Start of Summer Term

I am delighted to announce that planning permission for our exciting school building development plans has now been granted by Kirklees Council, subject to signing a Section 106 Green Travel Plan Agreement. I am advised that we are now on schedule to commence building works in July. Parents and pupils will be kept informed of the progress of the development at all stages and, in addition to letters updating parents on the developments, there will be a meeting at school on Thursday 11th July at 6pm to explain the changes that parents will see at the start of the school year. There will be two separate building sites at either side of the campus and we are confident that we will continue to deliver high quality education in what will also be a very exciting time for all at the school.

Senior School parents have now received letters informing them of the Ski Trip to Italy that will be departing in February half-term. In such difficult economic times, we are conscious of the need to keep parents informed of the school excursions that are planned for the full academic year. Although there will be a number of educational trips and excursions that will feature on the school calendar, we have agreed that the following excursions will take place involving costs of more than £50:

Senior School Ski Trip to Italy c.£750
Year 11 Trip Edinburgh (July) c.£200
GCSE Geography trip to Malham c.£200
Year 9 and 10 Trip to Spain (July) c.£500
Year 8 Trip to France (October) c.£425
Year 7 Trip to Lake District (Sept) c.£150
Year 6 Trip to Cranedale (Sept) c.£180
Year 5 Trip to Llandudno (June) c.£100

The staffing arrangements for next year are almost finalised and I will provide a full update at the end of term. Parents may be aware that Mrs Drapan will retire from teaching at the end of the academic year. I am delighted that we have been able to employ Mr Renshaw in a permanent capacity as her replacement and he is scheduled to move from Reception to Year One next year. Mrs Hardcastle has been appointed this week as temporary Reception Teacher for two terms until Mrs Hirst returns. I am delighted to announce that Verity Beau Hirst was born last week and that mother and baby are doing very well. Mrs Garnier will also move to a new post at the end of the year and I am delighted that Mrs Hutson has accepted the position of SENCo from September. Mrs Hutson will be visiting the school on a number of occasions and meeting individually with those children receiving additional support at the school.

Timetable and Curriculum arrangements will be finalised in the coming weeks. I am delighted that Games Afternoons have proved so successful in providing pupils with greater opportunities and in improving standards in sports and games. In September, Years 5 and 6 will have Games on a Tuesday afternoon and Years 7, 8 and 9 will be combined for Games on a Thursday afternoon. On both afternoons, pupils will now have access to the sports facilities at Leeds Road in addition to the school sports hall, netball courts, playing fields and Assembly Hall. This will include use of the brand new 3G Astroturf pitch, the barn, the Multi-Games Court and the playing fields, to include cricket pitches.  There will be no additional charges for this facility and I believe that it will make a significant contribution as we look to develop sports and games.

In addition, Year 9 will be combined with Years 10 and 11 in using the Kirklees Sports Centre for Physical Education lessons on a Friday morning allowing them opportunities for badminton, trampolining, rock climbing, swimming, self-defence, etc… These will assist for the skills and physical activities sections for those choosing to follow the Duke of Edinburgh Award and in developing new areas of lifetime interest for others.

Mr Smaldon has been appointed as Enrichment Co-ordinator for next year and has already established close links with the Kirklees Youth Service that will enable the whole school to access a variety of Outdoor Educational Opportunities. I have been extremely impressed by the popularity and work of the large numbers of Year 9 and Year 10 pupils that have decided to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards and I am sure that the enrichment opportunities that will be provided across the school next year will be both educationally beneficial and enjoyable for all pupils.

The Prep School Production of the Porridge Pot and the Senior Tea Time Concert both demonstrated that we have some extremely talented performers in music and drama at the school. I am delighted that Miss Haigh has agreed to join the staff as a Drama Teacher next year. The forthcoming Senior School Production of Hairspray at the Boiler House Theatre promises to be impressive and enjoyable. The success of these performances, and the excellence of those produced in the Pre-Prep School, suggest that next year we should look to expand our programme of performances to provide specific opportunities for productions for pupils in Years 3 and 4 combined and for those in Years 7 to 9.

The developments outlined indicate the constant drive to provide educational opportunities and a school environment that meets the needs of all pupils. Teaching and learning remains our priority and staff will testify to the increasing opportunities for sharing good practice, continuous professional development and in-service training. As the school works to develop our site and programme of activities and opportunities, I can assure you that the importance of what takes place within the classroom remains our priority.

Best Wishes,

Tim Hoyle

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