The Principal's Blog:

Neil Gallagher, the PrincipalJuly 9th, 2018

Since writing my last blog, a lot has happened in school. We have had the glamour of the school prom, the intensity of the Year 10 mock exams, a geography field trip to Dorset and a multitude of other trips. On Tuesday, we welcomed our next cohort of CCHS students for our induction day and evening and then on Thursday and Friday we had two days of sporting prowess, courtesy of our annual sports days. Of course, this week we also had the tension of a penalty shoot-out and now the excitement of being in the World Cup semi-finals!
Many thanks to all our staff for their efforts over the last two weeks, giving up their free time to support the prom and the long weekend residential, and for organising some great trips and events in school.
Disappointingly, we had to cancel two Parental Focus events; the Salsa evening and the after school rounders match, but we have another one this week to tempt you with; our summer family film night. This coming Wednesday, in the main hall, we have a screening of the 1978 classic, Grease and we would love to welcome you and your children to this free event.
Can you believe that we are almost at the end of another academic year? With just two weeks left, I can reflect back and on the whole feel that it has been a good year for CCHS. There has been some difficult times recently, but overall there are many, many moments to be very proud of. Particularly pleasing was being able to welcome the Ofsted inspectors in January and to showcase the amazing teaching and learning that happens here, day in and day out. Having the affirmation that we are most definitely a good school but could be outstanding, stands us in good stead for the future and we will continue to strive to maintain the high standards we have set.
With the end of term approaching, there is still so much going on. Coming up this week, on Monday 9th July, 60 Year 7 students 'head' off to Hedingham Castle and in the evening we have a dance show. On Tuesday, a group of Year 12's are going to the Natural History Museum on an art trip, and 80 Year 7's go to Colchester Zoo. On Wednesday, another group of Year 7's will be off to the zoo and we have the Family Focus event. Thursday is the final REAL day of the year, which will include a Careers Fair and the Race for Life; the day concludes with the Vocational & Fitness Faculty Awards ceremonies, firstly PE, followed by the Production and Design. On Friday, the Year 9's also have a trip to Colchester Zoo and then on Saturday; our choir will be performing in the evening at Plough Corner supporting the Clacton Relay for Life event. We should remember that throughout all of this, there is still a good smattering of Year 10 mocks, and all students continue to work very hard in their lessons right up until the last moment.
My intention through writing this blog is to give you an insight into school life and when I actually begin to detail everything that is happening, I quite often feel astounded at how much we manage to cram in! So, once again, a big thank you to staff, we have an incredible team at CCHS; teaching and support colleagues, and also to you and your children, after all, it is our young people that makes everything so worthwhile.
Finally, a reminder that for the last 2 weeks we will be piloting a change to school day timings. Please note, there is no change to the start or end time, but the first lesson begins promptly at 8.45am. It is vitally important that all students arrive at school with sufficient time to reach their classroom for the start of their first lesson. The reason for this decision is that we have an increasing number of students joining the school in September and we would like to ease congestion in Clouds at break and lunchtime, this has led to a trial on splitting the students’ social times. This change will take some getting used to for the students and we appreciate your support in ensuring your child is punctual to school.
Parent News this week has full details of the new timings, along with photos from the Prom and other articles and information.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

June 25th, 2018

When blogging, I try to bring to your attention the many great things that happen in school; the excellent teaching and learning, the breadth of extra-curricular activities and the wide range of opportunities we provide for our young people. In addition, through this and the weekly Parent News, we try to highlight just some of the amazing things that our students; your children, do. I intend to continue in this vein this week, but before I do so, following what has been a very difficult week with a lot of negative media coverage about the school itself, I wanted to remind everyone of the our vision statement:
"Through a committed partnership of the school, student and the family working together we can raise the aspirations of all the young people in our community".
Clacton County High School has not changed; we are still the same school with the same values, ambitions and expectations of our students. We need to remember that we have some amazing children here, full of kindness and compassion and working very hard in and outside of school and, I am sure you will agree, we should rightly be very proud of these young people.
We have been very busy the past few weeks. There have been lots of school visits going on. Humanities have been very busy, with geography and history field trips. There was also an art trip to London and visits continue next week with a trip to the Queen Elizabeth Park, a VI6 partnership event for year 10 at Essex University, the Sigma STEM Challenge and the annual athletics meet at Colchester Garrison.
Last week was also our Y12 UCAS week. Our sixth form team organised a series of events to help our students to prepare for the world outside of this school. This included our mock interview day on Friday, when we welcomed external visitors from the world of business, who worked with our students practicing for a formal interview situation. Many thanks to those members of our community who gave up their time to support this event. On Thursday evening, we held a STEM showcase evening, again we welcomed many external visitors, including the RAF. The event, attended by students and their parents, showcased the different projects currently being worked on in school, including the F24 racing car, but also gave information on the diverse range of careers which are directly linked to science, technology, engineering and maths.
The week culminated on Friday afternoon with a very special award. Very recently, we welcomed some judges from the Pearson Teaching Awards into school to come and meet James Poynter, a valued member of our technology department. James was nominated by his colleagues for the award of Teaching Assistant of the Year, for his contributions to the department and for his support of STEM activities. The judges were so impressed, that they recognised his efforts with a national silver award. This means that James is now automatically nominated for the overall final, which is held late in September. In the presence of his colleagues, some of his students, family and friends, we were delighted to be able to present a very surprised James with this award, he had absolutely no idea that he was a winner! We wish him all the best in the final and acknowledge how lucky we are to have him as a member of our staff; we are very proud of him.
Coming up next week is the Year 11 Prom, which takes place on Thursday evening. As with each preceding year, I can't wait to see the unique modes of transport that arrive at the school gates to deliver the students dressed in all of their finery! It seems the weather is currently set fair for the event, fingers crossed it stays that way and that everyone has a great time.
Parent News this week has lots of interesting articles and information for you to catch up on. It is available to download here and also via the school app.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

June 4th, 2018

Well, here we are, entering the final term of the academic year. I know I say it a lot, but the year flies by really quickly, it doesn't seem that long ago that we were celebrating the outcome of our Ofsted visit, but believe it or not, that was in January, almost straight after the Christmas break.
I hope that everyone had a very pleasant half term break; we had a bank holiday that was very kind to us weather wise and the warm weather continued throughout the week, perhaps the odd shower here and there to contend with.
As we return to school, sixth form students and Year 11's, will be continuing with their examinations. Many would have been busy revising over the half term and I am extremely grateful to CCHS staff who gave up their holiday time to attend school and put in some important revision and support sessions for their students. Students are very lucky to have such dedicated and supportive teachers, who work very hard to ensure each and every one of your children can fulfil their true potential.
For our Year 13s, they are coming towards the end of their time as CCHS students and will soon be moving onwards and upwards to embark on the next part of their journeys I hope that on results day, later in the year, they receive the outcomes they have worked so hard for and are able to fulfil whatever their aspirations might be. For most, this will be where their direct association with school ends, however, I know that there will be a small, but important handful, that will return to us as the next generation of teaching professionals. We have a very successful habit of 'growing our own' teachers, something that I am very proud of, there are quite a few current members of staff who were previous students. So, to these few, I look forward to seeing you again!
Although the focus continues very much on upper school students, for the rest of the year groups, there are an equally busy few weeks ahead. Expectations remain high and students will be intent on their studies right up until we break for the summer, the curriculum is full and lessons are thoughtfully planned to ensure that students are able to cover all of the content required for their subjects. It is vital that attendance remains high, any lost teaching time cannot be regained or repeated, please ensure your child attends school every day, punctually and in the correct uniform.
Despite the emphasis on hard work, there are also many events and activities to look forward to. There will be a vast range of trips going on, STEM activities, Parental Focus engagement opportunities, extra-curricular clubs, the annual Sports Day, the excitement of the Year 11 prom and of course, not forgetting, the trials and tribulations throughout June of the World Cup!
And... as one year group departs through the school gates, the next tranche of CCHS students walk through. As usual, we will, of course, be welcoming our new intake students and their parents early in July to our induction day and evening in preparation for their September start as a Year 7 member of the school community.
All in all, a very busy term lies ahead of us all. Good luck to those students completing their exams, not too long now and it will be over, you can do no more, just give it your very best and be proud of your efforts.
As usual there are full reports of school activities in the weekly Parent News, available to download and via the app, where important dates within the school calendar can also be found.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

May 8th, 2018

Part of our educational responsibilities lie with teaching and guiding our students towards life beyond school, learning about wider society, encouraging them to be outward thinking and what it really means to be a British citizen. We ask our children, what do we mean by British Values? When we ask ourselves the same question, we might say, of course we know, but are we really able to articulate this? It is just our way of life and is just there, something that we never really give too much thought to, but without these core values our lives and our society would be very different.
The media is full of stories that grab headlines and give us the impression that so much is wrong with British society, and perhaps all is not good, but the fundamental pillars that make us proud to be British are still there and stand us in good stead.
The four pillars that our society is built upon and which we actively promote in school are; Individual Liberty including freedom of speech, Democracy, the Rule of Law, Mutual Respect and Acceptance of others. Our day-to-day school life takes into account these principles and without even realising, they permeate through the school community and can be found within our PROUD ethos; Presentation, Respect, Organisation, Understanding and Determination.
Throughout the curriculum, opportunities to express British Values are sought, from Maths looking at judgments, outcomes, probability and equalities, with PE following the rules of the game and fair play; to more obvious subjects such as Religious Education which teaches about the differences and similarities between cultures and beliefs, and History as to how prejudice and a lack of respect for others' beliefs, ideals and creed can lead to wars and the breakdown of basic humanity. Our Behaviour for Learning Policy, Student Voice and Staff Voice, are all linked to the four pillars and are there to ensure that our school community functions for the benefit of all stakeholders.
I have written previously about our REAL days, Religious, Ethical and Life-long learning days, you may have also had conversations with your children about the diverse range of topics covered through these days. The value of REAL days may not always be immediately evident to the students and they may not see an immediate link to British Values, but they are all there. From workshops like 'Prison Me No Way', healthy relationships discussions to ethical questions being posed and discussed; such as the pros and cons of animal testing in relation to medical advancements and the positive and negative impact of the Internet and social media on people's lives and the global society as a whole.
On Wednesday, 9th May, we are holding our next REAL day for Years 7-9. As usual there will be a lot to cover throughout a busy morning and again some important and thought provoking subjects will be covered; saving lives through CPR, how the choices we make impact on our lives and others, to name just two. If you would like more information about REAL days, details can be found in back editions of our weekly Parent News or you can contact the school at any time by emailing
As well as REAL day next week, exams and revision sessions continue, also taking place; the annual Coastal Schools Athletics competition at Colchester Garrison, a Sigma Maths Masterclass, a small group of Year 10's will be working alongside firefighters at Clacton Fire Station and a cinema trip to see an exciting live production of Macbeth (definitely an old tale, but with a strong message on how the choices we make can impact on one's own life and that of others!). As usual, this week's Parent News has lots of interesting stories about events and the personal achievements of some of our students. See the scroller on our homepage or our school app for more information on upcoming events and important dates.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

April 23rd, 2018

It is now official, the summer term has started and it has begun with some very pleasant and warm days, at last! As nature has suddenly burst into life, likewise so have our upper school students with the realisation that we are now counting down the days, hours and minutes to their examinations. This week our Year 11 MFL students kick the season off with their Spanish Speaking exams and as we progress through May the examination timetable really begins in earnest. There are still many opportunities for last minute study and revision; teaching staff are available and always happy to help, so students are advised to take full advantage of the support on offer. Parents, if you too, would like any guidance on how to provide your child with the best advice and how to assist with the optimum environment for independent study at home, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to help.
Last week the school held its inaugural Special Educational Needs Fair. The event was organised by Mrs Bartrum, our SENCo, and her team. Mrs Bartum's idea was to bring together different agencies that help and support the families of our students that have a wide range of special learning needs and disabilities. Parents and their children were invited to meet with the people behind the organisations, discuss the help available and gain advice specific to their child's needs. The event also included an invitation to the SEN year 6 students and their parents who will be joining us in September. It provided an additional opportunity for SEN staff to meet the families and get to know them and their children better, in preparation for a positive integration into secondary school life. Thank you to Mrs Bartrum and the SEN team, the event was an innovative idea and went extremely well. The plan is to do this again next year and to make it bigger, with even more specialist colleagues attending. Again, please do not hesitate to contact staff within the SEN department if you have any questions or concerns relating to your child's learning needs.
Although exams are beginning; life for other year groups continues and coming up this week we have an 80's music and exam piece concert organised by Mr Austin on Tuesday evening, a Year 12 English trip to the Wolsey Theatre to see a Streetcar Named Desire and, in Food Tech, we have a 'Come Dine with Me' Family Focus event.
Alongside the special events, the usual extra-curricular clubs will be going ahead and for more information students should speak with their form tutors. Parent News this week has details of important dates for the forthcoming term and also includes articles and pictures on the Madrid trip, the Sigma History Day and the recent visit of the Royal Marines; available to view HERE, or via the school app.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

March 26th , 2018

The speed in which the last half term has passed is quite astonishing and here we are almost at the Easter break. Although we have yet to enjoy any spring like weather and still face the possibility of another cold snap this coming week, when we return it will be 16th April and the start of the summer term. Inevitably, this means that we begin the run up to the very busy examination period.
As always, staff and students are working extremely hard preparing for the exams, and even over the Easter holidays important revision sessions are being held. I would like to thank staff for giving up their holiday and family time to provide additional teaching and learning for our students. As parents, your support is vital, and I urge you to encourage your son or daughter to make the most of their teachers' additional help with preparations.
What a great week we had in school last week! There was so much going on; a full programme of sporting activities both lunchtime and after school in support of Sport Relief, National Science Week, a visit to the Big Bang Show in Birmingham, a 'sell-out' English department Parental Engagement Evening with a focus on poetry, World Storytelling Day, REAL day for all year groups, Year 12/13 trip to Poland, which included a thought-provoking visit to Auschwitz, a visit to the Ipswich School for a rugby tournament, a football tournament at CCHS, some students and staff left Friday for a cultural visit to Madrid, a Year 10 cookery roadshow also took place on Friday and much, much more.
Sometimes I feel quite astounded by just how much we manage to cram into a school week. Without the dedication and commitment of the CCHS teaching staff this would not be possible and on behalf of the students, I would like to thank them and to let them know how much their efforts are appreciated.
We are still riding high after our very positive Ofsted visit in early January and extremely proud of the inspectors' acknowledgement that our school could possibly move to an outstanding school. With this in mind, they recommended a full inspection within two years, which we would truly welcome. Any opportunity to showcase to visitors, the amazing teaching and learning that goes on throughout this school everyday is a privilege; governors, staff and students already believe that CCHS is an outstanding school, providing a first class education to the children of our school community and our amazing results reinforce this belief.
Although a shortened week due to breaking up at 1.15pm on Thursday, 29th March, there is no let up in the programme of events happening outside of normal lessons. Coming up; a full week of STEM events (something taking place every day), 25 Year 9's are attending an 'IntoUniversity' visit, Spring Blast dance performance at Chelmsford, a Sigma History Day hosted by CCHS, a London Theatre trip, a visit from the Royal Marines for a taster session on the field and in the gym, as well as matches for our girls & boys football teams playing against Tendring Technology College and Colne Community School.
Remember to take a look at our weekly edition of Parent News available on our website and via the school app, where you can find full details and photographs of many of the events. Enjoy the Easter break, fingers crossed that the weather takes a warmer turn and we can all enjoy some lovely warm sunshine.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

February 19th , 2018 - Ofsted Inspection 2018

As you may recall on Tuesday, 9th January we welcomed three Ofsted Inspectors to our school, this followed straight on from a particularly difficult previous day, when I was forced to close the school at lunchtime, due to a loss of power to the school site. Despite this, on the Tuesday, we were open bright and early, ready to greet our visitors for an 8.00am start.
It is almost five years since our last inspection, and we know that over the past few years we have enjoyed some amazing success in terms of the progress our students make and their personal development, during their time with us. Therefore, we were extremely optimistic and excited about show-casing our school.
We were inspected under the latest Ofsted framework, which came into force at the start of January, and so we were one of the very first schools to be inspected using the new parameters for a one-day inspection.
I am very pleased to announce that, in the opinion of the Ofsted inspection team, whilst Clacton County High School remains a good school, the inspectors found sufficient evidence to suggest that CCHS had demonstrated ‘strong practice and marked improvement’ and ‘this may indicate that the school is improving towards being an outstanding school’. With this in mind, they have recommended a section 5 Inspection to take place within two years. I hope that we will then achieve the status that the school; staff and students, deserve.
I was exceptionally pleased with the comments that the inspectors made within their report, and I would like to share just a few of these with you:
• In 2016, pupil’s progress to the end of Key Stage 4 was in the top 1% in the country,
• In 2017, pupils’ progress was well above average for pupils of all abilities and all groups.
• In the sixth form, students’ progress is very strong on academic courses and exceptional on vocational courses.
• Sixth form students are overwhelmingly positive about the sixth form, especially the support they receive from their teachers, both in and out of lessons.
• Staff are diligent in ensuring that secure arrangements for child protection are in place.
• Students have an excellent understanding of how to stay safe online.
• Pupils say they feel safe. Teachers know them as individuals and are concerned about any personal matters that may affect learning in lessons. Pupils told inspectors that ‘you can be an individual’.
• Parent view responses agree that their child is safe and happy in school. Very nearly all agree that their child is well looked after.
• Inspectors watched students around school and in lessons, arrive and leave the canteen and concluded that they had seen confident self-assured learners who have excellent attitudes to their learning and want to do well. This is reflected in their work.
• Bullying is rare and any instances are dealt with effectively. Pupils are confident that the school has strong and effective strategies to promote high standards of behaviour.
• Pupils are positive about the curriculum and the amount of choice. Governors are very clear that pupils should have every opportunity to excel in the subjects for which they have a passion.
This is a flavour of their comments, and a copy of the full report is available on the Ofsted website and via this link.
I was exceptionally proud of all of the staff and the students; all were a real credit, demonstrating throughout the day to the inspectors how our PROUD ethos is embedded into everyday school life and how our vision of ‘higher expectations, raising aspirations’ is reflected within all aspects of teaching, learning and extra-curricular.
Congratulations to the CCHS community on such a positive report, a tribute to the hardwork and commitment of staff and students.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

February 5th , 2018

As principal, when I meet parents at events or Parents’ Evenings it often provides them with an opportunity to voice to me any thoughts or views they may have. The most common theme currently expressed by so many, is concern over the impact that social media platforms are having on the mental and emotional wellbeing of their child. I completely agree, as I too, have noticed some worrying trends and have seen first-hand how some friendship issues, that happen at weekends or outside of school hours, spill over into school time, which can have a significant and detrimental impact on both learning and wellbeing.
I am concerned that some of our students do not have the emotional resilience to cope with the impact of the 24/7 online bombardment that they are often exposed to. Children need time to digest information, allow for mindfulness and give a sense of perspective; this is not happening for some. In essence, what I am trying to say is that they need to be able to take a step back and give themselves a break!
Our termly Safeguarding newsletter continually highlights the dangers our children may face when online. This is mainly focused around being aware of knowing whom they are talking to and how they could be vulnerable to possible exploitation, but perhaps both school and home should also prepare our children for their sudden catapult into the world of teenage social media?
Considering how important technology is now to all of our lives, we are obviously acutely aware of how it can influence and affect others. As adults, we have all probably experienced a text or email that has caught us off guard, but we have the capacity to digest and consider an appropriate response; children have yet to develop such life skills.
Throughout my blogs, I am always thanking parents for their support and highlighting how important it is for home and school to work together. I believe that this issue deserves all of our attention and we need to begin to think of short-term solutions to what could be a very long-term fallout as a result of our children’s social media experiences.
Coming up this week; a charity Variety Show on Wednesday at 6.00pm in the hall (funds raised will go to Cancer Research and Sozo Foundation), a parents’ meeting for the upcoming Madrid trip, an Arts Workshop for Year 12’s at Essex Uni. On Thursday we are taking part in the National Space Academy Chemistry Day with ninty Year 8/9 students involved, all this as well as the usual raft of after school clubs and activities.
Please do not forget to look at our website there is a lot of information for parents, including safeguarding advice and helpful links. Take time to read our weekly edition of Parent News, which is emailed to parents, but also available via a website link. Each week there is a full update on the amazing things that our students are involved with, whether this is representing their school in sports and other activities, supporting others less fortunate or fund raising for the charities of their choice.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

January 22nd, 2018

Following on from last week, I wanted to send a further reminder to all parents of the importance of full attendance at school. At this time of year, we all recognize that we are more prone to suffer from minor ailments such as cough and colds, but these should not lead to any absence from school. As I said previously, any lost teaching time can result in large gaps in a student’s knowledge, which ultimately has a negative impact on eventual outcomes.
At CCHS, we have a number of initiatives to encourage full attendance at school. Each week we promote special 100% attendance competitions for individual year groups. Those students with full attendance for the week are entered into a draw with the opportunity to win a £5 cash reward or ‘The Golden Ticket’. These tickets entitles the holder to jump to the front of the food queue in Clouds restaurant for the whole of the following week. Every month we host the Rewards Breakfast competition. The form with the highest number of students achieving 100% attendance, receive a free breakfast as a treat.
So, not only does excellent attendance = excellent results, excellent attendance also = rewards and benefits!
Last Thursday, was the Year 8 Pathways and Subject Fair evening, what a busy evening. Again, I was delighted to see so many parents and their children attending and fully engaged with making the right choices for their future aspirations and interests. As soon as all of the Pathway forms are returned; the deadline date is Friday, 26th January, we will begin to collate them, interview students and confirm subject choices as soon as we can.
Last week we welcomed Yasmine Miller, a GB 100m Olympic hurdler who came into school to meet some of our students. She led some training sessions, spoke about the importance of a healthy and nutritious diet and took time to answer questions, allowing students to gain a valuable insight into the total dedication and commitment required to be an elite athlete. Yasmine will be a star to look out for in the future; her focus is 2018 World Indoor Championships and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
This week, I am delighted to announce that following the successful nomination by her colleagues, Sue Crotty, our Reprographics Manager and Lead Midday Assistant, has been recognised by the Essex Teaching Awards. Sue recently received the exciting news, that she has been shortlisted for their Lifetime Achievement Award and invited to attend the awards ceremony in February. I am so pleased for Sue, who has an attachment to CCHS going back over 43 years, as a student, a parent, an employee of over 25 years and now as a grandparent to a student! I sincerely wish her all the very best and I will be there to cheer her on at the ceremony on 8th February. I will let you know how she fares.
Coming up this week, on Wednesday there is the Year 7 and 8 Inter-form Swimming Gala, Year 9 vaccinations continue, a smattering of exams are going ahead throughout the week and a final reminder for Year 8 parents; Pathway Choices forms to be returned by Friday.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

January 15th, 2018

Such is life that we encounter some strange and coincidental events! Firstly, there was the possibility of a serious gas leak on the school premises resulting in the unexpected early closure prior to the Christmas break. Then last week a main fuse went in the local substation causing a total loss of power, again forcing me to take the decision to close the school. I apologise to parents and students, not only for the inconvenience, but for the disruption to lessons.
Lessons are carefully planned by teaching staff to ensure that the full range of topics required for the subjects and courses are covered. The lost teaching time as a result of the closures will have to be caught up to ensure there are no gaps in students' knowledge. To this end, full attendance as we move forward is absolutely vital, and I urge all parents to ensure that students attend school punctually and do not miss time due to minor coughs and colds, which are inevitable at this time of year.
As you will no doubt be aware, we welcomed three Ofsted inspectors to CCHS on Tuesday, 9th January. It was a pleasure to be able to showcase our school to the visitors, giving them the opportunity to visit lessons to see learning in action, to meet students from a range of year groups and also meet with some members of staff to discuss different aspects of school life. It will be a few weeks until we receive the official report, but I was very proud of how our students; your children, conducted themselves and represented their school. When the report is received I will update parents on the outcome.
Last Thursday, was the final Parents' Evening for Year 11 students. Following directly after receiving the results of their GCSE preparatory exams, it gave students and their parents the opportunity to discuss with subject teachers the outcomes and plan the final preparations for the real GCSE exams coming up in the summer term. The evening was extremely well attended, and I was delighted to see and meet so many parents. I am always saying so, but it is worth repeating, the importance of home and school communicating and working together cannot be underestimated; it is a vital component in ensuring each child fulfils their potential.
Coming up this week is the Year 8 Pathways and Subject Fair evening, taking place on Thursday, 18th January. CCHS is currently unique in Tendring by offering our students a three year course of study for their GCSE's. Therefore, this too, is an extremely important Parents' Evening, providing an opportunity to gather information to help your child to decide on their preferred GCSE subject choices, which they begin at the start of Year 9 in September, this year. I urge parents of Year 8 students to attend between 4pm and 7pm this coming Thursday, it will really be of benefit with the decision making process.
All extra-curricular clubs are up and running again following the Christmas break. There is a wide range of opportunities to suit students of all abilities and differing interests. Details of what is on offer are published on the website. Extra-curricular activities are an important part of school life and help to develop different skills and broaden a student's scope of interests, as well as providing the opportunity to meet other like-minded students from other year groups.
Finally, this week we are very excited to welcome another visitor to CCHS. Yasmine Miller, a GB 100m Olympic hurdler will be coming into school to meet some of our students. Yasmine has recently beaten Jessica Ennis' 100m record and is a star to watch. Whilst she will be involved in some sporting workshops, Yasmine will also take time to talk with students about commitment, focus and dedication, all important skills required for success whatever future pathway is chosen.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

January 8th, 2018

Happy New Year to everyone, I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.
I like the start of a new year, there seems to be a freshness and an eagerness in the air throughout the school community. Even more so for Year 11 students, who had an extremely busy and intense time with the preparatory GCSE exams continuing right up until the final day of term. In fact, due to the impromptu early closure, some exams needed rescheduling following our return to school.
Results will be sent home and the outcomes allow students to know where they are and what they need to do and also highlights just how close the real GCSE exams are. The final year 11 Parents’ Evening takes place on Thursday, 11th January, and this provides the opportunity for students and parents to discuss with their teachers not only the results but which areas require the most focus in the months leading up to the GCSEs.
This is also true for our Year 13 students, who are entering an extremely crucial time in their academic careers. There are some very intense few months ahead, which are so important to their future aspirations.
For all those students preparing for exams, remember that staff are on hand and fully prepared to offer all the support and study assistance they can; staff have been through this before, both as students themselves and then as teachers, they know and understand what it is like!
For Year 8’s, this is the start of an extremely important time; it is when they begin the selection process for their option pathways, before finalising the subjects they will be studying from Year 9 through to their GCSE’s. Discussions have already begun with students and on Thursday, 18th January, there is a Pathways Evening Subject Fair starting at 4.00pm, providing students and their parents, the opportunity to meet with staff to obtain advice and guidance on preferred choices. Information booklets will also be sent home with students to help assist with the decision making process.
School life is quickly getting back to normal after the festivities, both academically and all the extra-curricular activities; PE clubs start up from Monday, 8th January.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

December 18th, 2017

We have come to the end of the autumn term and without doubt, this time of year is an extremely exciting time for families. 
Before I move onto ‘tidings of joy’, I would like to start with some concerns that I have regarding students who cycle to school. If your child does cycle to school, please can you impress upon them to ride safely and with respect for other road users and pedestrians. I am seriously worried that someone may get hurt or cause an accident. We all want our children to be safe and I would like to see all students who cycle to school wearing a protective helmet, but there does seem a real reluctance to do so.
A brief reminder for when we return in January.   The traffic in Walton Road at the start and end of the school day is very busy, we ask that you do not park on the zigzag lines at the front of the school, as this narrows the road and blocks the line of sight of children who are trying to cross the road safely. The back gate from the school exits directly to the Leisure Centre car park and it is far safer for all concerned, to deal with drop off and pick up there.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to be extremely vigilant in regards to safeguarding your child when they are online.  At this time of year, many students will be delighted to receive for their Christmas presents, new electronic devices such as tablets and mobile phones. There has been a lot of media attention lately about online grooming; this is a real and present danger for our young people, and can happen to absolutely anyone. Watch out for whom your child is making friends with and which online forums they are using. If you are uncertain about anything, there is plenty of advice and information to be found on our website, just look for the be-safe link.
Now to happier news, I am delighted to be able to inform you of the tremendous success of our annual Christmas Shoe Box Appeal. As you may be aware each year, we collect non-perishable items and small treats to pack into shoeboxes, gift-wrap and deliver to the residents of a sheltered housing complex in Clacton called Holly Court. With your support and generosity, we managed to fill over 100 shoeboxes, which were delivered by some of our students on Thursday, 7th December. The ladies and gentlemen were delighted to receive the gifts and, in turn, I have received some lovely letters of thanks. So, on behalf of the residents, a massive thank you, to you and your children for such thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity.
Each year on Christmas Day, our Clouds restaurant is commandeered by volunteers from the local Rotary Club to host a Christmas Day dinner.  They cook for and entertain those members of our community who would otherwise be on their own on Christmas Day.  I would like to make a very special mention to the volunteers who so generously and selflessly give up their family time to focus and look after the needs of others, definitely the true spirit of Christmas.  This year staff at CCHS opted not to send Christmas cards to each other, but instead have made a donation, which will be sent to the Rotary Club to help to cover their costs for this event. Finally, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas, a healthy and prosperous New Year and I look forward to welcoming all our students back to school on Wednesday, 3rd January 2018.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

December 4th, 2017

As we move into December and as a school community, our thoughts begin to focus on those less fortunate. Our students are always very good at fund-raising and donating to charitable causes. In my blogs, I frequently praise their thoughtfulness and generosity in giving to their charities of choice. This season we are keeping close to home, beginning with the annual Shoe Box Appeal for the residents of Holly Court in Clacton. The boxes are filling up with all manner of items and treats, and the final push is under way to ensure we are able to fill a box for every resident; we hope to make the delivery prior to the end of the week.
For more years than I can remember, Clacton County High School has been the venue for the Christmas Day dinner. Local volunteers give up their time to cook and entertain the elderly people of Clacton, especially those who would otherwise spend the day alone. The local Rotary Club are the main organisers and this year we have decided to donate the proceeds from our non-uniform day on the last day of term, to this extremely worthwhile cause.
Also, the CCHS Choir have been invited to perform at the Clacton Golf Club on 13th December. The choir will be about 25 strong and Mr Austin has been busily practising with our students to ensure they will be in fine voice for the occasion. The choir will receive a donation for their performance and this too, will be added to the fund raising for the Christmas Day event. They will also be performing at other venues over the next couple of weeks.
Parents; I would like to thank you too, for your generosity in support of your children's efforts.
The GCSE Preparatory exams continue in the lead up to the Christmas break. Understandably, it is a very intense time for our Year 11 students, they are working hard in their interventions sessions prior to each examination. I know and appreciate that it is a very exciting time of year, but our expectations remain high, and we will be encouraging and supporting the Year 11's to keep their focus and to do the very best they can. Their efforts will almost certainly be rewarded and will stand them in good stead for the real GCSEs next summer. Again, as parents, your support is crucial to their success.
A big congratulation to our Under 13's girls' football team who played their 'socks' off last week in the Essex Cup tournament. Coached by Year 12 student, Laura, the girls played amazingly well to reach the final. Unfortunately, they were narrowly beaten in the final seconds of the game by a single goal, giving the ultimate triumph to Thurstable School. Despite their disappointment, the girls should be very pleased, they showed real resilience and determination. Well done girls, we are very proud of you.
Coming up this week: more girls' football, the Under 16's are off to Tabor College, the Brilliant Cub tutorials continue and we have our second REAL day of the academic year. The day will focus on providing important life-skills information, some thought-provoking workshops and other activities.
Please remember to take a look at our weekly newsletter; Parent News, also available on this website or via our school app.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

November 23rd, 2017

It seems incredible that we are now into the fourth week since returning from half-term and, therefore, we are well and truly into the run up to the festive season. Despite the closeness of Christmas, whilst there are many fun and exciting things happening in school, there is still an awful lot of studying to get through.
Thursday, 23rd November sees the start of our GCSE Preparatory Exam period for Year 11’s and this carries on almost until we break up. These are extremely important exams for the students, as results will inform them and their parents where they currently stand in terms of grade expectations for next summer. It also allows them to see the areas they really need to focus on over the forthcoming months to maximise their potential. I wish them all the best of luck; my advice is, plan their independent study time and stick to it, and make the most of the support and advice available from their teachers.
Our motto at CCHS is ‘Higher Expectations, Raising Aspirations’ and we work extremely hard to ensure that our students really believe that anything is achievable through commitment to study and a passion for what they want to do. To this end, staff at CCHS continually seek to provide the opportunities to promote this belief. In this week’s edition of Parent News, you will see just a few examples of what we do to support this. There are articles on Girls in Technology, IntoUniversity Programme, National Citizens Service, Tomorrow’s Engineers and our Post-16 Taster Days. All of these initiatives have just one thing in mind, the futures of our children.
Next week, although the school calendar is very much dominated with the GCSE Preparatory Exams, there are still many other events happening. Tutorials continue for the Brilliant Club (in association with Cambridge University), the Formula 24 team are still working on building the dream car, after school at their STEM club group and Bikeability training is happening on Wednesday and Thursday. The week finishes on a high, as on Friday 1st December we are holding auditions in preparation for the annual Variety Show which happens in February – 3.30pm in H8.
Each week, featured in Parent News, there is more information and photos available on the amazing things that happen in school, also highlighting the successes of our students - Please follow the link to see this week’s edition.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

November 13th , 2017

Writing the blog gives me the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing things that happen in school that often go beyond the fantastic teaching and learning that I see every day.
On Thursday, 1st November at the Princes Theatre our PE Department, for the second year running, were named as the Tendring Educational Establishment of the Year. Last year, the accolade was shared with another school, this year the strength of the department and how its influence extends into the community, was theirs alone. Also at this ceremony, there were two other awards; one for our Sports Leaders programme and the other celebrated the success of our Year 8 Boys Athletics team.
The Sports Leaders are a selected group of students, not just talented sports girls and boys, but those who work hard, show commitment and an eagerness to support others. These students not only help at events in school but go out into the community to assist at other schools supporting students often less fortunate than themselves. To get a flavour of what they do please follow this LINK; we are very proud of the boys and girls. Likewise, we are equally proud of our 2016-7 Year 8 Boys who acquitted themselves extremely well and were recognised for their record breaking athletics year.
Yesterday, I was informed by Mrs Vieira, that our STEM group of Technology girls, have been selected as finalists by the Tech Girls Challenge 2017 and invited to an awards ceremony on 6th December at Imperial College in London. This event presents awards in a range of categories including Best Presentation Award, Technical Skills Award, Award for Creativity, Award for Innovation, School Winners Award and we are very excited to find out the outcome. I will, of course, let you know how they fair in due course.
Recently, I have had quite a few students come along with letters, asking for my permission to do some form of work outside of school. Usually, it is for paper rounds or artistic performances and I admire students' organisation and work ethic, but this time I was presented with forms to sign for work at a local care home for the elderly. The students, again both boys and girls, explained to me that they go into the home to sit with and chat to the residents, many of which suffer with dementia. One student said that he had been along for a trial and had thoroughly enjoyed the experience, enthusiastically explaining that research showed how interaction with younger generations had such a positive impact on the health and well-being of elderly people. He added that the lady he had spent time with told him that he had 'made her day'. He was really pleased about this and, along with the others, were looking forward to keeping the residents company and providing a very important stimulus for them; an extremely rewarding experience for all.
Generosity and empathy for others is embedded into the CCHS ethos and spirit. Our students really get involved with charitable causes. 'Think Pink' was the focus of our last fund raising efforts, but coming up for this term, is the annual Christmas Shoe Box Appeal. This has recently been launched by Mr Sean Duffy and the 'cry' for help has gone out to all form groups. Each year we endeavour to fill as many shoe size boxes as possible with non-perishable items such as tins of food, chocolates, cosmetics, socks, scarves and treats, which are delivered just prior to the Christmas holidays to the elderly residents of Holly Court in Clacton. Students and their parents always respond so positively to this appeal and all contributions are very gratefully received by the residents.
Next week is extremely busy; year 7 and 8 inter-form indoor athletics, a young referees course, rugby and netball finals, the Brilliant Club tutorials continue, there is a CCHS Sixth From Taster Day combined with visits for some students to Otley College and Colchester Institute, a Dance Association event and on Monday the launch of national Anti-Bullying Week. Full reports and photos of many of the exciting events appear each week in Parent News available to view on our Parent News webpage.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

October 23rd, 2017

Well, the first half of the very busy autumn term has flown by and when we return after half term on Monday, 30th October, dare I say it.......... the next time we break for a holiday will be Christmas! Before then there is an awful lot to get through and your children will be working hard right up until this time.
In my previous blog, I reported that I was on tour with a group of students participating in a learning on location experience visiting Paris and I promised I would let you know how it went. We all had a most fantastic time and I was delighted at the way our students conducted themselves, enthusiastically practising their French speaking skills, sampling the cuisine and embracing the unique Parisian culture. We finished our trip with a full day in Euro Disney, also an experience enthusiastically enjoyed by the students, who from 10am until 7pm made the absolute most of every minute! I must say, that our students all behaved impeccably and were an absolute pleasure to be with. Thank you to Mrs Rubio-Weston and Mrs Nundy for organising the trip and for giving up their own family time at the weekend to accompany the students.
I am delighted to inform you that for the second year running we are celebrating the news that, yet again, CCHS is one of the top performing schools in Essex; for the progress our students make, between the time they join us in Year 7 until they finish in Year 11. The Department of Education recently published the Progress 8 league tables which show that on average, our students are gaining outcomes half a grade higher in each of the eight designated subjects than students with a similar secondary starting point. I am very proud of this achievement and credit must be given not just to the students for their hard work, but also to you as parents, for the support and encouragement you give to your children. Without doubt, this is a crucial component in ensuring they achieve their full potential and are rewarded with some amazing GCSE grades. I must also pay tribute to the wonderful and talented staff at CCHS. They are a fantastic team of colleagues, and within each and every subject area, they are committed to providing an outstanding learning experience for your children with innovative and interesting lessons.
Outside of the classroom, staff go beyond expectations; teaching and non-teaching staff are always there and determined to make school a safe and fulfilling environment for your children, by offering support and a wide range of experiences and opportunities. Within my blogs and the weekly edition of Parent News we try to highlight to you as many of these as possible and I hope that you enjoy reading about the exciting events available, students' fund raising efforts together with accounts of their personal and team successes. All of these things go alongside a very demanding teaching schedule and, on behalf of the students, I would like to acknowledge the staff of Clacton County High School and thank them for their commitment to the young people of this school and the Clacton area.
Take a look at Parent News, there are more details and photos on our Progress 8 success, the Paris trip, IntoUniversity programme, the Pay It Forward initiative as well as some links to important safety information for Halloween and Firework Night.
Coming up on our return after half term; important English and Maths re-sits (good luck to those students involved), netball and rugby fixtures, a dance trip to the Jerwood Studios and our weekly football sessions for Year 5 and 6 primary girls.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

October 9th, 2017

The blog this week will be quite brief, reflecting on last week and the forthcoming week. The reason for this, is that I am rather preoccupied this weekend and until Tuesday, on a school trip to Paris! I am very lucky and privileged to accompany a group of students from Years 9 to 11 on this learning on location opportunity to the French capital. I am really looking forward to listening to them practise their linguistic skills and to observe their, albeit brief, immersion into the unique Parisian culture. I will report back to you next week on how our trip went.
Last week was very busy, with a trip to Colchester Zoo to launch our new exciting STEM collaboration focusing on conservation and protecting wildlife. Our netball and rugby teams had matches against Harwich, some year groups played at home whilst others travelled to the opposition. There was disappointment for the students who went on the Wallace trip; the coach broke down on the way and, unfortunately, the company was unable to secure a replacement coach in enough time for the trip to continue and the students returned to school. Miss Robinson, the trip organiser, commended our students for being so patient and well-behaved despite being confined for quite sometime on the coach. The Colour Run took place on Friday after school and we were so lucky with the weather, it was a lovely day for the event. All the participants and the paint throwers had a really enjoyable time and proved that sport can be fun, whatever your ability. The final event of the week was Miss Gough's Year 9 dance trip to Colchester on Friday evening. Full reports and photos from all of these activities will be available in next week's edition of Parent News.
Coming up this week; on Tuesday we have our first REAL day (Religious, Ethical and Lifelong Learning), there will be a wide range of workshops and activities covering many important topics. On Thursday evening, we have the Clacton County High School Sixth Form College information and subject fair. Students from our current Year 11 and from other local schools are welcome to attend to find out about the courses, enrichment opportunities and the resources available at CCHS for post-16 study. Trips next week include a visit by Year 12's to the Henry Moore studios and students from Years 10 to 13 are going to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, and sporting fixtures continue for all year groups.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

October 2nd, 2017

On Thursday evening, we held our annual school open evening. For CCHS this is a very important night as we throw open the doors to the whole school site, to welcome students from our local primary schools together with their parents, to look around and meet the staff and some of our students. It also allows us to proudly showcase the opportunities and resources we can offer our future students.
I was extremely pleased to see so many people and I personally enjoyed meeting so many of our visitors; there was a real buzz of excitement in the air. Our visiting year 6 students participated in a 'Pathway to CCHS' competition: a set of questions and clues led them around the school to all of the different subject areas. This was to ensure that they didn't miss out on seeing any of the exciting things going on. Each student who completed the 'pathway' was rewarded with a CCHS souvenir for their efforts.
Whilst it is an important event for CCHS, I recognise that it is equally a very significant evening for Year 6 children and their parents, as they have a very big decision to make in selecting the right school for the next five, possibly seven years of their lives. As a parent, I too, have been through this process, and I know and understand that gathering as much information as possible, enables parents and children to make the right choice. I hope the evening provided everything needed to aid the decision, which has to be made no later than 31st October, when Essex County Council close off the formal application process for 2018/19 intake.
We are also offering the opportunity for the school to be seen on a normal working day, with a series of tours taking place over the next 2 weeks. Accompanied by a member of staff, parents and children will be escorted around the school to view how we operate on a normal day.
To join one of these tours, which will be held both in the mornings and afternoons, please contact the school by telephoning 01255 424266 or by emailing and we will be delighted to make the arrangements for a visit. Places are limited on each tour.
A big thank you to all our student helpers who stayed in school very late on Thursday to assist their teachers and provide help and guidance to our visitors.
A final note on other events and activities from last week; well done to some of our sports teams who had their first fixtures of the academic year, many Year 7 boys and girls coming together in a CCHS team for the first time and a big thank you and well done to our Sports Leaders who visited Shorefields School. The students were invited to assist at the Power2Inspire games and they immersed themselves totally in supporting the events and encouraging the participants. Staff at Shorefields praised our Sports Leaders for their enthusiasm and compassion; we are very 'PROUD' of you all.
Coming up over the next week: a visit to Colchester Zoo, a trip to the Wallace Collection in London including an amazing workshop opportunity, the STEM trip to Rockingham Speedway to compete our race car against teams from across the country, more netball and rugby fixtures, the Year 7 Colour Run and a cultural trip to Paris for students in Years 8-10.

Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS

September 25th, 2017

The summer holidays may now seem like a dim and distant memory, the weather definitely has a more autumnal feel and we are entering our 4th week of term. Our new Year 7 intake have settled in very well and by now have found their way around the school site. Likewise, our new Year 12's have also found their feet within the CCHS sixth form college.
Last Thursday, we held our annual Presentation Awards evening in the main hall. This is a very special night in the CCHS calendar, as we celebrate the success of our students from the previous academic year. Whilst there were many stunning individual results to recognise, the evening also gave us the chance to acknowledge the efforts and hard work of the students who achieved way beyond their own personal expectations and those whose community commitment often remains unnoticed. Top achievers were: John Cullen-Kennedy (Yr13), Charlotte Hope (Yr11) and a special mention for John and also Annie Ashwell who both attended school from Years 7-13 without having a single day of absence! This year's winner of the prestigious Old Clactonian award was Thomas Shadforth; who overcame some difficult individual challenges to come out of Year 13 with outstanding results. He is also a committed member of the scouting organisation and an active member of our local community. Congratulations to all our students and good luck to our leavers as they move onto to the next exciting stage of their futures.
In this week's edition of Parent News, we have published the programme of extra-curricular clubs available for students to join. There really is something for everyone and I hope that many of our students will take the opportunity to go along and enjoy the activities which happen outside of lesson times. If any students have ideas for clubs that are not on the list, they should have a chat with their form tutor or an appropriate member of staff and we will see what we can do.
The first round of sporting fixtures begin this week with netball and rugby matches against Manningtree High School; good luck teams. In addition this week, 20 year 8-10 students, as part of the Sports Leadership programme, are off to visit and support students at Shorefields School. Coming up on 6th October, we are holding our first Colour Run of the year. It is a very popular event, held after school on the field and Year 7 students, regardless of their ability, are encouraged to join in to show that keeping fit and being active can be fun.
A reminder that this Thursday, 28th September, is a non-pupil day. There will be staff training in the morning and then we make the final preparations for the annual Open Evening event. The school and classrooms are sure to be looking at their best, ready to welcome the next prospective cohort of CCHS students who will join us from September 2018. The evening begins at 5.30pm and many of our new Year 7's will be on hand to offer information and advice to those in year 6 considering their choice of secondary school for the forthcoming year. For more details of events, clubs and Open Evening, please take a look at this week's Parent News, available via our website.
Neil Gallagher, Principal CCHS