The Headmaster’s Final Blog of the Year

Dear Parents,

The end of a school year is typically characterised by tired eyes, wide smiles and excitement at the dawn of a Summer holiday that seems, at first, to roll on forever, before being gone all too soon. It is also a time to celebrate achievement in school as well as to acknowledge the efforts of those who are leaving for pastures new.

In assemblies this morning, we acknowledged both the individual and collective successes that have marked a most successful academic year. More pointedly, we also spoke of our responsibility as a school to reflect the diversity of our wider society – to always find room to celebrate the more off-the-beaten-track achievements of our young people, rather than simply pandering to stereotypes.

In doing so, we highlighted the success of Bridget Campbell (Year 9), recently described by one of our parents as “the finest rugby player at HGS”. Bridget has an exceptional talent for a game that was, in an earlier age, characterised as that most masculine of sporting pursuits. She has been a proud member of the Sandal Under-13s Girls’ Rugby team in Wakefield and her Player of the Match award at the beginning of the 2017-18 season followed hot on the heels of a brilliant, six-try haul. At the turn of the year, Bridget successfully passed a trial for a place on the England Rugby Developing Player Programme, a structured pathway provided by the RFU.

At the recent Sports Presentation Evening, it was wonderful to see Beth Howarth (Year 6) win the Football Cup. This was the first time a girl at the school had ever won this prize and Beth, a proud member of the Leeds United Academy, received it not long after she had travelled to Elland Road to receive a league winner’s medal for the success of her Under-12 Leeds United team, having scored the winning goal to clinch the title. As Beth received her award, it was noticeable that the trophy still has ‘Boys’ Football’ etched into it – a stark reminder of the need for the school to continue to keep pace with societal change in the years ahead.

At a memorable Garden Party basked in Summer sunshine, it was a further pleasure to be able to present Jake Coleman-Hallsworth (Year 7) with first prize in our annual HGS Great Bake-off, ahead of an otherwise all-female shortlist of fellow finalists. Again, Jake not only emerged victorious from a close contest – he became the second boy at the school to win the prize in as many years.

The last day of this school year also presented our children and teaching colleagues with an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of colleagues who are leaving the school. We wish Mrs Jane Kelly, Teacher of English, Mrs Linda Lancaster, Prep School teacher, and Mrs Sonia Gledhill, our Food and Art Assistant, the happiest of retirements – in Sonia’s case, after an incredible 28 years at Huddersfield Grammar School! Much fun was had in assembly this afternoon as we revealed that our Head of History, Mr Poulter-Dunford, was still in nappies when Mrs Gledhill first walked into Royds Mount as a new member of staff.

Both Dr Simon Dean, Deputy Head, and Mr Rob Crookes, Director of Sport, also leave the school today, both well into their second decade of service to the school. Tributes were suitably powerful given the enormous contribution of both colleagues to the development of the school after so many years. Further speeches will follow in this evening’s gathering of colleagues.

In September, the school will welcome a number of talented new colleagues: Miss Kate Brearley, Head of English; Mr Steven Butters, Director of Sport; Miss Emily Belshaw, Teacher of Humanities; Miss Aisha Ali and Miss Lucinda Parker-Jones, Teachers of English; Miss Chloe Hulbert, Teacher of Chemistry, and Miss Gemma Lancaster, Teacher of Pre-Prep.

All of these new teachers met their future pupils for the first time at last week’s Transition Day and are thoroughly looking forward to working with them from September.

On Monday, work will begin on the development of our school site as the refurbishment of the Kindergarten lawn into an outdoor learning area begins. The redesign will create an engaging play area for all seasons, in which various learning zones will offer greater diversity in the way our youngest children can interact and play. Our new Trivium Centre, designed as a base in which our Year 7 students will develop their intellectual curiosity, public speaking and debating skills, will also be constructed over the Summer months, along with four new Senior School classrooms to cater for our now broader GCSE curriculum.

At Huddersfield Grammar School, we remain committed to providing an excellent education within a stimulating and nurturing environment and, in the 2018-19 academic year, you can expect to see further emphasis being placed on three key areas: offering academic stretch, both within and beyond the classroom, to enable each pupil to achieve their ‘personal best’; the further evolution of the school curriculum to ensure that it is future-facing and caters for the needs of the modern child, and the further enhancement of our extra-curricular activities programme to provide new opportunities for our students to develop the strength of character required to be effective later in life.

We have much to be proud of at Huddersfield Grammar School and look forward to the new school year with great enthusiasm.

On behalf of all school staff, I wish you all a very happy summer holiday.

Studio Floremus!

With best wishes,

Mr M Seaton

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