Although there was plenty of meaningful Holyport-Eton online partnership activity over the course of the pandemic, it was wonderful to return to some kind of normality back in January. Since then there has been an enormous amount of collaboration across all age groups.

80% of Holyport students have had at least one interaction with their Etonian counterparts since the beginning of the year, while 60% have had 2-5 interactions and 30% significantly more than five interactions. Meanwhile there have been more than 300 Holyport attendances at 70+ Eton society meetings, and bearing in mind the constraints of the various lockdowns, it has once again revealed that one of the great advantages of this particular partnership is the geographical proximity of the two colleges.

Regular activity has included joint A Level revision sessions, Combined Cadet Force, Year 7 technology days, joint visits, joint PoetryByHeart performances, Investment Club, Sport (notably rowing, Fives and hockey) and much, much more. All of Eton’s F Block (Year 9) and all Holyport Year 9 pupils came together for the Beyond Cop21 symposium; Eton pupils formed part of the welcome party for Holyport’s first Ukranian refugee; and the Holyport-Eton Mentoring Programme (HEMP) culminated in an evening of presentations in the Jafar Hall by Holyport Year 8 pupils in the presence of parents, as well as their Eton mentors. Holyport staff and Year 13 pupils will be working at the Eton Summer Schools, and plans are now in place for the development of a new CIRL at Holyport in September 2022.

Staff and students of both colleges agree, however, that in many ways it is the social aspect of the partnership that is likely to be the most memorable for all concerned: Eton’s Spanish department organized a cultural evening-cum-fiesta for Holyport hispanists, the Year 12 Quiz Night at Holyport involved more than 100 students, the Year 9 Barbecue at Eton more than 80, and eight Year 12 pupils enjoyed a two-day academic exchange with their Holyport counterparts in late May.

Colleagues at Holyport and Eton really mean it when they say the partnership is becoming an increasingly important part of both schools’ operation, and we are all looking forward to the same, and more, next academic year.