Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends.

The winter season is upon us… I am not a fan of the cold weather and count the days until the light evenings and sunshine return however I do enjoy the sight of a frosty winter morning and blue skies above.

This is traditionally a lovely time of year at school. The calendar is action packed with so many events to help brighten the days ahead.

Year 7 and 8 were treated to a performance from the woodwind quintet ‘Quintessentially Wind’, playing a variety of pieces from shows, films and some beautiful classical music. The students were introduced to each of the instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon and shown each instrument that was played. Mr Gray will be uploading some recordings to Twitter so please do go and have a listen.

In food and nutrition, Year 10 students have been busy cooking fresh mussels and creating a range of wonderful dishes, including Asian style mussels, Thai green curry and the traditional Moules marinière. The food and nutrition department were one of two hundred schools chosen to be part of ‘The Fish Heroes’ program, which is sponsored by the Fishmonger’s Company. Over the last two weeks they have supplied schools across the country with an enormous two tonnes of fresh UK rope grown mussels. The aim of the program is to give students the opportunity to learn how to cook fresh fish and try something new. Our mussels were harvested on Sunday 21st November and enjoyed by Year 10 only a few days later. The standard of the dishes created by our students was outstanding.

Last week thirty-one Year 12 students took part in the Senior maths challenge. Fourteen students achieved bronze certificates and six students achieved silver. Congratulations to Everyone who took part.

At the Holt, the festive season is often a time for fundraising. The English department recently raised £294 for the David Knott foundation. A representative from the charity delivered a fascinating talk about how they train surgeons to save lives in areas of conflict and catastrophe. Thank you to the Year 7 parents who supported this event.

Throughout December there will be lots of fundraising going on in school. Each House has a nominated charity that they will hold fundraising events for throughout the school year. Students across the year groups come together to achieve a common goal – these events really do foster a great sense of community. Heads of House have given us a little information about the events that have already taken place or those that are planned for this half term.

Broderers support ‘First Days Children’s Charity.’
This half term 10B held a very successful brownies sale – they were delicious!
7B have organised a whole school lunchtime disco with glow sticks, sweet and music. We are confident that this will be a popular event.

Clothworker’s House Charity is ‘Cowshed.’ They’re a local charity who provide support to people, of all backgrounds, in a time of personal crisis. They aim to provide good quality clothes, bedding and other essentials, donated by the public, to anyone in need. Special mentions need to go to 7C, who have organised a Christmas countdown event, a little bit like an advent calendar, and 9C who organised an obstacle course for students to take part in and win prizes!

Next week Goldsmiths are going to be getting in the Christmas spirit for charity as they host a number of Christmas inspired stalls to raise money for our house charity ‘Rays of Sunshine.’ Our Year 7, 8 and 9 students will be getting involved hosting a chocolate tombola, Christmas cookie decoration and Christmas mini golf for everyone to come and join in with. As mentioned, all money raised will go towards ‘Rays of Sunshine,’ a charity that grants wishes and provides support in hospital to children that are seriously ill.

Last Thursday, 7H hosted a Christmas Cake Bake sale at lunch time. It was their first time hosting a charity event and they did so well. They planned it well and they all made effort to make the cakes. The day went well with prefects there to support, but the Year 7s were amazing and in total made £103.50 in half hour!!! The money raised will be donated to ‘Helen House.’

Lacemakers support the mental health charity, ‘Mind.’
Year 7 got the term off to an excellent start by raising £37.50 in a cookie sale! The following events are planned for the coming weeks:
1st December: Year 8 have their event this week and will be selling a chiffon pouch filled with sweets and chocolates, a small card with a positive message which reflects our charity, ‘Mind.’ The pouches can be used again and maybe used for decorations at home.
8th December: Year 11 are raising money for the Christmas Charity event. Each house will be collectively raising money and Lacemakers are planning to run four stalls; photobooth, lucky dip, Christmas card making and name the penguin.
14th December: Year 9 are planning a sweet sale where they will sell vegetarian, halal and other sweets for everyone’s required taste. These will be presented in small festive pouches.

Spinners support ‘Berkshire Womens’ Aid.’ There are lots of events planned throughout the year, however in the coming weeks they will be selling candy canes and encouraging everyone to take part in a Christmas themed can throwing event. Students will also be having lots of fun trying to match the teacher to the correct baby photograph.

This half term Tanners are doing an advent raffle starting tomorrow. We have been around all the forms in the school who have bought raffle tickets. We have sold £86 worth of raffle tickets so far.

Every day in December we will be giving out raffle prizes until the end of the term. There are multiple prizes to be won every day.

Tanners’ nominated House charity is ‘Wokingham Young Carers.’

Weavers chosen charity is ‘Berkshire Deaf Children’s Society’ (BDCS). They create opportunities for parents to share experiences and help support each other, which many may not have the access to if it wasn’t for the charity. They also provide opportunities for children with a hearing impairment to develop a social network and participate in fun activities. The House event that we are running this term is a whole Weavers Christmas bake sale. This will be on Wednesday 15th December. We are asking all of Weavers to bring in a small donation of baked goods to be sold on this day, all money raised will be donated to Berkshire Deaf Children’s Society.

Still on the theme of charities, the postponed Macmillan coffee morning is due to take place this Friday. Year 7 and 8 students have been asked to bake or donate cakes for this event. We are grateful for all donations received and request that students take their donations to the food and nutrition department on Friday morning.

Thank you to the whole Holt community for supporting these events. Charity tokens can be purchased through Wisepay accounts.

This is my last blog of 2021 and therefore I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

Vicki Martin

Assistant Headteacher