TO SUPPORT RSPCA

Year 7 student, Isaac Milsted and his younger brother Ruari, have been using their time in lock down wisely, by sleeping out for 50 nights to support a local animal home.

Isaac and Ruari took on the task of sleeping in a tent in their back garden for 50 nights consecutively, all to raise money for the RSPCA York Animal Home, which is struggling to keep up with costs after the coronavirus outbreak.

The boys started their challenge on April 7 and completed it last week.

Isaac, 11, said: “We’ve chosen to support RSPCA York Animals Home because we recently adopted two adorable kittens from them, and we wanted to give something back to help them continue their vital work looking after the animals in their care during the current crisis.”

All the money raised will help to feed and look after the animals staying at the RSPCA York Animals Home, and to rescue animals which may be in danger in the York area and brought into the home.

Isaac and Ruari have raised an incredible £1300 for the Animal Home so far.

You can still support the boys’ efforts by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rspca-york-sleepout

IMPORTANT: SAFEGUARDING CONTACTS

During times of school closure there may be instances where you may have a safeguarding concern or need some help and advice. Please find below some phone numbers that may be helpful to you.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub – 01904 551900.  The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in York

CAMHS / Limetrees 01904 615300

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. When a child or young person’s worries, problems or behaviours begin to impact upon their everyday lives, the CAMHS team can support you by offering professional help and advice. The CAMHS team in York is based at Lime Trees

Single Point of Access 01904 615345

This is a service offered by CAMHS for those who have concerns around their child’s mental health and feel a referral is required. This is often done in support with the GP. In the first instance a phone call would be best practice so you can discuss your concerns and they can advise what the next steps should be in your case.

Young People’s Crisis Line 01904 615348

If you or your child feel like they are at crisis and need immediate support this can be sought through the above contact number or through a text service, Young Minds, on 85258. This service is provided to support urgent issues such as suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship issues etc.

Adult Crisis Line 01904 526582

As with young people, adults too may at times need support with mental health and well-being. You will speak with an experienced professional who can listen to you and provide you with support and guidance . This service can  signpost you to the right professionals to help you further.

To discuss safeguarding concerns or seek further advice from a school colleague please contact Mrs Madden, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead,

mobile: 07775025756 ( work hours only )

e mail: a.madden@millthorpeschool.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIG SING COMES BACK TO MILLTHORPE SCHOOL

Amateur musicians of all ages from across the city of York joined together this week at a musical extravaganza hosted by students and staff at Millthorpe School.

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The Big Sing organised through Musical Connections, a small York-based charity, gave older adults, many of whom are vulnerable and socially isolated, the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of music together with school students and staff.

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Musical Connections uses music as a way to help older people the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives through participating in weekly music groups and choirs. In addition to the core weekly sessions, the charity offers a programme of intergenerational projects and events which last year involved over 400 children and young people from local schools including Millthorpe, York College and both of York’s universities.Image preview

Fiona Chapman from Musical Connections said: “The purpose of our intergenerational work is to use music as a platform to bring older and younger generations together, and to break down the social and age-related stereotypes which apply to both of these generations. A wide range of musical styles and activities are used – these cut across the age range and facilitate interaction and communication between both younger and older participants.Image preview

“A real highlight of our intergenerational calendar is the Christmas Big Sing with Millthorpe School – they have hosted this event for us for many years, and I feel very fortunate that our beneficiaries have repeatedly had the opportunity to visit the school in order to spend time socialising with and enjoying the talents and hospitality of its young musicians.”

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Millthorpe’s Head of School, Gemma Greenhalgh added “More than 60 older people, many of whom will be vulnerable and socially isolated came along to the event this year. Our Music teacher, Mr Jackson and his jazz band lead the proceedings, and the guests enjoyed refreshments served by the students. This year, we were delighted to be joined by the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Janet Looker – it was wonderful to see her enjoying the music alongside everyone else!”Image preview

If you would like to find out more about Musical Connections, please visit their website at www.musicalconnections.org.uk

NEW SATELLITE PROVISION FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

A new satellite site for students with learning difficulties has opened at Millthorpe School this term.

Millthorpe is the latest school in the city to host a satellite provision for Applefields School, a special school for secondary aged students with a wide range of learning difficulties who live in York and the surrounding areas. Satellite provision already exists at Manor CE Academy, where 25 Applefields’ students are based.

As of September, four Key Stage 3 students from Applefields now receive their education alongside fellow Millthorpe students in an initiative to include them in mainstream education. The small group of Applefields students are based in a newly refurbished classroom on the Millthorpe site but spend a proportion of their week in mainstream lessons and taking part in whole-school activities and events.

Gemma Greenhalgh, Head of School at Millthorpe said “Millthorpe prides itself on its ethos as an inclusive and diverse school and we anticipate that this arrangement will be mutually beneficial for Millthorpe and Applefields students alike. This promises to be an exciting partnership and we feel very privileged to be part of this venture.”

Adam Booker, Head of Applefields said “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to be part of an inclusive school. Not only will they benefit from participating in mainstream lessons, they also benefit hugely from the social aspect of going to school. We’re very grateful to Millthorpe School and are looking forward to a successful and fruitful partnership.”

The project to date is endorsed by and has been funded by City of York Council. The next phase is planned for September 2020 when it is hoped that provision can be extended further. In the longer term it is hoped there will be both a Key Stage 3 and 4 class at Millthorpe School’s satellite site.

History Battlefields Trip

Earlier this year, 31 students and four members of staff took part in Millthorpe’s annual trip to France and Belgium to visit some of the World War One Battlefields, museums and memorials. The group took in Essex Farm Cemetery, Passchendaele Museum, Langemark, Tyne Cot, Sanctuary Wood, Menin Gate, the Somme, Thiepval Memorial and Vimy Ridge.
One of our students, Callum W summed up the trip perfectly: “It has been incredibly humbling and has put everything in to perspective. For example, the things that people prioritise and stress over today, the people whose graves we’ve seen would have had none of that on their minds. I wish we had the chance to personally thank every single person who took part in this bloody war instead of them being countless names on slabs of white marble. They became greatly significant…they are all people with families and back stories that leave a lasting effect on everyone’s mind”.

On a surprisingly sunny March afternoon, 31 students and four members of staff bundled all their bags on to the bus and set off on their trip to France and Belgium to visit some of the World War One Battlefields, museums and memorials. We spent the first night on the ferry, with its ‘eat all you can’ buffet, a firm favourite of Mr Baybutt’s, especially the unlimited cheese board.

Saturday saw us rising early to get to our first stop – Essex Farm Cemetery and the first aid dressing station dugouts where John Macrae, the famous war poet, was stationed as brigade doctor. It was here that students visited the grave of the youngest British war casualty, Valentine Strudwick, who was only 15 years old when he was killed. As this was a year younger than half of the students on the trip, we found this very moving. We don’t often associate Britain with the use of child soldiers and even though these children will have lied about their age to get into the army, it is likely that the recruiting officer will have turned a blind eye to this as they were desperate for men to fight. We placed a cross of remembrance on his grave.

Our next stop was Passchendaele Museum which covers the war through different periods – walking through the rooms students saw artefacts and film footage from World War One and its impact on this area with the Battle of Passchendaele. The lower floor of the building had been turned in to a reconstruction of the tunnels system used by the British. The low ceilings made of planks of wood, lit by dim lights and musty smells reminded us of the school quad at the height of the building works last year! Outside in the bright sunlight the reconstructed trenches gave students an idea of how trenches were designed to give maximum protection against enemy fire. We sat in the sunshine and ate our pack ups before moving on to Langemark, the German War Cemetery.

In contrast to the Commonwealth War Cemeteries, with their white Portland Stone headstones set in grounds that replicate an English country garden, the cemetery at Langemark was dark and sombre. There are 44,294 people buried here. The graves lay amongst many trees that have been planted since the war and it was interesting to find out that this style of graveyard was chosen by the Germans because it reflected their love of spending family time walking in the woods. In the same way that the British wanted their soldiers to lie in graves that looked like they were in England, the Germans wanted their soldiers to be surrounded by the forests that surrounded the places where they lived back home. Jake Bycroft and Mary Hogg laid a wreath on behalf of Millthorpe School, in remembrance of those that died.

Before going on the trip, we encouraged parents and students to do some research to find out if any of their relatives had fought in World War One so that we could build their stories into our visit. Mr Baybutt had done his own research about a Blackburn Rovers player called Eddie Latheron. Latheron was born in the village of Brotton, North Yorkshire on 22 December 1887 and died in Belgium on 14 October 1917. He was an England international and two-time league champion, playing more than 300 games in 11 years at Blackburn Rovers and scoring 120 goals. During the First World War, Latheron served as a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery and lost his life in the Third Battle of Ypres. Blackburn Rovers had sent us a scarf to place on his grave, along with the wreath that Mr Baybutt laid in his memory. A photo and short article about our visit made its way into the Blackburn Rovers next match programme.

At Tyne Cot, the scale of the devastation and loss endured by people on all sides was really brought home to us. As the biggest British War Cemetery in the world, Tyne Cot contains the graves or over 12,000 soldiers, 8,000 of whom are ‘known unto God’. One of those whose name appears on the Wall of remembrance is Sergeant Joseph George Francis Richards, who died in April 1918. His great, great grandson Sam was on the trip with us and was able to pay his respects.

In the afternoon students were able to let off a little steam in the preserved trenches of Sanctuary Wood followed by a hot chocolate before heading off to Ypres and the Menin Gate.

 

 

After the obligatory ‘chicken or omelette and chips’ in a local restaurant and a trip to a famous chocolate shop to stock up on gifts for the folks back home, we headed off to the Menin Gate for the Last Post ceremony. This memorial to the missing commemorates 54,000 British Commonwealth Soldiers who have no known grave. Every night since 1928 at 8pm, except for a period during the Second World War, the last post is sounded. Annabel Benton and Theo Steele, accompanied by Mr Baybutt, laid a wreath at the ceremony in remembrance of those who died.

Sunday’s destination was the Somme in France. We’d travelled there late on Saturday evening and fallen into our beds worn out by the long day. The morning arrived bright and clear and buoyed up by a hearty breakfast we set out to the Somme. Serre Road is the place where many of the Pals regiment fought and died together including groups from Bradford and Sheffield. After reading a poignant true story about two brothers who fought in this area, Mr Ferguson led us over the top in a re-enactment of that disastrous first morning on 1 July 1916.

Our next stop was an unplanned visit to a remote graveyard that looked like it didn’t receive regular visitors. One of our students, Aleisha Harrison, had received information that morning that she had a relative somewhere on the Somme with the name of the graveyard. With the amazing navigation skills of Mr Baybutt and the skilful driving of Neil our bus driver, we were able to get within walking distance of the graveyard, which was in the middle of a farmer’s field. Alisha found the grave and was able to skype her grandma so that she too could be part of the moving event. Whilst Aleisha was laying a cross on the grave of Private J Quigly who died on 27 September 1917, other students were looking in the cemetery register and spreading out around the cemetery to pay their respects to other soldiers who had died in this war. They made it their mission to visit as many graves as possible and it made the staff very proud of them, to see how important it was to them that these men, in this remote spot, were remembered.

At Thiepval Memorial to the missing, where the names of 72,195 men with no known grave are remembered. Amongst the names were relatives of both Lewis Tyldesley and Mrs Bowland. Lewis laid a cross at the grave of Francis Topping in Mill Road Cemetery near Theipval. He had died at the age of 19 in the Battle of the Somme. A second relative of Lewis’s – Lance Corporal George Topping – had died at the Somme on 8 October 1916 and is remembered on the memorial along with Mrs Bowland’s great-great uncle, Company Sergeant Major Evan Thomas Webb, died at the age of 32 on 22 July 1916.

Matisse

Ski Trip – Poland 2019

The destination for the Millthorpe School Ski Trip 2019 was Poronin, a lovely little place in the middle of the stunning Tatra Mountains in Southern Poland.

After 2.5 hours flight we arrived in Krakow and officially started our first day of the trip.

Much loved licensed city guide Gregory showed us the main attractions of this beautiful city. We visited Wawel Hill, looked in the Dragon Eye and learned about the legend of King Krak. We also went to St Mary’s Church and enjoyed time on the main square.

From Krakow we went on the bus to our destination point – Poronin. We stayed in the charming three star Limba Grand and Resort hotel, which was located about 20 minutes away from the ski resort.

Bialka Tatrzanska Ski resort was a perfect place for beginner skiers with almost 20km of slopes for intermediate level too. Students were split into five groups: One intermediate group, three beginners and one snowboarding group. They were learning and practising their skiing for four hours a day: two hours of skiing in the morning and two hours in the afternoon with a break for a lunch in a local café.

After the fourth day of skiing our students had a chance to take part in a ski competition on a professional slalom course. The fastest and the most improved students received medals and trophies.

Every night after skiing, students spent their time trying new activities.

On the first night we met a group of Polish highlanders who told us stories about the region, played traditional instruments and taught us a folk dance. We also got to try a traditional Polish cheese and sausages.

We also got the chance to rest our tired muscles and enjoy an aqua aerobics session in the hotel’s swimming pool, which was followed by a glow party!

We also went to the geothermal pools centre where we were swimming outside with the air temperature of -5 degrees. That was a fabulous experience.

On the last day we visited Zakopane, the winter capital of Poland. It is a popular destination for mountaineering, skiing and tourism and they also have their own language and traditions. We went on top of Gubalowka Hill and saw Wielka Krokiew, an amazing ski jumping hill where the annual World Cup Ski Jumping Competition takes place.

 

My reflection of the trip is one of great pride to see how many students looked out for each other. It was wonderful to see expressions of joy each day as new skills and achievements were accomplished. The weather was perfect, lots of snow and sunshine every day, no one suffered any injuries and everybody had lots of fun. As it was the first ski trip I had the privilege to organise, I was very lucky to be accompanied by four of the most caring members of staff. I am very grateful to Miss Parr, Miss Watts, Mr Baybutt and Mr Sloan without whom this trip wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

I am really proud and extremely happy that I had a chance to take some of the Millthorpe students not only for a skiing trip, but also to show them a little beauty of my homeland. I am looking forward for next year’s adventures.

Anna Kolos
Ski Trip Leader

MILLTHORPE SCHOOL BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Over £1.25million of funding has been agreed for a new block of four classrooms and three state-of-the-art science rooms at Millthorpe School. They will replace a number of ‘temporary’ classrooms on the site, some dating back more than 50 years, which are in a poor state of repair.

“These new rooms will transform our students’ learning environment for many years to come,” said Head of School Gemma Greenhalgh.

“The current rooms are cold and uncomfortable and very much at the end of their useful life. Studying in bright, warm modern rooms will definitely be a more pleasant and productive experience. They are carbon neutral, generating all the power they need from solar panels, so they are better for the environment too.”

The funding comes from a pot of money provided by central government that allows academy schools to bid for help with carrying out much-needed improvements to their buildings.

“It’s fantastic that we have been able to secure this investment in such difficult financial times,” commented Executive Head Trevor Burton.

“Our status as an academy has allowed us to access over £4million of urgently-needed funding for our buildings in the last 3 years and I’m delighted that children in this area will continue to enjoy the benefit of these improvements long into the future.”