End of term message from Neil Renton

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you as well as to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have faced quite challenging circumstances since the October half term. The number of positive cases in school resulted in many phone calls at weekends and families having to adapt at the last minute as we closed certain year groups, half populations or class groups. It is never good news that your child is being asked to isolate and we do appreciate your understanding. In the final week of term, we have seen very few cases and hope that this continues in the Christmas period and the new year. We await further guidance from the Government about Covid-19 testing in schools in the new year and we hope this will minimise disruption.

We have been impressed this year with how positively students have embraced their learning and it was a real privilege to see all the celebration assemblies this week. Normally, we would host this event at the Royal Hall, but this year the event took place during Big Picture lessons for all to see. Celebration and prize giving at HGS is something that we are very proud of and something we hold in high regard. The prizes connect us to the past whilst celebrating the achievements of students in the last school year. The prizes reflect our school values of commitment and excellence, acknowledging performance at the highest level in subjects, recognizing effort and celebrating contribution to our school. Students should be proud of their achievements and we are proud of the 133,730 positive points awarded this term.

Contact tracing until Wednesday 23 December

Although I wrote earlier in the week, it is important that you are aware of the contact tracing that will need to take place if we face positive cases of Covid-19 in the holidays. We are expected by the DfE to continue to contact trace for six days after the final day of term for students: Thursday 17 December – Wednesday 23 December.

Please can I ask that you use the following email address result@harrogategrammar.co.uk to inform us of the outcome of any test results. by return you will be automatically sent a form to fill in.

This is the only way to report a confirmed case in this period. It is important to note that:
• You only need to inform school over the Christmas break of positive cases where your child was in school in the 2 days prior to developing symptoms or when experiencing symptoms.
• If your child has been identified as a close contact we will contact you via text message.

Year 13 University Applications

This term has been the peak in the year for completing university applications; this year so far, the Sixth Form team have processed 201 UCAS applications. Our students have applied for places at universities all over the UK for courses ranging from Engineering to Anthropology. This year 27 students have gained Oxbridge interviews, 10 students are applying for places to study medicine, veterinary science and dentistry and many students have already received offers for a whole range of other courses, including music conservatoires. In the New Year, we will turn our efforts to securing apprenticeships for those students who have chosen not to apply to university.

The new build

We opened our new build at the start of the half term and it has been a real privilege to see how the building is being used. The following press release provides a summary of the collaboration that took place to achieve this project. We are very aspirational for our school site; a further set of toilets are being refurbished and we have plans ahead to develop an area of school into a garden area where the compound was made for the new build.

And finally…..

Our first term has been incredibly busy as students adapt to the higher level of study in their new year academic year both in school and, at times, remotely. Our students will be tired and ready for a break by the time they leave us on Thursday afternoon. It has been a term of hard work across the whole school. With mock exams for Year 11 students having just finished and Year 13 Mocks in the second and third weeks of the new term, we are very aware that the official examination season is not far away. We await further information from the DfE about the final details of the 2021 examinations which we will communicate with you as soon as we have more information – please click here for the guide from the DfE.

I do hope that our students will take time with their families to relax this Christmas and make sure that they are fully rested and refreshed for the new year. We all want our young people to be successful, but more than anything, we want them to be safe, happy and healthy. Getting the balance right is sometimes really difficult for young people and for us as parents and teachers. I hope that this Christmas, you find that balance and are able to enjoy the festivities to the full.

I thank you for your continued support and wish you a very happy Christmas from all of us at HGS.

Mr Neil Renton – Headteacher


Please click on the links below to read further ‘end of term messages’ from Mr Twitchin and Mr Mason:

Year 13 message Year 11 message