Head’s Blog

Christmas may be around the corner, but the focus this week has been on mock GCSE Maths and Art exams and mock A Level Photography. Sixth Form EPQ presentations have also been a key part of the week, as girls presented the culmination of hours of individual research on topics linked to their intended degree. The chosen topics have been truly fascinating and have included:  Internet censorship in China; the future for road transport since  the introduction of driverless vehicles and an examination of the links between increased use of social media and teenagers seeking counselling.
Adolescent mental health is a topic very much at the fore at the moment and one I am passionate about. I was delighted therefore, to have the opportunity to speak at the Equality and Diversity in Schools Education Conference yesterday and to share my many years of experience in working with teenagers and best practice ideas that can be utilised.  I was both honoured (and slightly fearful) of taking the stage alongside Professor Tanya Byron, renowned consultant clinical psychologist specialising in child and mental health.
Professor Byron outlined the many complex issues surrounding teenage mental health and talked about the importance of government green paper to be launched on Sunday by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.   In turn, I spoke about how important it is for schools to enable every child to be comfortable in their own skin and the rewards of seeing a teenager blossom and thrive despite the complexities of adolescence.
Yesterday’s Second Form parents’ evening was an important opportunity for us to share feedback with you on your daughter’s progress within and outside of the classroom and equally to hear feedback from you, which we always welcome.
Meanwhile, the Community Choir has been in rehearsal ready for next Thursday’s Celebration of Christmas evening; and many thanks to our Gap students who have created their very own Christmas tree challenge for boarders, who will be enjoying a special Christmas supper tonight. A happy weekend to you all,
Tracy Kirnig

Christmas may be around the corner, but the focus this week has been on mock GCSE Maths and Art exams and mock A Level Photography. Sixth Form EPQ presentations have also been a key part of the week, as girls presented the culmination of hours of individual research on topics linked to their intended degree. The chosen topics have been truly fascinating and have included:  Internet censorship in China; the future for road transport since  the introduction of driverless vehicles and an examination of the links between increased use of social media and teenagers seeking counselling.

Adolescent mental health is a topic very much at the fore at the moment and one I am passionate about. I was delighted therefore, to have the opportunity to speak at the Equality and Diversity in Schools Education Conference yesterday and to share my many years of experience in working with teenagers and best practice ideas that can be utilised.  I was both honoured (and slightly fearful) of taking the stage alongside Professor Tanya Byron, renowned consultant clinical psychologist specialising in child and mental health.

Professor Byron outlined the many complex issues surrounding teenage mental health and talked about the importance of government green paper to be launched on Sunday by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.   In turn, I spoke about how important it is for schools to enable every child to be comfortable in their own skin and the rewards of seeing a teenager blossom and thrive despite the complexities of adolescence.

Yesterday’s Second Form parents’ evening was an important opportunity for us to share feedback with you on your daughter’s progress within and outside of the classroom and equally to hear feedback from you, which we always welcome.

Meanwhile, the Community Choir has been in rehearsal ready for next Thursday’s Celebration of Christmas evening; and many thanks to our Gap students who have created their very own Christmas tree challenge for boarders, who will be enjoying a special Christmas supper tonight. A happy weekend to you all,

Tracy Kirnig

This week marked both the 109th anniversary of Prior’s Field founder Julia Huxley’s death, and the 174th anniversary of Gertrude Jekyll’s birthday; together with Julia’s husband, Leonard, renowned horticulturist Jekyll created the design for our school’s original gardens. It was fitting therefore to pay tribute to both these exceptional women, by placing flowers midweek on Julia’s grave in Watts Cemetery.
Julia Huxley’s pioneering spirit and belief in the importance of independent thinking have been embodied in many ways this past week – not least by the success of our First to Third Form in the London Junior Debating League, exceptional entries on the theme of ‘Freedom’ to the English Department’s poetry competition and Sixth Form EPQ presentations to an invited audience. Her ambition ‘to send out confident young women, ready to take their place in the modern world’ lives on.
Congratulations to the Lower Sixth Form for wonderful orchestration of today’s fundraising events in support of Tinga Tinga primary school in Tanzania which include a ‘Name the Giraffe’ competition, donations for a Christmas Jumper Mufti and a truly Olympic challenge undertaken by Sixth Form to row across the English Channel.  Lower Sixth Form students( and staff) took on the mammoth challenge of rowing 37,600m – the distance of the English Channel – in Reception – thank goodness that experienced rower and Head of History Dr Goldsmith was on hand to put in many of the miles. Just after midday the news was in that they were safely ashore and had taken the decision to row back ! Thank you to everyone who supported today’s events and it was a truly lovely start to December to see festive knitwear in every corridor, classroom and office , completed by the odd pair of reindeer antlers too!
Tracy Kirnig

This week marked both the 109th anniversary of Prior’s Field founder Julia Huxley’s death, and the 174th anniversary of Gertrude Jekyll’s birthday; together with Julia’s husband, Leonard, renowned horticulturist Jekyll created the design for our school’s original gardens. It was fitting therefore to pay tribute to both these exceptional women, by placing flowers midweek on Julia’s grave in Watts Cemetery.

Julia Huxley’s pioneering spirit and belief in the importance of independent thinking have been embodied in many ways this past week – not least by the success of our First to Third Form in the London Junior Debating League, exceptional entries on the theme of ‘Freedom’ to the English Department’s poetry competition and Sixth Form EPQ presentations to an invited audience. Her ambition ‘to send out confident young women, ready to take their place in the modern world’ lives on.

Congratulations to the Lower Sixth Form for wonderful orchestration of today’s fundraising events in support of Tinga Tinga primary school in Tanzania which include a ‘Name the Giraffe’ competition, donations for a Christmas Jumper Mufti and a truly Olympic challenge undertaken by Sixth Form to row across the English Channel.  Lower Sixth Form students( and staff) took on the mammoth challenge of rowing 37,600m – the distance of the English Channel – in Reception – thank goodness that experienced rower and Head of History Dr Goldsmith was on hand to put in many of the miles. Just after midday the news was in that they were safely ashore and had taken the decision to row back ! Thank you to everyone who supported today’s events and it was a truly lovely start to December to see festive knitwear in every corridor, classroom and office , completed by the odd pair of reindeer antlers too!

Tracy Kirnig

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Tonight will see the cast and crew of ‘Les Misérables’ come together one last time, to give their fifth and final performance of the week. What an astounding achievement these performances have been. Each audience – and at the Tuesday matinée this included over 110 pupils from local prep schools, as well as 10 former members of staff and several visitors from Busbridge Church’s Prime Time group – was dazzled by the professionalism, realism and emotion of the performances. Huge congratulations to everyone involved – this was a massive and brave undertaking to which our girls rose with aplomb! In order to do this fantastic production justice there will be a highly pictorial review piece in next week’s newsletter.
Prior’s Field will be a hive of activity tomorrow. On the crest of our U12A and B success at Tormead last week, the PE Department is welcoming schools for a netball tournament first thing in the morning. From 11.00am to 3.00pm, doors will open for our PSA Christmas Fair, which promises to be both a fun and effortless way to pick up imaginative Christmas presents. A special mention to those boarders who have spent their evenings this week making wrapping paper packs, decorations and notebooks for sale at the Fair, all proceeds going to charity. Do support this event by coming along tomorrow, if you can.
Tracy Kirnig

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Tonight will see the cast and crew of ‘Les Misérables’ come together one last time, to give their fifth and final performance of the week. What an astounding achievement these performances have been. Each audience – and at the Tuesday matinée this included over 110 pupils from local prep schools, as well as 10 former members of staff and several visitors from Busbridge Church’s Prime Time group – was dazzled by the professionalism, realism and emotion of the performances. Huge congratulations to everyone involved – this was a massive and brave undertaking to which our girls rose with aplomb! In order to do this fantastic production justice there will be a highly pictorial review piece in next week’s newsletter.

Prior’s Field will be a hive of activity tomorrow. On the crest of our U12A and B success at Tormead last week, the PE Department is welcoming schools for a netball tournament first thing in the morning. From 11.00am to 3.00pm, doors will open for our PSA Christmas Fair, which promises to be both a fun and effortless way to pick up imaginative Christmas presents. A special mention to those boarders who have spent their evenings this week making wrapping paper packs, decorations and notebooks for sale at the Fair, all proceeds going to charity. Do support this event by coming along tomorrow, if you can.

Tracy Kirnig

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This morning’s Remembrance Day Assembly shared the story of George Chapman Bradbury, 1883-1917. An Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps, George Bradbury – great uncle of Third Former Charlotte – was killed when a German bomber carried out a night-time raid on the aerodrome at Abeele, Belgium. Third Formers visited his grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery during their trip to Ypres last month – almost 100 years to the day since George Bradbury died, on 31 October 1917.
Looking ahead, tomorrow we will welcome over 140 ten year olds to a detective-themed Preview Day, where their various missions will include de-coding, clue solving, conducting scientific experiments and photography darkroom work – a nod to Sherlock Holmes’ creator Arthur Conan Doyle, whose daughter Mary was one of Prior’s Field’s earliest pupils. 11 of the children will stay overnight for a Junior Boarding taster; huge thanks to boarding staff and students who will help them to have fun and feel at home.
Thanks also to those staff who orchestrated trips abroad during half term – you can read about several of them in this and next week’s newsletters; from Medieval History to French exchanges, girls have risen to exciting and new challenges.
Tracy Kirnig

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This morning’s Remembrance Day Assembly shared the story of George Chapman Bradbury, 1883-1917. An Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps, George Bradbury – great uncle of Third Former Charlotte – was killed when a German bomber carried out a night-time raid on the aerodrome at Abeele, Belgium. Third Formers visited his grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery during their trip to Ypres last month – almost 100 years to the day since George Bradbury died, on 31 October 1917.

Looking ahead, tomorrow we will welcome over 140 ten year olds to a detective-themed Preview Day, where their various missions will include de-coding, clue solving, conducting scientific experiments and photography darkroom work – a nod to Sherlock Holmes’ creator Arthur Conan Doyle, whose daughter Mary was one of Prior’s Field’s earliest pupils. 11 of the children will stay overnight for a Junior Boarding taster; huge thanks to boarding staff and students who will help them to have fun and feel at home.

Thanks also to those staff who orchestrated trips abroad during half term – you can read about several of them in this and next week’s newsletters; from Medieval History to French exchanges, girls have risen to exciting and new challenges.

Tracy Kirnig

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Assembly this morning was led by 2A on the theme of Friendship.  A very fitting end to a week in which we have waved off the First Form to Welsh Bicknor, tasked with just one goal of consolidating their new friendships through; fun, challenges and for many, the first trip away from home.

First Form being off-site facilitated the opportunity to run a Sixth Form Taster day for the current fifth form.  I very much enjoyed dropping in on their taster session in subjects old and new, and hearing their thoughts as to how the day had changed or supported their initial A Level subject shortlist. I am delighted that so many girls are considering the additional benefit of applying for Sixth Form Scholarships.

There was a great deal of colour and light this week not only in storm Ophelia’s sky; but from the electrifying neon of the ’80s Cabaret Evening and the truly beautiful reflections of candlelight and illumination which lit the Boarder’s Diwali dinner yesterday evening.

The theme of friendship is also where we end the week by welcoming back the Class of 1977 for a re-union. Over fifteen Alumni are eager to return and re-live happy memories and pore over some of the photographs of their teenage selves in seventies style!  The PF motto of the day: To Live by Admiration, Hope and Love’ is just as relevant today as the Second Form concluded this morning with these words from their assembly:  “We don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but we can be (and are), kind, tolerant, inclusive and make everyone feel valued”

Wishing you a wonderful half-term break

Tracy Kirnig

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Assembly this morning began with a spine-tingling rendition of ‘A Heart Full of Love’ by our cast members of Les Mis to announce the opening of the box office on-line.  The excitement continued as following a dramatic drum-roll, Mrs Horton delivered news of the next PF Production Studios classic – Grease in 2018.

Yet more stunning performances will be aired next week at the eagerly anticipated ‘Electric Eighties’ Cabaret evening on Wednesday; tickets are now also on sale at www.priorsfield.eventbrite.co.uk for  this unmissable evening and of course for Les Misérables.

The site was buzzing with visitors again this week; from a packed tour schedule for our Admissions team to many eager competitors in Wednesday’s Junior Cross Country Competition, to which we welcomed over 150 10-12 year olds from local schools. Their spirit and determination, despite the wind and rain, was fantastic to see and was rewarded with hot tomato soup at the end of the course and a very enjoyable prize-giving ceremony.

Co-Curricular extension and enrichment has been very much at the fore this week with Oxbridge outings to Cambridge; Physics Lectures at LVS Ascot and a Studio Photography Day led by professional David Watts.  Whilst in class, I had the chance to see a wonderful Third Form exploration of characterisation in the work of Edgar Allan Poe; the first GCSE photographer’s dark room session and Fifth Form tackling their final practical pieces in DT.

As we look to next week, the fast pace is set to continue, not least with the First Form’s adventure bonding trip to Welsh Bicknor. A reminder to everyone that next Friday 20 October is a mufti day for all girls bringing in items in support of our PSA Christmas Fair. Thank you, as ever, for your ongoing support.

Tracy Kirnig