Autumn term

Whilst the north-west of England continues to have snow, spring seems to have arrived at Prior’s Field. It is hardly credible that the boarders (and I!) were sledging down the slopes in the school grounds last Friday on tea trays! Some of the girls also took the opportunity to use the wintery background to add to their Art and Photography portfolios with stunning results.

On the subject of snow, or skiing, we were excited this week to learn that, thanks to Molly in the First Form, Prior’s Field now holds the British Inter Schools U12 Grand Slalom title. Molly’s achievements this season are awe-inspiring and a testament to her drive and commitment.

Rock and Pop on Monday was another celebration of achievement. The girls who played and sang were extremely good and gave a performance that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. It was super to see so many girls invest such a huge amount of energy and emotion in what was, for some, an experience quite outside their comfort zone.

This phenomenal week continued on Wednesday with House Art: an opportunity for girls in every year group to display their skill in Art, Photography and Textiles. Creative Arts Scholars’ parents and invited guests, including the new Director of Watts Gallery, Alistair Burtenshaw, thoroughly enjoyed admiring the pieces before the judges made their decision. Prince Charles, who has been in the press this week, calling for more Creative Arts teaching and learning, would have been more than impressed with the astounding display of talent.

There was plenty of noise in the Drama Studio yesterday when the Fifth Form received their IGCSE Maths results: every girl achieved at least a C grade and 55% achieved an A*. Even the sun came out to celebrate with the girls, as they posed by the unicorn for a photograph. I am very proud of their achievement, and grateful for all the hard work put in by the Maths Department to support them.

It seems that Prior’s Field girls were involved at the start of the global women’s movement celebrated this week on International Women’s Day. A Prior’s Field girl, Margie Wetzler Coit, wrote in the school magazine in 1909 about the International Women’s Suffrage Conference she attended in London. This week, Prior’s Field girls’ achievements seem to embody the advice of one of the speakers at that conference to ‘follow the gleam’!

The First Form trips to the Robertson Nursing Home continued on Monday, and I know how much the residents enjoyed these visits, and how appreciative their families are that our girls are connecting with their family members in this way. This weekend, I have been invited to Mother’s Day lunch with the boarders, and I am looking forward to sharing the day with several members of the Busbridge Prime Time group who are also coming along.

I hope you too are able to enjoy a special time this weekend with your family.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

Head

 

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  Maya Angelou

The girls raised a staggering £3,082.91 for a variety of charitable causes last term by virtue of some enterprising and successful events and fundraisers. From Sixth Formers rowing the length of the Channel on a rowing machine in aid of our Tinga Tinga charity to a spooktacular Halloween bake sale collecting money for Disasters Emergency Committee for the Rohingya Refugees. Thank you to everyone who donated and took part in any of our charitable events.

The Third Form EPQ is an entirely voluntary undertaking where girls are encouraged to engage with a topic they feel passionately about, research further into it, and write an essay of about 1500-3000 words about their findings. This process was begun in October 2016, and finished in June 2017. They have written about a wide variety of subjects: Racism and Christianity in the USA in the 1960s; What makes a successful pop song; How we make decisions; Is sporting achievement the result of nature or nurture; What is identity; and the History of the Barbie doll – which won the prize for outstanding writing and presenting at the closing event to which parents and teachers were invited. It was very hard to distinguish between the entries as they were so varied, and all reflected the original thinking and great writing which are characteristic of PF girls!

Sixth Form EPQ study skills to British Library

Twenty Sixth Form Students travelled to the British Library Research Skills centre yesterday to attend a Digital Research Workshop.  The girls spent time formulating an initial research question and were given advice on how to conduct research on-line with integrity.  A tour of the Library followed with a fascinating section on how to identify the facts from the fake news on-line.

Congratulations to… Second Former Romana, a former U12 top 10 UK tennis player, who has been short-listed for the U14 GB National Team. A member of Prior’s Field’s tennis academy, Romana won a Grade 3 tennis tournament last weekend and will shortly play in a Grade 2 tournament in Bolton.

The Science Department broadened perceptions on Monday, with a thought-provoking assembly on the types of career to which studying science can lead. From polar researcher to tropical environmental scientist, aerodynamics engineer, working for the police, in sports nutrition and even…as a teacher, the big message is that you don’t always end up in a lab if you opt to study science beyond GCSE.

From scientific to sporting, talks and trips abounded this week. A level Physics students and some Fifth Form attended a lecture at LVS Ascot on the theme of ‘Our Dynamic Sun’; Drama GCSE and Lower Sixth students enjoyed a dynamic, visual and accessible National Youth Theatre production of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, directed by Frantic Assembly; U14 and U19 inter-school netball tournaments were hotly contested, as well as an U12 A and B team friendly hockey fixture against Sir William Perkins’s School, and girls ran in the first round of the English Schools’ Athletic Association cross country competition at Caterham.

PE scholars took part in an Enrichment Day at Surrey Sports Park, attending a Nutrition Workshop before spending the rest of the afternoon taking part in a series of Fitness Tests. These tested a range of components such as agility, speed, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and reaction time. Analysis was then performed to determine each scholar’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as a programme to improve and develop any areas that need focus.

The Art Department welcomed to Prior’s Field photographer David Watts, who ran a photography studio workshop for 10 Lower and Upper Sixth Form students of the subject. The Department is making final preparations for its trip to Paris next Thursday, when 16 Sixth Formers will further their photographic and artistic studies in the French capital.

Miss Curtin reports on this week’s Second Form assembly, tackling online behaviour and safety: ‘We talked to the girls about their use of social media and discussed what was appropriate to be sharing and how to be safe online. Our discussions included the importance of talking to parents and staff about any concerns. We are encouraged that a number of girls have spoken to us for advice. We have planned a PSHEE lesson on Monday to continue with this theme and would encourage you to talk to your daughter (all ages groups) about their online life. The app Zipit is one that we encourage your daughters to make themselves familiar with and use; our safeguarding newsletter will be sent out at half term with further guidance. Please do contact your daughter’s Head of Year, Mrs Sapseid or Mrs Picken is you would like further information.’

Mrs Haddock shared learning from a Sociology lecture at the LSE on Tuesday evening: ‘Human dynamo, Professor Beverley Skeggs, left Sixth Form Sociologists reeling after her lecture on the power of social media sites. Her research included findings such as the instant you open your browser you will have been traded – in a millisecond – by data trackers. They use their machine learning algorithms to assess your potential to buy certain products and offer your details at auction to big companies. Think you are safe watching TV? It bounces sensors off you from its commercial ads to let the TV viewing brokers know exactly what captures your attention and can target you more effectively. Governments can’t control these trackers, indeed they may even sell your data, as the Indian government did recently. The answer, she suggested, was to come off all social media sites – or create your own internet. The Sixth Form, needless to say, weren’t buying into either of these options!’

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5 sporty second Formers took the opportunity to join a golf taster session delivered by coach Nicholas Sharratt, a PGA Advanced Professional with over 27 years coaching experience. The whole First Form went on to try their hand(icap) at the sport during afternoon Games. Any girls who would like to take part in future golf activities should speak to Miss Fernandes or Dr Smith.

Mr Butler says… ‘

This week’s Word of the Week is

Adjure

  • Look up the word in a dictionary
  • Find a definition and a word class (adjective, noun, verb etc)
  • Think of a sentence that shows that you can use the word properly
  • Fill in the form on Frog (including your FULL name)
  • Get merits and, perhaps, chocolate

Last week we had ‘Halcyon’, a really beautiful word, originally from a Greek legend in which a mystical bird – often associated with the Kingfisher, with which it has become synonymous – bred in a floating nest at the midwinter solstice. As an adjective in English, it has come to describe an idyllic past time, and is first recorded in late Middle English – around the beginning of the 16th century. All rather lovely. The winner was Third Former Mabel with: ‘I wish more than anything that I could somehow transport myself back to the carefree halcyon days of my youth when I could do as I pleased and worry about nothing.’ Second Former Natalie and Lower Sixth Former Hannah did good’uns too. Choc and merits for Mabel.

This week’s winners will be informed next Monday

Thank you to everyone who attended our Fourth Form GCSE Information Evening yesterday. I hope you found the guidance useful; please contact Head of Year Mrs Furey (afurey@priorsfieldschool.com) if the evening has prompted further thoughts.

Other events this week included student trips to Shropshire and London, the announcement of House charities and the launch of this term’s ‘Word of the Week’ competition – in celebration of Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday. Please do encourage your daughter to enter the competition. Not only can the girls potentially win merits and chocolate; it is also a wonderful way to expand vocabulary. Wordsmiths will already know that National Poetry Day falls on 28 September and has Freedom as its theme. The English Department have planned a fitting celebration which will be revealed to the girls next week.

Next week also sees several notable visitors to Prior’s Field, including French actors for Languages Week and a golf professional offering a taster session to all years.  We have high expectations for the annual Inter-House Cross Country event next Friday morning, with the theme of Up, Up and Away. We are also hoping for the usual bumper attendance at our autumn Open Day on Saturday 30 September (10.00am-1.00pm). Please do feel free to extend an invitation to friends and neighbours who may be keen to visit the school as prospective parents either next Saturday or for our Sixth Form Open Evening on Thursday 5 October (6.00pm-8.00pm).

The girls have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the start of term and, every lunchtime, the school has been buzzing with activity in every corner. A reminder that the subject drop-in sessions will start on Monday, providing opportunities for additional one-to-one support or advice, as per the schedule distributed with this week’s parent letters. I would really encourage the girls to take advantage of the opportunity to work individually with a member of staff if they need assistance or wish to extend their progress.

With best wishes for what promises to be a sunny weekend

Tracy Kirnig