Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

I think I may have mentioned last year that January frequently heads the list of people’s least favourite month according to many polls. It certainly brings its share of challenges in its frosty air and under dark skies, but at The Holt we have seen lots of dappled winter sunlight – both literally and metaphorically.

Mrs Pearce mentioned one theatre trip in last week’s blog. There was further drama last Tuesday when Mr Gray had organised for Year 9 and 10 students to see Wicked at the Victoria Apollo. After the coach we had booked failed to arrive, the team showed great initiative and flexibility. After contacting parents and a quick march to the station, the group were soon speeding towards London on a train that got them there just in time. Lots of parents were kind enough to write and say how much their daughters enjoyed the trip. We are very grateful to staff who give up their own free time to allow trips to go ahead.

Speaking of which, and of speedy travel, our cross-country teams were back in action at the weekend at the Berkshire championships. Miss Cardy oversaw the action, and there were many superb team and individual performances. Our U13 team came third overall, and our U17 team came in an amazing second place. Special congratulations to Rosie, Amelia, Abi, Bethan, and Millie who have each been selected to represent the county of Berkshire in the next round. I have a keen interest in running, and it is wonderful to see the dedication and talent of our students and staff bring about such results.

We have come to expect the unexpected over the past couple of years. We pull together as a team. You may well be aware that there have been some staff absent recently – largely due to Covid issues. This means that there have been some lessons covered by other colleagues across different subject. Indeed, I found myself yesterday examining Act one Scene one of Romeo and Juliet with Year 9. While I’m more used to mathematics, it was a wonderful opportunity to consider with the students how Shakespeare heightens the sense of Juliet being a victim of fateful forces by introducing her through the viewpoints of her father and her suitor. Capulet hints at her youthful innocence when he says, “My child is yet a stranger in the world”.

With that in mind, I would like to highlight Safer Internet Day on 8th February. This will be the subject of our Thought for the Week from next Monday. Our teenagers are so familiar with the wonders of the internet, and yet sometimes naïve about the potential harms that come with it. I would encourage you to look at the link above and start some small conversations with your child/children about whether the internet really is “all fun and games”. Thank you to Mrs Dearing for sharing this.

There are so many lessons to learn, both in and out of school. This week’s assemblies have highlighted Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January. We are grateful to Miss Howard, our acting Head of History, who has poignantly brought the past to life so that our young people may learn from it. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.

Of course, along with world changing ideas and inspiration, exams are also a fact of life at school. Congratulations to Year 12 on completing their PPEs. That particular baton is now passed back to Year 13 and then Year 11 for after the half term break. We wish them well in their preparations.

Best wishes to you all as the year rolls round into February.

Ben Adams
Assistant Headteacher