Letter from the Head - 30th April 2021
In this update: Summer arrives at Holmleigh Park!
We have had a very busy first fortnight back.
The summer term has brought some glorious weather (less so in the last few days!), which has meant we've able to open the field to students at break and lunch times. It's been wonderful to walk around the school in social times and feel the relaxed buzz from students.
I have particularly enjoyed seeing all our clubs in full flow in the last fortnight - where sporting, academic or cultural in nature. Two events have particularly stood out. First of all, the Sixth Form tag rugby tournament was a huge amount of fun. Well done to Hurricane for the win, which has evened up the House Competition somewhat - you can see the latest points on the front page of our website. The other was the Brilliant Club graduation ceremony for some of our Year 10 students. They have been working closely with university students to study contemporary poetry, producing degree-level essays. I've been hugely impressed with all of their work, and was delighted that Harry J and Amy C were chosen from a hundred of scholars across the country to speak at the (online) graduation ceremony this week.
I've also been hugely impressed by Year 11 and 13. They have been working hard ahead of their next rounds of assessments, which began today. In the face of huge uncertainty, they've all been just fantastic - continuing to come in early and stay late to squeeze as much learning in as possible. I have also written separately to Year 11 and 13 parents regarding the end of term; we will be hugely sorry to see them go in a few weeks.
It was also great to see so many parents attending our virtual Year 8 parents' evening yesterday. I'd like to apologise if you experienced any technical problems; we know there were some intermittent power cuts in the Tuffley area last night. If you weren't able to log on, please do feel free to contact your child's Head of Year who will be happy to ask teachers to send you feedback. You can find the relevant email addresses on our contact details page.
My main focus over the last fortnight has been on recruitment. We are set to grow significantly as a school next year, with record numbers looking set to join in both Year 7 and Year 12, and this has meant we've been able to appoint some fantastic new staff. It's been wonderful to see how much interest there has been - our vacancies page has had around 4,000 hits in the last month. I've had the pleasure of interviewing around 30 different candidates since we returned. Without fail, all of them have commented on how well-behaved and hard-working our students are; several of them had to finish their trial lesson early as our students got through the work far quicker than they'd expected! I am delighted to say that we have appointed to all of our vacancies, meaning the school will once again be fully staffed for September, and I'm looking forward to introducing our fantastic new teachers and leaders next year.
Finally, this week we have issued students with their next sets of COVID kits. While transmission seems very low at the moment, it is important we remain vigilant, so please do continue to test twice a week and report your tests here.
With best wishes for a happy bank holiday weekend,