The Headmaster’s Blog

Dear Parents,

Over the previous few days, both regional and national newspapers have been awash with hyperbolic references to ‘The Beast from the East’ and, whilst we have taken our obligations to keep all in the school community safe very seriously over the previous two days of closure, one might be forgiven for thinking that this latest national phenomenon has malevolent intent.

So let me attempt to redress the balance a little…

I do hope that those of you who were able to spend added time with your children over the last two days have had an opportunity to venture outside with them, build a snowman and even enjoy some sledging. Some of my most precious childhood memories are rooted in that sense of freedom I felt when the family routine was abandoned, all around me was cast in white and special memories were made with loved ones – memories which, dare I say it, lasted longer than many lessons that I was taught at school.

Whilst I am all too aware that, for some families, work commitments have interfered with the possibilities thrown up by the snowy terrain this week, and have been conscious of our obligation to make work available to our older students while they have been off school, I hope that many of you have had an opportunity of sorts to enjoy the more positive aspects of such conditions, those that are so rarely covered on the radio news or on television.

Once ‘The Beast from the East’ has finally returned to Siberia, we can prepare for the possibilities of Spring and, before too long, Easter holiday adventures in which new family memories can be made before your children return to school for the Summer Term.

Upon doing so in April, our students will be introduced to a new member of staff, Mrs Claire McMurdo, who will play an integral role in moving the school forward in the years ahead. I am delighted to confirm that Mrs McMurdo recently accepted an offer to become the school’s new Deputy Head (Achievement), after a national search for the candidate who will lead and manage the day-to-day curricular, assessment and reporting functions of the school, and will be charged with overseeing the development of an innovative curriculum that is academically rigorous, promotes character development and fully embeds 21st century skills.

Mrs McMurdo’s appointment into a new role for the school marks the first phase of exciting plans to add further strength-in-depth to our Senior Leadership Team as we respond appropriately to the marked growth of the school over the previous five years. At least one further whole-school Deputy Head will be appointed later this academic year, to further support our excellent Heads of Early Years, Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School leaders, and with a view to sharpening our focus on teaching and learning, curricular innovation, stretch and challenge, personalised care and support for every child, and pupil leadership opportunities.

Mrs McMurdo currently serves as Assistant Headteacher for Community and Operations at Saddleworth School, in Oldham, and is thoroughly looking forward to joining our school community. I am sure that you will all be heartened to hear that Mrs McMurdo is not only a very talented school leader, with over 18 years of experience in five school settings, but that she also has a clear sense of the values and ethos of Huddersfield Grammar School, as mother to a Year 7 student at HGS.

As we prepare to add at least one further whole-school Deputy Head post to the Senior Leadership Team, it is with sadness and great appreciation that I share the news that Dr Simon Dean will be leaving Huddersfield Grammar School at the end of this school year after nearly two decades of service to move on to pastures new.

Dr Dean’s career at Huddersfield Grammar School dates back almost to its foundation in the mid-1990s on the site of the former independent school, St David’s, and he has served both the school and generations of students with great distinction in a variety of roles in the years that have since passed, more recently as its Deputy Head.

Over the short period of my tenure as Headmaster thus far, I have found Dr Dean to be an incredibly loyal, selfless and caring colleague who has always placed the welfare of our students at the heart of all that he does. His logistical expertise, passion in the classroom and marked contribution to the broadening of the curriculum in recent years has played a significant part in the school’s development and he has experienced the school both as a parent and an educator, as Mrs McMurdo soon will.

I know that you will join me in thanking Dr Dean for his lengthy service to Huddersfield Grammar School and, equally, that you will extend a warm welcome to Mrs McMurdo when she moves into our new Deputy Head (Achievement) position in April.

With best wishes,

Mr M Seaton