Bow School

Headteachers Blog

Headteachers Blog

Read the latest thoughts, analysis, and observations from Bow School Headteacher, Danny Lye.

June 2023

Welcome, to the June edition of my Headteacher's blog.

The end of the academic year is fast approaching, which means the next few weeks will be defined by a period of hard work, and celebration.

Our Year 11s and Year 13s have continued to display sheer determination and hard work as they embark on their exams and prepare to celebrate entrance into their chosen pathways, as the rest of the school operates as usual, with an undercurrent of celebrate wafting through the corridors!

At Bow School, the summer term is one where we look back and reflect on all that we have achieved, whilst looking ahead on what there is to seize. We look forward to our annual achievement awards, whilst congratulating the older year groups on their next steps.

An aspect of the student experience that we celebrate all year long are our partnerships. Our partnerships play an important part of our student experience, offering students the chance to play an active role in the community, and benefitting from the expertise and opportunities offered throughout these collaborative partnerships.

This term, our students across the school have worked alongside organisations and businesses that we have partnered with on a wealth of experiences and opportunities. Our extensive network of organisations incorporates businesses, charities, and institutions on a local and national scale, enhancing and enriching the Bow School student experience and a number of our partners serve to offer our students insights and experiences into higher and further education, whilst enlightening them to the world of work, whilst other prospects complement the curriculum, contributing to learning and the development of academic skills.

We also work in partnership with a number of organisations that support students mental health and wellbeing. Partners ReachOut, Place2Be and THEWS offer students 1:1 counselling, group sessions and after school support in anything that they might need. And, with  a vision to ensure that our students leave Bow School World and Career Ready, it is not a surprise that many of our prestigious partnerships are designed with this in mind. You can read more about this in our Summer 2023 magazine, in addition to the activities we have hosted with our primary partners. 

I am incredibly proud of our partnerships offer, as they allow us to offer experiences to young people which they may not otherwise have. These help to develop them personally and support the fulfilment of our vision that young people leave Bow World and Career Ready. I hope in the future we continue to build on the offer, to improve the student and staff experience.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a wonderful month.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

May 2023

Welcome, to the May edition of my Headteacher's blog.

As I am sure many of our students, families and staff will understand, the last few months have been incredibly busy at Bow School. Our Year 11s and Sixth Formers are preparing to undertake their examinations, whilst eagerly making plans for their next chapters, whether that be joining the Bow Sixth Form, or embarking on exciting new pathways at prestigious universities, on impressive apprenticeships or brand new careers.

Across the rest of the school, students have continued to enjoy our rich BowExtra! enrichment programme, alongside wrapping up the end of the Spring term and preparing to begin the final term of the academic year. In the meantime, Year 6s across the borough have been eagerly preparing for their start at Bow School in September, by participating in a range of activities that form our transition programme. 

In this edition of my blog, I wanted to draw focus on our incredible Sixth Form. This year, the Sixth Form celebrated incredible results, showing year on year improvement and a significant increase on last year. The overall average grade score has increased by an impressive 2.5 grades to a B- in what have been challenging years for Sixth Forms across the country.

Not only this, but our successful and oversubscribed Sixth Form has an impressive track history of enabling students on to Russel Group universities, and onto prestigious careers and apprenticeships. Our teachers are subject specialists and experts in their field, with a wealth of experience in offering personalised support in selecting post-18 options. 

The careers programme is rich, matching our vision of being world and career ready.  Students benefit from a wide range of university visits and funded travel to open days, mentoring and coaching from industry leaders and inspirational speakers and have many opportunities to attend taster sessions and summer schools through our key local, national and global partners. Not only this, but there are a variety of paid onsite jobs for our Sixth Formers including mid-day supervisors, tutoring and TA opportunities and support with Oxbridge and Medicine interviews and entrance exam preparations. A Sixth Form specific enrichment programme is designed to provide a wide range of opportunities to extend students’ knowledge and experience beyond the classroom, maximising every students potential. 

I look forward to witnessing our Sixth Form continue to grow, and supporting our students on a fantastic journey of development, as they achieve their ambitions and individual aspirations.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye

march 2023

Welcome to the March edition of my Headteacher’s blog.

This month, we prepare for a big month in the calendar of secondary education – March is secondary offer day.

Moving from primary to secondary school is a big step in the life of every child and their families. Although it is often met with great excitement, at Bow, we understand that for some, it may also be a daunting prospect.

Research indicates that a positive transition into secondary education can lead to children developing new friendships, maintaining good self-esteem and confidence, showing an increasing interest in school and their work, getting used to new routines with ease and experiencing continuity in their learning. As such, and to welcome our new Year 7s into the Bow family, we have developed a unique transition programme beginning the moment they are offered a place at Bow School, to empower pupils with a successful transition.

Our transition programme kickstarts in March with Friendship Afternoon and runs through to September and culminates in a graduation celebration at the end of their first term. Filled with coffee mornings, opportunities to visit the school and activities designed to enlighten pupils to life at secondary school and allow staff to get to know pupils, the transition programme will ensure every pupil feels like part of the Bow community, long before they join us in September.

The first step in our highly regarded transition programme is our annual Friendship Afternoon, held in March. It allows all students offered a place at Bow, and those seeking a secondary school, another chance to experience all that we have to offer.

Friendship Afternoon is the perfect opportunity for pupils to begin developing new relationships with their peers, a chance to foster friendships, meet their new teachers and begin to navigate their way around secondary school. It is our intention that by hosting Friendship Afternoon, pupils will feel comfortable and excited to start Bow School and allow parents and families to ask any questions they may have.

As you can see, March is set to be a very busy month, and we  also have a lot to look forward to our plans for Women’s History Month, World Book Day, Parents and Pathways Evening and Year 11 Mock Results Day.

Wishing you all a great month, and if you are joining us for Friendship Afternoon – see you soon.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye

January 2023

Welcome, to the first edition of my Headteachers blog, of 2023.

So far, we have enjoyed a fantastic start to the term, which has already been packed with trips, visits and events alongside our usual successes and achievements. Student attendance and punctuality continues to improve, and we will put further emphasis on this to continue to drive it up.

An important term for our many of our students, as Year 9 choose their GCSE options, and our Year 11 and 10s prepare for their mock exams and mock results day. In addition, we have enjoyed success in the Debate Mate competition, embarked on STEM trips, held our annual Holocaust Memorial Day and School Council held their first meeting of the year.

In order to ensure we achieve our goals and provide the most rewarding experience for our students – both personally and academically – we put in place our vision. Our vision to help all students to achieve excellent outcomes and to leave school truly world and career ready.

This is important to me because school is about more than just achieving good qualifications, education is about more than that. I want our young people not only to be knowledgeable but to be able to you go into the world with courage, confidence and character than enables them to take their rightful place, in the world, with conviction. Our values, and adopting them, are a key part of that – having determination, being adaptable and curious and living with respect for oneself, for others and for the world around us is key.

Our values, and vision, are lived through our curriculum and how we think about learning. They are lived through the way we award praise and recognise achievement. They are live through the positive relationships and interactions which are evident every day amongst our school community. They exist, too, in our thinking around personal development, assembly, tutor time and RSHE.

Our vision and values, drive our school forward. They have impacted on outcomes achieved (see recent exam results), on the planned curriculum how it is shaped, and the resources used, the way our staff think about teaching and working with young people. Our BowExtra Programme, professional development for staff, personal development curriculum, careers and IEAG are all informed by and shaped by our school vision and values.

For the remainder of term, there is much to look forward to. Our House Day 2 and 3, mock results day, Year 9 parents and pathways evening, more sporting success no doubt, the relaunch of our Basketball coaching programme and our school production. Stay tuned for next month’s edition when we delve deeper into transitioning in to Bow School!

Best wishes,

 Danny Lye, Heateacher

December 2022

 Welcome to the final Headteachers blog, of 2022.

 What a year it has been! The end of one successful academic year the first term of another, alongside many individual triumphs, celebrations and joy.

 In our first term back and in the month of December, we celebrated House Day 1, an array of trips and visits beyond the classroom to complement learning, enrichment activities, safeguarding workshops and Headteacher celebration breakfasts.

 We also hosted our very first Working in Partnership breakfast, which saw Headteachers and Senior Leaders from primary schools within Tower Hamlets join us for a working session to discuss how we can support one another. We are dedicated in our mission to support a smooth transition between primary and secondary education, as we know that this can support higher levels of attainment and achievement, and positive mental health. In creating our primary programme, which we shared with primary leaders in December, we aim to introduce pupils in Years 4 – 6 to the secondary curriculum and environment, through exciting and engaging workshops. Stay posted for more information.

 Over the last year and within 2022, we welcomed our new Year 7 cohort and said goodbye to our Year 13s, expanded our Sixth Form to its largest ever cohort, implemented our highly regarded transition programme, launched out student mental health and anti-bullying ambassadors and formed a parent ambassador programme. I am sure you can agree with me that we have certainly been busy!

 When we return in January, we aim to kick start 2023 as we mean to go on. We look forward to House Day 2, our school production of Aladdin, the Summer term trip to Madrid, our annual Friendship Afternoon and so much more.

 I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers of this blog, and our wider school community for your ongoing support of the school. I am incredibly proud to be leading Bow on its upward journey and look forward to sharing more news of our growth and success in 2023.

 Best wishes for the winter break and wishing you all a very happy Christmas and new year.

Danny Lye, Headteacher

November 2022

Welcome, to the November edition of the Headteachers blog.

 In this edition, I focus on the importance of strong working relationships with our families. This year, we kicked off our Parent Ambassador programme and Parent Workshops with a resounding success, and I know that these will be a key strength in maintaining our positive relationships in the future.

Strong communication and relationships between the home and school is essential to Bow, and central to student progress. It helps to reinforce what is being learned, helping young people to study, revise and read are all great ways that parents can support the learning of their children. Working with us, too, when there are things to celebrate or when things may be difficult, parents can help the school to get the right support in place quickly. Parents can offer their expertise, advice and guidance too, they have so much to offer, and the school can benefit so much. Together we are stronger.

Currently, we communicate with our families via the website, letters, telephone, social media and of course, this blog. However, we are always seeking to improve and evolve – working alongside LBTH Parental Engagement Team to strengthen this, launching our parental portal app, and we hope in the new year to create our own Parent Voice Team, where we can work together on areas parents choose, to improve the experience for students and families, present and future.

This month, we have launched a survey to find out more about the parental experience at Bow, and how you perceive your child’s experience to be so far. Please complete the survey at the following link:  

Once more, it has been a great month at Bow School. Year 11 and Year 13 students have positively engaged in interventions to support their progress and worked hard in their upcoming assessments. We have been visited by Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture emeritus at the University of Cambridge who spoke to our Ancient History students, launched our Anti Bullying Ambassador programme and BowEXtra!, and held our annual Remembrance Event and the Year 11/13 Careers Fair. But yet! There is still more to come. We look forward to our upcoming Year 11 Parents Evening and Mock Results Day, alongside House Day 1, Cultural Capital and Personal Development Day and the annual dressing of the Christmas Tree and Student Christmas Dinner next month.

I hope that many of you engage with our parental survey, so we can continue to improve our methods of communication and experience for all, and I hope that you enjoyed reading of our successes and triumphs this term in our latest magazine.

Wishing you all the very best.

Danny Lye, Headteacher

October 2022

Welcome, to the October edition of my Headteachers blog. 

As the half term fast approaches, I look back on the first term with great joy. It has been a fantastic first term back at school, with our new Year 7 and Year 12 cohort settling in to the next stage of their education brilliantly, and I am incredibly impressed with their confidence and resilience. 

This month, there has been lots to celebrate. From our parent events: tours, open days and open evenings, students undertook training to become mental health ambassadors, visits to our business partners and a wealth of other enrichment activities. 

In the secondary school cycle, September and October are dominated by open events: prospective parents and pupils and sixth form students exploring options for their next educational chapter. I was thrilled that our events were so well attended, and hope that they gave attendees an insight into why Bow School and Sixth Form is such a fantastic option for them, and in my opinion, the best place for themselves, or their child. 

We are a thriving school and Sixth Form, recognised by Ofsted for the high-quality provision we offer and  defined by incredible and progressive academic excellence, an unparalleled enrichment programme and a forward thinking focus which ensures every student leaves Bow School and Sixth Form, World and Career Ready. Not only this, but our outcomes speak for themselves - from Oxbridge offers and impressive career pathways, to incredible results and a prestigious alumni. Whilst I know the transition from primary to secondary school can be daunting, I hope that our incoming pupils look forward to their Bow adventure, and we look forward to welcoming them back to school in March for our annual Friendship Afternoon. 

I hope that all of our school and wider community had a restful and peaceful half term break, and those celebrating Diwali enjoyed their celebrations. Next term, we look forward to the first School Council meeting of the year, celebration breakfasts, Year 11 parents evening and the launch of Sixth Form reading programme, where they will support younger readers across the school.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

September 2022

Welcome, to the September edition of my Headteachers blog.

This blog entry marks the very first of the 2022/23 academic year, one that I am incredibly proud to celebrate following the end of a successful year last year, and one that I hope to build on the successes of. 

Our whole school community were extremely saddened by the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and grateful for her life time of servitude to our country. As Headteacher, I am very proud of the thoughtful way our students have taken part in our commemorative events. 

This month, we have welcomed new Year 7 and 12 students. Our Year 7s have settled in fantastically as a result of our highly-regarded transition programme and Summer School, whilst our Sixth Form is operating as over-subscribed for the first time in our history. We also celebrate the launch of our Becoming X personal development programme. 

We look forward to our Year 7 open evening this month, where we open our doors and welcome Year 5 and 6 pupils from across the borough to experience life at Bow School. We also celebrate Black History Month, for which lessons, events, activities and assemblies will focus on shining a light on the honouring the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout history.

In August, we once again celebrated the successes and outstanding achievements of GCSE and Sixth Form cohort. The percentage of students achieving the top grades remains impressive and are a testament to students' hard work, adaptability and resilience, alongside staff’s determination and support. At the Sixth Form, results show year on year improvements and have also significantly increased since the last time students physically sat these exams in 2019.

The word celebrate has made an appearance in almost every paragraph in my blog so far. This is because celebration is a key aspect of our student experience. Our students are celebrated in many ways. Throughout the year, students can earn achievement points, linked to embodying the school's values. These contribute to house points and competitions, with achievements linked to involvement in clubs, trips, events, enrichment, for completing outstanding work and for displaying great personal characteristics. 

These points build up, and contribute to special events, trips, rewards breakfasts and our annual Celebration of Achievement Evening. Lat term, over 100 awards were given out to students, including academic and progress awards, alongside those linked to the school values. We also had a series of awards trips at the end of the year to celebrate the success and hard work of our young people over the year. 

We are so proud of the outcomes achieved, the resilience shown by our young people in spite of the challenges they faced. These results show the incredible progress being made by the school as we seek each year to become better and better.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

July 2022

Welcome, to the July edition of my Headteachers blog.

As the end of term and the end of the academic year approaches, I would like to extend my thanks to all members of the school community for their support of our young people this year. I would also like to congratulate and praise the Bow School cohort. Once again, I am incredibly proud to be Headteacher at a school with such a strong, kind, resilient community, where students are respectful, work hard and over all, fantastic. 

This month, our Summer Showcase took place. The Showcase was a celebration of dance, drama and music, well done to all participants. I would also like to congratulate our eldest students who achieved the community sports leadership award. Our Year 11 and 13 students also enjoyed end of term celebrations, marking their success and celebrating all that they have achieved. On behalf of all of us at Bow School, we send them all of on to the next stage of their education with our warm wishes. 

Next term, we look forward to sharing in the successes of our GCSE and A Level students, alongside welcoming new staff, hosting visits from prospective Year 6 pupils and building on the successes this year. 

An integral part of the Bow offer is our partnerships offer. We believe in the importance of stimulating students minds, broadening horizons and enlightening students to their own potential. Our partnerships play an important part of our student experience, offering students the chance to play an active role in the community, and benefitting from the expertise and opportunities offered throughout these collaborative partnerships.

Organisations we currently have partnerships with include Tower Hamlets Education Partnerships, the switch, Into University, Model UN, Jack Petchey, Lauriston Lights (Summer School), ReachOut, Speakers for Schools, UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools, Worshipful Company of Barber-Surgeons. 

These partnerships benefit the school, our staff and our students immensely. They help to build staff expertise, broaden and enrich the curriculum, provide fantastic opportunities to support the personal development of students. 

Partnerships help teachers, and other staff, to strengthen their practice – they build their expertise and knowledge meaning they are better able to support the progress of our young people. Partnerships not only enrich the practice of teachers but also support the broadening, deepening and enrichment of their subject knowledge, ultimately, improving the learning of all of our young people.

I am incredibly proud of our partnerships offer, as they allow us to offer experiences to young people which they may not otherwise have. These help to develop them personally and support the fulfilment of our vision that young people leave Bow World and Career Ready. I hope in the future we continue to build on the offer, to improve the student and staff experience.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a wonderful and safe summer break. 

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

june 2022

 Welcome, to the June edition of my Headteachers blog.

This month, I would like to extend my congratulations to the students in Year 11 and 13 for their approach to their exams. Throughout the month, students have been in school from early morning to late in the evening, determined to their absolute best this summer.

Our students have also enjoyed great success this month: in the Tower Hamlets Girls Athletics Tournament, in a visit from the National Youth Theatre, and our STEM club students hatched butterflies for British Science Week.

Celebrating success is an integral part of the Bow experience, and just one of the ways we enforce positive wellbeing. Promoting wellbeing is incredibly important to students personal development and academic achievement, we cannot be successful, make progress or achieve our full potential without positive mental wellbeing.

At Bow School, our emphasis on wellbeing is evidenced in our Wellbeing Wednesdays, where students and staff from across the school focus on and discuss aspects of wellbeing, our active encouragement for all students and staff to get involved in physical activity and opportunities for self-referral to Place2Be, for all students who require it.

We believe that by ensuring positive wellbeing is practiced and promoted, our students know who to talk to and how to access support if required, they understand the importance of looking after themselves and we can foster the optimum conditions for success. We know too, that if you have good wellbeing practices when you are young, you are more likely to fulfil these in adult life.

As the year almost draws to close, we look forward to the Celebration of Achievement Evening, Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions, Outdoor Adventure Trip to Wales and end of term celebration trips. This year has been another filled with success, developments and achievements for students and staff alike, and I look forward to the last month of the academic year being a celebration of this.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

MAY 2022

Welcome, to the May edition of my Headteachers blog.

This month, Bow Year 11 and Bow Sixth Form Year 13 students embark on their exams, which began this week. On behalf of us all, we wish them every success. The resilience that these young people have shown over the last two years of the pandemic, and in the face of uncertainty this year, has been remarkable.

Not only this, but it has been incredible to see how our examination groups have approached their preparation. Every morning I have witnessed young people arriving early (some arriving before staff!), and staying at school late into the evening, revising, making the most of our resources, engaging with teachers and studying hard. They are truly determined to do their best and come August, I look forward to sharing in their well-deserved results, which I am sure will be a testament to their efforts.

Over the coming weeks, there is much to look forward to. From welcoming our incoming Year 6 students to the school for further transition events to supporting our Year 10s with virtual work experience opportunities; welcoming our new staff who will be joining us in September for their induction day and hearing from staff as they feedback on their professional learning experiences, to of course, our celebration of achievement evening, Bow Idol, Sports Day and end of term celebration trips.

At Bow School, our offer is so much more than what happens inside the classroom, we know that learning extends beyond the classroom walls, and our BowExtra! programme is designed with this in mind. Our multi-strand personal development, wellbeing and enrichment curriculum is open to all students, and supports the achievement of our World and Career Ready vision. It is our firm belief that the experiences offered through BowExtra! help develop students round skills, making them confident, curious, competitive; support the development of great communication and character, essential for a happy and successful future life.

This term, highlights of BowExtra! have included working in partnership with Greenhouse Basketball to offer coaching sessions, DebateMate, ModelUN, Diversity Council, Student Leadership opportunities (including student receptionist and librarian), alongside a wealth of extra-curricular clubs.

 Only recently, one of our Sixth Formers accepted a university place at Cambridge University and had to be able to talk not only about what they studied, but also who there were and their wider interests. They talked positively about their experiences at school, the enrichment activities that the BowExtra! Programme gave them and how this had helped develop them in to the person they had become. It was a privilege to hear that the experiences provided them with opportunities to grow, develop and stand out from the crowd.

As the term draws to an end this month, I wish you all a restful break and look forward to the final, but surely successful, month of the academic year.

 Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher

April 2022

Welcome, to the first edition of the Headteachers Blog.

 I decided to launch this blog because I wanted to enhance my personal communication with our Bow School community, share with students, families, and friends the goings-on of the school, things to look forward to, and spotlight different aspects of our enriching student experience.

 I would like to take the time to thank all members of our school community following the recent bereavement and loss of a member of staff last term. Mr. Khales was not only an excellent teacher but a valued and appreciated colleague, friend to many, and outstanding role model for our students.

 As the Spring term ends, I take the opportunity to reflect on a successful term. I am impressed, though not surprised, by the fantastic work ethic and impressive attitudes of our Year 11 and 13 students, as they prepare for their upcoming exams.

 In February, our school welcomed the next generation of young Bow students to the annual Friendship Afternoon event. A roaring success, the event allowed the Year 6 cohort to meet their new peers, begin building friendships, start to familiarise themselves with the new environment, and meet teachers, whilst parents found out more about life at Bow and had the opportunity to ask any questions. I look forward to meeting with families again in the Summer term, as we continue our Transition programme of events and activities.

 In other news, our Bow Basketball team continues to go from strength to strength, and we look forward to cheering them on at upcoming games, whilst I also extend my congratulations and pride to those in our school community who participated in the fundraising efforts, to support the digging of a well in a developing country. Students raised £530 for a worthy cause.

 Last term closed with the Celebration of Achievement breakfast which included pupils from every year group who had fulfilled one or more of our school values: Determination, Adaptability, Curiosity, and Respect. I now look forward to hosting the annual Celebration of Achievement evening in July

 This month, we spotlight our Spiral Curriculum, which has been developed to support students in achieving our vision for them, in becoming World and Career Ready. Revising core knowledge in greater complexity each year deepens students’ knowledge and understanding, enabling the development of skills and understanding the links between subjects. We believe that it helps students to understand that knowledge is connected and that they can master these connections.

 By utilising the curriculum in this way and practicing our values of Determination, Curiosity, and Adaptability, I believe our students are challenged to learn more, think more, and try more. They seek a range of solutions to problems and have the ability to meet challenges, which is the key to success.

 However, in our aim to achieve World Ready, we at Bow understand that learning is not limited to the classroom. Our learning experience extends beyond, incorporating a range of trips, visits, events, speakers, and clubs, to raise aspirations and allow students to apply newfound knowledge in real-life scenarios. Our enrichment programme complements the curriculum, and this is what we believe sets us apart from the rest: we go above and beyond.

I hope that you all enjoyed a restful half-term break and are ready for another successful term.

Best wishes,

Danny Lye, Headteacher