I often comment how pleased I am to welcome the girls back to school after a break or a holiday; staff involved with the Fourth Form girls on their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition on Saturday were pleased and relieved to see the intrepid explorers reaching their planned finish point, whether or not they had overcome navigational challenges! We are fortunate to have so many staff willing to give up their weekend to support the girls in this adventure. Each year girls lower down the school are inspired by the achievements of those in the Fourth Form and beyond.
It cannot be overemphasized how important it is for children to pursue activities outside the classroom, whether at school or at home. I have been struck this week by the breadth of the sporting opportunities offered at Prior’s Field during the school year. The calendar is full of fixtures – tennis, athletics, cricket and rounders feature heavily at the moment. Do remember that you are very welcome to come and support your daughter and her team mates. It really is a joy.
We are all currently very aware of pressures on children and young people due to exams and, with the internal exams for First to Third Formers next week, I would reiterate that a sensible balance between revision and breaks is essential to ensure your daughter’s emotional and physical wellbeing. I cannot promise this year to provide what the Head at another school in Surrey has arranged to remind his pupils to have fun (a fairground on school grounds). We will, however, be aiming for all the girls to give their best without feeling overwhelmed by expectations. The Upper Sixth’s Give Back Day is a wonderful occasion for the school to look forward to at the end of next week.
The Lower Sixth were thinking beyond exams this week when they experienced an evening of mock job interviews with a selection of parents and friends of the school. These interviews coincided with the final days running up to the deadline for prefect applications. The ability to interact with a potential employer or third party in an interview scenario is now crucial for our young people. The Sixth Form team work very hard to continue to equip students with the skills they will need when they leave school. I hope the girls enjoyed the experience and took away from it some tips and techniques on which to build. We are very grateful to the volunteer interviewers.
Our entertainment this week seems to all have a common connection: food! Junior Boarding had an Open House on Monday. We all enjoyed cakes baked by the girls, who were very excited and proud to show us around their domain. Classics and Cakes last evening had a fantastic programme and I was very sad to miss it. I understand, however, that the performances were stunning. These regular mini-concerts provide a valuable opportunity for the girls to perform to a small audience, thereby gradually gaining more confidence – part of our toolkit for life beyond Prior’s Field.
Our final entertainment of the week will be tomorrow, when the Boarders are celebrating the Royal Wedding in style with a wonderful picnic. I will be donning my wedding hat and enjoying the festivities with the girls on what promises to be another sunny day.
With best wishes for the Royal weekend
Before they spent time at an important UCAS presentation looking forward to their exciting futures, the Sixth Form organised a fun run with a twist on Wednesday to raise money for Sport Relief. They draughted in some teaching legends to take part in a ‘High Heel Race’. The winner by a square mile in speed and style was Ricky, our Head Chef, who got off to a cracking start, wearing a beautiful pink dress! It was a good effort from all the other competitors; Mrs Allen, Mr Butler, Mrs Horton, Mr Marrison and Mrs McGarry but the pack couldn’t catch up with the breakneck baker!
Mrs Haddock reports ‘After a successful rendez-vous under the clock at Waterloo Station I and a select party of Sixth Form Historians headed off to be enlightened on the finer details of Russia’s rulers at a revision conference on Russia 1855-1964.
The speakers were all leaders in their field and provided some fascinating insights into Russian History as well as some top tips on question analysis. The talks covered key examination questions including the collapse of Tsarism and the success or otherwise of Stalin’s rule. Inevitably, comparisons between Stalin and Putin were made and we came away with the depressing thought that, perhaps the very nature of Russia and its people, leant itself to some form of strong leadership. The discussion that followed was testament to the intellectual ability of the girls and their capacity to absorb lots of information over a short time period. A day well-spent!’
In this morning’s assembly, Deric Quaile, President of the Guildford Lions Club presented seven of the girls with their Young Leaders in Service awards, taking the number of awards completed by pupils at the school to 12. Well done to Sixth Formers Bethan, Katie, Holly G, Jinyan, Emma, Wing Sze and Chloe!
The girls did a variety of activities including one to one respite for disabled children, teaching French and Chinese as foreign languages, marshaling at park runs, assisting in the school library, undertaking voluntary work in charity shops, and supervising junior boarding.
The Lions Young Leaders in Service Awards (also known as YLiS) recognise young people between the ages of 11 and 18 for their community service in a 12-month period. They receive a Bronze (up to 50 hours), Silver (up to 100 hours) or Gold (100 or more hours) award. This is an internationally recognised award and encourages young people to volunteer their time to help others in their community.
As part of their assessment, the Lower Sixth Food Science and Nutrition students were set the task of producing a three-course meal in a three and a half hour time limit. They demonstrated their high-level skills; they filleted and poached fish, boned chicken, made meringues, choux pastry, ravioli and soufflés. They produced ballotine of chicken breast, mackerel pate, plaice veronique, sweet potato rosti, veloute, mayonnaise and tartar sauce among a variety of other amazing dishes. All their delicious masterpieces were presented in a creative and professional manner. Huge congratulations to them all for stepping up to the challenge and making such a success of it!
The Upper Sixth have been busy getting a taste of life beyond school with one half of the year being given the opportunity to learn how to cook on a budget under the watchful guide of our talented Head Chef, Ricky. The other half took part in a budgeting workshop. The groups will swap activities next week.
On Tuesday the application process was launched for finding next year’s Prefect team, including the roles of Head Girl and Deputies, School Council Representatives, Heads of House and Prefects. We will announce the names of those elected just before Speech Day in July.
Earlier in the week, the Lower Sixth attended a UCAS Convention at Surrey Sports Park which was a wonderful opportunity to talk to a multitude of universities and the courses they offer.
After attending the lecture, the Upper Sixth Form Biology and Psychology students continued with Brain Day. Dr Sutton spoke in depth about brain development, function and disfunction. He gave the students the opportunity to learn some Second and Third Year Degree level information on the function of synapses and secondary messenger systems. The day culminated with the students participating in the dissection of a sheep’s brain, giving them the rare opportunity to see for real the actual structures within the brain which they had been studying.
Sixth Form Holly reported ‘Such a great day!! Really interesting to build on our A Level knowledge and see where this could lead to. Very inspiring for those of us planning to study Biology at university. Interesting and detailed lectures, and a brilliant dissection.’
Emma said ‘It was very interesting and Dr Sutton was very enthusiastic. It really helped me understand further the workings of the brain.’
Georgina added ‘I thought the brain day was really interesting and inspiring to see and learn about some of the really new developments showing how exciting science currently is and how much more that is yet to be discovered about the brain.’
Ms Treanor reports ‘A Level Geographers have been investigating coastal systems this week along the Dorset Heritage Coastline. Using Swanage as our base, we were able to travel to Lulworth and Durdle Door and then spend a day collecting psammosere data at Studland. On our way home we stopped in Southampton to investigate urban regeneration and practise human geography related data collection techniques. The girls are now well prepared for their own independent investigations!’
Miss Brailey reports ‘On Wednesday, Sixth Formers Charne, Martha, Katie and Hannah gave a ten minute presentation on their chosen Heroine of Science, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, MBE, at the University of Reading’s annual event. The girls met and interviewed Dr Aderin-Pocock at this year’s Huxley Lecture, and were inspired by her work both in the field of Space Science and her educational work promoting science to young people, particularly girls. After their session the girls listened to other schools’ presentations of their Heroines of Science, as well as having a guest lecture from the University of Reading’s Dr Ann Chippindale on her work, Sparkling Cyanide, which was based on her current research. A great afternoon!
Some of the lower Sixth Formers visited Waverley Abbey to lead an assembly encouraging the children to donate books to disadvantaged children in Surrey as part of the Delight charity campaign.
A Level Geographers attended a lecture at the local branch of the Geographical Association on Tuesday evening. Jonathan Schifferes, the Associate Director in Public Services and Communities from the RSA spoke about urban regeneration using case studies stretching from New York to Guildford train station!