Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

As ever, there is so much going on that we would like to share with you.

Last Wednesday evening, our GCSE music students put on a concert that was attended by Mrs Pearce and Mrs Kennedy along with many parents. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear what they have been working hard on.

Thursday night saw the school host its Sixth Form open evening. It was lovely to welcome so many Year 11s and their assorted adults together with many students from other schools. We are really proud of our Sixth Form, and we know The Holt is a great environment for post 16 study. We would also like to congratulate our Year 13 students on completing their recent PPEs – a challenging but worthwhile experience for them. Year 10 have also had their first taste of formal exams with their Philosophy of Religion PPE – well done to them for rising to the challenge.

Our Learning Resource Centre (or library, if you prefer) is a really busy hub of school life. Students borrow books to read, have lessons there, use it at lunchtime and as somewhere to complete home learning at the end of the day. Mrs Heard, our LRC manager, oversees much of this activity, and she was involved in entering many of our students for the national Empowered poetry competition back in October. The following students were chosen by the judges for publication in the resulting anthology – a great achievement!

Year 7: Maya and Shriya
Year 8: Amber, Katie, and Naomi
Year 9: Alolika and Shruthi
Year 10: Tannishta, Maya, and Eshal
Year 12: Alishba

There is also a display of their work in the English department foyer area if other students would like to see their entries. It shows what you can achieve when you aim high.

There was poetry in motion last weekend as Miss Cardy and Miss Stanborough took our Intermediate and Senior cross-country teams to the Southwest Regional Finals at King’s College in Taunton. It was a fantastic achievement to get to through to this round of the competition, and special mentions go to Abi and Marnie who each came third in their races. Thank you to our staff who give generously of their own time to provide opportunities such as this

This week is recognised nationally as Anti-Bullying Week. Mrs Barker, our Head of Philosophy of Religion, has been encouraging students to take up this year’s theme of “One Kind Word” and also to learn lessons from the festival of Diwali during morning registrations. If you ever have any concerns about bullying at The Holt, please contact your child’s Head of Year using the year team email addresses.

On Tuesday, Year 7 took part in a virtual session with a speaker form the David Nott Foundation as part of their studies in English. The David Nott Foundation work alongside Médecins Sans Frontiers to help civilians across the world during conflict, natural disasters, and other catastrophes. This talk, followed by a Q&A session, helped provide useful context for some of the books studied by Year 7 which open a window on the consequences of global conflict.

Speaking of which, the school observed the traditional two minutes’ silence on Armistice Day last Thursday. It was Year 7, along with other members of The Holt community and the Royal British Legion, who participated impeccably in our annual act of remembrance organised by Mrs Smith. We are grateful to be supported on this occasion each year by the team from St Paul’s parish church. I am always moved by the closing prayer that they share with us:

Ever-living God,
we remember those whom you have gathered from the storm of war
into the peace of your presence;
may that same peace calm our fears,
bring justice to all peoples
and establish harmony among the nations,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ben Adams
Assistant Headteacher