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March 2024 update letter to parents/carers

Our Ref: DK/jh/gltr/mar 24    

March 2024

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope you and your family are well at the start of a very important month for many people of faith within our community. The focus of this month’s update letter includes information on:

  • Attendance Matters - An update on the national situation and where we are as a school
  • World Book Day 2024
  • Easter holiday revision programme for Year 11/13 students
  • How the school community marks and prepares to celebrate a number of important religious festivals
  • Upcoming dates to look out for during the remainder of the Spring term

Attendance Matters
There is a lot in the news about the concerns with school attendance, and the government continues to make this a major focus of their work at the moment in education. I am pleased to report that attendance at Holyhead is strong and is currently over 2% above the national average which is a testament to the work of everyone involved with the school including parents and carers. 

We recently received two awards for attendance in the Autumn term from Fisher Family Trust, a major national education organisation, one for having attendance in the top 25% of schools nationally and the second for having attendance in the top 10% of schools with similar circumstances (linked to the proportion of children eligible for Free School Meals). These are significant achievements and worth celebrating, however, it is absolutely crucial that we all continue to strive for improved attendance as we know that students with high attendance:

  • do better in exams because they learn more and can therefore remember more.
  • find it easier to maintain friendships = improved social development.
  • are more likely to be involved in a wider range of enrichment opportunities and experiences. 
  • have better social and communication skills.

World Book Day 2024
This year’s World Book Day is taking place on Thursday 7th March and we will be marking this with a wide range of activities and opportunities for students to engage in the wonder of reading and literature. This week will see special assemblies and competitions for students to get involved in, and all students will receive World Book Day tokens that can be used to purchase books. 

On World Book Day itself, we invite students to dress in a costume to represent their favourite character from a book and are expecting them to bring in a copy of the book to accompany their costume. This is not compulsory and students not coming in costume should wear their school uniform as normal (any students who come to school in non-school uniform without their book will be expected to change back into school uniform). 

Easter holidays revision sessions 
We will be hosting revision sessions for Y11/13 in a number of subjects over the Easter holidays to support their preparation for the GCSE/A Level exams that will be beginning in May.  In support of staff and students fasting over Ramadan, the sessions will start at the later than normal times of 11am and 1.30pm. A confirmed timetable will be available on the school website before we break up at the end of the Spring term.

Ramadan, Holi and Easter 2024
The months of March and April see major religious festivals and observance for many of our community’s faiths, a time to celebrate the values and humanity we all share in addition to embracing the opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures as a school community.

We have a broad programme of events and activities planned during this special time. One of the most important activities will be our ‘Acts of Kindness’ assemblies, emphasising the importance of selflessness and respect for each other, not only at school, but in all aspects of our lives.                                              
The holy month of Ramadan begins for Muslims on or around Monday 11th March, and highlights the importance of family, charity, empathy and gratitude.  Our team is working hard to provide very clear guidance on how observance of all aspects of Ramadan by students can be balanced alongside learning and upholding high expectations when in school, as well as balancing revision needs, and we will share this with families in the coming days.  As a staff body we learn together so that all can contribute and participate, be that by engaging students and colleagues in discussion around Suhoor or Iftar, or by fasting to show solidarity with the community and students.

Ramadan continues on either side of the Easter holidays, and we wish all of our Muslim staff, students and families Ramadan Mubarak.  I will write to all families separately about our plans and communication on how we will operate the school on the day of Eid al-Fitr which is currently forecast to take place on either Wednesday 10th or Thursday 11th April, and as was the case last year there will likely be the need for two year groups to be educated remotely at home as a result of the high number of staff members who will also be observing this very special day. 
Sunday 24th March is the Hindu festival of Holi.  This celebration of good over evil marks the end of winter and the start of spring in South Asia and is marked by a festival of colour with optimism for the season ahead.

Easter Day on Sunday 31st March will see Christians around the world bring an end to 40 days of fasting or abstinence during the period of Lent.  This is a time of great contemplation and reflection for many, a time where rejuvenation and resurrection holds special meaning.  The cultural diversity of the school means this will mean different things to our students whose heritage covers much of the globe, and every continent.

Key upcoming dates and events in March / April

  • There is a Year 12 Subject Parents’ Evening on Thursday 7th March from 4-6pm.
  • We will break up at the end of the Spring Term on Friday 22nd March at 12 noon.
  • There is a Staff CPD day on Monday 8th April. The school will be closed to all students.
  • Students will return to school for the start of the Summer Term on Tuesday 9th April at 8.40am.

I thank you again for your time in reading this letter and as usual, I wish you and your family well over the coming weeks and especially so if you are celebrating auspicious religious festivals in this period.

Yours faithfully,
Dave Knox

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B21 0HN

0121 523 1960