The school year started with a pantomime and ended with a tremendous musical assembly. With Mr Langley as Prince Charming, Dr Dean as the Ugly Sister, Mrs Stewart as the Fairy Godmother, and Mrs Holmes performing as Cinderella in the opening assembly of the school year, all pupils were challenged to use their own skills and attributes to make the story of this year a positive one with a happy ending. I am delighted that the story of the year has been one of great achievements and significant developments. The Final Assembly featured some memorable exerts from the Senior and Prep musical productions of Hairspray and Porridge, together with a fitting tribute from the Pre-Prep for Mrs Drapan and a violin solo from 4 years of age Georgia Brindley.
The performers from the senior school production provided the final assembly act of the year, underlining the progress that has been made throughout the school in the Performing Arts.The production of Hairspray at the Boiler House Theatre was wonderful, with many outstanding performances from our talented singers and thespians. The Prep and Pre-Prep productions this year have also demonstrated the quality of our drama, whilst the programme of regular concerts allowed our musicians opportunities to perform on stage. This year our pupils have featured in National Youth Orchestras, performed at the Royal Albert Hall, danced with leading ballet companies, and even made acting appearances on television in Emmerdale. I am delighted that we now have a school orchestra and have extended peripatetic music lessons to include children from the age of 3 years and additional instruments including the trumpet, clarinet and saxophone.
Sports Days are always a feature of the final week of term. Sporting efforts and achievements were recognised at the impressive Sports Presentation Evening. At the West Yorkshire Schools Games we enjoyed notable success as our Gymnastics Team came away with a Gold Medal whilst the High 5 Netball Team were rewarded for their wonderful season with Silver Medals. The newly formed independent schools leagues provided excellent competition for senior school teams and these will be extended to other sports next year. The Under 15 Football Team came closest to winning a league title losing narrowly in the final deciding match of the season. As members of the Pennine Sports Partnership we enjoy excellent competition with Kirklees schools and pride of place this year went to the Trampolining Team who became District Champions. The Prep School football and netball teams enjoyed a sporting tour whilst the planned tour for our Senior School teams was sadly cancelled due to snow. Individual performances witnessed individual success in National and Regional Championships in a number of sports and some athletes were selected to represent Kirklees at athletics in the Czech Republic. Games afternoons at Leeds Road next year will provide first-class facilities as we seek to further develop our school sport.
Enrichment opportunities abound at Huddersfield Grammar School. I am delighted that so many of our young people now complete their Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards, committing themselves to a great deal of community service in the process. The opportunity to paint pictures with Rob Greenwood, write poetry and appear live on the radio with Gez Walsh, and have work displayed at the North Light Gallery demonstrate the wide range of experiences provided this year. The clubs and activities programme is extensive with, for example, Kindergarten now swimming regularly and our Year 1 children learning Spanish and Yoga. There are too many clubs to mention. However, I am extremely pleased that we have now introduced a programme of outdoor educational activities to challenge and develop our young people of all ages.
The most significant reponse on the pupil questionnaire was that every single one of our children said that they feel challenged to work to the very best of their ability in the classroom. This is an extremely happy school in which staff and children enjoy working hard together. The introduction of standardised assessments throughout the school will allow staff to monitor pupil progress and better inform parents of their child’s attainment. The appointment of a Read,Write Inc. leader and subject leaders throughout the Prep School will assist as we strive to develop the curriculum. I am extremely grateful to all of our teachers and teaching assistants who work to inspire, challenge and educate our pupils. I would particularly like to recognise the contribution of Mrs Drapan, who retires after 21 years of outstanding service in the Pre-Prep Department, Miss Day, who has been a wonderful teacher of both English and History in the Senior School, and Mrs Garnier, who has done so much in a short-time to progress our SEN provision. All depart with our very best wishes for the future.
The fact that the school has an exciting future becomes apparent as the children and staff commence their well-earned holiday and the builders come on site to begin phase one of the new building developments. The benefits to the school include specialist rooms for Prep and Pre-Prep Science, Art, Music, Drama and Dance, a Food Technology room, additional ICT rooms, 3 peripatetic music teaching rooms, a library in the main building and the frontage of the school opened up to allow sports on the front lawn. As one year ends with celebratory events of achievements past, I am already looking forward to the next exciting chapter in the development of our school.