Author: pf

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Public exams are well under way. The girls seem focused and determined. I am sure their hard work will pay off.

This week we have welcomed the PSA to school twice: first for their termly meeting, then for the class rep breakfast this morning. As always, huge thanks must go to the PSA, who contribute so much to the school. We are very appreciative of the fund raising and events they organise.

We were all ‘bowled over’ with the Fourth Form’s Goals for Bowls fundraising day on Wednesday. From popcorn bowls to competitive boules, bowl hoopla and a lucky dip bowl, great fun was had by all. The goal was to raise enough money to provide every child at Tinga Tinga school with a bowl for their lunch and over £250 was raised. At break and at lunch, in the sunshine in the Rose Garden, girls enjoyed the activities; an array of prize vouchers were won, all valid on Monday. Well done to Emily A, who won the golden ticket and will choose a lunch menu.

The Lower Sixth mock interview evening went really well. Thank you to those parents who gave up their time to interview the girls who had applied for the ‘mock’ jobs. Congratulations to the Sixth Form girls involved, who were very impressive, particularly Saffron G, Eve M, Darcy C, Isabella P and Amber W who were all ‘hired’. My thanks go to Ms Jan and Mrs Taylor for organising the evening.

Today is the Upper Sixth’s last day in school and they have, typically, organised a fabulous ‘give back’ day for everyone.  Colleagues came in this morning to be greeted with bunting made of cards adorned with photos of the girls as their much younger selves and heartfelt messages to their teachers. They had left for the staff room a delicious-looking cake and mugs celebrating this year group’s time here. At lunchtime, we all, in very British fashion, enjoyed our BBQ outside; the girls seemed oblivious to the chill and the First and Second Form stalls were a great success.

Next week, the First, Second and Third Form will sit their end of year exams. This is an opportunity for the girls to gain exam practice and to demonstrate to their teachers how much they have progressed during the year. I know they will all do their best.

Finally, I encourage all the Fourth Form and their parents to come to our Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday next week.  Whilst it may seem early to be thinking about this, the next year will pass very quickly. The evening will useful for both girls planning to stay and those considering other options. The Sixth Form team and students are very much looking forward to telling you about what to expect in our Sixth Form, how it differs from the rest of the school and the new opportunities you will be encouraged to take up. Follow the link in the letter sent out to let us know you are coming.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend

Tracy Kirnig

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It has been an incredibly busy week as usual.

Today has been bittersweet. At the Upper Sixth final assembly this morning, the fabulous video the year group had put together was both entertaining and extremely poignant.  The girls’ last day in school is, of course, next Friday, when they have organised a ‘give back’ day for the whole school. This morning, though, we took the opportunity to wave goodbye to both the Upper Sixth and, for now, the Fifth Form and to wish them all good luck for their exams.

This week I have been at the BSA Conference in London where the theme was ‘Building Character’. The Upper Sixth as a year group are hugely impressive and each unique individual has made a valuable contribution to the school and, in many cases, inspired the younger girls. We have been privileged to see their individual characters develop and grow over the years they have been at Prior’s Field.

It was entirely appropriate that, this morning, we announced to a room packed with an excited Lower Sixth the allocation of prefect roles for next year. Ms Jan and I were so impressed with the girls who applied to be a senior prefect; our decision really was a difficult one. Our aim was to give each girl in the year group a role playing to her strengths and one in which she will be able to gain more confidence and additional skills. I am very much looking forward to working with the new Senior Prefect Leadership Team and watching all the girls as they take on their new responsibilities.

You will be aware that, last term, the school completed its first new style ISI compliance inspection.  I am delighted to be able to report now that the school met all eight parts of the standards with no recommendations for any action needed. The Inspectors noted how the school aims to “focus on the development of unique individuals” and “foster a strong family ethos characterised by team spirit and high levels of ambition”.  The report also recognised that the ability of the pupils is above average and that this is reflected in our current placing in the top 2% of schools for value added achievement at A Level. A copy of the report can be found on the school website here.

My husband and I will be donning our walking garb on Sunday, as we are helping with the Fourth Form Duke of Edinburgh expedition, alongside many colleagues who have given up their weekend. The weather definitely seems to be heading in the right direction. I hope the girls enjoy the challenges they encounter, just as I am sure the Boarders will enjoy their trip to London’s Borough Market.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend

Tracy Kirnig

Sad to Say Goodbye to Upper Sixth as they deliver their last assembly through the power of film.

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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

Tracy Kirnig

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It has been an exceptionally busy and successful week to end an exceptionally busy and successful term.

On Monday, the Fourth Form GCSE Drama students performed their devised group pieces to an invited audience. They chose very challenging topics to explore and all four pieces were incredibly mature and extraordinarily powerful.

Later that evening, I was fortunate enough to be able to watch a performance of Manor House’s production of Barnum. It was spectacular and so joyful. Congratulations to everyone involved, and in particular to our own Mr Pratt, who again lent his musical support, and also to his wife, Mrs Williams, who was the director.

Our annual Sports Dinner took place on Tuesday, attended by the many girls who have achieved so much on the sporting front already this year.  The speaker, Hannah Jones from Surrey Stars, was fascinating and passed on a message belying her years in its strength: she encouraged the girls to judge themselves only in the context of matters and circumstances they can control. I hope the girls listening remember that advice as they encounter the ups and downs of their sporting endeavour and also life in general.

The gym and dance on Wednesday was absolutely fabulous: an exciting showcase of talent with a terrifying and mesmerising triumphant finale. You can see some photographs in This Week in Pictures.

The Easter holidays begin any moment now, after an Awards Assembly celebrating the huge variety of successes and achievements of the girls this term. One new award was presented this year for an enterprise competition which took place during one of our PSHE days. Fifth and Sixth Form teams were charged with planning and designing a festival. Parents, guardians and grandparents will be as delighted as I am that the winning festival theme was a festival especially for the over 50s who may be ‘tired of feeling so old’ – the festival’s name is ‘Staying Alive’. During assembly, Mrs Horton made the exciting announcement that the school has been able to secure the rights to perform the musical ‘Chicago’, which will be our Upper School production in the autumn.

We have two residential trips taking place during the holidays. The Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition contingent are off to the Yorkshire Dales and the ski trip leaves very early tomorrow – I am not promising to wave goodbye to the skiers!

We were grateful for the sunshine this morning when 91 girls – and some staff – tried to squeeze into the Oak Hall for a Head’s Commendation Celebration. We were able to spill out into the Rose Garden, adorned as it is now by a multitude of different artwork. Do pop in over the holidays to have a look.

I hope all the girls have a good break, even, and perhaps especially, those who will be revising for public exams next term. I look forward to seeing girls and staff back refreshed and re-energised after Easter, ready for the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the summer term.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig