Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends,

This is the last week of the public exams for most students – with German being the final GCSE on Thursday and A level maths on Friday. We wish all our students a lovely long relaxing break with no studying!

Year 7, 8 and 9 have also finished their assessment fortnight and we hope they learn more about their understanding, revision and exam technique from the feedback. Year 12 start their end of year exams on Thursday – good luck!

As the exam season ends, House activities are starting to pick up and they offer many opportunities for the girls to make new friends, be creative, to compete against others and mostly to have some fun and learn new things. We are always encouraging girls to move out of their comfort zone as scary as it may be…it makes them more resilient and self-confident……which is perfect in preparation for life beyond school. In the next four weeks, there is the Year 7 speech competition, House maths, House art, House drama, House rounders, House science, poetry competition, global day and sports day, technology day, house dance and various transition events where Year 6 and Year 5 girls visit our school.

Year 8 students painted pebbles in their Art lessons and now a beautiful collection of the pebbles have been exhibited just outside reception. The project is an art/global project set up by Miss Shepherd and the Art department.

Today Mr Gray took his musicians to La Boheme Opera at the Royal Opera House in London. The girls appreciated how privileged they were to be able to enjoy the opera in such a prestigious place. We are grateful to all our musicians – they play in assembly, concerts and the older girls lead clubs for the younger years. They certainly earned the chance to enjoy an Opera!

Forty-four Year 7s had a really enjoyable and challenging four-day trip to the Pré Catelan PGL centre near Le Touquet in northern France over the weekend. Mme Davis, who organised the trip, was very complementary about the girls; she said they were enthusiastic about all the challenges and activities organised for them. Their French lessons with their PGL instructor taught them how to order their lunch at Le Touquet market, then how to complete the town trail. They ate snails, played beach games and ordered ice cream in clear French. Their confidence and ‘give it a go’ attitude were impressive, as were their moves at the disco! Thank you to Mrs Davis, Mrs Styles, Miss Howgill, Mr Green and Miss Dovaston for their time over the weekend.

Finally, Mrs Pearce and I travelled to Birmingham on Saturday morning with Mrs Allison, Miss Roberts and Miss Harris to support our Year 9 girls in the Magistrates bar mock trial national competition. The team had already won the local and regional rounds….there were 16 teams at the nationals and The Holt were up against two schools. Our girls performed with gusto! It was a privilege to watch them in their roles; the hours of preparation paid off as they delivered clear and fluent speeches, they were assertive and quick thinking and our magistrates stayed focused throughout distinguishing the points for and against the case. Mrs Pearce and I felt incredibly proud of the girls; they were well supported by their parents who must have been imagining their daughters as future leading lawyers – it will be payback time in a few years!! The parents were thrilled to see their daughters in action and shared their appreciation of the time and expertise of the staff who coached them. The girls performed brilliantly and after a delayed announcement (due to the closeness of 1st and 2nd place scores) The Holt were runners up (out of 270 schools nationally) and congratulations to Ranelagh school who were awarded first place! Thank you so much to Mrs Allison who has been coaching Year 9 girls for this competition for many years – it was fitting that being awarded runner up in the nationals was the best ever for Mrs Allison in her last magistrates competition! Miss Harris and Miss Roberts have learnt a lot form Mrs Allison with ‘on the job training’ – they are ready for the current Year 8 girls to audition for next year!

Next Monday we welcome Year 11 to our sixth form induction day where they will learn more about their chosen A level subjects, gain an insight into life in the sixth form and enjoy a BBQ sausage or burger for lunch! On Wednesday, our new cohort of Year 7 join us for their induction day – which is exciting – Miss Herron and her team of tutors, the Year 10 prefects and Year 12 senior prefects look forward to welcoming them to The Holt.

Finally, a parent wrote in today to share the following…..we love to hear such snippets of kindness and inclusivity.

“I would like to let you know about something that my daughter and some of her friends in 8W and 8S have done this week. Some of her group of friends had been fasting during Ramadan, and on Monday the girls all took in picnic food at lunchtime and shared a picnic lunch together to celebrate Eid. It struck me as such an inclusive and supportive thing to do, and I thought you would like to know about something so positive going on in school.”

Next week we are happy to welcome Richard Smith, parent governor as our guest blogger.

Have a good week

Anne Kennedy