It never ceases to amaze me how much we pack into a week at The Holt. As readers will know, I can get completely immersed in the more mundane, operational aspects of school life, and run the risk of missing some of the more inspirational, student-focused activities and achievements that unfold around me.

Not so this week! It’s only Wednesday and I’ve hardly managed more than a few minutes at a stretch at my desk.

Our week started with a highlight hard to beat – an uplifting and moving tribute to James Furlong, a year on from the Forbury Gardens attack, attended by James’ family, staff, students, governors and invited guests. The focus was very much on James’ legacy, passions and the impact he had on so many people’s lives. The choir sang their hearts out and the pièce de résistance, a stunning mosaic, was unveiled by James’ Mum. Here it is, flanked by 4 of the students he inspired during his 7 years with us:

There has been plenty of press interest as well and you may have heard or seen some of the reports. Please do take the time to review the recording of the event on our website.

Meanwhile the site has been buzzing with post-exam hustle and bustle. On Tuesday, the Year 12s spent the day enjoying activities ranging from cooking stir fry and egg fried rice, to an energetic burst of Zumba. The school site resonated with the sounds of the steel pan workshop: here is the first group of the day getting warmed up…

Thanks to Emma and all who made this such a successful day.

In my blogs I always like to take the opportunity to keep everyone up to date with matters relating to our site. We are so lucky to have such wonderful and extensive grounds so near to the town centre. We had to say a sudden goodbye to the old hornbeam, which had graced the lawn for many years and had become dangerous. Our maintenance contractor has done a great job of preserving what they could, as you can see from the before and after photos below.

We also said goodbye to our marquees at half term, leaving three flat muddy areas. We are confident that the grass will recover in due course, however, in the meantime enterprising students are now using them for a variety of games, as well as Charity Tuesday activities:

So, as we hurtle towards the end of term, we are pulling together our summer site plans. I’m delighted to report that we have been successful with a bid for funding for a major re-roofing project for our maths and science blocks. Hopefully, that will finally see the end of the need for the site team to swoop in with buckets when we have a particularly heavy downpour.

As you know, I always like to promote our fundraising endeavours in my blog, and this week is no different. Plans are moving forward for our two new canopies, the majority of the cost having been met by Friends of The Holt. Thank you so much to parents who have donated specifically to this project, as well as those who have continued regular payments to the Friends’ funds. The pandemic has restricted our fundraising efforts this year and we are hoping to end on a high with our adapted colour run event, which is set to take place at SportsFest on 9 July. If you have not already bought your daughter’s ticket, please do now! We are also asking for additional donations on top of the ticket price where you feel able. Look out for further information from Friends.

Time now to leave the desk again – I’ll be back with an update after the summer, happy holidays!

Sian Lehrter
Business Director