The Evolution of the School Leadership Team

At this most testing of times for the country, the school community at Huddersfield Grammar School has responded superbly to the unprecedented challenges presented by the advent of online learning. This has been reflected in the response of pupils and parents to the recent Pulse surveys, with 83% of parents agreeing that the school day is well structured, and 97% of pupils reporting that their teachers’ expectations are clear.

Whilst the phased return of pupils to schools across the United Kingdom from June will, of course, bring with it a new set of challenges for educators and families, the recent period of national lockdown has provided Huddersfield Grammar School with an opportunity to advance its plans for the evolution of its leadership team.

Earlier this year, Headmaster, Mr Mike Seaton, was appointed as Director of Education (UK) for Cognita and so will soon be stepping down from his current role. After three years of outstanding work which is now seeing the school achieving national recognition for its continued growth, development and improvement, Mr Seaton will move to a central role within the Cognita group to oversee the work of other Heads towards these goals.

Mr Seaton will also retain close ties with Huddersfield Grammar School, by supporting the Chair of Governors, Ms Danuta Tomasz, as Deputy Chair of Governors for the school. In this role, he will maintain an oversight of educational strategy and quality assurance as Huddersfield Grammar School continues its journey towards becoming the leading non-selective independent school in Yorkshire.

We are delighted to confirm that the Deputy Head (Character), Mrs Donna Holmes, will be serving as Acting Head of the School from Monday 25th May and throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Mrs Holmes’ first steps as Acting Head of School will see her run a series of parental engagement sessions, via Microsoft Teams, to which parents across all phases of the school will be invited to share their views as this exciting new chapter for Huddersfield Grammar School begins. Further details will be shared by the school shortly.

Mrs Holmes has enjoyed an illustrious career at Huddersfield Grammar School since joining the school leadership team over 12 years ago. As Deputy Head (Character), she is currently responsible for leading and managing the development of character education at the school and continues to oversee the day-to-day pastoral functions of a school that is so well regarded in its locality for its commitment to kindness, care and inclusivity. She is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead for the school and has played a key role in coordinating its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout her career, Mrs Holmes has been driven by combining excellent pastoral care for children
alongside high expectations to reach the best outcomes and destination school for each HGS pupil, including her two sons, Harry and Toby, who are currently studying at Oxford and Northumbria University.

With Mrs Holmes now assuming the Acting Headship from Monday 25th May, the current Headmaster, Mr Mike Seaton, will begin his new role as Director of Education (UK) for Cognita from the beginning of the half-term holiday, whilst also serving as Deputy Chair of Governors for Huddersfield Grammar School.

Over the course of Mr Seaton’s outstanding Headship, the school has achieved national recognition for its continued growth, development and improvement, culminating in it winning the Independent Schools Association’s National Prize for Successful Change Management earlier this academic year, and in its Prep School now ranking 63rd nationally in the Sunday Times ‘Best Schools’ guide.

The appointment of Mrs Holmes as Acting Head of Huddersfield Grammar School, together with Mr Seaton’s continued association with the school as its Deputy Chair of Governors, will provide important continuity in the leadership of the school as planning for the 2020-21 academic gathers pace and the recruitment process for a permanent successor to Mr Seaton takes its course.

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