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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter from the Head - 8th October 2021

In this issue: Year 7 residential, continuing Black History Month, and a busy sporting week

Dear all,

This week has been nothing if not tiring!

Year 7 have spent time at Viney Hill on their residential. This year we had over 200 students sign up, which meant students went in their houses. I visited some groups and it was wonderful to see students bonding with their tutors and Heads of House, and enjoying themselves canoeing, mountain biking, climbing, or toasting marshmallows around the fire! A particular well done to Hurricane House who went first and were camping out on Monday night in the torrential rain - they showed massive resilience and came back a little damp but in good spirits! We have a fair few bits of lost property so if your child is missing anything we'll be going through this on Monday. 

As always, you can find all of the pictures on our Instagram page. A big thank you must go to the staff who gave up their time to go - especially the core team of Ms Furleger, Ms Diaco, Mr Dewfall and Mr Devlin who spent all five days their and did a fantastic job of ensuring the trip went so smoothly. 

Back at school, our focus on Black History Month has continued. In Assembly this week, I've been talking to students about this year's theme - Proud to Be - and why it matters. I think the theme perfectly captures Black History Month's aim of promoting awareness of the hugely important contributions made by Black people to British History.

My assembly focused on someone who I hugely admire - Ulric Cross. Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1917, he travelled to England in 1940 and joined the RAF as a pilot, becoming one of the first Black officers in the RAF. Over the course of the war, he became an elite Pathfinder - ranging ahead of bombing raids to identify and illuminate targets. He flew 50 missions (on average, 5% of planes were shot down on each mission), and on reaching 50 missions, was given the chance to step into a safer role. He refused, and went on to fly over 80 combat missions, attain the rank of Squadron Leader, and be awarded the Distinguised Service Order. After the war, he continued to smash through glass ceilings. He trained at Middle Temple and became one of a tiny handful of Black barristers in the UK, before moving back to Trinidad and Tobago to take up a seat as a High Court Judge. He ended his career as Trinidad and Tobago's High Commissioner. I'm sure you'll agree that his is an incredible story - and it's just one of many. Next week we'll be focusing on reading, with DEAR time each day being given over to reading some fantastic short stories and essays by Black authors, and I look forward to updating you again.  

Finally, it's been an extremely busy week for PE, with fixtures against our GLT Sister Schools Five Acres and Gloucester Academy, including some brilliant Year 11 netball and football matches this evening. I'm very pleased to report we've maintained our reputation as the sportiest school in the trust, winning all but one of these matches, and drawing one. We also had some great netball matches against St Peters, drawing or winning all of them. Once again, you can find all the photos on our Instagram. 

Particular congratulations go to three of our Year 11s for some fantastic achievements this week: Sam G represented Holmleigh Park in the Gloucester District team, who won all four of their matches against the other three districts of Gloucestershire and a combined Bristol side. Jordan Y made it through the first round of selection for Gloucestershire Under 18 cricket, despite the fact that she's still in Year 11. And Jay D won all of his fights to become the Western Counties Boxing Champion in his age/weight group. Jay will now go on to a title showdown with the Eastern Counties Champion, so we'll all be cheering him on. 

As always, I hope you have a lovely weekend. 

Best wishes,

Mr Farmbrough