Christmas Blog 2015

Dear Parents

The quality of the Christmas events, with acting, readings, music and carols, always demonstrate the talents of the children and staff at HGS. These events bring special memories. I would like to thank the large number of parents and children that supported this year’s Christmas Fayre and enjoyed the outdoor ice skating rink, the festive stalls and our Christmas cafe. The wonderful solo performance of Head Girl Lydia Shires in our excellent Senior School Carol Service, the magical collective singing of our school choirs at Christmas on the Courtyard, the Prep School Carol Service, and the wonderful Nativity performances of the Pre-Prep and Early Years Departments, have all provided an endearing image of the school, whilst showcasing the developing strength of music and drama. The school is pleased to have been able to support the excellent work of Kirkwood Hospice and it was wonderful for our school choirs to perform at their Christmas Fayre at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The quality of the performing arts has again impressed this term. The highlight for the term was undoubtedly the performance of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival at The Victoria Theatre, Halifax. A group of students also journeyed to the Globe Theatre in London to watch a live Shakespearian performance whilst a large number of students had their own creative writing selected to be published. The Talent Show organised by Year 11 prefects witnessed an amazing array of skills and talents whilst raising a large sum of money for charity. Year 8 students ventured to France, whilst other year groups enjoyed a week visiting Rome, Pompeii and the Island of Capri. Other children have ventured overnight to Lakeside in Windermere and Cranedale, whilst day trips have included Science Live at Leeds University, The Globe Theatre in London, Eureka, the Water Treatment Plan in Leeds, Bagshaw Museum, and to the Royal Armouries. It has been wonderful to see our Early Years children learning and enjoying their weekly timetabled sessions in our new Forest School environment.

The Senior School assembly brings weekly news of outstanding school achievements and individual successes in a wide variety of activities. This term we have celebrated achievements in creative writing, art competitions, music, drama and sport.  For example, Ealish Corkill won first prize in the West Yorkshire Creative Writing Competition; Imogen Davey has been selected for the National Youth Wind Ensemble; whilst Hannah Quinn and Grace Douthwaite worked together to win the first prize in the Royal British Legion Art Competition, receiving their award from Jason McCartney MP.

The sadness of the sudden passing away of Year 8 pupil Sebastian Voyce during the October half-term has witnessed a level of care and compassion that fully demonstrates the ethos and values of HGS. Sebastian was involved in numerous areas of school life, and was loved and admired by all members of staff and pupils. The busy routines of school life have been important in enabling us to move on both as individuals and as a school community. As ever, involvement in school life at our school has produced some wonderful memories and achievements in all sections of the school. Perhaps the most notable demonstration of this came with our annual Children in Need effort with all areas of the school combining to raise a large sum of money through a variety of different activities including Spotty Bingo, Bake Sales and donations from fancy dress.

In sports, we have recognised the increasing success of our school teams in a wide range of sports at local and District levels whilst there have been some notable individual achievements.  I would especially like to congratulate Sam Loizou on becoming National Swimming Champion in the Backstroke; Alice Weightman on representing England in showjumping; Amy Posner on competing in the National Finals in Freestyle Dance; and Camran Hassan for competing as a Great Britain Cadet at Taekwondo.  Welcome additions to our sporting programme have been the highly successful Prep School Invitation Cross-Country Competition and the ever increasing sporting opportunities within the Pre-Prep School. The success in Netball continues and our Year 8 team competed with notable success in representing Kirklees at the West Yorkshire Games.

The strength of the school in Netball, and indeed in all of our sporting provision, owes much to the commitment, dedication and talents of Miss Tess Wilkinson in her twenty years of service to the school, much of this as Head of PE. Miss Wilkinson has decided to seek new challenges away from the school and we must thank her for the enormous contribution that she has made in developing a love of sport and physical activity for so many children at the school. Although we welcome Miss Lisa Gledhill as our new PE Teacher in January we will certainly miss having Tess around. Miss Wilkinson’s work and passion for education typifies the ethos and values of our school.

Happy Christmas,

Tim Hoyle

01484 424549