September 15, 2023

Weekly News – Friday 15th September 2023

Message from the Head

Dear Parents,

Tuesday evening was lovely!  It was a chance for all our new parents to meet each other and our teachers.  A big difference this year was that we welcomed Sixth Form parents too.  The atmosphere was wonderfully convivial, and it was a fitting, warm Hollygirt welcome.

Tomorrow we will extend this warm welcome to over 50 families who are planning to visit us at our Open Day.  Tour guides and all students need to be in school for 9.00am and will need collecting at 12.00 noon.  I’ve been thinking about what to say and a couple of media stories highlighted to me how far ahead in our thinking Hollygirt is:

  1. Gordonstoun School announcing students cannot have phones on them during the day and this actually making a news story!  Hollygirt are ahead of the curve here.
  2. Latymer Upper School announcing it will create its own GCSE equivalent.  Whilst we are not thinking of doing that per se, I did talk about this in my doctoral thesis about the restrictive nature of GCSEs and the need to develop a model of learning for life and not for exams.  We have no plans to abandon GCSEs at this point as it would be unfair to our students given the national benchmark that they are for employers – but we are flexible here in the combinations of GCSE and A Level (now!) and work hard to create bespoke packages of education that may not fit the linear, national model.

In assembly on Monday, the Prefect team introduced themselves and their roles and helped to hand out badges for the newly appointed Form Captains, Vice Form Captains, School Council Reps and Eco-Committee Reps.  A new initiative will see us recruit a student Media Team shortly.

At School Council this week, a myriad of ideas was recorded, and we were delighted to be joined by our Sixth Form representatives.  More of these ideas anon.

House meetings saw Year 10 buddy with Year 7 so our new year group will have an older person to lean on.

Today was our ECA Hustings assembly in Senior School and we are so pleased with what we can offer this year to enrich the lives of our students.  We attach a copy here – there are many more sports opportunities as well as Drama and Music: from rock bands to taking part in a live trial whilst learning about the justice system – there is truly something for everyone!  We have said that all students should join at least one club.  Do chat to your children about this tonight / at the weekend and see what they have signed up for.  As an aside, information for our music, sports and academic scholars is winging its way to you.

We are in the last few days to sign up for the Iceland trip which is for Years 9 to 11 – leaving on 23rd March and returning on 27th March – students will only miss one weekend and two days of school, making this a reasonable excursion, even for Year 11 at this busy time.  It’s a short but impactful trip.  Do let Mr Rollinson know by email ( if you wish to go.  Adventures like these add such value to school life.

Thank you to the Friends of Hollygirt for a very successful BBQ last Friday and I was sorry to miss this.

I look forward to seeing many of you at Prize Giving next Wednesday – the ceremony starts at 7.00pm.  There is a prosecco drinks reception available for parents from 6.15pm – unfortunately there will not be a bar available after the event this year.  I hope that you have a good weekend.

Helen Barsham

Message from the Deputy Head Seniors / Head of Prep

Good afternoon,

Well done to Year 6 children who gave their Head Student speeches this week.  I was so impressed with how confidently they spoke and the ideas they had.  We have all voted and the results will be announced on Monday.

This morning, Key Stage 2 pupils enjoyed a short workshop with our brass instrument teacher.  They all thoroughly enjoyed this and Miss Seaton will be sending out more information about lessons should they wish to.

Tomorrow is our first Open Day of the year.  This will run from 9.00am to 12.00pm. Thank you for your support and for bringing the children to school tomorrow.  I am sure they will have fun participating in the activities the teachers have planned for them.

Next Wednesday morning, children in Years 3 to 6, with their teachers, will walk down to the Albert Hall to rehearse for Prize Giving.  We will arrive back at school in time for lunch.  In the evening, children need to be back at the Albert Hall between 6.15pm and 6.30pm.  Years 3 to 6 children are expected to be there.  They should be in uniform; this can be either summer or winter uniform but they will need their blazers.  Younger children are more than welcome to attend too and sit with parents.  Please note that After School Club will run until 5pm on this day to allow staff to travel to this event.

Tuck shop will begin next Friday and run weekly.  This will be run by our new Head Students.  All items will cost 50p so children should bring money in a named purse if they wish to purchase items.

We are continuing to use Satchel:One for homework tasks.  If you cannot log onto this, please let us know so that we can sort this out.

Now that the weather is getting colder and wetter, please could children have their green school waterproof coats in school.  Please could these, along with all other pieces of uniform, be clearly named.

Have a lovely weekend,

Have a lovely weekend,

Victoria Wright
Head of Prep


Message from Head of Sixth Form

It was a real pleasure this week to hold our first Sixth Form Welcome Evening for the Year 12 parents.  We discussed the unique opportunities our Sixth Form provides, and all agreed that this year group will forever have a place in Hollygirt history.  A pioneering group of students who are enjoying settling into Year 12, creating a vibrant community and already studying well. The step up to Sixth Form is known to be big, and therefore can be quite daunting to make the leap from GCSEs to A levels.  I am proud of each of our Year 12 students, and they are paving the way for their success.

A highlight of the week was to see the youngest and oldest in the school all together in our Sixth Form common room.  The EYFS children and their teachers visited and presented us with a beautiful handmade card.  They played table football with the sixth formers, and were surprised to learn that although they move up to Year 1 next year, the sixth formers are at the heady heights of Year 12!  Excellent opportunity for some counting practice!  We all enjoyed their visit, and look forward to creating links with the younger students.

Alison Brown
Head of Sixth Form