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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

Tracy Kirnig

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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

Tracy Kirnig

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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

Tracy Kirnig

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The week began with the First Form Alice in Wonderland-themed social. The Rose Garden rang with the laughter and chatter of the girls as they enjoyed the Chef’s incredible creations. This is a wonderful Prior’s Field summer tradition, eagerly anticipated by all. Even the weather played ball this year!

We received fantastic news last evening. Dr Smith took a team of Prior’s Field Second Form girls – Natasha, Alex, Isabel and Izzy – to the University of Brighton yesterday, to take part in the University Challenge at the Salters Festival of Chemistry. The girls won the competition, beating teams from 19 other schools. We are all thrilled and so proud of the girls. We should also congratulate Mrs Olive who, accompanying the trip, attended her first ever Chemistry lecture!

GCSE exams finish today and A Levels will finish next week. The girls deserve the rest awaiting them. We are looking forward to celebrating with them in August. Students in other year groups are receiving the results of their internal exams, and should be equally pleased about what they have achieved. It is the time of year when we can all reflect on how far girls have come, as well as looking ahead to their aspirations for next year.

Fourth Form girls have been looking ahead this week to the Sixth Form! They have each enjoyed an individual chat with a member of the Sixth Form team about their thoughts and ideas for Sixth Form studies, and have hopefully learnt a little about life in the Sixth Form House.  We have had some very positive feedback from both girls and parents. I do hope that we have triggered some interesting thought processes which can continue both at home and at school.

This afternoon, the Upper Sixth are showcasing their impressive art, photography and textiles work at the A Level Creative Arts Private View, from 4pm-6pm. Do come along if you have a chance – the pieces displayed are truly stunning.

Also this week, preparations have been continuing for the Lower School production, A Midsummer Night’s Moonlit Mashup, Activities Week and Speech Day. The end of term is starting to accelerate towards us, as always at this point in the year. Everyone is very excited about the opportunities and events in store in the next few weeks, with the lovely long summer holiday beckoning beyond.

With best wishes for the weekend

Tracy Kirnig

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The half term break was a time for rest and relaxation for the First to Third Forms and revision for the Fourth Form (hopefully with a bit of rest and relaxation too!). The Fourth Form exams run slightly into next week; the girls have been focused and working hard, keen to show us what they can do. We look forward to celebrating their achievements.

I had the pleasure of visiting St Ives School on Tuesday and attending their annual Year 6 luncheon. I, Mrs Sapseid and Ms Troup are looking forward to our other visits to primary and prep schools in the coming weeks.

The Art department have this week been working hard in preparation for the GCSE Private View this afternoon. I have had a sneak preview and can divulge that the work on display is absolutely stunning. I would encourage parents of all girls in any year group to come along and see the exhibition, and the A level Private View on Friday 15 June. I am confident you will be impressed by the incredible standard of the work on show.

I and Mrs Westerman, Joint Head of Sixth Form, have very much enjoyed this week interviewing almost half the year group for a position on the Senior Prefect Leadership Team next year. It was marvellous to read the girls’ fluent and mature application letters and wonderful, in interview, to hear the girls talk about how much they feel they have gained from their years at Prior’s Field and their wish to give something back. The girls spoke about how much they admired the girls in the Sixth Form as they themselves moved through the school. They were united in their praise for the current Head Girl and Upper Sixth prefect team, and in particular their efforts with fundraising and volunteering for charity. We have all been thoroughly impressed with the current Upper Sixth as a year group, and their achievements have clearly had a major impact on the Lower Sixth following in their wake.

Finally, this afternoon, we will be saying goodbye to Richard Green as he retires as Chairman of the Board of Governors. This is a chance for the school community to thank Richard for all he has done for Prior’s Field, although there will be a final opportunity at Speech Day on Saturday 7 July, an event which I hope you all have in your diary.

With best wishes for the weekend

Tracy Kirnig