At the end of last term, the Development Office team travelled to Sherborne to talk to Old Girl Joan Blake, now 91, a former Head Girl and generous supporter of the school. Joan donated a fund to help girls participate in the Italian Art trip, to reflect her own love of the subject. Joan was at Prior’s Field throughout WW2 and remembers watching dogfights overhead from her boarding bedroom window. Polly Murray, our Development and Alumnae Officer, and Jo Halford, our Archivist, enjoyed chatting with Joan and Micky Burton-Brown, grandson of Prior’s Field’s second Head, Mrs Ethel-Ann Burton-Brown, and nephew of its third, Miss Beatrice Burton-Brown; their memories link us directly to Prior’s Field’s remarkable history.
Continuing on the Old Girl theme, during the holidays, Polly hosted our very first Prior’s Field Connections networking event in London, opened by last year’s (and our first ever) Old Girl of the Year, Caroline Underwood. Several attendees gave a short and snappy talk about their current career. Others gave presentations on various topics including CV writing and how to build a network. I am delighted that we remain in contact with so many of our Old Girls. Their continuing link with Prior’s Field underlines the fact that the school is one step in the journey of life for all our girls and gives greater value to our aim that each and every girl leaving us is confident and ready to do so, wherever she may be heading. We will continue to look for opportunities for Old Girls to help and support our current girls and each other.
Many girls actually headed overseas during the holidays, some on school trips. The ski trip and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Expedition both, it turned out, saw snow and were very much enjoyed by those tackling the challenges of either the Alps in Austria or the Yorkshire Moors.
We have had a number of visitors since the start of term, including this week the Head of Rookwood School, Tony Kirk-Burgess. Over the years, we have had several girls join Prior’s Field from Rookwood for the Sixth Form and it was a pleasure to welcome Tony here.
Rehearsals for the Lower School Production continue; we are all eagerly anticipating the show, which will be performed on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 June. The tennis season is already in full swing (excuse the pun!) and we are thrilled that one of Academy players, Jessenia B, is now ranked 15 in the UK in the 12&U category and 1 in Surrey! Huge congratulations to Jessenia!
As the Upper Sixth enter their final weeks at school, the Lower Sixth are preparing to step up as prefects for next year. All the girls will have the opportunity to take up a leadership role. At their leadership training last week, they were very interested in the different styles of leadership and began to recognise the leader in themselves. Ms Jan and I are very much enjoying interviewing the girls who would like to be part of the Senior Prefect team. The girls are talking about their experiences at Prior’s Field, how much they are already doing and exploring their desire to take on more. The Sixth Form girls’ mutual support for each other, both within and across the year groups, is so obvious and very much a product of our Sixth Form ethos, which allows each and every girl to blossom and grow as an individual, in an environment offering opportunities and independence. Good luck to all the applicants and thank you to the outgoing team, who will hand over the baton to their successors before they go on study leave on 17 May.
Last night, I attended a GSA boarding event in London with colleagues and two pupils and next week I will attend the BSA conference in London. I have also recently joined the GSA Boarding Committee. It is always a pleasure to promote boarding to parents who may not be aware of its value to their child. As many of you will have heard me say, I am convinced that the boarding element of Prior’s Field permeates the whole, providing a warmth and feel that would otherwise perhaps not be there.
With best wishes for a lovely long weekend