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An inspiring and unforgettable evening

Archbishop Holgate’s School celebrated their annual carol service in York Minster on Wednesday 7 December. In recent years this has become a popular community occasion and parents, governors, friends of the school and members of the public packed the Cathedral close to capacity. This year almost 1400 attended, which is unprecedented in the history of this partnership between the school and the Minster.

Those present heard the Christmas story retold through music, drama, bible readings, prayers and carols. This was done with a particular focus on the unique kingship of Jesus and how the Christmas story is one of Hope and Gods presence here on earth. Over 150 students from Archbishop Holgate’s participated in the service as singers, readers, actors, musicians, ushers and technical crew. This year the combined Primary School Choir consisted of over 300 pupils from 12 local Primary schools. There was also a Community Choir of parents, governors and staff from Archbishop Holgate’s School and others from Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust.

The preacher at the service was the Most Rev. and Right Hon. Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York. Archbishop Stephen spoke of how the birth of Jesus is a story of God coming to earth to experience human existence in all its joys and hardships, to walk among us through the Incarnation. With a seamless blend of humour and seriousness he reminded all who were present that this message is one that brings hope today in a challenging world and is one that demands a response from each one of us.

The school was delighted that the new Dean of York Minster, the Very Rev. Dominic Barrington, and the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff, as well the Lord Mayor’s consort, attended the service. Afterwards, the civic party spoke to the Year 12 School Captains and expressed how impressed they were with the whole evening. The school also welcomed back Councillor Chris Cullwick, who attended last year as Lord Mayor and promised to return. He said afterwards: “What a tremendous amount of work had gone into it!” and expressed his “Thanks and congratulations for a wonderful evening”.

Rev. Richard Nihill, the School’s Chaplain, said: “It is a real privilege to present our interpretation of the Christmas story in the beautiful setting of York Minster. We know that for many of the congregation this is their main opportunity to reflect on the joy and meaning of Jesus’ birth. To have the opportunity to share this experience with almost 1400 people in a packed-to-the-rafters York Minster is wonderful. For me, the annual carol service is one of the highlights of the school year and a wonderful reflection of our school values. We were delighted to have Archbishop Stephen preach such a rousing and thought-provoking sermon. I have never experienced a preacher get a round of applause – but on Wednesday that is just what happened.”

A video of the complete Carol Service in York Minster is available to view on the Archbishop Holgate’s School Chaplaincy YouTube channel.

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9 December 2022|

Secretary of State for Education visits Pathfinder schools

From left, Secretary of State for Education – the Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP, Chair of the Pathfinder MAT Board – John Hattam, CEO of Pathfinder MAT and Executive Headteacher of Archbishop Holgate’s School – Andrew Daly, Chair of Governors at Archbishop Holgate’s School – Jane Lewis.

Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust was delighted to welcome the new Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP, to visit two of its schools.

Formed in 2016, Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust is a partnership of eleven church and community schools serving more than 4,300 students and their families across York.

CEO of Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust and Executive Headteacher of Archbishop Holgate’s School, Andrew Daly, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State and to showcase the many ways we work together as a multi academy trust to ensure we provide the very best education possible for all the young people across our school communities.”

The Secretary of State began with a visit to New Earswick Primary School where he met with the Headteacher, school staff and students and had a tour of the school. New Earswick joined Pathfinder in 2017 after being placed into special measures following an inadequate Ofsted judgement. Today, the school is rated as good overall with outstanding for its leadership and management and early years provision.

New Earswick’s Headteacher, Angela Oswald, said: “It has been a privilege to meet the new Secretary of State and have the opportunity to share our school improvement journey over the past four years. Like most things in schools, our successes and achievements are the result of a team effort working together at both a local school level and as part of a wider community of schools.”

The Secretary of State also visited Archbishop Holgate’s School which recently celebrated being judged outstanding in all areas by Ofsted. In 2021, Archbishop Holgate’s was also designated as the Teaching School Hub for the Ryedale, Scarborough and York region, responsible for delivering teacher training and development across more than 150 schools.

During his visit, the Secretary of State spoke to a group of trainee teachers, toured the school, met with school and academy trust staff and talked to students about their favourite subjects and future aspirations.

Andrew Daly added: “Whilst important, schools are much more than external judgements and examination results and it has been gratifying to give the Secretary of State a snapshot of the teaching and learning which takes place at our schools each and every day. We are fortunate to have so many strong schools and multi academy trusts in York and we also enjoy a close partnership with the local authority which enables us to work together for the benefit of all schools and their students across the city.”

Pathfinder was formed initially between Archbishop Holgate’s School and Badger Hill, Hempland and Heworth primary schools. Along with New Earswick, Pathfinder has since welcomed Acomb, Clifton with Rawcliffe, Rufforth, St Lawrence’s and Tang Hall primary schools and is currently working with St Barnabas CE Primary School who are in the process of joining the trust.

Chair of the Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust Board, John Hattam, said: “We are delighted that the hard work and achievements of our schools and the wider trust have been recognised with this visit from the Secretary of State for Education. We believe the close working partnership that exists between our schools, other academy trusts, community schools and the local authority has been core to our success and development as a multi academy trust.”

22 September 2022|

A message on the death of Her Majesty the Queen

As we reflect on the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II our thoughts and prayers go to the Royal Family and everyone in our community as we process this news. The Church of England have produced a prayer which we would like to share with you:

Gracious God, we give thanks
for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth,
for her faith and her dedication to duty.
Bless our nation as we mourn her death
and may her example continue to inspire us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Today, in school, we have taken time with students and staff to reassure them and to reflect on the life and significance of Her Majesty the Queen. We started the day with a whole staff reflection and a time of prayer in morning registration time for students. At midday we participated in the national two-minute silence and this afternoon students viewed this morning’s dedicated BBC Newsround programme that explores this momentous event. Next week in Form Tutor Collective Worship we will continue to reflect on the Queen’s life and faith. During this period of national mourning there will be a small space set aside in both the School Chapel and Reception, which will contain a book for recording thoughts and reflections.

Current government advice is that schools should remain open as usual, however, we will not be using our social media accounts next week unless there is an emergency. We will keep you updated during this period of national mourning.

9 September 2022|

Archbishop of York joins Year 13 Leavers Celebration

Archbishop Holgate’s School were delighted to welcome the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, to take part in the school’s Year 13 leavers celebration.

Attended by students, parents and teachers, the evening was an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the students’ achievements and time at school before they sit their A Level exams.

Head of the Sixth Form, Francesca De Lashley, said: “We were delighted the Archbishop was able to attend the evening and share in celebrating our Year 13’s time at school. For many of our Sixth Form students this marks the end of seven years at Archbishop Holgate’s and was the last time they will all spend together in school. It was a lovely evening, sharing memories with friends and teachers and was also an opportunity to thank the Year 13 students for the many contributions they’ve made during their time at school.”

The Archbishop shared many words of encouragement telling students to use the gifts they’ve been given to the full and to pursue their dreams to benefit themselves and the world.

He also said the school values of Justice, Compassion, Forgiveness and Trust are beautiful things that not just the school needs but that the world needs and encouraged students to let them shine out of their lives.

The evening also included prayers and readings from students and staff and musical pieces performed by the school’s Unity Choir.

Headteacher, Andrew Daly, said: “I would like to thank the Archbishop for taking the time to join our leavers celebration and for his inspiring words of encouragement. The students have shown an incredible amount of resilience and determination over the past two years and it was a real pleasure to celebrate their time at Archbishop Holgate’s as a school community.”

Watch a video from the evening below.

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23 May 2022|