End of Term Letter – Mr Martin

student shaking headteachers hand

Dear Parents, Staff, Governors and Friends of Ghyll Royd School and Pre-School,

As we move into the final months of the school year, it has been a pleasure to see the creativity, the athleticism, the kindness, and the hard work on display inside and outside of the classrooms this term. I am always astounded by how much the children learn, achieve and accomplish in the 12 or so weeks of a term and would love to share some highlights from the Spring with you in this blog.

Creative Arts

Our Early Years and Key Stage One children put together the most wonderful Mother’s Day concert earlier in the month. Reception class worked with Specialist Music Teacher Mrs Evans to create their own Mother’s Day song and Years 1 and 2 put on a beautiful performance of ‘Croak!’ with confidence and humour. The above was possible through a collaboration of our children, our dedicated teaching and support staff, peripatetic teacher Mrs Richards and ballet teacher Miss Becky – one of our many excellent external coaches.

The Art room has been a hive of creativity on the back of the successes of Oliver, Lucia and Zac in the Independent Schools Association’s National Art Competition last term. Reception and Key Stage 1 crafted pottery penguins and toadstool trinket boxes with Miss Smith and the extracurricular Craft Club made scuba diving pictures. Families entering our Reception 2024 class got a taste of what to expect next year when they made Easter bunnies in our Stay and Play.

Miss Smith and I were delighted to hear that Samuel’s Mardi Gras design has been chosen as the cover of this year’s Ilkley Carnival programme. This is a well-deserved win for such a bold and bright design that will be viewed by the thousands of families in attendance on May Day.


In Sport, Ghyll Royd have achieved great success in the various Cross-Country leagues – from Wharfedale, to Regional to National level. Ghyll Royd’s own Cross Country back in February was well attended with some incredible individual and team placements, and the season was rounded off with top placements for Years 5 and 6 and Years 3 and 4 in the Nell Bank Relays. Olivia, Luca and Leyton made it to the Independent Schools Association’s National Finals achieving incredible finishing times against schoolchildren from around the country.

We’ve enjoyed fixtures with Bronte House, Ashville, Giggleswick, Bradford Grammar, St Peter’s, Moorlands among others. The minibus has taken us over the Lancashire border to Scarisbrick Hall and Trafford Park for new opportunities in Rugby and Football. The children have enjoyed the variety of fixtures on offer and visiting other schools, something we aim to do even more of in the near future.

In February, we came together as a school to swim over 33-kilometres in a sponsored swim for Motor Neurone Disease. Thank you to the children for taking part and to parents for support of the event and of Mrs T and her husband John who have been personally affected by the disease. We are pleased to say that we have raised a fantastic £3,910 for the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease.

In our Spring swimming gala, Nelson were declared the overall winners; in the interhouse end of term Football tournament, Drake were victorious; and in the end of term service, Rodney received the highest number of house points for the term. Sports Day is certainly looking like it is going to be a hotly contested event.

New beginnings

Spring is a time for new beginnings and that is no exception here at Greystone Manor. The Daffodils are in full bloom and we are looking forward to what the new term brings.

We bid a fond farewell to Mrs Sarah Langan who has been a big part of the Ghyll Royd family for several years. Sarah has accepted an exciting new role in a local law firm and we wish her the very best for this new chapter.

Staffing announcements

Mrs Michelle Wilkinson joins us as our new Secretary. Mrs Langan and Mrs Wilkinson have spent time handing over and Michelle is looking forward to being back working in a school environment, having previously worked at Guiseley Primary and Benton Park School in the school office. Miss Sophia Tariq has been settling into our Early Years department and has been a fantastic addition to our dedicated team of practitioners. In addition, we welcome two new staff members to the expanding Ghyll Royd team whose experience will benefit the children’s learning and care greatly. I am delighted to announce the following staff will be joining us after the Easter break.

Mr Chris O’Connor will be joining us as our Teacher of Physical Education and Games before the end of the Summer Term before Chris takes on the position full-time in September. Mr O’Connor has 11 years’ experience in coaching, including studying a 2-year Master’s Degree with a specialism in teaching Physical Education. Chris has developed a high degree of knowledge in teaching PE within primary schools. He has proven his ability to create and deliver fun, challenging sessions for a range of ages, abilities and learning styles in the holiday camps that he has been running at Ghyll Royd for up to 60 children a day. He has recently been Head of Swimming at Ilkley Swimming Club and will now be co-ordinating our swimming programme as well as our physical education, outdoor learning, holiday clubs and extracurricular programmes.

Mrs Baljinder Kaur Somal will be joining us on Monday 8th April as our Wrap Around Care Leader working Monday to Friday. Baljinder joins us from Burley Woodhead School. Mrs Somal has previously worked as a Teaching Assistant at Burley Woodhead School, an Early Years Practitioner at Kangaroo Pre-School and Lunchtime Supervisor at St Oswald’s Primary. Mrs Somal will join Mrs Coco Leake in After School Care, allowing us to provide quality care for more children until 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.


Thanks to the efforts of our PTA and School Council, we have been able to update resources within the school including visualisers, talking tins, heatmaps and reading books. The brand-new reading scheme has been organised by Mrs Ellis ready for the Summer term. Our fundraising efforts will now work towards enhancing our Science equipment for Key Stage 1 and 2, a tennis wall for budding athletes and phase 2 of our playground’s adventure trail.

We are also investing in our IT and over the coming months we will have more computers and equipment to enhance the teaching and learning experience. For parents, we are giving our Ghyll Royd website a fresh new look and plans are in motion for updating our communications systems for September to allow streamlined and cohesive information sharing which will also include a new bookings system for clubs and holiday care.

Early Years

In our Early Years Department, we have been exploring a variety of topics which have sparked interest and intrigue. The children have shown persistent excitement, frequently asking thought-provoking questions which shows their understanding of the world around them. The team has implemented a weekly focus child programme which allows for more detailed observations, allowing the practitioners to support and extend individual learning.

The Little Adventurers have explored emotions using The Colour Monster and implemented a sensory area where children support the understanding of their own emotions by having an area to reflect. This has been hugely beneficial to the children.

In Great Explorers, the children have been showing new and exciting interests in topics such as construction, hairdressing, cooking and superheroes. These interests have inspired child-initiated learning provisions in the room where the children can play collaboratively and generate new ideas and questions to enhance and develop understanding. Mrs Tighe and Miss Stacey have recently added various fancy-dress costumes to maximise imagination and role play, where the children’s creativity and confidence can thrive. The children are always keen to spend time in the learning corners such as maths, where there is lots of fun and intriguing concrete objects to experiment with, building on their real-life problem-solving skills. The Pre-School’s focus in this next term will be building the children’s independence to get them Reception ready.

The Summer term

This continues to be a very exciting time to be part of Ghyll Royd School and Pre-School. The Summer term takes our children to Robin Hood’s Bay, Ingleborough Hall, Broughton Hall, to a Buddhist Temple and to a far-off land called Oz for our end of year production. Parents will have even more opportunities to join us in School for the Palm Court Concert on Tuesday 30th April at 2.30pm, Sports Day Summer Sizzler on Friday 7th June and our Father’s Day Breakfast on Friday 14th June.

Have a lovely and safe Easter break hopefully you will be fully charged up ready for the Summer fun that we have planned. I will be looking forward to welcoming families back to school on Monday 8th April 2024.