Returning to school at the start of the New Year is always filled with plans and hopes for the future. We are delighted that we have 438 pupils with us as we start the term and the limit placed of 20 children in a teaching group has now resulted in waiting lists in some year groups. The school does have some exciting and ambitious plans for the future and the staff were delighted with their first impressions of our new Virtual Learning Environment, Firefly, at our INSET day presentation. The staff will all be working to familiarise themselves with the system this term and we do plan to ‘go live’ for the pupils at Easter. Staff have also been homing their IT skills on the new Pupil Asset System that will provide the data on which we will shape our new reports and our individualised programmes of teaching and learning. Facility developments have continued during the holidays and we are delighted to have replaced the damaged courtyard surface with new block paving. We are also anticipating a number of planned developments this term that include the re-surfacing of the car park, the construction of a parents waiting shelter, the furnishing of the Dance and Drama Studio, and the removal of the portacabins from the front lawn.
This year, having had groups visit Berlin and Paris, we have a ski group of 55 children heading to Austria at half-term and a group enjoying the summer sights and local language in Barcelona. The school term dates for next year have now been finalised and will appear shortly on the school website. I do need to advise parents that the February half-term dates are not the same as those within Kirklees. This will allow the students in the Senior School to enjoy a week of skiing in Courmayeur at this time for the 2016 Senior School Ski Trip. There will be a half-term trip next October to Rome, Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius for children currently in Year 8 and above and the annual Year 8 excursion to Paris, including EuroDisney, will take place at the same time. Huddersfield Grammar School is an exciting place to work and study. We wish all of the pupils and parents a Happy New Year, especially the 12 new starters that joined the school today and the Year 11 students that start their GCSE mock exams on Monday.