Dear parents, guardians, and friends

And so, we reach the end of our first half term of the new academic year. For some. it may feel that it has gone in a flash; for others, it may have felt rather slower. For our Year 7 students it has been the first half term of many; for some of our older students, it may be the last time they see September and October at The Holt. Wherever they are in their journey, we hope they enjoy the half term break as a time to rest, pause and reflect.

This week will see the first reviews go home for Years 7 and 11. We are pleased to report that the vast majority of students are working well and making good academic progress. Reviews for other year groups will come out next half term. Parents will notice that we are reporting on learning behaviours in a different way this year. A full explanation will come out with the reviews. Do read this guidance carefully to help you understand the information we are sharing with you. If you have any questions about the reviews themselves or about your daughter’s progress, do get in touch via the appropriate Year Team inbox.

In recent weeks we have shared news of our wonderful Year 11 students and their help in distributing harvest produce to those in need in our town. The theme for our harvest celebrations was the importance of water, and last Friday our non-uniform day was held to raise money for the worthwhile charity WaterAid. Although I am still awaiting the final figure, our students raised a great total for this worthy cause. While I’m sure that many students will have donated from their own funds, I would also like to thank parents for supporting this event.

We’re also grateful to our Year 11 for supporting our tours for parents of Year 6 girls who are considering coming to the Holt. The last of these occurred on Friday and were conducted by our Year 11 prefects with other students stepping in wonderfully to cover absences. They provided candour, insight and inspiration to our visitors. It may be something of a cliché to say that our students are the best advertisement for the school, but it is a cliché because it is absolutely true!

Our dedicated  sixth form team arranged a visit to Thorpe Park’s Fright Night on Friday 13th! More than sixty of our students braved not only the rides, but also the dreadful weather and had a great time. The night saw some of our staff getting stuck on a ride and the acquisition of a new dinosaur mascot for the sixth form who, I believe, is still awaiting a name. Suggestions on a postcard, please…

This week also saw some of our students attend a ten-pin bowling competition at Wokingham Superbowl. They enjoyed themselves, and we are thankful to Mrs Griffiths for organising this.

In November, Mr Gray will be leading our Year 7 students in an evening concert of singing and musical performances. I was lucky to catch a rehearsal this morning. There is something incredibly moving about hearing 240 voices fill our hall with a beautiful  sound. Year 7 parents will have received a letter with details about buying tickets for this event. These are selling fast, so don’t miss out!

Activities such as these, that sit alongside our classroom curriculum, are a huge part of life at The Holt. This Thursday sees our biennial careers fair organised by our Careers Lead, Sharon Hart. All students will have time during the day to engage with a wealth of employers and providers of further and higher education. Parents – please ask your child about who they talked with and what they learned. They will have a booklet to record their interactions which they may well be happy to share with you.

The PE department have been as busy as ever running clubs, fixtures and interhouse football competitions. I’ll highlight some of these events here:

These two teams of Year 10 netballers have been competing in the Wokingham District League. PE staff have been impressed with their team spirit and commitment, and one of the teams ended up district champions.

We always keen to compete at the highest level possible, and this photograph shows our Year 8 netballers jumping for joy having won their second round game in the Schools National Netball Shield.

Finally in this sports report, our junior cross-country team were recently crowned county champions and go on to compete in the regional finals in Taunton on 11th November. We wish them all the best and thank Mrs Ebden and Mrs White for giving up their Saturday to accompany the team.

I will sign off with a word for our Year 11 and Year 13 students who come back to mock exams (PPEs) after the half term break. They have been working hard and deserve to do well. We hope they find the right balance of rest and revision before they return.

I wish you all a not too wet and windy couple of weeks until the next instalment of this blog.


Ben Adams

October 2023