Spring Bank 2014

Dear Parents,

There is a very real sense of excitement, optimism and challenge resonating around the school with the prospect of our new building developments and plans for September nearing completion. The half-term holiday will bring considerable changes as the crane moves on site to deliver the outer frame for the refurbishment of the Prep School building; the roof is added to the new Pre-Prep building; and the second storey housing Modern Languages and English for the Senior School begins to take shape.

The Grand Opening of the new building, set to be called the St David’s Building, named after the original school on the site in the 1930s, will take place on Saturday 4th October. Our showpiece Home Economics classroom will be a real feature of the developments and we are delighted to announce that television celebrity chef Brian Turner CBE will be coming to officially open the building and provide a cookery demonstration in the process. Tickets will shortly go on sale and we anticipate that this will be a wonderful celebration of the school’s recent developments.

The naming of the school buildings allows us to celebrate the rich history of the school. The main building will become Royds Mount, the Prep Building will become the Waverley Building and the Senior School will be renamed the Kayes Building, recognising the development of the Senior School under the leadership of Mrs Straughan and Mrs Jackson. The Biology Lab will be refurbished during the summer, to accompany our new Chemistry Lab. There will be a reunion event also taking place this year for members of the Huddersfield Grammar Association to view the new buildings on the evening of the 4th October and we do hope that departing Year 11 students will return to join us.

There is much work still to be done before the start of the new school year. Our Year 11 students are midway through their GCSE examinations and the need to persevere and approach each revision session with a positive and purposeful attitude is paramount. I am sure that there will be much success to celebrate at the end of the process. Other successes continue to feature regularly on our Facebook page. I was delighted this week to receive news that Alice Evans in Year 9 was voted winner of the Cognita “Around the World Cookery Competition” involving students from around the world. This was a wonderful achievement and, having tasted her excellent Key Lime Pie, I can assure you that she was a deserving winner. We must also offer our best wishes to the Under 11 Girls Swimming Relay Team as they prepare for the English Schools Finals in Sheffield after half-term.

There are a number of significant events this term that we would like to invite you to attend. As ever, your attendance at Presentation Evenings, Sports Days, concerts and events is welcomed. We also hope that you will be able to join us for our Senior School production of Little Shop of Horrors in our refurbished Assembly Hall and at our annual Art Exhibition at the North Light Gallery. There are two enjoyable and imaginative events for Pre-Prep and Prep children involving “A Day at the Beach” and “The Beach Party” on Saturday 21st June where we hope to be joined by prospective pupils and parents. The following week will be our much anticipated Annual HGS Garden Party. With inflatable activities and a large number of stalls we do hope that all will join us for a real family event. The Garden Party opens with a choral performance by pupils from the Senior Choir, Years 7 and 8 and all members of the Prep School in the marquee on the lawn at 12.00pm. We are delighted that renowned choirmaster Alan Simmons will be crossing the channel to join us the previous day for a choral workshop to introduce our singers to his music and to prepare the choir for their performance.

The school is well-placed to continue its developments next year. We have no members of staff leaving at the end of the year and optimism abounds. Plans for the introduction of Home Economics and Business Studies as GCSE subjects have been well received and our new timetable structure will allow greater access to specialist facilities and teachers for Prep and Pre-Prep pupils and more double lessons in the Senior School. Pastoral time will move to the end of the school day reducing the disruption to academic lessons for sports fixtures and concerts whilst the introduction of a Year 11 Enrichment Afternoon, encompassing cooking on a budget, technology challenges, business management, community service, leadership, lifeskills, public speaking, leisure activities and PSHE is extremely exciting.

The situation with regards our school uniform suppliers illustrates that these remain difficult economic times. I am delighted that we are in the process of completing an agreement for new uniform retailer within the Huddersfield area that will also provide access to uniforms at an onsite shop at scheduled dates on the calendar. The opportunity to fully establish a boys summer uniform with all boys in short sleeved white shirts with school logo is something that will be enforced next year. In order to allow boys to wear their summer shirts with blazer and tie in the Autumn Term, the grey shirt for Prep and Pre-Prep boys will be replaced in September by a white shirt.

Changes in appearance will be observed in the Senior School as we move to allow girls to wear their hair down and girls to wear stud earrings should they so wish. These will not be allowed in the Pre Prep or Prep School. We do hope that parents will continue to support the school in our desire to have pupils well-presented and conforming to the school rules.

There are many changes to celebrate. Ultimately it is the development of our young people as characters, displaying what Shakespeare described as “A Royalty of Nature” in Macbeth, that brings satisfaction on our achievements at HGS. Last weekend our Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students spent their time out on the moors camping, walking and developing their personal skills. This Friday, I can sleep with some satisfaction reflecting on another half-term of progress and achievement. The fact that I will spend it alongside colleagues and more than 30 pupils in a cardboard box on the playground in the rain raising money for the school’s charitable causes speaks volumes for the ethos and values of the school.

I wish you all a wonderful half-term,

T Hoyle

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