Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

With only one more week to go before half term, I have been reflecting on what a busy, successful and inspiring term it has been for students and staff across the school. Being a new member of the senior leadership team and head of sixth form at The Holt, I am realising why The Holt is special place to be, not only as a student but also as a member of staff.

One thing that has especially stood out to me is the confidence of your daughters and sons to deal with new situations, embrace change and to seek support when they need it. It was a pleasure to lead the sixth form open evening last week, with our live event involving staff across the school and if you tuned in, I’m sure you’ll agree the students from our leadership team and our year 12 representatives adapted seamlessly to our virtual situation with an audience free hall! All of our departments used their new found performance skills from year 6 open evening and created informative videos about the subjects we deliver in the sixth form. It has been a busy time in the sixth form this term with year 12 settling into their new subjects and year 13s preparing their UCAS and apprenticeship applications and thinking forward to their life beyond school. Both myself and Mrs Bellis are very proud of the sixth form students, and how they are still showing kindness and support to each other- there have been a lot of happy birthday renditions being sung in the Sixth Form centre this week.

Secondly, the mutual support and respect that has been evident since my first day at the The Holt, which led me to think about the tolerance that I have seen within lessons and around the school. When students have conducted a debate in a lesson, or shown disagreement, tolerance for difference was consistently demonstrated by all parties. In a time where our society is changing, and opinion becomes more divided across the country, it is a wonderful sign that our students are showing tolerance at such an early stage of their lives.

And finally, I have been impressed with the aspirations of your daughters and sons, their belief in what they can achieve and the way they speak with logic and clarity on how they will reach their goals. I have enjoyed reading about examples of inspirational individuals who have changed our society through excelling in their field, and by having belief in their capabilities, one person being the mathematician Ada Lovelace who is credited as the first computer programmer. The hurdles she had to face by being dissuaded to pursue science as a woman and how her success and contributions to society were only realised decades later. Determinaton such as this, a desire driven by passion for a subject as well as perseverance to continue in difficult situations are characteristics which I have seen in many our students even in these short few weeks, and it is these that have created fantastic future aspirations and goals.

As we look to start our final week before half term, it is a good time to take stock on the weeks that have passed, decide on new goals for the remainder of the term, and to plan activities for half term to make sure we all recharge our batteries. As a keen geocacher myself, (an activity which involves searching for objects using a GPS enabled app around the countryside like a real life outdoor treasure hunt), I have already started to plan some routes and walks ready for a restful half term. I hope you all find activities which do the same for you and your families.

Emma Ward
Assistant Headteacher
Head of Sixth Form