The first full week of term has flown by. The girls have thrown themselves back into their life at school and are already immersed in their learning. Next week, they will be able to start their clubs and activities, which are such an important part of their school experience.
It was lovely to see so many new, and some well-known, faces at our information evenings for parents of new girls and the Lower Sixth on Tuesday. I hope you all gleaned important and useful information.
This week, we were delighted to welcome members of the PSA to school, first for the termly committee meeting and secondly for the reps’ breakfast this morning. It is very appropriate at the beginning of the new school year for me to thank all the members of their PSA for their invaluable support to the school, for which we are very grateful. This term, of course, we are looking forward to the PSA Christmas Fair on Saturday 24 November – one for the diary as a prime Christmas shopping day.
The Boarders’ activities for this term began with a talent show, judged by Mr Rood, Ms Ritchie, Miss Kindersley and me. The girls did not hold back and the evening was full of laughter and applause.
One of the highlights of the week was the whole school photo on Thursday – my first as Head. The weather was kind and we were able to capture the whole Prior’s Field community, smiling in the sunshine – a wonderful modern addition to our archives.
As you are aware, this is an important term for those thinking of coming to Prior’s Field next September. Our Open Day is on Saturday 29 September and our aim is to start welcoming prospective pupils and their families for a visit to the school after that date, by which time we hope that the First Form and other new girls have had time to adjust and to feel that they are an integral part of the school family. I would encourage Fifth Form girls and their family to come to our Sixth Form Open Evening on Thursday 4 October, and hope to see many of you then. The girls will also enjoy a chance to experience life in the Sixth Form for a day.
I understand just how important a decision it is to choose a secondary school, or even a Sixth Form, for your child. Knowing your child’s personality and needs will help you find the right choice. I know as a parent myself that big decisions do not get easier as a child grows, and they tend to develop a mind of their own! Please be assured that any of the staff here would be happy to talk to you about any particular aspect of your child’s future education, up to A level and beyond. Our aim is for your daughter to leave Prior’s Field at the end of the Upper Sixth confident and ready to face the modern world and we are very excited to be able to walk beside her on her journey.
With best wishes
Whether letter or number grades, Prior’s Field today demonstrated they have a proven formula to GCSE success. Despite the new style tougher GCSE the school were celebrating a haul of the top level 9 grades, 52 in total and an overall 57% 9 to 7 (A* -A) equivalent.
Standout pupils with top grades throughout and a hat-trick of level 9s in each Science were: Millie Webb with five grade 9s, three A*s and two grade 8s; Poppy Wagerfield with five grade 9s, three A*s, one A and one grade 8 and Imogen Henderson with four grade 9s, four A*s and one grade 8 and one grade 7. Other fabulous results were gained by Natasha Cocksedge with four grade 9s, three A*s and one B and Jess Laffan five grade 9s, three A*s and one grade 7.
Standout departments with 100% grades 9 to 7 were Chemistry, Biology and PE. Physics reported 80% grades 9 to 7, Geography 76% grades 9 to 7 and Maths 67% A* to A (iGCSE).
The school has taken a decisive strategy over the last few years to invest in facilities, teaching and co-curricular opportunities which truly support the notion that women can excel in science. They built a super new science facility with smart board technology and A Level only lab space. They have also encouraged the girls to embrace extra-curricular science opportunities such as the Big Bang Science fair, Salters Festival of Chemistry and invited leading female scientists such as Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock in to inspire the girls.
Head Tracy Kirnig said:
“We celebrate our choice of a broad cohort on a daily basis and even more so on a day like today where all of our girls have secured the most amazing results. We are particularly proud of our phenomenal Science, Maths, PE and Geography results which prove how serious we are about ensuring that girls have every opportunity to succeed in their chosen career path”
Record Breaking Results with 50% A*-A’ and 76% A*-B
Nothing could dampen our spirits this morning as we awoke to a wave of wonderful news.
Every member of staff has been brimming with excitement this morning as we welcomed our class of 2018 back across the threshold to unveil their incredible results, which are true testimony to the hard work, ambition and commitment of the Sixth Form girls and staff alike.
The breadth of A*s and As is spread wide across all departments with equally excellent grades in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities. Chemistry, Geography, Art and Textiles performed particularly well. Every girl collecting her results today got her first choice of university and the range of destinations includes: Manchester, Exeter, Cardiff, St Andrews, Imperial College and even Iowa!
Amongst the girls celebrating their creative talents are: Anja Cox Cunningham with 3A*s in Geography, Art and Textiles who will commence an Art Foundation course at Manchester University. Flora Hickman who has also achieved A* in Art along with an A in both English and History which sees her ably on her way to St Andrews to study History and finally Erin Saunders whose A* in Art, A* in Textiles and A in English guarantee her Graphic Design place at Leeds University.
There is also a distinct strength in the Sciences this year: Holly Giles has achieved an A* in Biology, A*in Chemistry and an A in Maths with that her long-held desire to pursue a medical path by studying Biomedical Science at Cardiff. Other students eager to experiment with a scientific career are Maya Tanfield who mastered an A in Maths, A*in Chemistry and A in Biology and will be heading to Imperial College in London to study Biological Sciences and Beate Wehrmeyer whose 3 As in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology will secure her place at Bath University to read Biomedical Science with an Industry placement. Also aiming to study Biomedical Sciences but demonstrating a perfect balance between her scientific and creative prowess is Kari Webb who secured A* in Textiles, A* Biology and A in Chemistry and will be heading to Exeter.
Not to be outdone, but unable to collect her results in person is Daisy Phillips, the first graduate of the Prior’s Field Tennis Academy who received an unconditional scholarship from IOWA university and her A* and 2As in PE, Biology and Geography illustrate that she is both a knockout success on and off the court. She has started her US studies already.
Head, Mrs Tracy Kirnig commented “We pride ourselves on playing to our girls’ strengths and it is wonderful to see that by allowing them to choose the mix of A Levels that they want to pursue, we help them achieve beyond expectations. The reformed A Level criteria has not presented any barrier for us and I am delighted that these results resoundingly confirm that Prior’s Field has a proven formula for success.”
And so the end of term has arrived, in a blaze of sunlight!
The whole school community have enjoyed a wonderful week of brilliant end of year lessons interspersed with festivities and fun – Founder’s Day, Sports Day, Fifth Form mocktails and prom, Activities Week and the Upper Sixth leavers’ dinner last evening. Preparations for Speech Day are nearly complete; tomorrow we will celebrate together the girls’ achievements over the last year and say farewell to our Upper Sixth, who leave us sad to go but excited and ready to move on to the next stage in their lives. I am immensely proud of the whole year group.
I wish all the girls a wonderful summer holiday, full of adventures and possibilities. We look forward to welcoming them back to school in September, refreshed, reinvigorated and ready for another year of challenge, opportunity and success.
With best wishes
We were extremely fortunate in a week when so many events were planned, many outside, that the sun has shone continually.
The Lower School Production, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Moonlit Mash Up’, was a real highlight which showcased the girls’ incredible talent and saw some girls who we do not normally see on the stage really shine. Congratulations to everyone involved, particularly Mrs Horton whose script writing and adaptation skills are so outstanding.
Thursday was a very busy day for the Sixth Form team. During the school day, the Lower Sixth took part in a leadership training day led by Kim Wells, a Leadership Coach who is also Director of Teaching and Learning at Caterham School. I was able to attend parts of the day and could see that the girls were absorbing and learning whilst enjoying the interactive and interesting activities that had been planned. Mrs Westerman and I are very excited about the prefect appointments which we will shortly be announcing. In the evening, the Sixth Form Team welcomed Fourth Form girls and parents to the Sixth Form Showcase, an event designed to give Fourth Formers an idea of what life in the Sixth Form will be like and an opportunity to talk about subject and career aspirations. I hope the girls were inspired by what they saw and heard. We would very much like feedback as this is a reformatted event, so do let us know what you thought.
On Thursday afternoon, I was enticed by the sound of music into the Rose Garden, where Boarders were hosting a group of visitors from Prime Time – a group at Busbridge Church offering a varied programme for anyone retired or semi-retired. Everyone enjoyed a delicious cream tea in the beautiful sunshine. I know that the Prime Time members really enjoy spending time with the Boarders, who are able to chat easily whilst also demonstrating great respect and consideration; I am very proud of the girls.
Today, we have had a packed day. Announced as always by the ringing of the Old School Bell, staff and girls adjusted their traditional floral corsage and went into the hall for Founder’s Day Assembly. This year the focus was on the anniversary of the culmination of the suffrage movement, which ultimately triggered the enactment of the Representation of the People Act 1918, giving women over 30 with property the right to vote. The girls heard about Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst, and how the movement impacted on Prior’s Field girls and the local community. After a short break, the school reconvened outside for the new addition to Sports Day: a colourful and feisty House parade of girls and staff dressed in red, blue or purple, some with face paint, waving banners and singing chants – a combative prelude to the competition to come. This afternoon, we will be sheltering under hats and parasols, while we watch the girls impress with their athleticism, before the popular final event: the dog show!
The day will be rounded off with the Fifth Form Mocktail party, an event to which I know the girls are very much looking forward and which will form part of their Prior’s Field memory book as they move on into Sixth Form.
Next week, the school will feel empty as it will be Activities Week. However, the buzz will return on Thursday, as we make the final preparations for Speech Day. I do hope to see you there.
With best wishes
Watts Gallery featured twice in my day on Monday. I had a visit from Perdita Hunt, OBE, former Director of Watts Gallery, who will be our speaker at Speech Day. Perdita’s career has been interesting and varied, and she is now involved with a multitude of charities and organisations. I am very much looking forward to hear her speak on Saturday 7 July. On Monday evening, I was fortunate to be invited to the private view at Watts Gallery of the exhibition ‘James Henry Pullen: Inmate – Inventor – Genius’ – a fascinating display of the work of a man unable to communicate, incarcerated in an asylum for 70 years and yet capable of extraordinary creative work. I do encourage you to take your family along to this astonishing and inspiring exhibition.
Nicola Smillie from St Martin’s School in Solihull visited us this week and was very impressed with the girls she met. Another visitor to school this week was Emma Wheeler, the Head of Religious Studies at Benenden School who is conducting some research into the teaching of Islam in schools; our own Head of Religious Studies, Mr Starnes, is now assisting Emma with this interesting project.
We welcomed to New Girls’ Tea yesterday 75 girls who will be starting with us in September. The Rose Garden was buzzing with conversation as the girls and their parents and guardians chatted with staff. Of particular interest to all was the gazebo housing samples of the new uniform. Feedback was unanimously positive – even the Third Form PF Peers who crept in amongst the new girls to have a look gave their seal of approval. It will be very exciting to see our first entire cohort wearing the uniform when they arrive on the first day of next term.
The exams are now over and the end of term is looming large. There is plenty of excitement on the agenda, however, between now and then. The Lower School Production – ‘A Midsummer Night’s Moonlit Mayhem’ – is being performed next Tuesday and Wednesday and promises to be fantastic. On Monday, those girls in the Second Form not involved in the production will take part in a cross-curricular day put together by Mrs Morwood, themed on the Renaissance.
With best wishes for a sunny weekend