Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

Our Year 11 students have had a busy time recently with their maths PPE last week and their English literature PPE this week. To help them manage their workload, we talk a lot about having a “GCSE mindset” and how to work on their revision and exam technique. Mrs Weaver leads on the GCSE mindset in school and this comprises assemblies for the students, sharing teaching and learning ideas with staff and leading study skills sessions for the students. Last Thursday, Mrs Weaver and Mrs Barker led a session for all of Year 11, which focussed on the working and long-term memory, different ways to revise and the importance of regular self-testing. There was also a session on how to write a realistic revision timetable and how to organise a good study environment.

The feedback was positive from the students as they now start to plan for the rest of their PPE exams in January. Thank you Mrs Weaver and Mrs Barker for leading this.
Here are some pictures of our students working very hard.

As part of the STEM society this half term, a series of speakers have been coming into school to talk to students about their work in different industries. So far, we have had a chemical engineer and an optician. On Thursday, Professor Frank Watt from the University of Singapore came in to talk to Years 11,12 and 13 about his work on treating cancer with proton beam therapy as opposed to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He outlined the causes of cancer in regards to DNA mutation and the benefits of this therapy in overcoming the disadvantages of the traditional therapies. This talk was well attended by nearly 40 students and was fascinating.

Here are our students (and staff) thoroughly engrossed

The next STEM speakers are coming in today. Dr Mark Fife, a geneticist from the Pirbright Institute is talking to several year groups about his work on Avian flu and Caroline Heath, the manager of Oral surgery, Maxillo facial and orthodontics outpatients at the Royal Berkshire Hospital will be talking to Years 11-13 after school.

On Thursday evening, our Year 11 music students put on their annual concert for parents and staff. This event is an important part of their music GCSE as they each perform their solo piece as a practise for the actual recordings for their exam. The students arranged the whole evening and the programme themselves and even compered it with an element of “stand up” comedy.

It was a very enjoyable evening and I am always impressed by the levels of musical talent our students have and how much hard work they put into honing their skills to play so beautifully. We heard singing, violin, a viola, flutes, drums….to name but a few instruments. Well done to those involved, good luck for your final performances and thank you Mr Gray and Mrs Carter for all your hard work too.

Also on Friday, 19 students from Year 10 attended the Advanced Maths Support Programme “Taking Maths Further” event at Wellington College.

The aim of the day was to inspire and inform the students about studying maths and further maths at A-level.

There were talks and workshops throughout the day. Among the highlights was a session on cryptography where many of our girls won prizes for being the first students to crack a series of codes. (Mr Green thinks the code-breaking club and the girls’ teamwork skills helped with this). There were also sessions on playing the stock market, the life of mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), the benefits of studying maths at A-level, and a team “dragon quiz” where students answered questions to form dragon pictures.

Our students were impressive and engaged well with the content. They won many prizes and the day has really helped them see how able they are in maths and that studying an A level in maths may be something that appeals to them. Thank you Mr Green for organising this event.
Here are the students in action.

Also in maths, we heard that in the senior maths challenge we entered a few weeks ago, which is a national competition for Year 12 and 13 maths students, our students obtained another great set of results including 1 Gold, 4 Silver and 7 Bronze awards! Well done everyone for entering!

On Monday, Mrs Dakovic, head of PSHE arranged for a production called “Last Orders” to be performed to our Year 9 students by the Solomon Theatre Company. The event comprised a play about the dangers of alcohol and subsequent possible consequences of drinking and peer pressure to drink alcohol. After the play followed Q&A sessions facilitated by a member of the youth drug and alcohol service SMART.

The students were impeccably behaved as ever and really engaged in this event, which will be followed up in PSHE lessons.
Thanks Mrs Dakovic for arranging this play, which you can see in the pictures below.

As Mrs Kennedy mentioned in her blog last week, we had the internal elections for Wokingham Youth MP last week. An impressive fourteen students put themselves forward for this and the student leadership team had the hard task of shortlisting to five students. These students recorded a brief promotional video shown in registration followed by a whole school vote. After a great turnout of votes I am delighted to announce that Hemani Rull in 9C won the election and will go on to represent The Holt at Shute end for the next round in the campaign to become Wokingham’s Youth MP. She will stand against the representatives from all the other Wokingham schools. We will let you know the overall result as soon as possible. Good luck Hemani and well done to all the other students who put themselves forward, showing real community spirit and a desire to improve facilities, services and the environment in the local area.

Yesterday, 16 students from Year 8 attended the annual Digigirlz competition held at Microsoft. The aim of the event is to inspire girls into computing with targeted talks as well as completing a task using Microbit. I am delighted to say that out of 150 students entering, our students won the competition. They had to design and programme an everyday prototype gadget that can be adapted for a person with a disability. Our winning team chose a dementia kit for the elderly.

Many congratulations to all our students who took part in this day, and thanks Mrs Bernadotte for taking the girls.

Finally, on Friday we look forward to welcoming our Year 11 students into our 6th form for the day as they complete their Yr 12 taster day. They will have the chance to have a trial of four A level subjects as well as experience life in our 6th form, enjoying the facilities we have to offer.

Mrs Katie Pearce