Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends,

Firstly, we’re travelling back in time last week (excuse the pun) as our Year 8 students enjoyed a theatre trip to see The Time Machine. Mr Adams told us about the trip:

Year 8 students enjoyed a visit to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford last Thursday evening. They saw a mind bending, universe wobbling and farcically loose adaptation of H G Wells’s ‘The Time Machine’. Our students were left in stitches by a series of gags about the paradoxes of time travel, and especially when Miss Harris and Mrs Bennett were coopted into the show. The show took in everything from physics to the rehearsal process with several nods to the style of “The Play that Goes Wrong!”

Thank you to Miss Edwards, Mr Adams, Miss Harris, Mrs Connor and Mrs Bennett for organising and attending the trip.

It has also been a busy week for the PSHE department. Personal development is a key part of our students’ experience in school and the different programme of speakers and performances on offer to our students brings important issues to life.

Miss Williams told us about two of the performances this week:

Year 8 – ‘Smashed’ Live performance

On Monday, Year 8 students had the opportunity to watch and take part in an interactive theatre show called ‘Smashed’. The performance centred around the issues regarding underage drinking and alcohol use. Students watched a 30-minute interactive performance (a favourite part was where the Year 8 students were very adamant that they were not going to let one of the actors copy their science home-learning!) followed by a 30-minute workshop. The performance and workshop highlighted the pressures facing young people, reasons for underage drinking and the potential risky behaviours and consequences from this. Students gave excellent responses during the workshop and they particularly enjoyed the ‘Forum Theatre’ where they were able to give suggestions of what should have been said/done at different parts of the performance and see how this changed the consequences.

Year 9 – Paul Hannaford talk

On Tuesday, Year 9 students watched a powerful talk from Paul Hannaford. Paul has delivered sessions annually for our students, and this talk was just as powerful and inspiring! Paul discussed his own personal experience of his battle with illegal drugs and his involvement in gang crime and knife crime. Students were hooked for the entirety of the performance, and many stayed behind afterwards to ask questions.

Thank you to Miss Williams for organising these talks.

The Holt Sixth formers’ had an incredible opportunity alongside The Abbey school as part of the ‘Girls’ Advocacy Project’ to see an inspirational talk by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the City of London School for Girls. Nazanin is an Iranian-British dual citizen who was detained in Iran from 3rd April 2016 as part of a long running dispute between Britain and Iran.

Elle in Year 12 told us about her experience of the talk:

Today, a group of Year 12 and Year 13 students went to see a talk by Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the City of London School for Girls to listen to her story and answer some of our questions. The talk was truly inspiring hearing about her story of hope and faith that kept her going during her six years held in prison in Iran.

The talk involved a panel of girls asking questions about her time there, and we learnt about her role as a political pawn between Britain and Iran, her conflicting relationship with her country and the impact it had on the relationship with her family and friends. Particularly, however, I found her opinion on international responsibilities insightful, as she spoke about how the international community has a duty to make human rights more of a priority, and her disappointment of the UK government not taking action sooner.

Furthermore, I enjoyed learning about her story from start to end, from the trial process, to the women she met in prison that helped her stay strong, and her husband’s campaign back home that shone a light on her story. What really stuck with me however was her commitment to bringing attention to the regime’s treatment of other imprisoned women and how we, as citizens of the world, have a duty to bring attention to them and fight for their release. The talk left me with hope, inspiration and a sense of duty that I will carry forth with me, and I cannot thank Nazanin, the City of London School for Girls, Mrs Salamut-Ward and Mrs Barker for organising a talk that has greatly impacted me and the rest of the group greatly.

And a final reminder to make sure you buy your tickets for a magical performance of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Opening night is on Tuesday 19th March. Tickets are still available, and selling fast so please book using the following link:


Mrs Salamut-Ward

Assistant Headteacher

Head of Sixth Form