Heath Old Boys Association


News and events


Introducing Lynnette Cassidy

It is more than a year since my appointment and, over that time, my initial delight and excitement have tempered into a real understanding of the enormous privilege it is to be the Head Teacher of The Crossley Heath School. The story of the school occupies a very special place in the social and educational history of Halifax. That story, like the textiles which made the town, is truly woven into the local fabric and is treasured by all associated with the school.

Since September, I have been busy getting to know staff, students and parents and exploring what makes Crossley Heath the very special place that it is – our family ethos, the deeply held connections to the Crossley and Porter School and The Heath Grammar School, the generations of families who have passed through the doors and, not least, our iconic and historic building, standing proud on the heath. I have found everyone associated with the school to be very warm, welcoming and enthusiastic and I look forward to many exciting times ahead.

As a long-time resident of Huddersfield, I have known Crossley Heath by reputation for many years and my path has crossed with that of the school on occasion. I worked some 16 years ago as a teaching consultant based at the Heath Training Centre and actually visited the school at that time. I can recall admiring the impressive approach to the school and the majesty of the building. I also recall sitting near the front entrance reading a series of plaques naming the school’s previous head teachers, little imagining that I might one day join them!

Prior to taking up my new post, I had already enjoyed a long and varied career in education. Most of my teaching has been in schools serving diverse and deprived communities in Ashton-under-Lyne, Bradford and Batley. Most recently, I was Deputy Head at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. I spent nine years in Local Authorities, firstly here in Calderdale before moving onto Kirklees as a Senior Improvement Officer and School Improvement Partner working in various roles with primary, special and secondary schools.

We started the new school year in September with excitement and celebration when former Year 13 and Year 11 students received their excellent examination results. We were delighted that our Year 13 leavers were able to move on to their chosen universities and it was wonderful to see them all again at our prize giving celebration evening in December.

We were pleased to be joined by Wendy Moffat to celebrate with the students and their families. The occasion provided a public opportunity for me to thank Wendy personally for her commitment to the school and for her support in ‘handing over’ to me as the new head teacher.

We celebrated further success when we were named, in November, as the 5th best northern school in the Sunday Times Parent Power list — an accolade awarded on the basis of both our A level and GCSE results. Recognition like this is a measure of the hard work of our students, of the commitment to high quality teaching and student support by our staff, and is a measure of the support that students enjoy from their parents and families.

Commitment

As a newcomer to the school, I have been delighted with the commitment shown by students to the wide ranging and varied activities that we participate in. A large number of events have taken place, including an exciting House swimming gala, won by Saville, which featured tremendous effort by all, outstanding swimming and some brave, thrilling diving. The culmination of the House Drama competition came in December, won by Kings with an innovative interpretation of Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. A multitude of visits have taken place, including a very successful exchange visit to Germany where students were hosted by local families, and a rugby tour to Canada where students not only won both friends and matches, but had the enviable opportunity to watch whales.

Crossley Heath’s sporting prowess is very widely known and our reputation was further enhanced over the course of the last year. In tennis the U13 boys and Under 15 girls won their respective Aegon Lawn Tennis Association leagues, in netball the U16 squad won the West Yorkshire Invitation Tournament, and the U19 Squad won the Calderdale Tournament. In rugby, our U15, U16 and U18 teams won their respective County Cups. Our students also continue to achieve individual sporting successes at a very high level.

Charity fundraising has continued to thrive with £7400 raised in 2017–18, and £3600 raised so far since September. The generosity of staff, students and parents is fantastic, from the annual Rotary Christmas shoe box appeal, myriad cake sales and non-uniform days, to a collection of presents for local children at Christmas.

Change

This is a time of unprecedented change in education with teachers and students being required to cope with significant changes to exam specifications at A-level and GCSE. Together with developing and delivering these new courses, we have also introduced the new GCSE grades 9–1 system and, at the same time, are embedding the new KS3 ‘assessment without levels’ system.

It has been 30 years since a period of transition on the scale we are currently experiencing, was last seen. Students, their parents and staff at school are navigating all of these changes magnificently. Nevertheless, the extent and significance of the changes, their successful implementation, and the transition in the mind-set of us all, should not be underestimated. Of course education and perpetual change go hand in hand and, as a school, it is our deeply held values which sustain us through change and maintain our character and our purpose, whatever the latest government policy, funding squeeze or fashionable teaching strategy.

Values

Our values are what makes Crossley Heath special and we will continue to believe in and celebrate individuality, holding the highest aspirations for each other and ourselves in everything we do. We will continue to hold our heritage and reputation dear, not as ‘the posh school on the Heath,’ but as a forward-thinking school which has a role to play in the local community.

Of course, our most marvellous asset, the reason we all get out of bed in the morning and look forward to coming to school, is our terrific students. We are fortunate in having a fantastic body of students who have the capability to go on to become people who will make a genuine difference to those they encounter, to be leaders in their chosen fields and to influence society. Ensuring that they each flourish by nurturing their talents and abilities within and beyond the classroom is at the heart of what we do and is what we are about.

I have enjoyed my first two terms immensely. I am proud to be part of the current Crossley Heath family and feel privileged to contribute, however modestly, to the long and auspicious story of the school. I look forward to exploring that story over the coming years and becoming involved in learning about the lives, experiences and contributions of Heath Old Boys.

Lynnette Cassidy Head Teacher