I would like to take time to reflect on the terrific endeavour, wonderful aspiration and impressive achievement of all our pupils again this year. A year which has brought many opportunities, all of which have been embraced in the true ‘Holme Grange Way’. Our pupils have risen to challenges presented to them and as Max, our student Head of School said last academic year “Others thrive but at Holme Grange we soar”
Without exception, I can say, and I know not every headteacher can – that each and every child at Holme Grange has achieved something incredible this year. They have grown and flourished, they have developed academically, socially and emotionally and I have the great pleasure and a not insignificant amount of pride, for what our young people have achieved.
I am a proud head of a school that is achieving outstanding academic results, brilliant success across a range of sports and a stunning outpouring of creativity within the arts and performing arts. When I look back over the past two years I do so with an incredible sense of gratitude that overwhelmingly, Holme Grange is a community populated by individuals who possess the courage and ambition to become much more than just another Berkshire independent school from 3 to 16. Again, in Max’s words – “we are much more than an educational establishment – we are a farm, we are a laboratory filled with budding scientists, they are the next generation of Michelin star chefs, the Steve Jobs, Shakespeares, Monet, Flemings just waiting to get out there and find their place in the world”.
This year has provided countless opportunities for us to embrace those values that have shaped Holme Grange school since 1945. At the heart of what it really means to be a Holme Granger is a concern for others and a desire to do good in this world.
The changes we have seen in school have been a microcosm of those in wider society, a demonstration of individual sacrifice for a more public good, new habits along with new ways of working. Coming out of this period of profound change, our school is determined to be bold in our hopes and aspirations for the future.
As a school we are the first school to be awarded Gold standard for our work on sustainability. There is a commitment to become a greener and more sustainable community. We were a finalist in the Muddy Stilettos Awards for the Most innovative Sports Programme, Runners Up for our Excellent Pastoral Care and shortlisted for the Independent School of The Year 2022 and our review in the Good Schools Guide describes us as “Plenty of schools’ policies bristle with good intentions that somehow get diluted on the shop floor. Here, they are delivered in full. Not exactly a hidden gem (reputation is spreading too fast) but to the parents who come here its approach is pure gold.”
This year we started the school Parliament with a Learning, Service, Sustainability and Wellbeing Council coming to Parliament to put forward their proposals to be included in the School Development Plan. Pupils have engaged in wide-ranging dialogue about our values, the individual strengths of our school, and crucially what we should share of each other. As part of these discussions and in their wider engagement, pupils across the school constantly articulate a clear desire to make a positive change.
Turning hopes and aspirations into reality takes time and patience, it also takes a very particular set of skills. Whether it is by encouraging kindness, empathy, debate, oracy, teamwork, or the importance placed on our internal democratic processes such as our school parliament and giving pupils a voice, the behaviours which lead to change can be identified at HG and are promoted and modelled.
If we can continue to foster and embed these skills, the impact within our school community and on the broader stage later in people’s lives, in their own communities and workplaces, this will be transformative. A community of changemakers. That feels a laudable aim for our school.