Letter from the Head - 16th September 2022
In this issue: A busy first fortnight and updates on buses and the canteen
We've had an excellent first week back at Holmleigh Park - certainly the best I can remember since starting here in 2019!
First of all, I want to say particularly well done to our two newest year groups.
Year 7 have made a superb start. They've settled in brilliantly, making friends and impressing all of their teachers. Most of them are heading off on their residential on Tuesday, and I'm sure they'll have a brilliant time at PGL - hopefully in the sun! I'm very grateful to the more than 20 staff who are giving up three days to make sure Year 7 get this opportunity.
Year 12 have also started extremely strongly. I was delighted to see that we've again increased the size of our intake, with more Year 11s staying on than previous years - but also a significant increase in the number of students joining us from other schools across Gloucester.
Our other year groups have also been brilliant as usual! On Wednesday we held our Open Evening for 2023. It was great to see so many families visiting - it certainly looks like we will once again be very oversubscribed in Year 7. But the highlight was watching our Year 8 and 9 students take tours around the building and act as subject ambassadors. They were utterly brilliant adverts for the school, so well done to everyone involved. At Open Evening I encouraged prospective parents to book a tour of the school, and as always, please remember that current parents are very welcome to do this too; you can book a tour by clicking here.
Year 11 and 13 have also been particularly impressive since we came back, with record attendance to Period 6s and Champions' Hour. Mr Hudson joined me in assemblies with these year groups, and talked about the importance of being 1% better every day - cumulatively this adds up to a huge amount over the course of a year, and we're already feeling very confident that these students are going to go on to some fantastic opportunities next year.
We've also had some very exciting visits this week. On Wednesday I had the privilege of showing all of the Secondary Headteachers for Guernsey, along with their Department for Education, around Holmleigh Park and today, we welcomed the entire staff body from Broadwater School, another school in GLT. Both were coming to look at some of the systems we've put in place to improve our school, and your children left them blown away.
There have been a couple of areas which haven't quite been so smooth and I just wanted to update you on them both.
First of all: buses. I've been in regular contact with Stagecoach this week. They're continuing to experience severe staffing problems, but have a large cohort of new drivers being trained at the moment. They should begin in the next few weeks, and I'm hopeful this will even things out. In the meantime, you might want to consider the school bus service. We've recently upgraded to a double-decker coach, meaning more spaces are available. You can find full details here.
Second, we're aware that service in some of the food pods/canteens has been quite slow. Thank you again for your patience - things have improved a bit this week and should continue to improve once the building work finishes on the Sports Centre - we're aiming for completion on Friday 29th. Staff are keeping a close eye on this and as always any child who is worried about missing out should come and speak to one of the staff on duty - we'll always make sure they're able to be fed!
Finally, I want to finish by congratulating Callum K in Year 8. Following the suicide of a close family member, Callum and his cousin completed a sponsored bike ride of 60 miles, and raised a stunning £3,050 for MIND. Congratulations Callum!
Best wishes for the bank holiday weekend - we look forward to welcoming students back on Tuesday 20th September.