Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

We were able to give a very warm welcome to all our students over the last week!

Year 7 and 12 were in school on Wednesday for their induction days and were joined by Year 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 on Thursday.  Year 7 have settled in well so far and look fabulous in their uniform.  We look forward to meeting Year 7 parents at the welcome evening this evening (Wednesday 13 September) at 6.00pm in the main hall.

Despite the stiff competition from sixth form colleges and local schools we were delighted to have so many ex-Year 11 join our sixth form to study A levels – they will add to the spirit of The Holt for sure and we are thankful for their loyalty to our school.  We also welcomed just under 30 external students from various schools who have joined Year 12.  A Year 12 parents information evening will be held on Wednesday 20th September at 6.00pm in the sixth form centre.  Here are some students ordering their coffee from the sixth form Costa!

As part of the fortnightly 40 hours of timetabled study recommended by the government for sixth formers our Year 12 take part in one hour of timetabled enrichment each week.  Mrs Thomas, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, organised our first ever enrichment fair.  She wrote

All sixth form students have one hour a week for enrichment on their timetables and they can choose how they would like to use this time, for example, they can lead an extracurricular club in school, participate in a sporting club or perhaps volunteer. To promote student enrichment opportunities, we held our first enrichment fair for sixth form students. The fair consisted of stalls made up of various local charities and sporting organisations in Wokingham. The sixth form students were able to learn about a variety of different volunteer opportunities. Our students enthusiastically engaged with this opportunity, there was a real buzz and it was great to see students asking questions how local charities support the Wokingham community. As a result of the fair many sixth form have already secured volunteer opportunities with these charities. The charities included All Saints Wokingham, ASD Family Help, JAC, Me2Club, Assist, HCCV – Holt Copse gardening, Safe – support for young people affected by crime and Cowshed – it was great they were able to come in and we appreciated their time. We also had some sports clubs including Energie gym, the boxing gym and Oakwood Climbing centre.

Thank you to Mrs Thomas for organising.

Mrs Sawyer who oversees clubs, charities and House events is collating all the clubs that go on during the term and she plans to distribute the list of clubs for all year groups on Monday.  These clubs run on the goodwill of staff, and we are grateful to them all for giving up lunchtimes or time after school to share their passion for their subject, sport, interest or craft with students.  Clubs are a great way for students to meet others, to try out new things and push themselves out of their comfort zone.  We always remind our students their lives will be more interesting if they give things a go – for starters they will have something else to tell their parents when they get home!  Please encourage your daughter to take up at least one enrichment club especially if she is in Key Stage 3.

For Year 9 and 10, WBC run the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme at Wokingham Youth Centre, which is next door to The Holt.  Sharon Phillips the WBC DofE administrator wrote this message

We wish to inform you that Wokingham Council Duke of Edinburgh’s Award waiting list for this year will soon be closing If you have any young people who are interested in participating in either the Bronze or Silver Award from November 2023, would you please ask their parent/guardian (not the young person) to contact me directly by Friday, 13th October 2023, so that I can put their name on the list. This will be on a first come, first served basis.  Any applying after our numbers have been reached will be added to our ‘reserve’ waiting list. 

For information we run DofE from Wokingham Youth Centre on a Monday and Tuesday evening, for the Bronze and Silver Awards.  Sessions are held every week, term time only, with each young person working towards either their Bronze or Silver Award.   The Bronze Award starts from those in Year 9 and the Silver Award from those in Year 10.  However, if the young person wishes to start directly with the Silver Award they will be required to undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.  They will not be required to attend the sessions for longer.  More information on the DofE Award can be found here

Year 7 took part in a road safety workshop on Monday.  This was part of the PSHE programme organised by Miss Williams, Head of PSHE.  She wrote

The start of Year 7 is a big milestone for some students, and it could also mark the start of students walking to school on their own – I remember when my parents first let me walk to secondary school alone and how grown up I felt! To help students make safe and sensible decisions on their route to school. Year 7 students watched a drama presentation on Monday called ‘Streetwise’ where they explored the risks and dangers of the roads and how distractions (such as phones and headphones) could lead to serious accidents. The performance used a fun, engaging and captivating play to help students understand the risks they might face on their route to school everyday. It was great to hear Year 7 students discussing the quiz and how competitive they were!   Students will be carrying out some follow up activities in form time this week where they will get the chance to discuss the specific risks and dangers that are present on their own routes to school and how they can ensure they are being safe and sensible.  

Thanks to Miss Williams for organising.

We have a total of 1416 students on roll …sounds a lot but the school feels calm and spacious.  Over the summer, Mr McWilliam, our Operations and Estates Director and the site team have widened footpaths, reconfigured student support, demolished a shoddy porch attached to science, freshened up the music and technology toilets and refurbed the English department.  Two new cycle sheds have also been set up just inside gate – which is a more peaceful and safer location for students to arrive and depart on their bikes. A huge thanks to the team!

Year 11 and 13 received their GCSE and A level exam results in August.  We were delighted with the results.   The results reflect the hard work and dedication of our students and staff and of course the support from parents and guardians. Congratulations! Here is the link to the website where there is more information

Best wishes

Anne Kennedy