Dear Parent, Guardian and Friends

Mrs Pearce and I hope you all had a good summer break and enjoyed some lazy, relaxing days with your families.  We are into our first full week of term and have another six to go until the next holiday!

We are always very happy and excited to meet our new Year 7 cohort and this year was no exception.  We are very humbled that parents have chosen The Holt and trust us to support their daughters through their secondary years. We really do want the best for every student and enjoy our job in making that happen!

Congratulations to all our students for their GCSE and A level exam success. We are delighted that their hard work and perseverance has paid off with 90.5% of Year 11 attaining 5 or more GCSEs at a standard pass (grade 4) or higher, including English and maths and 39.6% of all exams resulting in 7-9 grades. At A level, 30% of students achieved at least one A*-A pass and 61% A*- B passes.  We would like to thank our dedicated staff and our wonderfully supportive parents for their part in these achievements.  We are grateful for the contributions our ex-students have made to the life of the school and we wish them all every success in their future studies.

Our site team have worked very hard over the summer break to spruce up our classrooms with a lick of paint, a few repairs and….sometimes….new furniture.  This year the science and PE toilets had a refurbishment too – they look very modern and clean! The exam desks were all given a lick of gloss and new carpets were fitted in The Holt Building.   The electric gate in car park 2 is almost sorted – we had to have a bespoke wall built to fit in with The Holt Building, which is of course, listed.  It looks very attractive for a brick wall and the gates are good too – replicating the railings on the walls outside The Holt.  Thank you to Nick Phillips, our site manager and his team for all the work they do, especially over the summer, to make our working environment comfortable and fit for purpose.

Mr Gray, Head of Music and Miss Edwards, Head of Drama are organising auditions this week for our Spring school production Beauty and The Beast.  Well done to the hundreds of girls who signed up for the auditions and for back stage roles – for many they will be going out of their comfort zones but the experience will strengthen their character for sure! 

Mrs Pearce and I met with Nick Barnett, CEO and Michelle MacLeish from Soulscape this week, Soulscape is a charity working in partnership with Wokingham and Bracknell schools to give young people the space they need. We have been working with Soulscape for many years – they have delivered PSHE sessions on self-esteem and relationships, theatre productions about current issues for teenagers and have run walking tours of places of worship in Wokingham for Year 9 PoR.  Soulscape have a group of volunteers who bake delicious cakes and then serve them to staff with tea and coffee on a Thursday – it means so much to our staff….in fact no one wants to do break duty on a Thursday!   Thank you to Soulscape for all their work!

Mrs Pearce and I take an assembly in the first week of every term and this term we have chosen ‘Love and Forgiveness’ as the theme.  The main message is that love is an important feeling and isn’t just about getting together with a lifelong partner.  We talked about every day love that we can show to friends, family, our local community and within teams and that how being in loving is good for us!  We also acknowledged that things are not always great and sometimes we don’t feel like sharing love with others when we have been hurt.  We drew on the wise words of Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, a stoic philosopher and gave some tips on how we can practise forgiveness. We told them that many psychologists encourage us to forgive so we can let go of anger and resentment and move on…… treating others how we would like to be treated …leading to a more fulfilling life and that brings us back to love. Ask your daughters about it….hopefully they will have picked up something – maybe the meaning of all the different colour heart emojis!

Finally, we are delighted to welcome last year’s Year 11 students to Year 12 as well as our external students.  It is good to have more boys join us this year… fact numbers have increased by 20% from last year – which is excellent given the very competitive market for sixth form provision. Our students are happy with their comfortable, college appropriate clothing –and they are enjoying the freedom and independence of going home when they do not have timetabled lessons.  Darren Briggs, one of our governors has been a great mentor in helping us to refresh the sixth form vibe. Harry, Darren’s son, who is studying film production at university spent three days in the summer in school recording  footage for this beautiful film he produced,  capturing the emotion of The Holt in just a couple of minutes.  We hope you enjoy it.

We look forward to welcoming our Year 7 parents tonight at 6.30 pm for the information evening and next Wednesday it is the Year 12 parents information evening too.

Best Wishes

Anne Kennedy