February 10, 2023

Weekly News – Friday 10th February 2023

Message from the Head

Dear Parents

Half term and a half!  With all the Entrance Day offers and Sixth Form advent – we have been so busy.  Timely to express my thanks to the whole team at Hollygirt and wish everyone a well-earned rest.

Last night the Trustee’s Education Committee met, and we were viewing the draft of Hollygirt’s 5 Year Strategic plan (especial thanks to Dr. Costley for her work on this).  It is exciting and hopeful reading.  As soon as this is finalised, we will send to you.

Dr. Costley is also conducting some research in partnership with Hollygirt on ‘School Connectedness’ – how children feel about their school.  Year 9 have been asked for their consent to participate and we hope to also ask Year 7 in the Summer Term.

I will be interested in the results.  We work so hard with our families to get it right (we are not perfect!) but we recognise that we have something very important in common and that is your child. At Prize Giving over the last two years I have said that with ‘truth and communication’, we can move mountains which is why we have taken the time to meet with all the prospective new families who join the school.  Teenage years are hard to navigate but as a team, we will be OK.

This week has seen phase 2 of our iSAMS training too – the new parent portal and app will be launched in phases (likely) next half term; hard work but we feel will be really worth it in terms of streamlining our communications / reports / records / timetables / merits / detentions and your calendar!  This is a non-exhaustive list!

In case you missed our announcement about our wonderful new appointment, an historic one, the new Head of Sixth Form – here it is again.

We are now in a position to announce that the new Head of Sixth Form at Hollygirt is Alison Brown who joins us on a part time basis from Easter (so Alison can get her A level students to the finish line -such is her care) until May and then full-time from May.

We are thrilled.  Alison is an experienced Head of Sixth Form at the George Spencer Academy who teaches Criminology and Psychology and is known for her excellent results and commitment to the students.  In addition, Alison really impressed us with her knowledge of pathways in terms of preparing young people for the future such as entry for Oxbridge, UCAS and BMAT applications, degree apprenticeships and other routes.  Furthermore, Alison is very experienced in her organisation of the super curricular offer for Sixth Formers, in ensuring our students are ready for their futures.

Current Year 11 parents are very welcome to come and meet Alison on 15th March when we are combining introductions with a revision strategy session (5.00-6.00 pm) and I know that in due course all of you will welcome Alison to our wonderful, warm community as the first Head of Hollygirt Sixth Form – an historic occasion!  If any parents would like to meet with Alison separately, then we can set this up once Alison joins us after Easter or for current Year 11 parents – at your convenience.

I hope you feel as excited as we do – the onset of the Sixth Form is a timely and important strategic move for the school.

We have a very talented poet amongst our ranks too and I attach below Mrs Vassell’s poem about the choices to make in Year 11.  Mrs Vassell is writing an anthology inspired by Hollygirt so we feature some of these poems on our TV in the Senior School and I will include them here.

At SLT this week, we talked about how we can make more links between Prep and Seniors and the whole school production this year of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ will be a good start plus we are planning some more Friends of Hollygirt events and within school, termly whole school House meetings.

Today, we heard the entries of our senior short story (house) competition.  Some big bonus point prizes on offer and my thanks to the English Dept for organising this.

Monday’s assembly was about ‘connection’ the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week.  We talked about how family and friends make you feel good so on that note – I will leave you to spend time with your families; enjoy your children as much as we do.

And finally – thank you to everyone who has contributed and collected for the earthquake victims.  I am really moved by how quickly and passionately our Hollygirt students wanted to help; they have raised a whopping £386.

Have a restful and wonderful time with your families.

Helen Barsham

Mrs Vassell’s Poem

Message from the Head of Prep

Good afternoon,

What a fantastic half term we have had.  The children have worked so hard and it is great to see the progress they are making.

In assemblies and lessons this week, the children have been learning about internet safety.  I hope you found the parent resources useful.

In their swimming session on Monday, Years 4 to 6 completed their sponsored swim.  Well done to all of them for performing so well with many exceeding their own expectations.  Thank you for all the sponsorship money so far; any remaining money should be given to Form Teachers after half term.

It was, again, lovely to see so many parents and grandparents in school this week for Someone Special afternoons.  Everyone was fully involved making Valentine’s pictures, taking part in quizzes, creating dot art pictures and even artwork with various sweets.  We hope to provide many more opportunities throughout the year for parents and grandparents to visit school – we know how much both children and parents really value this.

Yesterday, Mrs Wand organised for Years 1 to 6 to visit the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield and what a great day the children (and staff) had.  They played on lots of games dating from 1960 to the present day whilst learning about consoles and how they have changed.  The children were able to make their own game controllers in a workshop, creating buttons and connecting them to a laptop.  They worked together to play Space Invaders.  Some great team work!

On the first Friday back, 24th February, I will be hosting another coffee morning in the Friends’ Room (Year 5 and 6 building), between 8.30am and 9.00am.  Please pop in for a coffee and a catch up if you have time to.

World Book Day is coming up soon after half term.  This year it falls on Thursday 2nd March. More details will follow but some advance notice that children will be invited to dress up as on one of their favourite book characters on this day.

Appointments to order the new summer dress on Tuesday 28th March are now available to book via this link.

Schoolwear Solutions | Scheduling and Booking Website (simplybook.it)

If you would like to see the dress, it is hanging up in Reception in Senior School.

Have a lovely half term break and I look forward to seeing you on Monday 20th February.

Have a lovely weekend,

Victoria Wright
Head of Prep