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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter from the Head - 19th November 2021

In this issue: A spotlight on Sixth Form

Dear all,

Winter has definitely arrived! With COVID-19 rates remaining relatively high both locally and at school, it is hugely important that we continue to keep classrooms well ventilated. While this is easy in the summer, open windows can make for some slightly colder classrooms. We will keep a careful eye on the temperature, but it is worth encouraging students to consider wearing a base layer (e.g. t shirt) under their shirt, or to consider wearing the school jumper. We do have a reserve supply of school jumpers which we're more than happy to lend to any student who needs one - students just need to ask in line up!

This week in school, we were delighted to host a number of visitors to review our Direct Instruction programme. We've been running this since September to give an extra boost to students with low literacy and numeracy levels, and it's proving very effective; I was delighted to hear that the trainers were very pleased with how the programme has been implemented at HP, and even happier to hear that they then told the school they visited the next day to come and see HP for an example of how to do it well!

Next week sees Year 8 begin their Rank Order Assessments, so we wish them all luck. 

We are now gearing up for one of my absolute favourite events of the year; our Sixth Form Open Evening, and I wanted to use the rest of this letter to focus in on the Sixth Form a little more.

Sixth Form is something I've always been passionate about - I was a Head of Sixth Form for a number of years, and I know just how important those two years are in making sure students go on to the very best destinations. 

Our Sixth Form has always been the strongest part of the school (indeed, even in 2018, the Sixth Form was rated good by Ofsted). Over the last two years, Mrs Marsden-Green and I have worked closely to completely restructure our courses into two pathways:

  • Our A Level Pathway - students pick three A Levels, from an exciting list of subjects which range from the traditional options like Maths, Chemistry and English Literature, to those which will be brand new to students, like Politics, Psychology and Criminology

  • Our Technical Pathway - students select one Extended Diploma to specialise in. These are full time courses, equivalent to three A Levels, which allow students to explore a vocation in considerable detail. For example, choosing the Art and Design pathway will see students working across a wide range of media - drawing, painting, photography, textiles, sculpture and many more.

(You can read more about these pathways, including getting a full list of courses, by clicking here.) 

We combine this range of courses with the feel of a small Sixth Form, where our Sixth Form Team can make sure every student gets the support they need to go on to be extremely successful, and I've been thrilled to see that the number of students going on to top universities has increased steadily every year I've been here - despite the challenges of COVID-19!

I'm looking forward to talking about this more at our Open Evening, so I hope to see as many Year 11 students and parents there as possible - you can pre-register by clicking here.

I hope you and your families have a wonderful weekend,

Best wishes,

Mr Farmbrough