Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas break with your family and friends and wish you all the best for 2024!

The 2nd of January did seem rather prompt to be coming back to school, I pondered yesterday on my drive in, whilst still pitch black outside, but I definitely enjoyed a restful holiday and am ready for what comes our way in 2024.

The end of last term was just lovely, with a great final assembly led by our Student Leadership Team as they also handed over to our new team. They have now taken the reigns of the leadership of the student body, and we look forward to seeing the mark they will make and the legacy they hand over this time next year.

Our student leadership team are trusted with lots of responsibility, not just for leading the key assemblies, but also for leading the Student Council. Our out-going team certainly did a good job of this at their last ever meeting. The theme of which was the debate on whether we should ban mobile phones in schools, in line with the government recommendations back in September. Along with the representatives from each year group, our head student and her team led a sensible and balanced debate. The recommendations of which, they shared with the Senior Leadership Team. Along with these suggestions, the Senior Leadership Team considered those of the staff who also contributed to the debate.

The outcome in a nutshell is that we don’t feel we need a full on ban on mobile use, however, all parties conceded that phones can be a distraction at times and maybe they don’t need to be used quite as much as they are currently. Consequently, we have just tightened up on when students can use their phones around school. Mrs Kennedy and I are sharing the details of this with students in assembly this week and we will be writing to you with more information before the end of the week.

Also before Christmas, Mrs Kennedy in her blog reported on the success of the Christmas Fair. This event raises lots of money for our House charities, but additionally, the Tombola stall is the big event of the Autumn term for The Friends of The Holt. This year a huge £771 was raised. These proceeds come straight to the school.

The funds raised by The Friends of The Holt and The Holt Association, are invested in improving the school for our present students. Last year we invested the money into updating the library shelves and setting up an audio-visual system in the sports hall. This has had a huge impact on assembly delivery. We hold assemblies in the sports hall every day and acoustics were an issue…. now all students can hear what is being said and the screen is clear from the back too.

The Holt Association has also updated the House display boards that are used for Harvest and various house events such as the Christmas fair. Our classrooms have also seen the benefit of the funds raised with the purchase of new screens and clickers to move on the slides of PowerPoint presentations remotely.

This year The Holt Association and Friends of The Holt are supporting the purchase of an outdoor PA system, which will be great for Sports Day and events such as culture day.  Right now, we rely on a crackly speaker!  Thank you very much for all your donations.  We are very appreciative of our parents who offer their help in fundraising for us, be it through Krispy Kreme doughnuts sales or auction/quiz events.. We are ambitious in improving the facilities for our students and for next year we are looking to invest in bigger projects such as a new canopy by the science block as well as the smaller things such as benches and equipment.  So, If you are interested in leading a fundraising event for the school, however big or small, we would love to hear from you.

This week, as is tradition, Mrs Kennedy and I lead the assembly for all year groups. The theme for this term is “pushing yourself”. In order to fulfil the vision we have for our students to be self-confident, they need to build resilience, and in order to build resilience, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. To push ourselves, Mrs Kennedy is taking up tennis again, and I am going to learn a new phrase in Cantonese each day in January. I was inspired to do this by our IT manager Mr Lin, who taught me how to say “Merry Christmas” in Cantonese to our Hong Kong students at the Christmas lunch.  As a linguist, I am going to enjoy this challenge……. I will update you on my progress. The challenge for our Year 11 students for the next two weeks, will be their PPEs (mock exams) and we wish them well as they start tomorrow.

I will end my blog with my phrase from yesterday ……


Xīnnián kuàilè

(Happy New Year)

Mrs Pearce