End of Half Term May 2013

The primary focus within the school is currently on the Year 11 GCSE examinations. Our Year 11 students have worked extremely hard and are certainly deserving of good results this summer. Yet, for the vast majority of the school, the examination results achieved in the summer of 2013 will have little bearing on their own future achievements. As a school, we are striving for excellence, working to provide a learning environment that is engaging, inspiring and challenging. Research from Bristol University suggests that changes in teachers, incoming pupils and buildings have a significant impact on exam performance.  As such, whilst wishing all of our Year 11 students every success in their examinations, I am delighted that Huddersfield Grammar School is a changing school and working to make progress in all areas of school life.

This week our developing links with Huddersfield University bore fruit with an inspiring Science Day for pupils in Years 9 and 10. Students entered the university laboratories for topics such as DNA and Rockets. In my previous letter, I issued notice of the exciting trips and expeditions offered for the coming academic year. Mrs Garside tells me that we now have more than fifty pupils registered for the ski trip to Italy in February. Dr Dean has received an invite for our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Club to join with other Cognita Schools on a science expedition to Cern in Switzerland and those pupils attending the club will shortly receive details.

Our determination to use the skills and experiences of our own parents saw us welcome Mrs Hill into the Kindergarten to talk to the young people about dental health. The previous week Mr Valli has appeared with eyeballs and torches to talk about eye care, whilst Katie Crofts brought in the police van for the children to experience. Mr Brindley visited the school to talk of a career in journalism and, as News Editor for ITN, produced a fascinating DVD that included an interview, recorded especially for us, with Huddersfield born newsreader Nina Hossain. Developing such links is clearly beneficial as we look to develop opportunities for our pupils to engage with the world of business and commerce.

Developments in enrichment opportunities are clearly on the horizon. In sport, I was delighted to hear of our opening Under 15 cricket victory at Ackworth School with excellent performances from Josh Ratcliffe and Sulaiman Iqbal. The opportunities created by the use of Leeds Road Playing Fields for our home matches next year will clearly move our sport forward. In music and drama, the ongoing rehearsals for Hairspray, to be performed at the Boiler House Theatre, offer much encouragement and Zoe Cook, who plays Penny Pingleton, should be congratulated on her wonderful solo performance at the staff meeting last week. In the creative arts, arrangements are now in place for the opening of the Art Exhibition at the North Light Gallery on Friday 7th June, with our special guest Gez Walsh providing this year’s Annual Sir Chris Woodhead Lecture on ‘The Importance of Creative Arts Today’. Mr Walsh will lead a poetry workshop at school for the Prep pupils during the day. In the evening we will be treated to recitals of his work and those of our aspiring Prep School poets, in addition to providing the opportunity to view the impressive GCSE art work.

Plans for the new buildings continue to excite and the children will have witnessed a number of engineers testing and drilling in preparation for the works scheduled for July. Pupils will also have noticed that we have welcomed a number of new students to the school in recent weeks. Our school continues to change and develop for the benefit of all who have yet to experience their GCSE examinations.

And then, with half-term approaching our thoughts can turn to other things. This Friday will see Prep children enjoying their ‘Sleep In’ in the Sports Hall whilst Senior pupils may have to brave the cold and the rain in their cardboard boxes for the ‘Sleep Out’ on the playground. I am pleased that whilst looking to provide an outstanding education for our own children, they are similarly challenged to do their bit in support of others. Let us hope for sunshine this weekend.

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