Principal’s Blog April 2013

Even though the last few months have been dark, miserable and “officially the wettest since records began” the school has continued to “shine”. The last few months have been extremely busy, wonderfully exciting and a rollercoaster of experiences for both pupils and staff alike. Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School is not a place to be if you want the mundane, the routine or a laid back approach to life.

Experiences…

From the minute the boys enter the school gates (and for some this is as early as 7:40am), the school has something to offer; the Daily Qur’an Circles in the morning, visiting Old Trafford in the evening, travelling to London for the STEM “Big Bang” convention, walking across the road to support Year 6 pupils with reading or giving up lazy weekend mornings to enjoy practical science lessons at the Ibn Sina Centre or designing a safe car that can withstand impact testing during a design and technology day. The school may not have the multi million pound buildings that others in the Borough have but that does not mean we do not give the boys the experiences they deserve; we just have to work harder and more creatively, as a school community, to make things happen.

The school is fast becoming a 24/7 school – 365 days a year, place to be.  As staff give 100% to supporting the extra-curricular activities, they never forget the main purpose of their roles; to strive for academic excellence for each and every one of our pupils. Our Vision statement is never far from our thoughts:

To create an inspirational lifelong learning campus…where we leap further than we imagined…run faster than we aspired…reach higher than we dreamt…to become the people the Almighty meant us to be….”

Vision…

This vision certainly became a reality when 4 students represented the school in Pittsburg, USA at the International School of the Future design competition. The TIBHS team, with the help and support of teachers and building professionals such as architects and quantity surveyors, spent 6 months planning and designing their entry. The final design was an eco-friendly, futuristic environment for learning that contained many sustainable features such as light tunnels and hydroelectric power. The team competed with over 2,900 entries from across the globe to reach the final 3. The boys returned triumphant being awarded 2nd place as distinction winners. The school community welcomed them back with a special assembly to celebrate their incredible achievement and to thank all the people involved who helped to make this a memorable and successful experience.

Welcome…

On the 1st of March, 100 boys received the good news that they have secured a place at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School for September, 2013. Exciting work begins in welcoming the boys and their families into the school so that they are ready and able to embrace the next 5 to 7 years of their lives as part of the Tauheedul family. However, as these families celebrate there will be nearly 200 others who will be disappointed in not securing a place for their son at TIBHS. As a school we sympathize with parents who are disappointed, however the school is strictly governed by our admissions policy and our admission number. Just like TIGHS, we have had to refer these parents to the independent appeals panel to whom the parents will be able to voice their concerns at not being allocated a place.

Readiness

Throughout the country there is an air of trepidation and nervousness at this time of year as secondary schools prepare for external exams; TIBHS is no different. The school is currently in “exam mode” as we help to prepare all the boys for our first internal end of year exams. This includes consolidation of the work already learnt throughout the year in lessons, extra classes after school for all pupils who are struggling or have fallen behind, subject clinics at lunchtimes and after school, revision techniques in PHSE, Super Learning days at weekend and revision materials on line to support the boys in their personalised learning. Great exam results, such as the ones achieved at our sister school, TIGHS, don’t just happen; they are meticulously planned for and take hours of hard work from pupils, teachers and parents. Our first external exams will be in November, 2013; we owe it to our boys and their parents to ensure they are ready for their first public exams that will “shape and control” their futures .

Future…

Planning permission is currently being sought from Blackburn with Darwen for our new school which will be built on Clarence Street. The new build will be in an ideal location to serve our school community and will offer the opportunity to redevelop a site, which has housed a derelict building for many years. The new school is our opportunity to not only “develop the site”, but more importantly “develop the community” by providing a first class education for the families it serves. This time next year, the new school will not just be plans but Insha’Allah, a reality. Plans and pictures are available at the school for the community and parents to see .

Appreciate the little things we have

As spring unfolds it reminds me of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by the wonders and beauty of the world we live in and that these little things that we take for granted will not always be there if we don’t take care of them. As a school we must never lose sight of the “little things” that we take for granted each day; the achievements of our pupils, the commitment and dedication of our staff and the support of our parents, community and Governors. Without these little things, the big things never happen.

May the Almighty remind us never to take these small things for granted and may he guide us in making the most of each and every day .

Jacquie Petriaho
Principal

 

Pricipal’s Blog January 2013

Time……

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week”.  (Charles Richards)

These wise words were written over 100 years ago and they are as true today as they were then. My staff, over the last term, has managed to do just that; get a full year’s value out of a few weeks. I look back with full admiration at what they have achieved in such a short space of time. As you will read in the Principal’s Blog the school is a vibrant place to be, with a real sense of purpose and a desire for excellence. I hope you get a sense of “making the most of every minute” which is leading the school to achieve success for pupils and staff alike.

Faith…..

As the new Islamic year has started and Rabee’ ulAwwal draws closer, staff and students have embarked upon a project to help remind everyone of the special qualities of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). The Seerah Project started on the 26th November 2012 and will culminate on the 9th February 2013.

Each pupil has prepared a 5 minute speech based on the life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). They selected one topic from the list:

  • The birth of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)
  • The trials and tribulations posed to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)
  • The Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) migration to Madeenah
  • The Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) ascension to the heavens
  • The Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) farewell sermon
  • The beauty of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)
  • The Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) perfect personality

The 12 students with the best speeches have already been selected and will perform in front of a panel of expert judges at an event organised by TIBHS on 9th February 2013. It is hoped this will be an annual event at TIBHS.

Educational excellence……

The last week of the first half term ended with a timetable shut down week; pupils participated in ‘The School of the Future’ competition, which involved developing ‘a School of the Future’

The overall objective was to design a school which is sustainable, eco-friendly, learning driven and a centre for the community.

Pupil took on the roles of:

  • Team Leader/ all-rounder with excellent communications skills
  • Architect/ good at Science, Computer Science
  • Environmentalist/ good at Science, Geography
  • Quantity surveyor/ good at Science/Maths
  • Community Officer/ good at PSHE, R.E, Languages

They met with professionals: architects, quantity surveyors, interior designers and project managers to develop their understanding of the process and the roles.

Pupils used Google sketch up to create their final school designs and collated the learning from the week into a presentation. Winners from each set delivered to a panel of external judges.

The ideas were creative and the designs and presentations were professional and sophisticated. The judges were very impressed by the standard of the work produced by our boys.

Yet again, Year 7 won the final competition.

The next timetable shut down week will be in summer, where the boys will be involved in an Enterprise week.

At the end of the autumn term students were awarded certificates and prizes in recognition of their hard work and commitment to excellence. Two boys from each set received the following subject awards:

The Imam Sibwayh Award for Excellence in Arabic
The Jalal UdDeen Rumi Award for Excellence in English
The Abdurrahmaanibn Auf Award for Excellence in Enterprise
The Maurice Bucaille Award for Excellence in French

The IbnBatuta Award for Excellence in Geography
The IbnKhaldoon Award for Excellence in History
The al-Jazari Award for Excellence in Information Technology
The Abubakr al-Hassaar Award for Excellence in Mathematics
The Tauheedul Islam Award for Excellence in Religious Education
The Ahmad al-Farghaani Award for Excellence in Science
The Muhammad Ali Award for Excellence in Sport

2 students received the Silver merit award (for receiving over 100 merit points) and 24 students received the Bronze merit award (for receiving over 50 merit points). 63 students received 100% attendance award which means 41% of the school population were in school every day during the autumn term.

Sports Enrichment…….

All of the activities under the banner of our Sports Leadership Academy continue to be a success with all activities oversubscribed.

To build on our golf and boxing programmes the school ran a very successful swimming programme during October Half Term with 25 boys receiving personalised swimming sessions at QEGS.  These proved to be so successful that the school intends to run this course again for a second cohort in the spring term.  The school is currently planning for the first cohort to follow up the initial course by enrolling onto a water polo course.

From the boys that participated in the half term swimming classes, the school has assembled a Y7 & Y8 swimming squad. The 12 boys represented the school in their first swimming gala at QEGS in November.  The competition involved representatives from all other schools within Blackburn with Darwen, including QEGS and Westholme.Our Year 7 boys finished 4th overall and our Year 8 finished 5th; a great achievement for our first year of entry into the competition.

41 boys have taken the Bikeability award and achieved Level 1 and Level 2.  This award aims to teach cycle safety and improve use of bikes on the road.  This once again proved very popular with the boys, all stating how much they enjoyed the programme.

The School Football Teams are also flourishing with 6 games played against local schools.  Results are:- played 6, won 3, drawn 1, and lost 2.

A second visit to watch a football match at Manchester United took place on the 5th Dec.  This trip was sold out within 10 minutes!! The boys are eager to take part in this kind of activity and therefore Mr Matadar will continue to organise if tickets are available.

Big Society……..

In December TIBHS facilitated a cheque handover of £5,000 to Crisis with the help of Tauheedul Relief and the school Student Shuraa. During an assembly, a guest speaker from Crisis spoke about the ways in which the charity helps to support homeless people.  As a result of the presentation, the Student Shuraa decided the money raised from the Tauheedul Mile Fun Run would also be donated to Crisis.

The T-Mile Fun Run was organised at Witton Park on Sunday 23rd December, 2012 and aimed to raise £3000 for the charity.  All TIBHS boys were given the challenge of raising,in sponsorship money, a minimum of £20 each.The boys completed the run on the bitter cold afternoon and raised a grand total of £4,590; a tremendous amount of money for an hours work from 153 boys!!Well done and congratulations to all involved.

A close working relationship is being developed between the school and the environmental charity “Ground Work Pennine Lancashire”.  Representatives from the charity have been into school on several occasions to deliver workshops to students during their PSHE lessons. The workshops have been planned around local, regional and national green issues.  This relationship will continue to be developed with many more projects being planned for the  Spring term.

The school is in the process of working towards the first level of becoming an Eco School.  The Student Shuraa is driving this important agenda(with the help and support of staff) to ensure the school becomes more aware of its responsibilities to the environment.  It is hoped that the Eco bronze award will be achieved within the next 2 months for the work the school has done on recycling and energy efficiency.

12 months on as Principal…..

As I write this Blog I remind myself that it is exactly a year since my appointment as Principal. Time has gone so quickly and so much has happened. Every day has been different but extremely rewarding. Sometimes it is difficult to put things into words how one feels about something that has happened that changes your life and ways of thinking but I feel the quote belowdoes this very well on my behalf:

This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss; good not evil; success not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it”.  (Author Unknown)

May the Almighty guide us towards success in this world and the hereafter.

Jacquie Petriaho
Principal

 

Principal’s Blog September 2012

I opened my first Principal’s Blog of the academic year with the following words of wisdom:

“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.”

How right I was to do so, as no plans could have prepared us for the six-week summer holiday; the words of the great poet, Robert Burns (1785), ring true in my ears:

“The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!”

Premises
It is with “one step at a time” and quite often “one huge step back” that we ripped apart the abandoned, severely vandalised and certainly not fit for purpose, St Stephen’s Infant School and turned  it into  a safe, warm and bright school, fit for the teaching of and learning by, Secondary age pupils. The transformation was, at times, extremely frustrating, overly time consuming and a steep learning curve for all involved.

As one job finished there was another to begin.  Often you could not do one job, because another job had not been completed or the work men were on site at another, much neededjob, elsewhere.  The lowest point throughout the six weeks was the phone call from the security firm on a Sunday afternoon to inform me that the roof was leaking, the new tiles in the ICT room had disintegrated all over the furniture and flooring, and the rain was now pouring onto the newly installed computers. However, when I got there, other people also came to the rescue.

As with all things in life I learnt something about dealing with buildings; patience and excellent communication are the two qualities you need if you are to succeed in your “project management”.

I personally thank the team of people (Staff from TIBHS and TIGHS, Governors and Contractors), for their hard work, long hours and commitment throughout the six weeks; without their unwavering help and support the school certainly would not have opened on time.

I hope parents, governors and pupils are happy with the interim accommodation; I know that staff are delighted. We have had some excellent feedback from the community: “cleanest the grounds have ever been”; “I have never seen it looking so good and I have been coming into this building for over 40 years”; “the pupils are smart and polite on their way to school”; “thank you for not being a nuisance with parking and blocking the side roads”.

Even though the interim accommodation will be our first school building and, therefore, our first memories of the school, it is the planning and development of the permanent site and school that excites and challenges us the most. We must remember the learning that has taken place and that patience and communication are the key to success.

Challenges
The first four weeks have not been without challenges; uniform, buses and lunches to name a few. However, these have all been over shadowed by the positive feedback from the pupils, staff and more recently parents. As a school community we are working extremely hard to address the things that are worrying or concerning parents and, I.A, with continued patience, 100% support and advising the school on the things we can improve to support both parents and pupils, I know we will get to where we intend to be.

Parents
Already this year  we have welcomed parents over our doorstep on 3 occasions; for the Parents’ Curriculum meeting on the 18th September, the Open Evening for prospective parents on the 27th September and for the Parents’ Academic Support meeting on the 10th October. It is always a pleasure to see parents in school as this allows us to work in true partnership for the benefit of the pupils. We are not the kind of school that will call parents into school for trivia; when we arrange meetings for parents it is because we want to share something that will help, support or enhance their son’s  education and experiences.  As the Principal I value the feedback we receive from parents as this allows me to evaluate and improve the work we are doing as a school. The support from parents up to now has been tremendous and this will, I.A, continue in the future.

Intervention, Enrichment and the Sports Academy
Intervention sessions began for some of our pupils on the 17th September and Enrichment activities on the 24th September. All of the after school activities are extremely well attended and are making a difference to the boys involved. The Intervention sessions are vital in ensuring all our pupils make the necessary 4 levels of progress in the time that they are at TIBHS, therefore guaranteeing the boys the best University places or jobs in the future. The Enrichment activities this term include football, boxing, wrestling, International Humanities Club, Science Club, French Club, School Press Team, Formula One Maths Club, Design a School (which is an international competition) and Homework Club.

The Saturday Sports Academy was launched in early September. The opening golf tuition course was completely filled within the first 2 days of the letters going out to parents.  The boys have had tuition from a PGA golf professional and their techniques analysed.

The next activity on the programme is boxing with a programme in place for boys to get boxing training at “Kokoro” boxing gym in Accrington.  Already 10 boys have expressed an interest in this and we fully expect this programme to be completely full.

Mr Matadar, our Assistant Principal in charge of Specialisms, conducted a site visit on Sunday 7th October for our annual residential, which will take place in July 2013.  The possible venue is Water Park on Lake Coniston in the Lake District.  Whilst there, he will also visit Patterdale Hall as a possible alternative venue for our boys.  He will be ensuring that the facilities are just right for our needs and that the boys will get a truly memorable experience for what will be, for many of our boys, their first time away from home.

A mountain biking programme to encourage safe biking on the roads has been booked.  This will encourage boys to cycle responsibly and safely, with a view to encouraging more pupils to use their bikes as a travel method, especially to and from school, not simply as a recreational tool.

During October half-term and the latter part of the Christmas holiday, pupils will be able to take part in Public Speaking training, Voice Projection lessons and Presentation Skills development activities.  A professional voice coach has been secured by TIBHS to lead the sessions. These transferable key skills are highly sought after by universities and employers alike.

Sports Captains
TIBHS first Sports Captains have beenselected from the thirty six boys who applied for these prestigious positions. The boys had to apply in writing for the posts of Captain and Vice-Captain, outlining why they thought they would make good sports leaders and how they would develop sports leadership in other fellow pupils. The boys received their badges in an assembly in late September.

The Year 8 Sports Captain and Vice-Captain are to attend the Lancashire Young Ambassadors conference at The Grand in Clitheroe on the 18th October. The workshops cover “Increasing Participation and Healthy Active Lifestyles”, “Being an Ambassador and role model” and “Building positive personal values through sport”.

This is just the beginning; soon we will be increasing our posts of leadershipfor students with different forms of responsibility, these include Form Representatives and Student Shuraa members.

And finally……..
The school has come a long way in a short period of time; however, I am very much aware the school has been a long time in the making. The forefathers of TIGHS and now Tauheedul Trust and Governors, have put in100s of hours of work and as the saying goes, “blood, sweat and tears”, into creating the school we continue to nurture. I hope they are beginning to see the realisation of their dreams and that they feel it has all been worthwhile.

As another saying goes, “a house is not a home without a family” and “a school is but a building without its pupils, parents and staff”. Already there is a sense of spiritual purpose, a strong feeling of belonging and a determination to succeed at the highest level in all that the school does. It is because of these things that the initial “grief and pain” is slowly but surely turning into the “promised joy”.

With our first half-term as a school nearly upon us and the half-term holiday coinciding with the important festival of Eid-ul-Adha 1433. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the parents, staff, governors and the wider community, Eid Mubarak. As a school, we hope and pray that the Almighty continues to shower upon us his infinite mercy and blessings. Ameen.

Jacquie Petriaho
Principal

Principal’s Blog July 2012

As I sit and write my very first blog I reflect on what the future holds for all of us at Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School. The school will open its doors in September to 153 boys and their families, and it is the start of an exciting and much awaited journey for everyone involved. Nobody can predict what that journey will be like; the twists and turns on the roads we travel, the obstacles on the way and the directions each and every one of us will take. All I can say for certain is that the journey will be worth taking and it could not have been better planned or prepared for. However, as the inspirational and ‘new thought’ writer Orison Swett Marden said:

“When we are sure that we are on the right road there is no need to plan our journey too far ahead. No need to burden ourselves with doubts and fears as to the obstacles that may bar our progress. We cannot take more than one step at a time.”

Induction events for students and parents
It goes without saying that a school is not a school without its pupils, and therefore the staff and I were extremely excited to welcome the boys to TIGHS on 04 and 08 July for their Induction days. The staff had been eagerly awaiting these days, and they planned imaginative yet challenging taster sessions for the pupils to take part in. The boys experienced lessons in Entrepreneurship, French, Science and PE, as well as the more traditional subjects of English and Maths. They had an opportunity to meet their learning co-ordinators, heads of year and teaching staff, as well as make new friends. There was a buzz of excitement throughout the two days and an air of getting to know each other. The boys walked in as strangers but certainly left with a strong feeling of being a part of the Tauheedul family. The boys comments summarised the days:

“It’s going to be a really great school”
“‘Exceptional’ – I don’t want to leave”
“An amazing school, that I am proud to be a part of”
“I am going to have to work hard, but will be supported by the best teachers”
“I learnt so much in a day”
“A well disciplined school with Islamic values”

There was the same sense of excitement at the parents evening held on 02 July. This was the first opportunity for parents to meet the committed and highly experienced TIBHS Senior Leadership Team, who will lead and manage the staff to ensure the school is a safe, caring and high achieving environment for the boys to attend each day. The Home School agreement has now been signed by all parents. This document is viewed as very important at Tauheedul as it seals the tripartite relationship between school, parent and child and is a symbol of the partnership and promise to work together to give the very best educational experiences to each pupil.

New uniform
The new school uniform is a reflection of the traditional standards that we have set for the boys at TIBHS; the smart conventional ‘business suit’ links to our specialism of Entrepreneurship. As a school we believe the boys should take pride in their appearance and the way they present themselves to the outside world; our uniform allows the boys to feel this sense of pride.  The uniform is bespoke to Tauheedul and will be recognised and allow the boys to stand out in a crowd. As a school we pride ourselves in listening to what parents ask of us and therefore when some parents expressed concerns about the uniform we have worked hard to try to accommodate their requests.  We are currently working with the suppliers to design a bespoke jubbah for TIBHS and are now able to offer all parents the sports uniform free of charge. This we feel will ensure all the boys are fully equipped for their sports lessons and will look smart when they represent the school at sporting events and tournaments locally or nationally, again linking our uniform to our specialism of Sports.

Discovery days
The boys and staff enjoyed a weekend of fun, laughter and new experiences at Hothersall Lodge in Ribchester on 14 and 15 July.  They all took part in activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, caving, canoeing and orienteering. Many of these activities pushed the boys (and at times, staff) to do things they did not find easy and, on some occasions, took them out of their comfort zone. These skills, as well as teamwork, are experiences we want to foster in the pupils at TIBHS; the character-building activities will allow them to grow into the future leaders and risk takers of tomorrow.

The days were memorable for many reasons but the two that will always stay in my mind are: first, the boys running down the jetty to jump into the lake at the end of their canoeing session, helping and supporting those that found it difficult, applauding those that jumped the furthest and laughing together as a team as they attempted to get out of the lake with heavy and extremely wet clothing; and secondly the young man walking and running in my trainers because he had forgotten to bring a change of footwear to change into after being in the lake – now that is literally ‘walking in the Principal’s shoes!’ The boys also had the opportunity, under the guidance of Moulana Usman, to reflect on the learning and spiritual experiences of the day. They thanked the Almighty for the opportunities he has bestowed upon them and prayed for the future success of their school. This is the first of many such experiences that we, as a school, have planned for the pupils over the next 12 months.

Funding agreement
The long-awaited funding agreement was eventually signed by the Minister, Michael Gove, on Tuesday 17 July 2012. Prior to this on 19 June, Mufti Hamid and I were invited to the Department for Education in London to attend an interview. Here we were intensely questioned on whether or not Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School was “ready to open” in September. I am pleased to report that the panel of interviewers at the DfE felt that we were extremely well prepared for the opening and gave us the highest grading on four out of the seven sub-sections and the second highest grading on two other sub-sections. These findings were also supported by the Ofsted Inspector who came to the school on 09 July to inspect Policies, Curriculum Planning, Ethos and Spirituality, Health and Safety, Staffing and Leadership and Management. These high-rated reports and supportive comments do not just happen; they are down to the hard work, support, dedication and commitment of TIBHS staff, governors and the excellent SLT at TIGHS, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Staffing for success
I am pleased to report that the school is fully staffed for September. We made our final three appointments, Teaching and Learning Assistants, on Thursday 19 July. The full staff team includes:

  • Principal
  • Three assistant principals
  • Business manager
  • Five teachers
  • Two heads of year
  • Senior business support officer
  • Business support officer
  • Principal’s PA
  • An ICT network manager and science technician
  • Three teaching and learning assistants
  • A learning environments team
  • Two welfare assistants

Already I believe this team of people are dedicated and hard working; they have high aspirations for themselves as individuals and high expectations of the school and pupils. I applaud their commitment.

The School Estate
We took possession of St Stephen’s site on Thursday 19 July 2012. The site has much potential to become a good secondary school and fit for purpose, but does need some minor building work and refurbishment, especially in the older building. We will be working non-stop throughout the summer to ensure that the school is ready to welcome the boys on 04 September.

I am amazed and overwhelmed by the number of people that have volunteered their services and support to ensure that the school is ready in time. As always the Tauheedul family and local community show their strength and commitment to the firm belief in the school, and this is what makes me so proud to lead Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School. Even though this interim accommodation will be our first school building and therefore our first memories of a school, it is the planning and development of the permanent site and school that excites and challenges us the most. I look forward to updating you on the development over the next 12 months.

Ramadan Kareem
Finally, I hope the gift of the month of Ramadhan is proving to be spiritually uplifting for you; indeed it is a month that arrives and departs leaving an effect on our hearts for life.  During this blessed month, I humbly request your Duaas for the future success of our new school. Together we will make it the success we dream of and aspire it to be.

Jacquie Petriaho
Principal