The Headmaster’s Blog

Dear Parents,

One of the wonderful things about life in an all-through school is the opportunity it provides to see Christmas celebrated in all manner of ways, by pupils ranging from 3 to 16 years old. Over the past weeks, we have enjoyed a beautiful solo verse of ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ by Year 7 student Maddie Baxter, the magical performances of choirs of all ages at our annual Christmas in the Courtyard, some exceptional acting from nativity performers in the Early Years and Pre-Prep and, finally, two excellent Prep and Senior School Carol Services at St Stephen’s.

The huge range of festive activities undertaken have highlighted two things in particular: the warmth of a school community that is family-centred, and the ever-expanding performing arts culture at HGS.

Over the remainder of the school year, we will further grow the performing arts, with an inaugural HGS Musician of the Year Competition (including a Grand Final for all the community), a new Poetry Recitation Competition in Key Stage 3 and, also for the first time, a Public Speaking Competition for Key Stage 4 students.

LAMDA teaching is now open to Prep School students for the first time and, as Headmaster, I am deeply committed to giving our promising singers, dancers and actors every bit as high a profile as our wonderful sports individuals and teams.

The Senior School assembly provides me with a weekly opportunity to share news of the range of outstanding achievements of our students in a wide variety of activities. This term we have celebrated the success of Laura Mitchell in winning Second Place in the ISA National Arts Competition for the sketchbook that she created as a Year 11 student last year. Only today, we shone a light on the exceptional achievements of Alice Weightman (current Year 10), who recently travelled to Holland to compete for Great Britain in an international show jumping competition, winning a Silver Medal, and of our Division 2 title-winning footballers in Year 9.

The strength of the school in Netball has owed so much to the inspirational coaching of Miss India Shibil and Miss Lisa Gledhill. Under their tutelage, our netball teams have won the vast majority of their fixtures, both against local opposition and in wider ISA North Tournaments, and a memorable international netball tour was held in Dubai over the October half-term.

In this morning’s Senior School assembly, our netballers bade an emotional farewell to Miss Shibil as she prepares for an exciting new teaching adventure overseas, publically presenting her with gifts, a touching tribute speech and a video presentation. Whilst she will be greatly missed by all, our students were delighted by the news of the promotion of Miss Gledhill to Head of Girls’ PE and are greatly looking forward to working with the newly-appointed Miss Laura Atkin, who has worked as a Teacher of PE and Head of House in a range of school settings, including Hipperholme and Crossley Heath Grammar Schools. Miss Atkin competes weekly in the First Division of the Huddersfield Netball League and, as a student, represented Leeds Metropolitan University in netball fixtures across the country.

I am delighted to be able to confirm that the school recently appointed a new Admissions and Marketing Officer, Miss Hayley Thompson, who was highly impressive at interview and the unanimous choice of the panel. For the past six years, Hayley has worked as Marketing Manager at an independent art gallery and has broad-ranging experience including numerous events management projects. Hayley is currently studying for further accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has a passion for Musical Theatre, having studied at Leeds College of Music after being schooled at The Mirfield Free Grammar School and Sixth Form.

Hayley is very excited at this new challenge and is thoroughly looking forward to meeting our school community next term.

Hayley will, of course, be replacing someone who has been an integral figure at Huddersfield Grammar School for over a decade, as Mrs Gini Garside moves to a promoted post at The Gleddings Preparatory School in Halifax. Gini has done so much for the school over its period of growth, and for me personally since I arrived in post. She has been a pillar of the school community in developing our special events, such as the Garden Party and Christmas in the Courtyard, and a driving force in the growing popularity of the school in her admissions role.

Over the past week, we have paid tribute to Gini in a range of memorable assemblies to thank her for her wonderful service – she will always be a friend of HGS.

On behalf of everyone at Huddersfield Grammar School, my warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you in January!

Mr M Seaton