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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter from the Head - 2nd July 2021

In this issue: Bubbles, Assessments off to a flying start, and the house competition gets even closer!

Dear all,

We have had lots to celebrate this week, but before I share this, I want to briefly discuss COVID. 

Many of you will have seen that on Thursday, the Prime Minister called on Headteachers to stop sending bubbles of students home. I have received several emails from parents regarding this. 

I just want to clarify for parents: the guidance given by the Prime Minister's own government (both the Department for Education and Public Health England) states that when single cases are detected, close contacts should self-isolate. When there is evidence of cases being transmitted within a bubble, that bubble should isolate. We have followed this guidance all year. We have only sent a full year group home on two occasions to date (and I'm so sorry that it has been Year 7 both times). In both cases, we have felt we had no choice under current guidelines. 

If the government issue new advice regarding this, then we will of course adapt our procedures. Schools have been told to expect guidance for the new academic year "by the 21st July." Once we have this, we will update you on our plans for next year. In the meantime, I want to assure you that we are not sending students to self-isolate on a whim as the Prime Minister suggested; we are simply doing our best to follow the existing guidelines for schools. 

Moving on to more positive news, there's cause for congratulating all of our remaining year groups this week:

Year 7 have have been absolutely superb throughout self-isolation, completing huge amounts of work on Google Classroom. We're looking forward to welcoming them back on Monday, when they will start their end of term assessments; please can I remind parents to make sure they take a LFT before coming into school on Monday.

Year 8 have also been brilliant. We had to switch their assessment week with Year 7, but they have coped fantastically, and I've been hugely impressed with their maturity and focus in their assessments. Very well done to them. 

Good luck to Year 9, who started their assessments today; again, the sense of purpose in the hall during their exams this morning was palpably electric. I am very excited to see how they get on.

Year 10 have now finished the majority of their assessments. I've been incredibly impressed with their focus this week; they've been cracking on with all their additional lessons in Period 0, Period 5.1, and Period 6 - all adding up to an extra two hours of learning per day. This will make a huge difference in the long run, and it was great to see that attendance to Period 6 has been either 99% or 100% every day this week!

And congratulations to the twelve Year 12 students who completed the Brilliant Club programme over the last few months. They've all written up projects which have been assessed at undergraduate level, and I'm particularly pleased to tell you that seven students impressed their assessor so much that they have been offered places at Bath University. Tremendously well done to everyone involved. 

I also enjoyed speaking at our Year 6 induction event on Wednesday evening. We peaked at 199 families watching live, which was tremendous, and Mr King and I hugely enjoyed answering all of their questions. We can't wait to meet our new Year 7s who are on track to become the school's biggest year group of all time, which is incredibly exciting!

Last but not least, there's been a pretty significant update in the House Competition. It's incredibly tight at the top, but Typhoon have just crept into first place. Meteor meanwhile have slipped down to tie in second place with Javelin. There are fewer than 100 points between the four houses, so it's really all to play for going into House Sports next week and Sports Day the week after!

Best wishes,

Mr Farmbrough