Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends,

An important part of our vision is for students to know how to work as a part of various teams, to learn how to build and sustain positive relationships with others and to leave us with fond memories of school that they will cherish forever.

The House system therefore is a very important part of our everyday school life at The Holt, as it encourages the involvement of absolutely every member of our Holt community to get involved either competitively or just for fun, but more importantly to make those lasting memories.

The last two weeks have seen House events reach fever pitch and then culminate a hugely successful House-grouped Global day on Monday.

I will re-wind firstly to House music which took place last week. This event has been reinstated this year by Mr Gray and was a competition for Years 7 and 8. Each form had to pick a piece of music or a song to perform or sing to the rest of the Year group. It was judged by various members of staff including the Head of Year 8 and was enjoyed by all. It was lovely to see the musical talents of our younger students and this year the competition was won by 8L and 7T. Well done to those Houses.

Here are some pictures of some of the girls performing.

It seems like months now that Years 7, 8 and 9 have been rehearsing for one of the biggest House events of the school calendar, which is House dance. This event is hugely competitive and sees the Year 10 students taking on a lovely training/coaching/ nurturing role as they work with the Year 7, 8 and 9 forms to teach them dances they have choreographed themselves.

On the day, all forms performed well and enjoyed themselves.  The winners in Year 7 were Weavers followed by Clothworkers and then Tanners came third. In Year 8, Clothworkers won, followed by Weavers and then Goldsmiths and in Year 9 there was a joint first place with Goldsmiths and Tanners sharing the glory with Haberdashers coming in third.

Thanks to Miss Elford and the PE department for all their hard work with this event.

It is not just the practical subjects that hold House events. The maths department held their annual House maths with a “World cup through maths” theme. Year 9 took part in this and they had to decorate a notice board for an allocated country to reflect the football theme but also with maths and statistics in action, as well as showing research about famous women from that country…the winning House was Haberdashers, with England as their country followed by Spinners with Portugal. Here are some of the boards ….

House science is still in progress as I write, so more of that next week. However, the science department were celebrating this week as the results of the Biology Intermediate Olympiads came in.

This is a national first round competition for 6th form scientists and is quite tough. In all, twenty students were entered and the results were fantastic. Nationally 8% of those taking part get Gold which is the highest award, yet from our cohort eight out of the twenty obtained Gold, in so beating that statistic.

The Gold winners were Jessica De Villiers, Yasmin Jordan, Sharon Lee, Connie McCafferty, Maddie Sherman, Hibbah Azar, Cara Dowling and Rachel Garnett.

The Silver winners were Harriette Smith, Laura Burrows and Charlotte Hardy, and the Bronze winners were Malvika Malviya, Azin Asgari, Jenny Fannon, Esther Lawlal and Lauren Butler.

Mala Mistry, Rosie Nash and Trinty Pates achieved highly commended and commended.

They all did amazingly well as they had to be in the top 65% just to get commended.

All those who got a gold, silver or bronze will be entered into the full Olympiad next year. Well done to the students and thanks to the teachers and Mrs Whitehouse for entering them.

Last Monday evening, we held a lovely KS3 solo performances concert. There were 37 performances in all ranging from singing, to violin solos, to piano pieces. It was a really varied and enjoyable programme.

It was lovely to see the confidence that our younger students showed; for many performing in public for the first time. Music at The Holt really has a very bright and exciting future. Thanks must go to Mr Gray and Mrs O’Reilly for organising the event, and thanks to the parents who attended to support their daughters so well. Next Thursday will be the KS4 music concert if you want to buy your tickets ready!

On Wednesday we welcomed our new Year 7 students into our school for the first of two induction days. It was history in the making as our new House Broderers was formed after much anticipation. The students had a great day and were ably assisted by Ms Herron their Head of Year, as well as Soulscape, plus the fantastic Year 10 prefect team who worked very hard that day to make sure no students were lost!

Here are some of our prefects enjoying a well-earned rest at lunchtime.

On Thursday, Mrs Smith welcomed 70 Year 5 students from various primary schools for a taster day to see what life is like in a secondary school. The students enjoyed art, music and drama lessons as well as some geography, psychology and PE fun. Once again, our Year 10 prefects did us proud as they worked so hard to ensure a good day was had by all. Thanks to them, to the teachers involved and to Mrs Smith for working so hard to put this together. We have another Year 5 group in today doing technology and a final group next week doing a science and maths day.

Last Friday we said “Goodbye” to the Year 11 as they held their leavers’ assembly followed by the Prom on Friday night. The assembly was so well organised by Lucy Mandell, Annabel Hales, Katrina Pates, Olivia Alborough, Emily Ciccatzzo and Lizzie Smith. There was singing, beautiful motivational messages from students as well as lots of “thank yous” to their teachers, tutors, Student Support and of course a very poignant thank you to Mrs Holland, their Head of Year who will be retiring at the end of this term after 29 years of service at The Holt. They said their thanks in the most original way-  by presenting a framed copy of the picture below which was taken by the fabulous Lucy Leo in Year 11.

That is in fact all of Year 11 in that photo, plus the tutors and Student Support. What a thoughtful thing to do!

That night they had a fantastic prom at The Coppid Beach Hotel in Bracknell. The girls looked lovely, arrived in style and danced the night away with The Forest boys who were completely charming.

Here is Mrs Holland being presented with some flowers by Jossy and Jamie-Leigh.

I worked with Mrs Holland with this Year 11 group as their SLT link and they really were a great group. We will miss them.

Believe it or not, all of the above was last week! As we moved into a new week, on Monday, we celebrated our annual Global Citizenship Day.

This was organised by Ms Wood, our Global Citizenship Coordinator and supported by Mrs Smith.

The theme for the Global Day this year was Identity, Diversity and Belonging. As our school becomes increasingly diverse in many ways, with nearly a quarter of students having English as an Additional Language (EAL) and over a third of students coming from a wide range of cultures and ethnicities, we felt it was important to focus on this area of global learning. Each department wrote and delivered a lesson based around this theme in their curriculum area.

The students were mixed in linear House groups, helping to strengthen the sense of belonging to a House, as well as the wider Holt community. The message we want our students to take away is that in the future we won’t always be able to choose who we live, study or work with. But there is more than unites us than divides us, and there is no such thing as strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet!

The lessons I saw were engaging and action packed.

In Food, students baked pitta breads, made salsa and Palmeras.



In PE students learned how sport brings them together
In Modern Languages, students discussed regional accents and stereotypes
The English team discuss how the language of Trump wins elections!

The Music department held Steel Pan drum workshops all day.

The Science department considered, “are we all the same?”

We were also lucky to be joined by “artist in residence” Helen Brady from Inspired Spaces, who worked all day with groups of students to produce our latest “Global” mural for the school site, as a permanent reminder of the special day. This will join our piece from Global day 2015.

I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone involved with Global day, particularly Ms Wood, it was a great success. This kind of “collapsed day” is a real risk for any school to take, however, we are appreciative and grateful that our school community is the way it is and the culture of our school really embraces this type of “one off” event.

Finally, yesterday it was House drama for Year 7. To celebrate 100 years of the vote for women, the theme was the Suffragettes and each form performed a scene from the play “A question of courage”.  The standard was very high and there was clever stage setting and use of props throughout that made it very hard to call the first placed House. The students worked very hard especially in this heat, to put on excellent performances and were supported again by or Year 10 students. After a real struggle, the winners for this year were 7S, second was 7H with 7C coming in third. Well done to all those that took part and to Mrs Turley, Mrs Bennett and Mr Anders for organising it.

Above left is 7S, middle 7H and bottom is 7C.

On Thursday, we look forward to welcoming our new staff to the school for their induction day and of course on Friday we have our annual sports day. It looks to be an action packed programme and will be rounded off by the PTA event for the summer, the Colour Run! More details about all this next week.

Mrs Pearce