Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 30th November 2018

A busy week this week for our Year 11s as they continued with their Mock examinations. Staff will now be focused on assessing their answers and then standardising them across the departments. This will ensure that we are giving the students the most accurate grades we can, measuring our students against national benchmarks. Students will undergo a Mock Results Day where they will experience firsthand what the Summer will bring when they receive their GCSE results. In a meeting with the Senior team they will receive their results and reflect on their preparation. From these results we will adapt their interventions and extra classes.

This week also saw a review take place by United Learning. As you are aware, we were due to convert on September 1st. However, there have been a number of set backs due to delays with the paperwork. This means that we are now looking to convert during the new year.

We have already been working with some of United Learning’s advisers and this week’s review was to give us a whole school benchmark to determine whether we understood our school and were accurately assessing all aspects of our work. We await the written report from the trust and the support that will follow. I will keep you updated as to our progress in terms of dates for our conversion.

Our Mums2Mums group have been busy undertaking a 10 week computer skills course and they were presented with their certificates by Abdul Salik from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Well done, ladies! If you are interested in the group, they meet every Wednesday morning in the college. For any more information, get in contact with Mash Hussain at college and he will give you more details.

Friday morning saw the wonderful sight of Misses Armstrong and Lees staffing a Christmas decoration stall in order to raise funds for the upcoming Barcelona trip. I bought quite a few of those decorations, they were absolutely fabulous! They succeeded in raising £183 which is a phenomenal achievement.

Next week beckons …

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 23rd November 2018

My blog was deliberately delayed this week so I could include photos of our students busy practising for We Will Rock You today at Marsden Heights. Our school show will be ready for the New Year and we are all looking forward to it. As you can see the cast are clearly enjoying themselves and it will be truly memorable. Tickets will be on sale soon!

Tuesday saw our final Church and Mosque visit with Year 7. Our children represented their school so very well and we were very proud of them in terms of their behaviour, their attitude to learning and their acquisition of knowledge. A great deal of thanks go to the team who walked the children to the event, they were full of praise for our students.

Thursday saw our students at the “Engineering Because…” day hosted by Nelson & Colne College. Both of our Year 9 teams worked fantastically all day and really developed those essential ‘soft skills’ of teamwork, problem-solving, communicating, and design and manufacture.

Nelson & Colne staff were so complimentary about the way our students presented themselves and how they behaved and worked together. Our girls’ team was chosen as ‘Best Team’ on account of their teamwork, co-operation and the portfolio they put together. Mr Price was so incredibly proud of them! And so are we. They have now set their sights on winning the ‘Enjoyneering’ competition at Burnley College in February next year … we do have a great track record at this event as last year Marsden Heights teams came in 1st, 2nd and 5th. Great skill for that day to our Year 9s!

We are so very happy for and proud of Joseph Baksai for being accepted into the Burnley Shadow Youth Team squad next year. He has worked very hard over the last few months to secure this place from September 2019. I shall certainly look forward to charting his progress over the forthcoming years.

And so with that … enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 16th November 2018

Goodness me, what a week! Sunday was a very special day for me. As a headteacher, there cannot be many prouder moments than to watch your children at Nelson Cenotaph pay their respects for all those who lost their lives. Perhaps it can only be increased by the beautiful cascade of poppies that our students took so much care over. So many passers-by were appreciative of the work undertaken by our students.

Last week saw 8 Year 11 students off to Clitheroe Royal Grammar School for their Open Evening. It was a really enjoyable evening and the CRGS staff were really complimentary about our students. This time of the year sees many colleges offering Open Evenings so that students and parents can get a feel for the colleges and the different courses they offer.

We have great news in that we have been chosen to judge the Lancashire Book of the Year 2019. The Reading Ambassadors and other students are reading as many books from the selection as possible. They will review them and then judge which are their favourite choices. Three meetings at County Hall in Preston will be attended by some of our students and then final presentations will be at UCLAN in March where there will be visiting authors and a special lunch for eight of our best readers.

Year 10 Media students were off to Media City this week.  There was a panel talk at Salford University about careers in media and then a visit to Media City itself.  How lovely it was to see our students fortuitously meeting the Watchdog Team! Matt Allwright, Watchdog presenter, tweeted “ What a fabulous bunch!” and we couldn’t agree more.

Rehearsals are underway now for the English Speaking Union Public Speaking competition.  We are delighted that our children are involved and their topic that they will be speaking for is the motion that university should be free.  The North West heat will be in Manchester at Urmston Grammar School in December and we wish our Year 10s so much skill.  

Yesterday 3 of our students visited St. Augustine’s Primary School to support the chaplain group there who are working on a project called ‘Small Steps to Peace’. The children at St Augustine’s were inspired by the Young Voices Project run by MHCC and Blessed Trinity.  The school were working on Respect and created a short play which they delivered in an assembly. Students of the primary school watched the short ‘Young Voices’ video and our students spoke about the impact it had had on their lives and others. 

St Augustine’s students were then paired up with an MHCC student to work on Respect and created posters on ‘How can you show respect?’ and ‘What is respect?’. We hope that this will be the start of a great partnership with the primary school.
Children in Need came to MHCC today and the activities were fabulous from raffles to movie afternoon to our very own carnival in the Sports Hall. We had a fantastic team of students selling tickets for the movie afternoon after school, collecting money, drumming up support and organising the events. They were absolutely fantastic. Letters home coming their way next week.

Mrs Butler wanted to say her thanks to two lovely young ladies who were the inspiration, brains and organisation behind the Children in Need form British Bake-off today. They covered every base from entry forms, rules, certificates, prizes, judging criteria, sales and so much more. Says Mrs Butler, “Maleeha and Abeera Abbass deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts with this initiative – it was fabulous!” Results through next week. What a fabulous day when the school can raise over £1000. Such a caring and sharing school!

We happen to believe that teaching is the best job ever so it is with great pleasure that first offers for training places have been made for the PLSCITT. Places are still available for primary, primary with SEND & secondary. For any more information, contact Sara Pinder at MHCC. It really is a wonderful profession to join!

So with that … enjoy your weekend!


Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 9th November 2018

Last week there was no blog due to me being on a plane from New York back to England. I had spent 4 days in New York researching the methods used in Uncommon Schools with 4 other Headteachers. We have been working hard on the Science of Learning and I am now looking forward to developing some of their ideas within Marsden Heights to enhance the progress of our students.

This week has been Remembrance Week at Marsden Heights and we have been commemorating the centenary of the First World War. The students have been hearing stories in assembly with Mr Jackson and today staff began their lessons with why they were wearing their poppies – the stories we heard were incredibly powerful. Today we were privileged to be able to read a very powerful and haunting poem from Leonie Gowers in Year 9 which was the basis of her rap lyrics for her Music Technology project.


The red poppies grow
In the green meadow.
Where the brave soldiers died
To save our lives.

Shells and bombs fly
just like birds in the sky.
The trenches were so deep
but we can’t just sit and weep.

The red poppies grow
In the green meadow.
Where the brave soldiers died
To save our lives.

On the 11th of the 11th every year
We always celebrate and shed a tear, 
Thank you fellow soldiers
for letting us be here.

This Sunday sees Marsden Heights joining the parade to the Nelson Cenotaph. We have been proud to be part of creating, designing and installing the poppy display wrapped around the cenotaph. We joined forces with The Armed Forces Support Group, where Christine and Michael Sutcliff have painstakingly hand-produced hundreds of individual plastic poppies made from the bottoms of drinks bottles. Once drilled, cut and painted they were then brought to Marsden Heights where Miss Armstrong and Mash supported our students in individually fastening the poppies to a section of netting to make a stunning cascade of poppies. Some of our Year 10 students with the help of Pendle Council’s Engineers have now draped the cascade over the Nelson Cenotaph. This was such a great example of how different generations can work together, to create something that we are so very proud of.

This week has seen us with two sets of examinations for our Year 11s. Health and Fitness students and Food and Cookery students were busy revising for their exams. We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour in the forthcoming months.

Last night saw us celebrate the achievements of our Class of 2018 at their Prize Giving Evening. Our guest speaker was Musharaf Asghar, who appeared in Educating Yorkshire, and became an internet sensation when he spoke aloud in front of his class despite having a stammer and having been told that he would not speak when he was 5 years old. It was difficult holding back the tears as we watched the video – in fact, I did not succeed!
Musharaf was an inspiration to all of us. The evening was truly stunning with musical numbers by the cast of We Will Rock You, a piano piece by Pheobe Ali and Keiron Hannah’s drum piece. Many thanks to all the staff involved and our illustrious guest, the Mayoress of Pendle too.

So with that … enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 12th October 2018

This week has flown by and we have had so many activities happening.

We had our second week of exams for Business and it was clear our students have developed high standards when it comes to exam etiquette. More exams happening very soon for our students as well as on-going practical examination work too. It is Year 11 Parents Evening next week so we are looking forward to sharing our children’s progress and their next steps with parents. I know I am looking forward to meeting my children’s parents to discuss their homework, their revision patterns and their areas to really focus on and develop.

Wednesday saw the school close early so that we can organise ourselves for Open Evening. This year saw our Year 11s and Year 7s taking centre stage. Our Year 7s were involved in such a wide variety of activities in classrooms and our Year 11 Prefects were our tour guides. Our Year 7s were a credit to their school and their parents. They were confident, engaging and were so excited to be a part of our Open Evening – it is lovely to see how they have blossomed in such a short space of time and how they had no inhibitions in engaging with the parents and the Year 6 children.

Our Year 11 Prefects were absolutely brilliant. From the Head Girl/Boy and Deputy Head Girl/Boy speeches to welcome parents and Year 6s to Marsden Heights to the Prefects’ tour guiding, they really were a quality act. Their honesty with parents about our journey and where we are heading is always a pleasure to hear. Staff and students recognise that we are developing all the time and we never pretend to be anything that we are not. Parents and Year 6s would have been met with honesty and frankness throughout the night. Our Prefects are to be celebrated for their confidence, their eloquence, their ability to make children and parents feel comfortable and their enthusiasm. All our children and staff made me very proud on Wednesday evening, as they always do.

Thursday saw members of our Senior Leadership team training in Ramsbottom, looking at curriculum design with other schools. We are developing leadership at all levels and it clearly begins with the SLT. We have been on a course with Teachfirst for the last 6 months to develop our skills and our abilities in order to maximise the chances for our young people. This evening certainly gave us some food for thought.

On Thursday we also had a visit from United Learning to set targets with us for next year. Having gained 57% this year, clearly our next steps have to be the 60s and we are looking forward to the challenges. The learning walk undertaken was very positive about the curriculum we are offering our students and its breadth, the teaching and learning, the displays around the college and inside the classrooms. Combined with the improvement in our results from 37% to 57% in the last 18 months and our continual focus on teaching and learning, we are rightly proud of the changes we have made so far … we are really looking forward to our continued progress.

Friday saw us have a visitor in Textiles all day with Year 11, James Fox. I think it is safe to say that his work absolutely blew us away. Without a doubt I would have wanted to remain in Mrs Lees’ room all day. Our students were learning fantastic new skills and were so excited by his potential impact on their mock exam work. I am hoping in my next blog to be able to show you the impact. So for the moment here are a few pieces of his collection. The portrait is an example of freehand machine embroidered and is truly stunning.

Next week sees it being Red Week and our last week of term. During the holidays we have a Year 11 residential to Haworth, West Yorkshire, for deep revision and preparing for exams. This is the first of many different ways we will be working with our students to help support them on their journey to the summer so that they feel resilient, prepared and confident.

So with that … hope Storm Callum is kind to you and enjoy your weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 5th October 2018

A very busy week for our college this week.

All this week Mrs Pickering, Mash and our Year 8 Transition Ambassadors have been busy visiting our local primary schools to invite the Year 6 and 5 children to our Open Evening on Wednesday next week. Our Year 8s have been absolutely superb in terms of their confidence, their energy and their enthusiasm. A big thank you to our primaries for the warm welcome by the staff and students.

We are really looking forward to our Open Evening on Wednesday and really excited about meeting all those new students who might be thinking about joining us in September. There are some really great reasons why … it could be our improved GCSEs results at 57% … it could be our focus on KASH – knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits … it could be that we go the extra mile for our students … in fact the list is endless. On Wednesday all our students will be leaving at 12.25pm so that we can get ready for the evening and then we welcome back our Senior Students to act as tour guides for our visitors in readiness for a 5pm start.

Our Year 11s took their first exams this week in Business Studies – it serves as a reminder of how quickly time passes during Year 11. Our Period 6s have also started for our Year 11s and there are activities on every night except Wednesdays.

Wednesday found me in Nelson at the Ace Centre, with Mash and one of our Mums2Mum, Roxie. We were at the launch of the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership which received a £2.5 million from the Lottery Fund. The Partnership has embarked on about 12 projects to safeguard the area’s wildlife and heritage and improve people’s access to Pendle Hill, ranging from archaeological digs on the Malkin Tower Cottages farm site where it is reputed the Lancashire witches may have met, to environmental work with young people, path repair and drystone walling projects.

We are hoping to be involved in some of the projects as every day we look out on the majestic and beautiful Pendle Hill and it would be wonderful to be so involved with such an area of outstanding beauty. The first thing I was told about Pendle Hill when I arrived here was: “If you can’t see Pendle Hill, it’s raining, if you can, it is going to rain.”

And of course, what a way to end our week … with our Red, White and Blue Day, celebrating our British Values as well as signalling our Make your Mark day. Our children were all voting today on the issues that matter the most to them with issues such as knife crime, homelessness, voting for 16/17 year olds, equal pay for equal work and many more. The votes will go ahead to the Youth Parliament. Well done to Positive Voices 7 for all the hard work and especially the wonderful video we showed to all the students.

Enjoy the weekend!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 21st September 2018

This week began with our students visiting 2BR Radio to make a radio jingle for our Open Evening. Our students had a great time, courtesy of the team at 2BR, as they were able to see first-hand how a radio station works. They came back to Marsden Heights very excited about their morning out of college and I cannot wait to hear all their hard work on the radio.

Tuesday saw our Passport to Success Evening for our Year 11 parents. This was an information evening to share with parents the demands of the new GCSEs and to help prepare our students for the stamina needed to be successful in their forthcoming examinations. This begins the journey with our parents so that they can feel comfortable and confident, leading the learning at home with a number of shared revision workshops at Marsden Heights.

Wednesday saw our Year 10 VCERT students out on a trip to Leon in Manchester to look at how the restaurant has developed in terms of its ethos, its branding, its packaging and the effective running of the restaurant too. A great day out planned by Miss Nuttall!

Mash and Mr Ayub were working with a group of our students and Building Bridges on Wednesday and despite the fact that the weather forced them inside, there was a great deal to talk about with our students and the Talking Society. What a great way for our students to have a voice in their community!

Thursday saw us with not only strong winds and rain but it was also our Meet the Tutor Evening where we were meeting parents to look at how best to work together to support our children in Year 7.

It has been a very busy week this week with a great many events happening and many more being planned. Our Year 11 received new timetables with their Period 6s in place. This is an opportunity on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for our Year 11s to consolidate and deepen their learning from the week of teaching … I too am looking forward to beginning my classes with my Year 11 English group next week.

Enjoy the weekend!

Marsden Heights Nelson Open Day

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 14th September 2018

What a wonderful start to our Autumn Term 2018! Not only have we started the year knowing that we have gained our best results ever in the history of Marsden Heights but also we have the largest number of children in our school as many of our year groups are completely full.

Our new Year 7s have settled well. Their first week consisted of being taught the MHCC Way by the Senior Leadership team, comprising myself, the two Deputy Headteachers, 3 Assistant Headteachers, a Senior Teacher, Mash and Mrs Pickering, our Transition Co-ordinator. We loved teaching our new Year 7s;they were absolutely fantastic!

This week saw us planning and preparing for two events. The first was our Year 11 Geography Field Trip to Grasmere. Undaunted by the possibility of rain, Mr Collinge and Mr Dawes set off with our Year 11 Geography students for the Lake District. Our Year 11s have settled back into their preparations for their forthcoming exams and we begin their Period 6s next week with Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights all in use by subjects to support our students.

Our second event this week was today and was our Flag Day. Two years it has taken to see our flagpoles in place and our college flag has been designed, developed and printed by Andy Cooke from Positive Solutions. He joined us today to celebrate the raising of our college flag and our Union Flag with our Governors, Azhar Ali and Paul Fuller, our Faith Friend, Afrasiab Anwar and Councillor George Adamson. Our MP, Andrew Stephenson joined us too and he was involved in our flag ceremony. Both Andrew and myself were lucky enough to hand over the flags to our Head Boy, Head Girl and our Deputy Head Boy and Girl who then raised the flags. Watched by our Year 7 and 8 students and staff, it was a truly special moment.

On a sad note we were so upset by the vandalism to our college minibus over the Summer. Our children will really suffer as we have always used the bus on most days. Our children have been brilliant in coming forward with ideas for raising money for a new minibus and this truly gladdens the heart and spirit.

My thanks go to all the parents who have parked on the main road and elsewhere in order to make Edge End Lane safe for our students. This week has been fantastic on duty at the gate to see parents walking in to meet their children. Many , many thanks … let’s keep this up!

Next week sees us with two more really important events: our Year 11 Passport to Success Evening to support our parents in knowing how to lead the learning at home and our Meet the Tutor Evening for our Year 7 parents on Thursday evening to see how well their children have settled. We are really looking forward to it.

Enjoy the weekend.

GCSE Examination Results

We welcome the Class of 2018 on Thursday 23rd August from 9.30am until 11am to return to college to receive their GCSE results.  We will also be welcoming those students in our new Year 11 who took their Biology GCSE early.

Wishing you every success!

Headteacher’s Blog – Friday 20th July 2018

What a wonderful end to the term … with our Summer Fair starting the final week on Saturday. A wonderful time was had by all and our students were a real credit to our school, their parents and our community. Students and staff raised a whopping £642 and we are so grateful for all the support from not only our MHCC team but from our community too. This money raised will be split in half with half going to the new school show for next year “We will Rock you” and the other half will be spent on equipment for our lunch times and developing our outdoor spaces so that our students will directly benefit.

We had many visits this week from United Learning, our Academy Trust, as we draw ever closer to September. This week we have been working on some of the “back room” business with meetings on finances and budget, business and HR, so that we have a smooth transition. We will be spending next year on transitioning as we move to a mastery curriculum with our new Year 7s.

Thursday saw the most magnificent Sports’ Day possible. With 600 medals up for grabs, it was always going to be a fabulous day. Our student Sports’ Leaders supported our PE team and staff volunteers – it was truly a glorious day with so many of our children so proud to be taking home bronze, silver and gold medals won in so many different sports … a festival of sport.

Today saw us working our way towards a 2pm finish with our students ending the day in a full school assembly. We had prizes for 100% attendance and we celebrated with those students who were chosen as Student of the Year – congratulations go to Sabih in Year 7, Abeera in Year 8, Benish in Year 9 and our twins in Year 10, Fatima and Zahra. Well done to all of you!

We also had prizes for our students who achieved an award for being in the top 10% in the country for Biology out of 40,000 entrants, we had prizes for those students who took part in a challenge day at Manchester University that involved the Royal Society for Chemistry with Mr Hallam and finally, our Maths superstars who achieved certificates in the national Maths Challenge with Mrs James. We are very proud of you all.

In our final assembly, I spoke to the students about our plans next year to really develop the way that we recognise our students’ achievements and ensuring that our system of awarding points of recognition have a value for our students. We will have a working party of students and staff to create a system for us so that all those students who achieve points have the prospect of spending those points with us.

Our new gates will be in place next term which means that our site will finally be secure. We know how important this is to parents. This does mean that there will be no access to our site for parents to drop off children in the morning or pick them up in the afternoon. LCC and the police have been working with us to look at the safety of our site and the advice they are giving parents is for students to walk into school or be dropped off 5 or 10 mins distance from school to walk the remainder of the way.

There is also advice from the LCC traffic department who informed us on a visit that parking on our turning circle, Edge End Lane or Eckroyd Close could result in a parking ticket as there are lines to denote no parking or waiting. Please can parents be aware that this is a distinct possibility … the best advice is to find a suitable place to pick up your child from college, if indeed it is needed.

Our students left for home today, knowing that they return to college on Wednesday 5th September at 10.30am. Our new Year 7s will arrive at 8.40am on the Wednesday so that they can spend time receiving their timetables and becoming organised for the year ahead. We have been following a Red Week timetable for the last two weeks so that our students become familiar with it and our first week in September will begin again with Red Week.

Exciting times ahead for us. I hope that you have a great summer!