Dear parents, guardians and friends

It is often said that each of us only has one chance at education, and there is much truth in that. For this reason, we encourage our students to make the most of every opportunity that comes their way. On the other hand, life is rarely a straight line, and feeling that we are constantly walking a tightrope is not always the healthiest approach. Read on for stories of winding paths, opportunities seized and decisions to be made!

Year 8 had the privilege on Monday of hearing the “real-life stories” of three female entrepreneurs who came into school to share their wisdom and experience. What often catches my attention in such talks is the way in which decisions sometimes backfire, plans sometimes go awry, but resilience, creativity and hard work can often bring second chances and build success.

Mrs Hart writes that our speakers were great advocates for self-belief and maintaining the confidence to succeed. Janine Esbrand, an award-winning executive career coach, Helena Sherman, an environmental DNA marine products manager, and Maya Gheorghe, a former language engineer and now a sustainability champion, shared career stories that carried such a powerful message of passion, honesty, positivity and having the willingness to try no matter how many times you might fail.

Year 8 had also spent some time in our school hall the previous Mondayparticipating in our Year 8 Technology Challenge: building a structure to protect digestive biscuits from weights being dropped on them. The morning was spent looking at successful structures, focusing on the importance of crumple zones. After the design phase, it was time to test the structures, made from just two pieces of A4 paper and glue, to destruction.

At this stage of the competition, students realised that creating a structure out of paper is harder than it looks. This gave them the push to think strategically with or end up eating biscuit crumbs. I suppose that is a win-win situation.

The elimination round begun with eight houses each split into five groups battling against each other to become Technology Day Champions 2023. Well done to all, and especially the top teams:

 1st – Haberdashers – Anwita Bhar, Maya Guelbert, Kailey Hung, Bianca Moisei and Seren Wiles

2nd – Haberdashers – Sophie Broom, Ellie Fisher, Ava Ibale, Jasmine Perry and Tiana Whittingham

3rd – Tanners – Sahithi Bodipudi, Bhumi Deolia, Isabella James, Abeeha Naveed and Lucy Reeve

A BIG thank you to Waitrose for sponsoring the competition and prizes – the girls were very happy with their winnings!

There have been many recent dramatic goings-on at The Holt. In the KS3 drama masterclass, the drama department invited Year 9 students to come and explore physical theatre through the play “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. This is a style of theatre that puts the human body at the centre of the storytelling, with a focus on the work of practitioners Frantic Assembly. This masterclass was an excellent time for students to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the physical theatre style. Students experimented with a wide range of techniques through which they were then able to develop a narrative. The work produced was extremely creative, and the students could clearly articulate how the gestures enhanced the storytelling. We look forward to seeing how the students incorporate these ideas into their future drama lessons!

This year, the drama department were extremely happy to receive a re-fit in the drama studio. Students will benefit greatly from this much-needed refresh. Here are some before and after photos.



The Drama department was also able to welcome Shybarin Theatre Company to help Year 10 explore different avenues to explore when devising pieces. The students were extremely lucky to work alongside Becky Jones the producer of Shybarin theatre. This workshop has enabled our students to grow in confidence in devising their own piece of theatre which is 40% of the Drama GCSE.

Last Week Miss Edwards took five Year 10 students and five sixth formers to The Abbey School in Reading to begin a project developing piece of theatre that promotes woman advocacy. Inspired by the ‘100 Years of Women at the Bar’ exhibition on recent display at The Supreme Court in London, the students will write and perform their own piece of theatre which will be presented at a special evening on Monday 20 March 2023, hosted by Court of Appeal Judge Lady Justice Andrews DBE, who is an alumna of The Holt.

On Thursday last week, some 300 of our budding mathematicians from Years 9-11 took part in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this competition takes the form of a series of increasingly difficult multiple-choice questions that are designed to test problem-solving and mathematical thinking. For example:

If you have enjoyed puzzling that one out, and would like to see some more, do have a look at

Friday evening saw The Friends of The Holt host a quiz at the school.

Many parents and other wonderful people took part and raised over £2300 for the school. Special thanks go to Christine, Sasi and Julie for heading up this event and to sixth formers Caitlin, Francesca, Millie, Sophie, Sophie, Ashna, Amelia and Ishita who helped to make it such a success. We are also very grateful to the sponsors who generously donated prizes as seen below.

Finally, Year 9 students have their KS4 options taster day this Friday. This is part of a series of events we have put on to inform and guide them as they prepare to make their GCSE option choices after half term. We have been really impressed by the mature consideration they are showing with regard to these decisions. This is just a first taste of the freedom to choose their own path through education and beyond. As I wrote at the start of this blog, there are important times in our lives that we need to grasp, but our key stage 4 curriculum also provides latitude in which to ponder alternatives while preparing the ground for the weightier choices to come at 16, 18 and throughout life.

I have always been in two minds about the poem with which I’ll sign off below. Well-trodden tracks and obscure paths both have much to offer. Furthermore, while it is certainly true that some moments of great significance can direct our future one way or another, my experience of wooded paths is that they often loop and intersect and provide a multitude of ways to get from here to there.

Ben Adams

Assistant headteacher


The Road not Taken

Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.