Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

This week we had a week of farewells as we said goodbye to our Year 11 at their final leavers’ assembly and their much-awaited prom, and to Year 13 at their leavers’ ball.

The Year 11 leavers’ assembly on Friday was very well planned by Ruby and Grace;  involving lots of singing and memories plus fond words of thanks for all the form tutors, followed by one of the most original dedications to their Head of Year I can recall. Ruby somehow managed to get a load of celebs to record some “thank-yous” to Mrs Vaughan……this was hilarious and a lovely permanent memory of her Year group.

It was a lovely final assembly, thank you girls………

Moving swiftly from the assembly to the hairdressers, makeup artists, and nail technicians was the order of the day next……and wow, how lovely they all looked for the Prom held at The Coppid Beech hotel on Friday evening.

The beautiful weather enabled full appreciation of the fancy, wacky and wonderful modes of transport to get there and allowed our students and The Forest students to enjoy their arrival moment even more before going inside.

The students all looked beautiful, posing gracefully with their friends and families.  A lovely evening was had by all. Lots of dancing, lots of laughs and a tabletop magician to wow us all with his amazing tricks!

Our Prom Queen 2019 was awarded to Divya! Congratulations.

So as Mrs Vaughan said goodbye to her old Year 11s…she also said hello this week to her new Year 7s as we welcomed them to The Holt on Wednesday for their induction day. We also welcomed our new parents on Thursday evening and look forward to seeing them in September.

As well as the excitement of leavers and new starters……last week was also another week of House events as the Year 7 students displayed their talents with House drama on Thursday and House music on Friday.

The theme for House drama this year was “social media” and each House performed a short play written by Year 9 students to highlight some of the issues and benefits of social media.  The themes included being addicted to Instagram, the danger of chat rooms, and crowd funding to name a few. The students were all so well-rehearsed, it made it very hard to choose a winner, but in the end we had an historic victory as Broderers took their first major win! The theme of their play was looking back in time to when there were no mobile phones and families had to share one landline………I remember those days very well. Well done Broderers! Thanks to Miss Roberts and her team Mrs Turley and Mrs Bennett.

Here are some of the other performers…..

Friday saw the Year 7 House music competition. Each House competed by performing a song from the musical “Cats”. On a personal note, very timely for me, as my daughter is in her school show of Cats next week, and now I will be able sing along………

The performances were all strong and we were even joined by a beautiful Robin that flew into the hall and stayed for a while until it could be coaxed out…..

The winners of this event were Haberdashers, followed Broderers, and in third place Lacemakers. Well done to all our performers. Thanks to Mr Gray and Mrs Carter for all the hard work preparing the students for this.

Also last Friday, Miss Shephard took the rugby team to Bisham Abbey with the aim of retaining their touch rugby title!  The day started with some Bell boating on the Thames run by the Bisham Abbey Sailing school. The girls were taught correct paddling techniques and practised paddling in time in preparation for their race against another school. The practise were disrupted at times by the occasional water fight, which were good tactics from the girls to ensure they kept cool on the hot day. Team Holt dominated the race winning in true style. After a dry off, change of clothes and some lunch the true competition started as the girls competed to retain their touch rugby trophy and make it the double after winning the contact tournament earlier in the year. The Holt girls showed their excellent handling skills and ability to create space, in the very tactical sport of touch rugby, and finished undefeated and champions once again. An excellent day of fun and success all round. Well done girls, and thanks Miss Shephard for all your hard work!

The maths department were also delighted last week to receive the results of the maths Kangaroo and Olympiads. The UKMT Junior Maths Challenge is sat by 300 000 students across the country, as a school we entered 120 students from years 7 and 8. Out of those students taking part, 2.6% of students qualify for the Kangaroo, and only the top 0.4% of students go through to the Maths Olympiad.

Eve Pickwell in Year 8 was one of three students from the Holt to get through to the Junior Kangaroo this year. This requires students to take mathematical concepts and ideas that they have learnt in class to a more abstract level. Since the Kangaroo started in 2015, The Holt School has had girls qualify for this round before, but Eve Pickwell is the first student ever to achieve a merit certificate.  Only the top 25% of entrants receive this, about 2000 students nationally.

Also impressively, Dana Abzhanov is the first student in Holt history to have scored well enough in the Junior Maths Challenge to make it through to the Junior Olympiad. This paper is no longer multiple choice and relies on the student’s ability to reason mathematically and work methodically at a very high level. Dana did very well in the Olympiad and achieved a Merit certificate.

Well done to both those girls and thanks to Miss Pyle for enabling this opportunity.

On Monday, we had another one of our “Holt special” collapsed curriculum days. Mr Furlong and Mr Marrison co-ordinated a fabulous “Global day” for all students. The theme of the day was world hunger and health and so started very appropriately as students brought in items to donate to the local food bank in return for wearing non-uniform clothes.

Students were then mixed in cross –year groups within their Houses. This is to enable students to work in teams with people of different ages that perhaps they don’t know well. After a few ice breakers, students were chatting like old friends….and getting on with the task in hand. Lessons were planned and delivered by subject staff and based around the global theme. The afternoon session was an ambitious decision making activity where students had to take on a world crisis, bid for a pot of UN money and decided how best to allocate it to possible solutions using the knowledge they had acquired that day.

The students had a great day and the result was the collection of decisions made by each group some of which are displayed in the pictures below.

Many thanks go to Mr Furlong and Mr Marrison for all their hard work in pulling this off- it really was no mean feat. The students learned a lot, and I have to say, I am really proud to be Co-Head of a school where the students fully embrace days such as this, go out of their comfort zone and have fun.

Monday morning also saw us wave au revoir to two groups of students led by Mr Gray and Mrs Williams as they departed for their lifsigns trip to the Philippines. They will be away for the next four weeks and we wish them a great adventure!

On Monday evening, the ex-Year 13s held their leavers’ ball at Easthamstead Park. It was a lovely evening and was thoroughly enjoyed by staff and students!

We will miss our ex- Year 13 and the Year 11s that will be leaving us. They have been great year groups.

Well, after the last two weeks I must admit I am exhausted…….we have sports day to look forward to on Friday and so more pictures to share with you then.

Katie Pearce