Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

By Friday, we finally had our full school back and it was so good to feel the buzz of 1200+ students plus staff. I have really missed this! It was my duty day on Friday, so I had plenty of time to wander round and catch up with the students in and out of the marquees and around school. They were clearly delighted to be back with their friends and certainly had lots to say.  Interestingly though, a common feeling among them was that their lessons were somehow quieter…..getting down to why, they all seemed to say the same thing. They had become so used to “answering” questions in class using the chat bar on Teams, that they have got out of the habit of responding verbally and talking to other people outside of their direct friendship group!

Student talk in lessons is one of our teaching and learning priorities this year, and so we are keen to get everyone back to good discussions and group work, not only in registrations and lessons but also through our extracurricular programme. Miss Harris, our extra-curricular co-ordinator has published the clubs programme for this half term, so it would be great to talk to your daughter about it and to encourage her to try something out this term.

One thing she could get involved in is our performing arts departments’ project. Art, music, drama and dance are all working together to create a whole school production of Romeo and Juliet which will be edited together and streamed on YouTube to celebrate the wide range of talent we have at The Holt.

Students in Years 7-10 are currently engaging with Shakespeare’s most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet, and students have a choice to perform one scene from the famous play, by using any of art, dance, drama or music.

Depending on the students’ choice of medium, some ideas include;

Music: use a range of features to represent the mood and atmosphere of the scene. This could involve demonstration of skills in music software (e.g garageband, bandlab)

Drama:  use wide range of drama techniques to convey characters, emotions and motivations as well as their understanding of the play and its context

Dance: use a wide range of dance techniques and movement to convey meaning of emotion and mood as well as character and themes within the play

Art: use a wide range of skills and techniques throughout the art piece which can clearly communicate thoughts and feelings of the characters as well as the ideas and themes within the play.

Thanks Miss Edwards, Mr Gray, Mrs Skeates and Miss Flintham for planning this; I am really looking forward to seeing the outcome of this project.

The English department were also very busy during the last couple of weeks of home schooling, as they led their annual World Book Day celebrations. Students may not have come to school dressed as their favourite book character this year, but Ms Mirza, our Key Stage three English co-ordinator still led a whole host of creative events albeit online through the ingenious MS Teams!

During their English lessons over the whole week leading up to World Book Day, our students experienced the following activities:

  • Live author masterclasses where famous authors shared tips on how they create plots, develop characters and write within their chosen genre.
  • Live illustrator masterclasses where famous illustrators shared their expertise in how they bring plots and characters alive for the reader.
  • My recent reading presentations where students created and presented their favourite books and their current reading to their classes.
  • Take a Shelfie – where students took a photo of their book shelf showing their favourite books
  • Childhood reading profiles where the students delved back into the memories to see what they remembered of their experience of books at various stages of their lives: before nursery, nursery, primary school and then finally secondary school.
  • Virtual Hay Festival Tours where students planned their itinerary based on the speakers (famous authors and thinkers) they were interested in listening to and then took that tour as though they were actually at the Hay Festival.
  • The Holt Reading Challenge – well done to all our students taking part in this challenge this year.
  • World Book Day assembly which was on the importance of reading
  • World Book Day Thought for the Week, also, on the importance of reading; worked in tandem with the assembly.

I love the “shelfies” and I also enjoyed the staff’s contributions as well as they posted their “shelfies” on Twitter! Thanks to the English department for supporting this event, and thanks to Ms Mirza for master minded and co-ordinating the events.

Lastly, Year 11 continue this week with their PPEs and next week our Year 13s start theirs…..we wish them all the best! They have worked very hard.

Katie Pearce