Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

I love autumn, it is a joyous time of year where the colours of nature are simply stunning. The grounds at The Holt look beautiful with the leaves on the trees in their full glory. Once again, the ceramic poppies are proudly on display to help us commemorate Remembrance at this time of year.

Hannah Howard, Head of history has been leading assemblies all week with the focus not just on the soldiers that didn’t return after conflict, but the ones who did, but whose lives were changed forever. Miss Howard talked us through the history of the poppy and how it has changed over time.

On Friday, Reverand Lamey from St Pauls’ Church will once again be leading us in our annual Remembrance service where we will be joined by our Year 7 students, our students in uniformed organisations, our speakers and musicians and our guests. We are delighted that friend to The Holt George Brown from the Aborfield British Legion will again be taking part in this service.

Last week the Year 11s students finished their first set of maths PPE exams and handed the baton over to our Year 13 who are currently finishing up their exams, before they hand back over to the Year 11s for their English literature PPE.  It is a busy time for our exam groups and even more so for our Year 11 musicians. Tonight, they have their class concert in preparation for their GCSE practical recordings for their final exams. These music events are always rather special; the students work hard on their individual and ensemble pieces and are very supportive of each other. If you love music and would like to come, the concert starts at 6pm in the main hall.

Still on the theme of music, it has been lovely to hear the Year 7s rehearsing for their singing concert at the end of this month.  This year’s theme is musicals and from what I have heard in assemblies, it will be a real joy to come and watch. The concert is at 7pm in the main hall on Tuesday 28th November.

In the next week, our Student Council meet for the first time this academic year. Following the government’s recommendation that mobiles phones should not be allowed in schools, they are to discuss this very important debate. Currently, mobile phone use is allowed at The Holt, at break and lunch, but we are very interested to hear how the students think this is managed and if we need to make any updates to our policy. Student voice at The Holt is a democratic process and the discussion starts in tutor groups, then goes to Year Council before the common themes are raised at the full Student Council, chaired by our Student Leadership Team. Our Head girl, Sophie then sends us the outcomes for discussion at our Senior Leadership Team meeting.       

Yesterday and today our Year 10 geographers took part in their first (rather wet) field work trip into Wokingham town centre.  Mr Mosley explained that “this fieldtrip forms an important part of students’ GCSE Geography. The students are investigating whether there is a traffic problem in the centre of Wokingham by covering multiple sites and conducting traffic and pedestrian counts as well as conducting interviews and bipolar surveys focused on traffic. It is a brilliant opportunity for the students to put some of the skills they have learnt into practice. Here’s hoping the weather for their physical fieldwork in the summer term has better weather!”

Finally, I would like to remind you that tomorrow evening is the first of our parents’ evenings and we start with Year 11 parents and students. As such, school has an early closure of 2.30pm. This gained hour for students is in response to their request in a wellbeing consultation for some space in the year where they can take some time out to gather their thoughts and consolidate work done to date.

An email has gone out with revised timings for the day, and we have reminded students that they will still have all 5 lessons, just slightly shorter ones, so they should still pack for a full day.

Katie Pearce