The calendar has been full of fixtures this term, and no less so this week. I want to thank all girls who have represented Prior’s Field – I hope you have learned how to work together for the good of the whole, and that you have enjoyed participating in competitive sport with your peers. As I look out of the window at yet more rain, I am reflecting on the huge benefits of hard courts and astroturf! Good luck to all the sports teams and individuals who still have matches to play or competitions to take part in before the end of term. And congratulations to our debaters on their success this week – they continue to be hugely impressive.
On Tuesday we held our pastoral evening on on-line safety. The audience were addressed by Lorin LaFave, who runs the Breck Foundation, and who lost her son, Breck, in tragic and shocking circumstances as the result of him being groomed whilst gaming on-line. I know Lorin well as I was Deputy Head of a school that Breck attended just a year before his death. She is an excellent speaker on such a traumatic and, often, harrowing subject and an inspiring woman. Many people intend to turn a truly horrendous experience into something positive. Lorin was talking at Breck’s funeral about setting up a charity to support young people, and she has achieved her aim and more. We now have trained staff in school who are able to help the girls keep themselves safe. The danger of on-line activity for children is not a concern likely to go away in the near future.
Christmas has come a step nearer today with ‘Elfridges’ – a brilliantly-named initiative by Fifth Form girls to raise money for moon cups for the children in Tinga Tinga by selling stocking fillers and small gifts to the school community. The boarders have a weekend of festive activities in store. This evening, they will enjoy a Winter supper and tomorrow they are going to see the Chiswick Lantern Festival in London. On Monday they will don their Christmas hats to sing to the shoppers at Waitrose in Godalming. Meanwhile, on Saturday, a large group of girls and several Francophile staff are going on a day trip to the Christmas market in Lille, where the hot chocolate promises to be a real treat.
Today, we have welcomed a lovely group of girls to Prior’s Field to sit the 13+ entrance exam and to be interviewed by a member of staff. It has been a delight to meet all the girls and talk to them about their interests and aspirations.
Preparations for next week are in the final stages and the excitement is building, with secret Santa’s and Christmas decorations popping up all over the school. The girls are looking forward to Christmas lunch, House Quiz, the Celebration of Christmas and, of course, RAG day on Friday. Then we will each be able to find a comfy chair and dip into Mrs Olive’s suggested Christmas reading list.
With best wishes
The Christmas Fair on Saturday was a great success and put us all in the Christmas mood. My thanks to the PSA for all their hard work.
The preparations for our Celebration of Christmas on Thursday 13 December are well under way. We very much look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at what is always a very festive and atmospheric event. The musical menu promises to impress, as always; the girls are rehearsing hard with a Christmas smile on their faces, knowing that, on the performance day, the end of term will be just around the corner.
First, though, the whole school will enjoy the RAG day organised by the Upper Sixth. On Monday the girls presented an assembly, explaining to the other year groups what is in store for the day itself and where the donations will be going. The Upper Sixth’s theme this year is ‘Blast from the Past’ – an excuse for girls and staff to don an outfit from the 20’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. I am sure that the Marketing department’s camera will capture many images to share with you. The Upper Sixth also launched our participation in the Red Box Project, a charity which quietly ensures that no young person misses school because they have their period. This nationwide project provides free menstrual products for young people in local schools. It was clear that the younger girls very much appreciated the value of this initiative and were keen to be part of it. I am proud of the girls for addressing something so personal and so important.
Yesterday, with my senior prefect leadership team and Polly Murray, an old girl and our Development and Alumnae Officer, I visited the grave of our founder, Julia Huxley, in Compton Cemetery. Julia died 110 years ago and her legacy very much lives on in the ethos of Prior’s Field. Polly read a passage from the school history about reaction to her death, including words by Beatrice Burton-Brown, who took over as sole headmistress, who commented that ‘[Prior’s Field’s] spirit is her spirit, and will be her monument for ever…. her ideal [was] that we should live by admiration of all that is good and great, by ‘the unconquerable hope’. And by love to one another.’
Today our admiration has primarily been for each other’s Christmas jumpers, which were joyous! They are evidence of the school community’s continual enthusiasm for supporting those less fortunate – in this case, as part of the RAG fund raising activities, the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham. We are hoping that parents and guardians will join us at our pastoral evening with the Breck Foundation next Tuesday – do book your place via Eventbrite.
With best wishes
‘Grease’ has been the word on all our lips this week. Pupils from Longacre School, members of Prime Time from Busbridge Church and friends and other members of the school community enjoyed a matinee performance on Tuesday and three capacity audiences were wowed by the girls’ singing, dancing and acting in the evening shows. This has been an amazing tour de force from the Drama and Music Departments and, of course, the girls, who were fantastic and clearly thoroughly enjoying themselves. The production was brilliantly cast, staged and styled and had everyone laughing out loud and tapping their feet – immersed in the pure joy of it. The last night ‘themed dressing up’ option was very popular and, I am sure, made all the difference when it came to audience participation! Well done to everyone involved.
There has also been a huge amount of preparation going on for the Christmas Fair, which takes place tomorrow. The PSA have been working very hard to ensure that this year’s fair is a success and I am very grateful for their continual support for the school. Please do come along and get ahead with your Christmas shopping.
This week I attended the GSA Annual Conference in London, with speakers presenting and roundtable discussions on a variety of very pertinent subjects such as how the landscape beyond school is changing and how independent schools can support social mobility. One debate which resonated particularly for me focused on girls in STEM subjects. The interest in Science subjects for A level at Prior’s Field is on an upward trend and we need to maintain this, to ensure that all girls are offered the widest opportunities for personal growth and for future career options. I am delighted that we have two Upper Sixth girls who have been invited for interview, one at Oxford and the other at Cambridge – both girls have a Science bias to their studies. The Sixth Form team are also supporting all the girls in our Upper Sixth in preparation for their upcoming university interviews and applications.
As the ‘Grease’ company regain their breath and energy, girls are looking ahead this week to opportunities including an Upper Sixth History of Art trip to the ‘Ways of Seeing’ exhibition at the National Gallery, a careers talk by Sarah Hardy, Curator/Manager at the De Morgan Foundation and a movie night social for the First Form.
The Fair tomorrow will tip us into the run up to Christmas and the end of term. The Upper Sixth are in charge of the girls’ celebrations which will be focused on fun and also on the importance of thinking of others at this time. The girls’ chosen charities this year are the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and Palliative Care Centre in Farnham. Our Christmas jumper mufti day next Friday will certainly put us all in the Christmas spirit.
With best wishes
Grease is the Word – Wow!
Click to view a montage of photos from the phenomenal production of ‘Grease’
The ISADA conference last weekend was a huge success. We hosted representatives from a range of schools who enjoyed lectures and workshops and made valuable connections with other like-minded individuals. One of the artists who shared his inspiration was Mark Spray, with whom Prior’s Field has had a connection for some time. Mark commented: ‘I think that was the first time I have had an audience that seemed to understand what it is I have dedicated my life to. From my perspective, that was truly touching and wonderful.’
On Sunday I popped into the ‘Grease’ rehearsal and, on Monday, there was a ‘Grease’ assembly for the Second, Third and Fourth Forms. As a result, my appetite has been well and truly whetted and I am even more excited about seeing the production. The girls are fantastic!
I must mention the English Speaking Union Mace Round 1 Debate which took place at Prior’s Field on Tuesday. Our team – Mabel O and Freya W – were two years younger than all the other teams competing and were chosen by the judges as one of the three teams to go through to the next round. This is an amazing result – I am so proud of the girls. Debating competitions are technical and fast-moving. They have shown incredible maturity and resilience to achieve this result and they should be very proud of themselves too.
On Wednesday we welcomed to Prior’s Field a large number of Duke of Edinburgh volunteers from various local schools, for their regional training day. As you will know, the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is very popular here and we were delighted to be able to support the professional development of teachers who spend so much time supporting young people who have signed up for the scheme. The skills and experience gained en route to the award, at whatever level, are invaluable in creating rounded, confident individuals keen to help others and to grab all the opportunities life offers. There are many pressures on our young people these days and I would encourage all our girls to engage with an activity like the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, to ensure balance in their life and – particularly relevant today, when we are thinking of Children in Need everywhere – to help them appreciate the value of altruism to society.
With best wishes