Recent Developments of our School

Dear Parents,

The events of the two weeks since returning to school after half-term perhaps illustrate recent developments at the School.

The party of 73 students and 9 staff that returned from the inaugural skiing excursion during the February half-term had clearly enjoyed a wonderful week. The photographs on facebook clearly provide an insight into the excitement and enjoyment experienced by all. Our students proved wonderful ambassadors for the School and their progress in developing their skiing skills was incredible. The School is committed to providing such educational opportunities in the future. This week, the invitations for next year’s ski trip to Austria were issued and a return trip to Italy in 2016, this time to Courmayeur, has already been booked. In addition, we are offering the opportunity for students to experience separate Modern Language tours to France and Spain and a History tour to Berlin in the coming academic year.

Last week our Under 16 footballers enjoyed a 3-1 victory against Rishworth on our ‘home’ 3G astroturf pitch at Leeds Road. The progress that we are making in developing standards with boys’ games was further underlined with a 2-1 victory for the Under 15s against Rishworth and our Under 11 team finishing undefeated in their three matches in the Pennine Sports Partnership tournament. Our Under 11 Netball team has already won through to the next round of the West Yorkshire Games and they will be joined by the footballers on their mini-tour to Warwick and Milton Keynes for the Cognita Sports Festival this week. Netball remains our main area of sporting success and we congratulate Phoebe Hartop on her achievements to date, and offer our very best wishes, as she trials of the England Under 17 Team at Sheffield this coming weekend. Congratulations must also go to the Year 3 and 4 Gymnastics team that achieved 1st place in the Kirklees Key Steps Gym Competition last week. The younger members of the school are destined not to miss out next year. The introduction of mixed football and netball teams for Years 1 and 2 will allow us to further develop our sporting talents.

The Performing Arts remains another key area of focus. Having enjoyed the dancing of Olivia Fryer and Lydia Shires at the Lawrence Batley Theatre last week, we will work to have all age groups represented at next year’s Strictly Pennine Dance Festival. The Performance Garden is almost completed and has already been used for a number of activities. The performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Year 7 next term will be the first of many events in our new outdoor arena. Interest in theatre is certainly extremely strong with a party of 82 children and staff enjoying the National Theatre Live performance of War Horse at the Odeon this week. Next week I will be accompanying four musicians to the Cognita Music Festival in London. With Francesca Tinsdeall playing the violin in the National Children’s Orchestra, and Imogen Davey playing flute in the National Children’s Wind Orchestra, it promises to be an impressive showcase of HGS talents. Plans for summer drama productions are underway in all sections of the school and I am sure that there will be some wonderful occasions to come. We are delighted that Lynne Chapman will present a book illustration workshop prior to the opening of our Art Exhibtion at the North Light Gallery on Thursday 5th June and many of the children will have their work displayed on the evening.  I would especially invite parents to enter the Garden Party date of Saturday 28th June into their diaries. The School has invited Alan Simmons to stage a choral workshop for all Prep and Year 7 to 8 children on Friday 27th June and there will be what promises to be an amazing performance of their work to open our Garden Party celebrations the following day.

Additional opportunities abound. Last week the Huddersfield University Racing Team came to demonstrate their car at our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Club meeting and we sent a team of mathematicians to compete at the Mathematic Challenge. Debating Teams are new for the school and, undefeated after two matches, our team will next face Royds Hall School with the presence of local radio to record their arguments. The Inspection Report has been provided to all parents. The Inspectors were certainly impressed by the extensive range of opportunities offered at the school and I urge all parents and students to take advantage of these.

Academic matters remain a key focus for our older students. As examinations approach, I am delighted to receive such praise and excellent news from the sixth form college interview process. Our students appear well placed for future success judged on the excellent results received from January’s iGCSE English examinations. 19 out the 37 students achieved A* grades and more than 70% of the year group achieving either A or A* results. These are outstanding results and should enhance the confidence and determination for further success after the Easter holidays. Our Year 11 students have certainly worked extremely hard this year and I am confident that they will receive the best possible outcomes in their exams.

The School remains a family school with a positive ethos. On Saturday we welcomed more than 80 children and their parents to our excellent Stay and Play on the Farm session. The demand for places at the school is increasing and we are delighted that we will progress to having three forms in both Years 7 and 8 next year. Parents should be assured that we have no plans to increase the overall size of the school. A small Year 10 allows us to expand at present and we will continue to ensure that no class exceeds 20 children.

The building developments are on target and works will commence on the Prep School building at Easter. There will be a new road to facilitate these developments running across the front of the main building and using the Kindergarten play area. This will force some changes in rooming arrangements for Kindergarten and Pre-Prep as we work to ensure that we provide a safe and appropriate site throughout this process. I have been delighted that the works have progressed so well to date and I thank Illingworth and Gregory for their continuing co-operation.  I would also like to thank both parents and staff for their understanding and support with car parking this term both on site and within the locality. The new buildings will produce specialist rooms to enhance our curriculum making it all worthwhile. It is an exciting time at the school and all is set to be in place for the start of the new academic year in September.

Tim Hoyle

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