Dear Parents, Grandparents and Friends in the Community,
As another busy and exciting school year draws to a close, I’d like to share with you some of the key milestones and also take this opportunity to share with you our plans for the future.
Once again we have had a memorable and eventful year. As our departing Form 6 pupils prepare to join their secondary schools of choice, after excelling in their exams, we wish them all the very best of luck in their new settings and look forward to hearing about their future endeavours.
In the past academic year, we have seen our pupil numbers rise significantly as knowledge of our exceptional teaching, curriculum excellence, approach to learning and the wonderful attitude of our pupils has been widely recognised. Looking ahead to September, we have three full classes and the highest number of pupils since our move to Greystone Manor in 1999.
I am delighted that through our new appointments, in conjunction with the development of our facilities and resources, we can offer a truly unique learning experience for our children. Ghyll Royd is exceptionally well placed to offer a varied, unique curriculum for children to learn, develop and discover their love of learning from an early age – a passion that often translates to their secondary education and beyond.
We have recently introduced a Coding Club which has seen the children producing phenomenal work. The introduction of Drama with our new Specialist Drama teacher Mrs Hughes, has improved the children’s confidence and exploration of the creative arts. Mrs Hughes has supported pupils on their recitals at this year’s Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts, and commented on their bravery and confidence when reciting their poems on stage. The completion of our outdoor classroom has meant that our Forest Schools curriculum is accessible and exciting for all pupils from Early Years to Form 6. Forest Schools will include Bushcraft, Archery and Shooting sessions from January 2018. From September 2017 we will be adding Digital Art, Pottery and Food Technology to the curriculum.
Our regular Friday morning ‘Stay and Play’ sessions have proved to be very popular with children and their parents. The sessions are wonderfully organised by Mrs Davis, Mrs Coultas and Mrs Smith, who each week provide fresh, fun ideas and themes to engage the children. Visitors to our ‘Stay and Play’ sessions love exploring our grounds and experiencing our Music and Art lessons.
Another exciting development in our Pre-School has been the introduction of 30 hours free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2017. We’re delighted to be able to offer an additional 15 hours on top of the universal 15 hours entitlement to working parents, which we have enhanced to include wraparound care.
Within school, we have seen endless achievements by our very talented pupils, some of which I’d like to share with you.
Ava in Form 5 won the Ilkley Carnival Cover competition in April, seeing her winning design featured on the Carnival programme. It was also printed onto 4,000 Tesco bags and can be seen regularly on the arms of local shoppers. Bea and Evie, also in Form 5 were runners up in the same competition.
In Sport the children have achieved a number of accolades. In Netball the girls went unbeaten in 2017 and in Football the boys won the Euro Astro Cup. In Cricket, two of our pupils Charlie and Nicholas, in Form 5, were selected to play for Bradford and Calderdale’s U11 team, with the future opportunity to play for Yorkshire. Our Junior Golfing pro Gabriel, in Form 1, has wowed teachers and pupils with several competition wins outside of school. Gabriel has been competing in the European Junior Golf Tour, and is now the European Champion for his age group. Phoebe R, in Form 4, has represented the School and the Region at the National Independent Schools Swimming Competition. Finally, Bea in Form 5 and Oliver in Form 4 have both been awarded ‘player of the year’ for Hockey and Rugby from their local clubs.
Next year we will be using Ben Rhydding’s new 3G pitch for our Hockey sessions, and will continue to enhance the children’s physical education, through the coaching of teams with regionally and nationally recognised coaches.
In Music, Alexander in Form 5 completed his Grade 1 Piano with a Distinction, also receiving the highest possible score of 21/21 in his sight-reading exam, which Mrs Coultas said she has never seen before in her career. These fantastic achievements are just a small example of the breadth of talent with our pupils. Each and every one of them should be immensely proud of all that they have achieved this year. As Headteacher I am overwhelmed by their commitment and dedication in everything they do.
The children’s hard work has been rewarded with a variety of fun and educational visits in the past year. Trips to RHS Harlow Carr, Hesketh Farm, Skipton Castle, Bradford Media Museum and Tropical World to name but a few, as well as residentials to Nell Bank, Dearne Valley and Robin Hoods Bay for our Key Stage Two pupils. I an exceptionally proud of the wonderful comments we have received congratulating the children on their excellent behaviour and rapport within the wider community. Ghyll Royd has always placed a strong emphasis on behaviour and good manners and it is rewarding to see this acknowledged outside of school.
As we move into the next academic year we will be launching our fundraising appeal for the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ – our retractable tiered-seating which will enhance our performances and events space. Looking even further into the future our 450 newly planted trees, which mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, will begin to grow, standing tall and proud within Greystone Manor. We are asking members of the community to help maintain these beautiful trees so that they may flourish for many years to come. If you are interested in helping in any way please contact the school office.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of our pupils, staff and parents for a truly memorable school year. It is the contribution of each and every one of you that creates the wonderful place that is Ghyll Royd.
Mr David Martin BA, MA, PGCE