Letter from the Head, 14th February 2020
Dear parents and carers,
As another term draws to a close, we’re continuing to make good progress at Holmleigh Park. With over half the academic year gone, I remain very confident for the future.
Over the past fortnight, I’ve been meeting with Heads of Department to look at where our Year 11s and 13s are now, and what we can do to ensure their remaining time at school gives them the best possible chance of success. It’s been wonderful to hear how positive all of our staff are feeling about your children, and particularly the enthusiasm and resilience that they are shown away. We are genuinely blown away by how hard many of them are working – even today, we had large numbers of students opting to remain in school until 5pm to revise.
With half term coming up, it is worth thinking about revision. All of our Year 11s and 13s have been given clear revision tasks for the holidays, but how they approach revision can have a huge impact. I often talk to students about Daniel Willingham, who wrote that “memory is a residue of thought.” In other words, we remember things which we have spent time thinking about. While it’s tempting to revise by simply reading notes and highlighting words, this doesn’t involve much thought. Instead, students should be focusing on recall – trying to remember key information, and then checking how they’ve done. This is why, for example, we teach all students how to make flashcards to test themselves with. Practice exam questions are fantastic too. In short, students should be working and quizzing themselves when they revise, not completing passive tasks like highlighting notes or copying out phrases.
We’ve also had a large number of parents visit us this week, looking to transfer their children to Holmleigh Park. It’s been wonderful to hear so many comments about how calm and purposeful our lessons are, and to see so much interest in joining all year groups.
It has been a rather damp week for our sports teams, with most matches being cancelled. Congratulations go to our Year 7 girls for A and B team wins against St Peters, but most of all to Amy Cook (Year 9), who has been selected for Gloucestershire’s Under 15 Rugby Squad. Amy was selected from over 130 players who were invited to trials, and has been selected to play in the Under 15 team, which is a year above her age group. A huge achievement, which means Amy joins Riley, Diontay and Ethan (Under 16) and Ben (Under 17) in being one of five county rugby players.
I hope you have a wonderful half term, and I’m looking forward to seeing your children again next term.