Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends

As of last week we now have a new addition to the annual Holt School calendar – Activities Week. The aim of the week is to give Key Stage 3 students opportunities to try out new experiences that in a small way opens their worlds a bit more and widens their perspective on life.

We designed activities that would take students out of their comfort zones, allow them to relax, meet new people in their year group, enjoy the outdoors and to make fond memories.

Brace yourselves for a photo fest of a selection of the activities that went on last week!

Geography Walking tour of Wokingham – Year 7

Year 7 walked through Emmbrook and Cantley gaining a sense of place by looking at the new housing developments, comparing them with the older housing in terms of street layout as well as the design of the houses. They clocked the ways residents are conserving energy by noting the numbers of electric cars on the driveways, the solar panels, the recycling bins and the water butts in gardens – this was all whilst litter picking. The girls also enjoyed discovering the green spaces in the area. Thanks very much to the staff in the geography department for organising the walks.

Year 7 – Tea party

7C and 7G had fun in Technology, two groups of students started to make sandwiches, fairy cakes and scones, whilst a third group set to making bunting to decorate the gazebos. After a lot of busy activity, 60 girls sat down to a high tea at lunchtime. All thoroughly enjoyed the massive spread of wonderful food, and the weather was kind to us as well.

Year 8 Boat race

The Year 8 were set a challenge in technology to design a boat from one piece of A4 paper. They used the iterative design process to design, develop and test their ideas before finalising their chosen idea. The boat had to be propelled via wind power -(the students had a straw to blow the boat along a water channel (drain pipe)). In teams of 4 or 5 they were set the challenge to race against each other. Well, done to 8C 8W 8G and 8L who won their races.

Year 9 Bushcraft Trip

Over 150 Year 9 students experience camping in the wild on the Bushcraft trip. The girls were involved in shelter making; camouflage and concealment; basic first aid training applied to an SOS situation where they had to rescue Miss Izod and Miss Williams from a plane crash emergency; fire lighting; group games; campfire songs; and making smores.

Miss Izod said she was really impressed with the girls support of one another; their ability to work together and forge new friendships; and their enthusiasm for the activities and that their spirit made the trip great fun.

Thank you to Miss Izod and the staff who accompanied the students for the three days….they too missed flushing toilets smile


Year 8 Bushcraft Trip

Just over 200 students in Year 8 ventured to Oxfordshire for three days survival in the forest. Miss Priddy, their Head of Year who joined them wrote

On Monday 20th June, 192 Year 8 students set off on their 3-day residential to Blenheim Woods to embrace the Bushcraft experience. With activities such as fire-lighting, shelter building, camouflage and concealment training and SOS survival skill building – this trip was not the faint-hearted. But Year 8 showed resilience and determination, bonding as tribes and making memories together. The evenings were filled with games and smores as well as the exciting ‘tribes got talent contest’ which even showcased some teacher-talent. Despite the challenges of sleeping in tents and being away from home, Year 8 impressed us all with their enthusiasm and energy.

Thank you to Miss Priddy and all the staff who also camped out for two nights and made the trip happen.

For the students in Year 8 and 9 who did not attend the Bushcraft trip, we tried to recreate a ‘Bushcraft experience’ for them in school minus the actual camping experience!

Year 8 and 9 Walk in Goring/Streatley

To recreate the outdoors experience of Bushcraft, Mrs Pearce and I led a trip for the students not on Bushcraft and who were not taking part in the musical, to the beautiful village and surrounding countryside of Goring and Streatley. We dodged the train strikes by sheer luck as our trips were last Monday and Wednesday….so we took the train to Goring, walked through the picturesque village, stopped whilst 41 girls used the toilets in the car park (that took a while) and then we scaled up Streately Hill. The girls were very good but a little shocked at their heart rates half way up the hill…..they were in awe of the view at the top …the beautiful Berkshire countryside and of course the Thames. We walked along the top of the hill, took a few Insta shots with cows…there was a fence in between …. had a picnic at the top of Lardon Chase and then descended down the hill….some girls actually rolled down the hill. They had fun! Mrs Pearce and I had a lovely time and we will definitely do it again….it was out first time at trip leaders ever in our 25+ years of teaching!

Year 9 Camp cooking

Mrs Williams, Head of Technology, wrote

To give the Year 9 students a taste of Bushcraft we did some campfire cooking – this involved all the student foraging for firewood, we then lit the campfires with some paper and oil. Whilst the fires were starting to heat up the students started preparing their food; burgers seasoned to their own preference and for the vegetarians they prepared some halloumi and vegetable kebabs. We had three fires running and once the food was cooked to everyone’s liking we had a feast in the open air. There were two sessions ran with half of the students making their lunch whilst the other half made pencil cases a project they missed out on due to covid.

Year 8 and 9 Musical in a Week Project – Matilda

 During activities week the Art, Drama and Music department came together in the Musical in a week project for students who did not attend Bushcraft.   This project allowed students to be involved in a mini-musical experience, taking on roles both on and off stage. On Monday of activities week, students were engaged with a wide range of workshops, looking at acting, singing, design and prop making. Students were given roles and with the help of our Year 10 work experience students, Mrs Bennet, Mr Gray and Miss Edwards.  Students began blocking scenes, learning lyrics, developing choreography, and producing design pitches for the final performance. Throughout the week students were able to learn their lines, lyrics and understand how backstage preparation is needed for a performance. In Art, students began building their own props and set design with the help of Mrs Skeates and Miss Schotting. By Friday students were ready to perform their mini-musical production to a full audience of staff and students.

 Miss Edwards and Mr Gray were incredibly proud and impressed by how dedicated every student was during the project. Thank you to all staff involved and Mrs Pearce and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance on Friday….it was not only of a very high standard but heart-warming seeing students perform brilliantly, who otherwise might not have ever put themselves forward.  We hope they have gained confidence and of course good memories of the week.  Well done to all involved.

POR – Spirited Arts Competition

In POR Year 7 took part in the ‘spirited arts’ competition that is run through the National Association of teachers of RE (NATRE). This has been run as a house competition between the forms and the POR department will select up to 10 entries to send to the national competition. The Year 7s could choose between three themes , ‘there is more which unites us than which divides us’, God’s green earth and celebrating festivals.
Year 7 were enthusiastic with the project, and we were thrilled with the artwork produced. We look forward to sending off our entries. Thanks to Mrs Barker for organising the competition.

Year 7 and 8 Creative Writing

Year 7 forms had a great day discovering how they could get their voices heard and make a change, by becoming great speech makers. Students will continue to refine these skills in their lessons and compete for their chance to win our annual Year 7 Speech Competition on the 14th July!

Year 8 form groups spent a session each analysing how women and girls are represented on screen and learning and applying the Bechdel Test and F-rating to a variety of film clips. They then enjoyed the chance to apply what they had learned when planning and performing a pitch for their own female-centred action adventure films.

Thanks to Mrs McClelland and her team in English for organising.

Year 9 Dragon’s Den

For this activity Year 9 had to create a sustainable solution to improve the school’s sustainability, the girls worked extremely hard, researched, and produced a pitch poster and prototype for their chosen solution. Our one winning team produced an App to recycle and sell on used textbooks and school resources and the other winning team updated the school uniform using sustainable materials. All 11 groups pitched to The Holt Dragons, facing many in-depth questions and investment judging.

Thank you to Miss Hayes for organising the activity.

Year 7 were also involved in sustainably projects. Ms Kostaki arranged for students to create a board around ways of reducing litter in school. Thanks to Ms Kostaki for making the sessions so interesting. Here is a photo of 7H and 7T litter warriors

Year 7 Archaeology discovery within Science.

 Students had to use their scientific skills to deduce what life was like in Wokingham during the Roman times. Students used a range of practical and problem-solving skills to create a poster of their discoveries and present their finding to the whole class. 

 This included analysing soil samples and dye used for clothing, translating an ancient parchment scroll, re-building an ancient, decorated plate and interpreting ultrasound ground readings.

Year 7 – Mini Eco Garden Challenge

Mr Wolton, from Science wrote

We began with a session discussing what Eco Gardening might entail…all of them had gardens but only one shy student admitted she helped maintain it! I explained that even with just a windowsill they might contribute to the local ecosystem. Then, on with the task; first they researched ideas and they designed their gardens on paper; then they built the models of the gardens with scrap materials.

After having a lot of fun, while I managed the pots of PVA glue (how does it get so messy?), they presented the finished plans and models to the Head of Science, Mrs Nayyar. Overwhelmed by the quality she judged that all had performed very well and distributed prize Recyclable Biodegradable pens to all!

Year 8 – The Big Science Quiz

The students went “old school” and were only allowed to use textbooks/reference books to undertake the ” Y8 BIG SCIENCE QUIZ”. There were seven categories: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Nature, Human body, Space and Animals. They had 10 minutes to do each round to answer as many questions they could using specific textbooks from The Holt Library . There was a small prize for the winners who got the highest score. Thanks To Mrs Nayyar for organising.

Crime Scene Investigation – Year 8 and 9

The social sciences department organised a crime scene investigation where the students had to role play investigators, with the social sciences staff role playing characters in the investigation and had to be interviewed by the students. Students were presented with a range of clues that they needed to work together in small groups to solve in order to find the perpetrator. The murderer was David …big reveal at the end of the week and there were 5 winning groups over the week. Well done to all!

Mrs Dakovic, Head of Social Science said the students engaged very well and staff were delighted with their enthusiasm and curious questioning! Thank you to Miss Williams for setting the event up!

House Dance
House dance competitions for Year 8 & 9 went well last week. Year 7 & 10 to follow in the coming weeks. Well to winners 8L and 9B!

Year 9 Computing

Some Year 9 groups have been coming up with some new app ideas, thinking about who their target audience would be, designing logos, screenshots, how they would get income from it and how they could use persuasive design to keep people using the app. There were some common themes across different sessions and some great game ideas!

The Chocolate Trade Game – Year 8

Year 8 have been learning about the chocolate supply chain through a role play exercise called ‘The chocolate trade game’ . This highlights the problems faced by cocoa farmers in achieving enough money to live on and how fair trade can help to alleviate their poverty. Thanks to Mrs Styles and Dr Bahwah from Business and Economics for organising.


Activities in Languages

Mrs Diaz wrote

In Languages, we have been having lots of fun. We ran a 3-part session where the students did the following:
• A Taster Italian lesson – we have been really impressed by the participation and pronunciation of the girls. Also, of their general cultural knowledge.
• A Treasure Hunt around the school – In French and Spanish, students have been working out answers in different, secret locations.
• A Global Quiz – with everything from Music, Disney films, Current affairs and World general knowledge, we have had a lot of fun with this quick-fire quiz.
Mrs Sala, one of our LSAs took the Italian lesson.

Thanks to Mrs Daiz and the staff in MFL for organising and to Mrs Sala.

Year 8 – Marble Run

Here are some photos of the marble run with year 8 students. We challenged Year 8 to create a marble run roller coaster using recyclable resources and the equipment within the room, only the most creative, diverse and longest run could win! Thanks to Miss Hayes for organising.

Year 7 – Chessington

Mrs Connor organised this trip – thank you! The whole year group were on it which was fantastic. Mrs Connor wrote

Last Wednesday, Year 7 probably didn’t need much persuasion to get out of bed as the eagerly anticipated day to go to Chessington had finally arrived! We left the school just after 9am braving the traffic on the M25 to begin a day of highly anticipated fun and what a day it turned out to be! Students were able to visit the Zoo and Aquarium but most importantly go on a variety of rides on offer at the park. The two favourite rides were The Vampire and Dragon’s Fury but we also enjoyed the Monkey Swinger which left a few of us soaked by the water jets as we swung through the air, but this helped to keep us to stay cool in the glorious sunshine. Thank you to the wonderful team of teachers who came along on the trip and ventured on the rides, and well done to our Year 7 cohort. It was amazing to see so many step out of their comfort zones to brave some of the scarier rides and they made the teachers feel special as they cheered for us as we went on some of the rides too. I am very proud of all of Year 7! All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing day; we were exhausted but satisfied at the end of the day! Thank you to our parents/guardians for supporting our trip; we value your support and I was thrilled that all of Year 7 attended.

Whilst Year 7 were out at Chessington last Wednesday, we welcomed our incoming Year 7 to school. Miss Harris, who will be their Head of Year, organised a packed programme for them and she wrote

It was lovely to be able to meet our new Year 7 cohort as they spent their first day at The Holt School. Students had a welcome assembly from our Co-Heads, a session with Mind the Gap, a music lesson singing Hakuna Matata, an English lesson looking at performance poetry, and a session getting to know their tutor and writing some introduction pages as well. Forms then had a taster lesson in either history, maths, geography, Spanish, French, drama, or art. Those in art produced some beautiful bookmarks for themselves (and even one for their Head of Year). Lunch time was out on the lawn, and seeing students start to make some friends, and get excited about their Holt journey was wonderful.

Mrs Ellison, who delivered some Spanish sessions wrote

 The year 6 taster session for Spanish was lovely. I was delighted by the enthusiastic interaction and outstanding behaviour of the students. I used some Meet and Greet cards for the students to engage in pair work and they even did a Spanish numbers Sudoku along with some singing in Spanish. By the end of the session, they were able to engage in a short dialogue in the target language and left feeling happy and confident. Roll on Year 7!

Thanks to Miss Harris for organising the day.

Finally I would like to pass on a huge thank you to Mr Adams, Assistant Head teacher, for planning and coordinating the whole week and assisted by Miss Pyle, our extra-curricular and charities coordinator. A memorable week for sure!

Best wishes

Anne Kennedy