Mr Martin’s End of Year Letter

Ghyll Royd School's year 6 leavers 2022

Dear Parents, Staff, Governors, and Friends of the Ghyll Royd community,

How wonderful it has been to take my office outside for the Summer term, to walk around and see so much outdoor learning taking place and everyone enjoying the fabulous events we have become renowned for such as our Graduation Celebration, Parents Breakfast, Play Dates, Grandparents Mornings and Sports Day. Despite the rainy interlude, Sports Day 2022 was a huge success, made possible thanks to our incredible teaching staff, fabulous PTA and 5-star catering team. I hope you had fun joining in with the parent races and enjoyed the refreshments from the Admiral Bar and BBQ provided by Chef Dave and Chef Marco from Buon Apps in Otley. I can only see the Summer Sizzler getting bigger and better every year.

Drama and Performance

As we draw to a close another school year which has been enjoyable, exciting and an interesting one, navigating through the post-pandemic world. It is always a real highlight for me to see so many parents and grandparents in attendance at our services and events. The cheers and emotions for the cast of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ were through the roof and overwhelming. Thank you for making the Theatre of Dreams a reality. Well done to the whole cast of Key Stage 2 children, and a big thank you to the directors and choreographers Mrs Woodham, Mr Nicholson, Mr Laycock and Mrs Beeson. Thank you to Mrs Richards for your musical accompaniment too. We are all very much looking forward to welcoming Ghyll Royd’s new Music Teacher Mrs Evans in September and seeing how her musical direction will take us to another level.

Ghyll Royd pupil posing as one of the 'beautiful people' in sleeping beauty performanceGhyll Royd pupils jumping and punching the air at the end of a song in sleeping beauty

The Arts

This year, we have seen many new highlights, starting with our ‘Artsmark’ accreditation award in September, where we became one of only 10 educational institutions in the Leeds/Bradford area to receive the accreditation. Our artwork was once again featured in the Independent Schools Association’s (ISA) National Art Competition final. Congratulations to Beau in Form 6 and former Head Girl Georgie who took home a national second prize in their categories, and our Year 2 and 3 classes were also highly commended for their Ilkley Lido pottery piece now pride of place in my office.

Winning art prize - clay chameleon by Georgie H

Ghyll Royd Sport

As an accredited ‘Activemark School’ a highlight of this year has been returning to sporting fixtures and group sports. Our children have won tournaments in rugby and football, participated in netball and cricket cups and enjoyed the return of our Interhouse Swimming Gala and competitions. We have recently been assigned a new School Games Organiser and I am looking forward to welcoming Miss Georgia Simpson to Ghyll Royd in the Autumn term and to work with more schools to improve even further our sport offering.

Ghyll Royd rugby team posing with winning medals

Our ‘Activemark School’ curriculum has been recognised in this year’s Independent Schools of the Year Awards where we have been nominated for the Outstanding Sport Award. This is in addition to a shortlisting for the fifth year in a row for the Independent Small School of the Year Award. The judges continue to see something special and magical at Ghyll Royd, something we have always known but now get to share nationally. How brilliant it would be for everyone involved with Ghyll Royd to not only get to the final again but to win it this year after all that we have been through together.

In the nursery and pre-school, our stellar team of practitioners were extremely worthy recipients of the ‘Best Childcare Provider’ in the Wharfedale Mumbler awards in June, racking up 100’s of votes from past and present parents. Our Early Years setting has continued to gain in prestige and popularity this year under the management of Mrs Jenny Johnson and we have exciting plans for the future to grow the nursery ensuring full Reception classes each and every year moving forward.

Ghyll Royd Pre-School and Nursery team smiling

Ghyll Royd events

Together we have enjoyed an abundance of school social events from the truly epic PTA and their Chair Mrs Anna Bedford Collins. We have welcomed volunteers from charities and spent a full week exploring and improving personal wellbeing amongst the children and staff. Our calendar of themed days, trips, residentials and celebrations will have returned to normal come the Autumn Term. We now know what it is like without these broader elements to our curriculum and let’s hope together we never have to take these away from the children again. All of these events and the process of returning to normal would not have been possible without your support. Thank you.

Ghyll Royd pupils show their glitter and temporary tattoos from beach party disco


Together we have raised over £1,700 for charitable causes this year through individual themed days where children have been able to learn more about the world around them. Our final fundraiser for the school year was for Ukrainian refugees living in Ilkley. Thank you to those who have donated to help make Ilkley Grammar School uniform more affordable to families new to the area. So far, through various collections, the children have raised a further £375.00.

Ghyll Royd School pupil enjoys playing on new playground equipment. Boy smiling hanging onto post.

As a school the combined efforts of the PTA and School Council have raised enough funds to replace our playground climbing frame within 8 months from when the old frame did not pass its annual inspection. The fantastic, modern and exciting new climbing frame and slide is just a start and we have plans for a phase 2 and 3. A huge thank you to the School Council Presidents Amelia and Freddie, to the Ghyll Royd PTA, and to all of you for making this happen so quickly for the children.

Academic results

Today we say goodbye to a truly brilliant Form 6 class who I know will go on to do great things you are all so uniquely brilliant. Having had the Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) cancelled for the last two years because of the pandemic, I am delighted to inform you that all of our Year 6 class have reached their expected standard of a 100 scaled score and over, in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The class achieved the overall average scores of:

Spelling Punctuation and Grammar = 110

Reading = 113

Mathematics, Arithmetic and Reasoning = 108

The Department of Education will not be publishing school league tables based on this year’s results, but compared to previous years our Year 6’s have performed brilliantly. 100% of the class achieved the expected standard in all the subjects combined. That is 41% higher than the national average. On past experience this would again place us in the Top 100 and most likely in the Top 50 schools in England (Parent Power Tables, The Times).


Today is however bittersweet as we say goodbye to someone Ghyll Royd and I have always relied on. They have been an enormous support to me both personally and professionally over the last 17 years. We indeed all owe Mrs Gilly Downs a huge thank you for all her hard work and for always going the extra mile to help each and every family and everyone of the staff.

I would also like to thank our Chair of Governors, Mr Phillip Stephenson who will be leaving us after chairing the governing body for the last 7 years. Phil has overseen our move to a 50-week nursery, a new car park, and the development of our governance systems. Phil has helped grow Ghyll Royd and provided guidance to get the school to where it is today – a nationally recognised small independent school with a long and sustainable future ahead of us. We begin the school year in September with our highest ever number of pupils in the school and nursery.

All that is left for me to say is again a big, big thank you to all our families and children. The staff and I send you best wishes for the Summer break and we are all very much looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday 6th September on the Greystone Manor steps to start our 133rd year, my 18th year at Ghyll Royd and 9th year as Headteacher it continues to be an honour to lead the school and be with the children every day.

Best wishes,

Mr David Martin BA, MA, PGCE