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Our wonderful Chef and Catering Team outdid themselves on Saturday when they provided the most sumptuous Royal wedding picnic for the Boarders. Having seen the menu presented to the Royal family and their guests, I am certain that the Prior’s Field spread was far more impressive! The Boarders thoroughly enjoyed watching the wedding, oo’ing and ah’ing in all the right places. It was a lovely occasion for the Prior’s Field memory book.

This week the First, Second and Third Forms have been sitting their internal exams. The girls have been working hard and keeping calm.  I am very proud of them.

The Lower Sixth meanwhile have been putting the final touches to their senior prefect applications, which have been flying in. The letters of application I have received have been so impressive in their maturity – full of wisdom, ideas and enthusiasm. We have a hard task on our hands to choose between these young women, all so keen to step up and take on an important leadership role within the school.

Yesterday, Ms Troup and I escaped the Godalming rain and went to Buckingham Palace to meet not the Queen but, in our case, the Countess of Wessex, who presented four of our current girls (Katie A, Flora H, Holly G and Georgia S) and three former pupils (Sinead K, Holly D and Sophie P) with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. It was a wonderfully joyous occasion which it was a privilege to attend. Nearly 3 million awards have been achieved since the scheme started in 1956 and more than 275,000 people are currently working towards an award. This transformational scheme promotes resilience and enterprise and builds confidence and self-esteem. I am delighted that Prior’s Field girls throw themselves into it with so much gusto, supported by staff members just as evangelical about Duke of Edinburgh as I am. Please do encourage your daughter to take part and join me on a future trip to the palace!

Finally, today we have said goodbye to the Upper Sixth as they depart on study leave. They have treated us to a wonderful day with a surprise breakfast of cake and personal messages for staff, morning activities organised by the Second Form focussed on giving to others and a delicious lunch for the whole school. We wish the girls the best of luck for their exams and look forward to celebrating their successes in August.

With best wishes for half term

Tracy Kirnig

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I often comment how pleased I am to welcome the girls back to school after a break or a holiday; staff involved with the Fourth Form girls on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition on Saturday were pleased and relieved to see the intrepid explorers reaching their planned finish point, whether or not they had overcome navigational challenges! We are fortunate to have so many staff willing to give up their weekend to support the girls in this adventure. Each year girls lower down the school are inspired by the achievements of those in the Fourth Form and beyond.

It cannot be overemphasized how important it is for children to pursue activities outside the classroom, whether at school or at home.  I have been struck this week by the breadth of the sporting opportunities offered at Prior’s Field during the school year. The calendar is full of fixtures – tennis, athletics, cricket and rounders feature heavily at the moment. Do remember that you are very welcome to come and support your daughter and her team mates. It really is a joy.

We are all currently very aware of pressures on children and young people due to exams and, with the internal exams for First to Third Formers next week, I would reiterate that a sensible balance between revision and breaks is essential to ensure your daughter’s emotional and physical wellbeing. I cannot promise this year to provide what the Head at another school in Surrey has arranged to remind his pupils to have fun (a fairground on school grounds). We will, however, be aiming for all the girls to give their best without feeling overwhelmed by expectations. The Upper Sixth’s Give Back Day is a wonderful occasion for the school to look forward to at the end of next week.

The Lower Sixth were thinking beyond exams this week when they experienced an evening of mock job interviews with a selection of parents and friends of the school. These interviews coincided with the final days running up to the deadline for prefect applications. The ability to interact with a potential employer or third party in an interview scenario is now crucial for our young people. The Sixth Form team work very hard to continue to equip students with the skills they will need when they leave school. I hope the girls enjoyed the experience and took away from it some tips and techniques on which to build. We are very grateful to the volunteer interviewers.

Our entertainment this week seems to all have a common connection: food! Junior Boarding had an Open House on Monday. We all enjoyed cakes baked by the girls, who were very excited and proud to show us around their domain. Classics and Cakes last evening had a fantastic programme and I was very sad to miss it. I understand, however, that the performances were stunning. These regular mini-concerts provide a valuable opportunity for the girls to perform to a small audience, thereby gradually gaining more confidence – part of our toolkit for life beyond Prior’s Field.

Our final entertainment of the week will be tomorrow, when the Boarders are celebrating the Royal Wedding in style with a wonderful picnic. I will be donning my wedding hat and enjoying the festivities with the girls on what promises to be another sunny day.

With best wishes for the Royal weekend

Tracy Kirnig

Athletics

There have been two competitions in the past couple of weeks. A wonderfully friendly competition with a relaxed atmosphere against Manor House. The girls performed well and really enjoyed themselves. We have also taken part in the Waverley Trials at Charterhouse and are currently awaiting any selection results.

Cricket

First Formers are really getting into the swing of cricket and thoroughly enjoyed having a full afternoon of cricket at Bramley Cricket Club last week Wednesday. Mini games took place on the outfield whilst we were very fortunate to have Marcus, one of the clubs players, lead a bowling session in the nets. Last Saturday the girls put this training into practise against Epsom College. Although the results didn’t quite go our way, they have made tremendous improvement in understanding the game as well as with their individual skills.

Rounders

A manic morning of rounders took place last Saturday with the U13’s and U14’s playing against Epsom College and Gordon’s. All matches against Gordon’s finished with a win and there were mixed results against Epsom College.

Tennis

Several different tennis competitions are on the go at the moment with lots of players involved. Girls have enjoyed taking part in friendly matches against Tormead and Charterhouse where, overall, we won and lost respectively. The first round of the Surrey League competition took place against St Teresa School and the team are now looking forward to the next round of matches. In the Aegon Competition the U15/U14 team took on Claremont where some fantastic rallies were played and we came away with a very convincing win. In the Aberdare Cup, PF A were drawn to play against PF B. PF A won and are now through to the finals where we are still waiting to find out who our opposition will be.

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It was lovely to welcome the girls back to school on Tuesday after the fantastic Bank Holiday weekend.

Public exams have begun in earnest for the Fifth Form and the corridors are still. Girls in other years, however, continue with exam preparation in school. I can sense the girls’ focus as I walk around the school. This time of year presents them with a challenge and an opportunity to show us and themselves what they have achieved this year.

I am thrilled that our connection with Delight, the charity working with primary schools to support learning through the arts and books, continues. Sixth Form girls have visited a number of schools this year presenting assemblies and collecting unwanted books which, having been counted and packed by a team of girls at Prior’s Field, have been passed to Delight. This week, a number of Second, Third and Fourth Form girls helped with the next stage of the process: distributing books to children at local primary schools. They visited Guildford Grove Primary School where they helped each child to select two free books that he or she might like to read. As a keen reader as well as an educationalist, I am hugely supportive of the concept behind this charity. If you would like to know more about it, do take a look at http://delightcharity.org.uk/what-we-do/.

Baroness Mary Warnock is a Prior’s Field Old Girl and I was fascinated to read her thoughts in the TES this week on why her 1978 report on special education was, and still is a landmark document for all of us who are passionate about providing the best possible inclusive education for every child. We are hugely proud to count her amongst our Alumnae.

On the subject of Alumnae, we have welcomed a number of old girls to Prior’s Field this week. The visit of Khursheed Khurody was the trigger for a number of other alumnae from her year group (1983) to visit at the same time. It was a pleasure to chat to Khursheed and her family; Khursheed has fond memories of boarding and the English families with whom she stayed at half terms and exeats. Another old girl, Catherine Valentine, a sports agent for Olympian Helen Glover, amongst others, and a keen sportswoman herself, was very impressed with our current sports facilities, and almost wished she could be a school girl again so that she could play on the astro!

This weekend, our intrepid Fourth Form Bronze Duke of Edinburgh girls depart on their practice expedition. It looks as though the weather will be kind. The Bronze Award is potentially only the first step on the Duke of Edinburgh journey. I do hope the girls really enjoy the experience which can be hugely beneficial in so many ways, and can spark a love of the outdoors that lasts forever. I have been invited to Buckingham Palace to see a number of our older girls receive their Gold Award later this month. Who knows, the invitation may be for some of our current Fourth Form in a few years’ time.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

The start of our summer term saw history being made when our first cricket matches took place against Thomas’s Clapham a week last Saturday. With limited training the girls played very well and we look forward to seeing them progress as the term goes on.

On the same day four rounders’ teams travelled to Woldingham for their first matches of the season, although very rusty, all matches finished with a very close score line. While on Tuesday the U13B team enjoyed a win against The Royal.

Several tennis players have been on court this week. A friendly against Tormead ended up in a very comfortable win and the team comprised of First Former Sophie Qu, Second Formers Romana, Elle W, Kira, and Third Formers Emilia C-B and Eliza. Two teams took part in the Aberdare Cup, one against Christ Hospital and the other against Bedales. Both the A and B teams had very comfortable wins against their opposition (10-2 and 12-0 respectively) and will now play each other in the second round of this competition. Well done to girls mentioned above and Third Former Emma H, Fourth Former Esta and Sixth Former Rebecca H.

On Thursday eight tennis pairs took part in the St George’s College Festival of Tennis. Second Formers Romana and Kira played brilliantly. They were unbeaten all day and were comfortable winners in the U13 Final against last year’s champions Putney High School. First Formers Sophie Qu and Sayuri played some really close matches and did incredibly well to reach the U12 Final, just losing out to Guildford High School. Third Formers Emilia C-B and Emma H and Fourth Formers Esta and Emily W represented PF against some tough competition in the U14 and U15 categories. With some good wins and a few narrow losses Emma and Emilia just missed out on the U14 semi-finals. While Esta and Emily were also unable to get out of their group but finished on a high with a win against Manor House in the U15 group stages.

We also hosted the Surrey Novice Gymnastics competition where 11 schools and 90 children came to show off their skills on the floor and vault. Three of our girls enjoyed podium finishes: Second Former Maddie C came 3rd on the floor, Second Former Ellie P was placed 2nd on the vault and First Former Robyn was 2nd of the floor.

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A shorter message from me this week as I was away from school for two days at the Boarding Schools Association annual conference in Brighton. A packed programme kept us all busy with speakers, workshops and information. This is an event valuable for sharing innovative ideas and discussing current trends and concerns. Boarding remains a popular option for parents and Prior’s Field is very much part of the modern boarding story.

Back at base, in Godalming, the school was still buzzing after PF Alive on Saturday- a fantastic event thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and, I think, even more so by the girls themselves. The joy and sense of fun was palpable, the girls giving us huge smiles as they strutted their stuff on the catwalk. This was a tremendous community event and I must thank all the staff involved, particularly Mrs Rusholme, the Music department and our incredible compere, MC Pratt. The combined contributions of staff, the PSA and our amazing caterers made the evening a great success.

This morning the Upper Sixth presented their final assembly: a wonderful celebration of the girls’ time at Prior’s Field, with a video created by our very own Holly H incorporating messages to the girls from the whole school. We will miss these young women when they leave us in the summer. We still have three weeks of their company, however, before their exam leave begins.

Today we are saying good luck to the Fifth Form as they embark on study leave. I know that the girls still have plenty of study to do between now and their well-deserved rest and relaxation at the end of June, and we will see many of the girls who are coming in for revision workshops in the next few weeks. I look forward to celebrating the girls’ achievements with them in August.

With best wishes for a warm and sunny Bank Holiday weekend

Tracy Kirnig