Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends


The last full week of term was busy for sure… we go!

Last Friday, the history and government and politics department put on a lunchtime workshop looking at the issue of nuclear weapons with an external guest speaker from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Dr Guy Westwell, who is also the head of film at Queen Mary’s, University of London. He started the session with the Oppenheimer trailer, which was very timely considering it has just cleaned up at the Oscars! He went on to explain the history of nuclear weapons and the current status of nuclear arsenals worldwide, before students considered the pros and cons of the idea of a ‘nuclear deterrent’ and whether nuclear disarmament is possible or should be strived for. The workshop was predominantly aimed at Year 12 and 13 politics students but was opened up to Year 11 if interested too. There was a great turnout and Dr Westwell was really impressed by what students had to say on the topic.  Thanks to Mrs Bethencourt-Smith and Mrs Haggar for organising.

A slightly lighter event also took place last Friday as well in the department.  The History and Politics prefects met to judge the winners of the annual Hardboiled History House competition for Years 7, 8 and 9. Mrs Hagger thinks this year might have been the most entries they have ever had, and the team were so impressed by the creativity shown….both in terms of the crafting of an egg into a historical figure, but also the egg based puns that had been snuck into the entries! I am attaching here the winners from each year group….Mahatma Gandhi, Charles I and the Suffragettes! They will receive a chocolate prize, and every entry scores some house points. Two members of staff even sent in entries….Miss Schotting and Mrs Dearing – thanks!

A huge thank you to Mrs Hagger for coordinating the competition!


Miss Edwards, head of drama, must be both relieved and delighted with the incredible performances last week of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. She wrote

As the curtains draw to a close on the production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,”  it prompts me to contemplate the significance of hosting drama productions at The Holt. This journey has spanned eight months, during which both staff and students have poured their time and energy into this year’s production.

A school production serves as an invaluable platform for educating our students in the art of performance, direction, and design. It offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a theatre company, from blocking scenes to orchestrating a polished production. Moreover, it provides opportunities for students to delve into the complexities of Shakespearean literature, as well as to explore the intricacies of set and costume design, and the dynamics of front-of-house and backstage roles, thereby offering practical insights into potential careers in theatre.

Throughout this process, students from various year groups have rallied together, supporting one another in memorizing lines, choreographing scenes, and embodying authentic characters. These collaborative experiences have fostered friendships that transcend year boundaries.

Beyond fostering a sense of community, these productions equip students with invaluable life skills. Rehearsals serve as a crucible for developing traits such as stoicism, humility, resilience, and confidence, nurturing well-rounded individuals poised for success beyond the stage.

But this is not the first time the Bard’s work has been performed at The Holt. In 1945 Holt students performed A Midsummers Night’s dream in the grounds of the Holt.

It’s truly remarkable to think about the long-standing tradition of performing Shakespeare’s works at The Holt, dating all the way back to 1945.  The decision to stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the grounds of The Holt back then, due to the lack of a proper hall, demonstrates the resourcefulness and creativity of the organisers.

Imagining the play presented amidst the shrubbery, with the audience seated on the grassed area in front of The Holt building, evokes a sense of intimacy and connection with both the performance and the natural surroundings. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s works that they can be adapted to any setting, whether it be a grand theatre, or the open air of a school’s grounds.

Such historical performances not only add depth to the cultural heritage of the Holt but also serve as a reminder of the timeless brilliance of Shakespeare’s plays, capable of captivating audiences across generations and settings.

Amazing that the photo above was taken 77 years ago…thanks to Steve Thomas, an ex-teacher, who takes care of our archives!

Once again, a huge thank you to Miss Edwards and her team for all the hours, creativity and encouragement in making the production so successful and of course well done to all the students involved.

The Year 9 magistrates team took part in the Berkshire heats of the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition on Saturday at Reading Crown Court.  The team have been preparing at lunchtimes since January.  Thank you to Miss Harris and Miss Galvin for giving up their time and sharing their expertise and well done to the girls in the team.  They should be proud of their performance despite their disappointment of not getting through to the next round.

Wow – it was busy last week!  On Thursday and Friday, we held our Year 11 Food & Nutrition practical exam. The students performed very well and produced high quality dishes. The girls worked hard to prepare for the exam and the presentation of dishes was amazing.   On both days there was a good atmosphere and the waitresses worked hard to serve the food restaurant -style to the staff, who really enjoyed the dining experience.  Mrs Nyazika would like to extend her gratitude and support to all staff for the incredible support they gave to the students.  The students were pleased to see staff come to the department, taste their dishes and give feedback. They will use these to write their evaluation. Thanks to Mrs Nyazika for overseeing the NEAs and encouraging the girls!

The Maths department held their Enrichment Week last week as well! The maths prefects presented a wonderful assembly on careers using mathematics, which included looking at computing, aerospace engineering and film making…..there is also the very rewarding career of being a maths teacher.

The department ran a selection of masterclasses, which included curve stitching, Vedic maths, mathematical crochet, and a very popular treasure hunt organised by our prefects.   In class, students had the opportunity to take part in enrichment lessons, on a variety of topics including using origami to create mathematical shapes, optical art, and lessons exploring mathematical careers.  Thank you to Mrs Baker for organising the Enrichment Week and she commented that it was wonderful to see so many students involved.

During the Easter Holiday Wokingham Council have organised free bike repairs.  These are free 15 min checks on bikes to ensure they are road worthy – anything that can be sorted during the time and providing they have the necessary parts will be done but things that cannot be fixed will be advised.  These places are bookable contact link

Year 7, 8 and 9 students can now look forward to two weeks of complete rest from school work, hopefully by getting out with friends and family.  For Years 10 to 13 students, Easter is a time for rest but also to get stuck into some revision in preparation for Year 10 and 12 PPEs, GCSEs for Year 11 and A levels for Year 13. We wish all our students taking exams in the summer good luck with their preparation.


Happy Easter and we look forward to the start of the summer term on Monday 15th April.


Anne Kennedy