Head’s Blog

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My last View from the Top of this academic year – and I have had a very changing view this week. Initially, the corridors were fairly quiet with the majority of the girls out on one of the array of Activities Weeks trips arranged this year. Some of the Fifth Form were in school, on a Childcare Course, and the Lower Sixth have been very busy looking ahead to their UCAS application next term. The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh girls spent a day route planning before setting off on their expedition. Yesterday, the school was full again, the girls abuzz with stories from their recent adventures, and rehearsals for Speech Day started in earnest. I know we will be treated to a fantastic display of talent tomorrow.

I must thank the Sports Department for organising an exciting Sports Day again this year. The sun was shining as the Houses paraded around the top field, to start the festivities. Micky Burton-Brown remained with us all morning and very much enjoyed being part being part of the school community.  Ms Fernandes has included some Sports Day results in her report below. Congratulations, not only to those who won their event, but to every girl who took part at whatever level – I was struck, as usual, by the solidarity amongst the girls and their readiness to offer support to their peers.

I am proud too of those girls who show commitment to their interests out of school. This term I have heard of fantastic achievements in a variety of sporting and other activities. Imogen W has qualified with her crew to take part in the British Rowing Junior Championships in a ; a group including Neave, Lily, Amber, Gemma, Freya, Georgie, Mabel, Katie, Lily and Martha got up at 3am last Sunday morning to take part in a sponsored 20km walk to raise money for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices; Claudia C has been selected for the South East of England team for this year’s National U18 Eventing Championships; Robyn M and two girls joining us in September are currently in a production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre; at the end of July, Lottie R will be swimming in five events over five days at the English Nationals – recently she and 99 other swimmers attempted to break the 100x400m relay record and raise money for Cancer Research UK and did so in style, smashing the record by 24 minutes – if you would like to add to their wonderful fundraising total of over £30,000, you can do so via this link.  Please do continue to send in information about your daughter’s interests and achievements out of school – they are part of who she is, and we very much enjoy celebrating the whole of her!

Yesterday and today were all about celebration. The Upper Sixth Leavers’ Party was bitter sweet and primarily an absolute joy. We are all so proud of the whole cohort and look forward to hearing about their adventures in their brave new world. Today, our Awards Assembly was full of smiles and, at lunchtime, I ate cake with the very many girls who have been awarded a Head’s Commendation since half term.

I hope to see many of you tomorrow at Speech Day. I wish you all a wonderful summer full of experiences and opportunities.

Best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

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The temperature has risen at a similar pace to the run up to the end of term.

One of the hottest tickets this week was to our Lower School Production, ‘Alice in Londonland’ on Tuesday and Wednesday. As always, the Drama and Music departments supported the girls in producing a spectacular show, written in-house by Mrs Horton and Mrs Hedley, whose creativity is always so inspiring. I watched the performance on both evenings and it was a real showcase of talent. Unusually this time, a pupil played a crucial part in the technical team; congratulations to Lucy N on her involvement.

Another hot ticket was to the Surrey Schools Tennis League Championship at St George’s this week, where, in the 14&U category, Prior’s Field won! Huge congratulations to Romana B, Jessenia B, Sophie Q, Kira T, Hannah A and Maddy H.

The Boarders laid on a fantastic spread for their Pink Tea for Breast Cancer on Monday. The cakes sold out faster than ever before and over £150 was raised.

The MasterChef competition yesterday was a joy. The girls produced imaginative and skilful dishes, so much so in fact that chief Judge, Chef Ricky, said that judging the competition was the hardest thing he has ever done! Well done to all the girls who took part and in particular to the winners: Anna C and Lucy H, Emily H and Daisy M, Lucy W and Maya L, Yoyo C and Natasha J.

Yesterday was a particularly jam-packed day. In the afternoon, we welcomed members of Busbridge Church’s Prime Time group to tea, cake and music in the Rose Garden.  It was a perfect afternoon and truly magical.  I spoke to several of our guests, including a number of retired nuns from Ladywell Convent, who were all as equally charmed as me. It is a real privilege as well as a pleasure for girls and staff to be able to support the local community in this way.

Thursday ended with the last parent briefing before the Tanzania and Tinga Tinga trip leaves.  The excitement is mounting as the supplies and gifts we are taking with us continue to multiply outside Ms Troup’s office. Having visited Tanzania several times now, I know that the trip will be interesting, inspirational and possibly even transformational for both students and staff.

Lower Sixth parents and guardians came to a Parents’ Evening last night, running simultaneously with a ‘pop up’ Creative Arts exhibition for the year group. This worked really well. Following discussions with their teachers, the girls now have a portfolio of tasks to action over the summer in preparation for their final year at school.

This morning, for Founder’s Day, the school had a special visitor in Micky Burton-Brown, grandson of Ethel-Burton Brown who was Headmistress of Prior’s Field with Julia Huxley and also following her death. The girls sat rapt as staff and girls spoke about Ethel – a very bright girl who, via History at Girton College Cambridge, became a renowned expert in Classical Civilisation who was also at the forefront of progressive education for girls in the early 20th century.  Mr Burton-Brown then painted a touching and humorous portrait of his grandmother and the family connection with Prior’s Field. You will know that I regularly visit Julia Huxley’s grave to mark important times in her life. Today, I went with staff, Sixth Form students and Mr Burton-Brown to place flowers on the Burton-Brown grave, in memory of both Ethel and Beatrice, remembering the very large part they played in fashioning the school we are today. It was moving to see flowers from the school sitting alongside those from the family.

This weekend, the first Activities Week trips depart to Paris, Pembrokeshire and the Port Lympne Reserve in Kent. Next week, girls are looking forward to the Big PF Adventure, water sports at Hawley Lake, three different mystery day trips and the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh qualifying expedition. Meanwhile, in Godalming, a number of Fifth Form are participating in a two day course on ‘Looking after other people’s children’, covering amongst other things focused First Aid, nutritional needs for the young and baby care, involving each girl looking after her own robot baby. The Lower Sixth will be looking ahead to life beyond Prior’s Field at their UCAS Conference. On Monday evening, they will attend the Careers Dinner where alumnae and other speakers will shed light on many potential avenues of exploration for the future.  My thanks go to all the teaching staff who will accompanying the girls on their various activities this week (the Silver Duke of Edinburgh qualifying expedition is already under way on Dartmoor) and next week, as well as to the support staff who have worked so hard to ensure that everything goes smoothly. I am planning to drop in on some of the more local venues and I know I will see happy faces.

With best wishes for a sunny weekend

Tracy Kirnig

Notice:

The funeral takes place today of Mrs Karen Bryant, who worked at Prior’s Field for 34 years. She was secretary to five Headmistresses and eight Bursars.  Her other administrative roles in the school included School Secretary and Centenary Coordinator. In the latter role, Mrs Bryant contributed hugely to the beginnings of our now very well-established archives. The school will be represented at Mrs Bryant’s funeral by Jane Bickerdike, current Head’s PA, and Mrs Mary Claire Cook, who knew her for many years as a colleague.

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The end of term is accelerating towards us as the school becomes even busier and the level of the girls’ excitement mounts.

This week Charlotte C, Gvantsa G and Summer W represented Prior’s Field at the BSA Boarders got Talent final in London and their wonderful musical performance made Mrs Jones very proud. Well done, girls, for reaching the final.

National Boarding week reminded us why so many of our girls love boarding. We celebrated with a rounders match organised by the Sixth Form House, an amazing BBQ and a Treasure Hunt for the First, Second and Third Forms.

Congratulations are also due to Romana B, Kira T, Sophie Q and Jessenia B – our 18&U tennis team – who have qualified for the Aberdare Cup UK National Finals. This is a fantastic achievement and, as Mr Martin, the Head of Performance of the Tennis Academy, comments, an incredible success for Prior’s Field as it is the first time the school has qualified for the national finals, which take place in July in Nottingham. We will all be waiting excitedly to hear how the girls get on.

There were many highlights in what was a very busy week. The latest Classics and Cakes was very well-received and was particularly successful, showcasing a range of talent. Thank you to the girls and congratulations to all the Music and peripatetic staff. God and the Big Bang was an innovative, stimulating and fascinating Religious Studies and Science immersion for our Fourth Form girls who were impressed by the expert speakers and were themselves impressive with their contributions to the discussions.

New Girls’ Tea was, as ever, a hugely happy event. It was lovely to see our new First Form already making friends and exploring opportunities, including a tantalising taste of our Clubs Carnival, which will take place next term. It was also really delightful to see our PF Peers, Uniform Ambassadors and Prefects supporting and interacting with the younger girls. Standing in front of a room full of excited new girls full of trepidation is the beginning of a journey for them that will end with a similar yet very different feeling of excitement and trepidation, when they leave the Upper Sixth ready to embark on the next stage of their life. For me and colleagues, it is strange but also completely normal to say ‘hello’ to new faces yesterday and ‘goodbye’ to familiar faces in two weeks’ time.

On Wednesday evening, I only just managed to catch the end of the Fourth Form Parents’ Evening as I was a guest at the St Hilary’s Heads’ Dinner, for the Heads of future schools for the Year 6 children. The theme was 1920’s Glitz and Glamour and it was a delightful evening to share with St Hilary’s. I hope to see parents and guardians of Lower Sixth girls at the Parents’ Evening next Thursday. Do remember to visit the ‘pop-up’ Creative Arts exhibition when you are here.

The Lower Sixth in fact have a busy time ahead of them as some of them embark on a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course this weekend, while others start their Chartered Management Institute Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management next week. This is a nationally recognised adult management qualification that helps prepare young people for leadership roles.  The course will be delivered by a highly experienced manager from StudyFlex Ltd and will cover modules in Personal Development, Information and Communication, Developing Good Working Relationships, Project Management and Coaching.  Both courses provide an exciting opportunity for the girls to enhance their CV and develop skills to make them stand out when applying for higher education and future careers.

On Monday, girls and staff may have a tea clash or a double date with cake! Our annual Pink Tea, arranged by the Boarders, will raise money for breast cancer research while, in the pavilion, girls in the summer Sports Teams will be enjoying a special treat. Next week sees more exams, this time in the Music Department – good luck to all the girls involved. On Wednesday the Fifth Form will enjoy one of their rites of passage moving up the school: mocktails with staff in the Rose Garden. The next day, some of them will depart to complete their Silver Duke of Edinburgh qualifying expedition on Dartmoor.

On Thursday, mouths will be watering at the Prior’s Field MasterChef Final. I always think that the judges should really have the lion’s share of the tastings! In the afternoon the Boarders welcome once again the Prime Time group to afternoon tea in the Rose Garden. It is clear to see that the girls, whilst being perfect hosts, enjoy this event just as much as their guests!

Finally next week sees the culmination of huge amounts of work and impressive levels of commitment from both girls and staff to produce this year’s Lower School Production: Alice in Londonland. The reputation of Mrs Horton of Ms Hedley is now legendary and I have no qualms in encouraging you to beg, steal or borrow any spare ticket that might be available.  I hope to see you there.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

Stop Press: Well done to Alice S who single-handedly sold 85 ice-creams at lunchtime today and, in doing so, raised £170 for Tinga Tinga.

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The weather this week has made revision easier for the girls taking exams. Absolutely no sun to distract them! Well done to all of them and particularly the Fifth Form and Upper Sixth for their resilience – the end is in sight and has already arrived for some!

The rain has also failed to prevent other activities continuing. The First Form Alice in Wonderland social went ahead inside on Monday and the girls’ enjoyment was certainly not compromised. Yesterday it was rather surreal – and marvellous – to look out of my study window to see girls uni-cycling in the rain, as if they were born to it! I am hugely impressed at the progress all the girls in the Circus Club have made. Several members of staff are itching to join in.

On Tuesday, we welcomed current and past Governors to say farewell and thank you to Neale Andrew and Caroline Colvin, who have both given 12 years of service to the school as Governors. We are indebted to Andrew and Caroline and to all our Governors for their time, energy and experience.

As billed last week, yesterday we held our inaugural Junior Schools’ Debating Day. The event was a great success and we have had some very positive feedback. Our own girls were wonderful debating ambassadors. Congratulations and thank you to Emily A, Freya A, Georgia B, Emilia C, Sophie F, Poppy H, Greta L, Robyn M, Lily M, Mabel O and Freya W.

This afternoon we are welcoming to the A Level Creative Arts Open Exhibition the Mayor and Mayoress of Guildford, the Mayor of Godalming and Alistair Burtenshaw, Director of Watts Gallery. I am sure they will be as impressed by the girls’ work as the visiting parents and friends. Do join us if you can. Lower Sixth parents and guardians will be able to see the girls’ current work at Parents’ Evening on Thursday 27 June.

Next week is another busy week. Classics and Cakes makes a come-back on Monday with a mouth-watering selection of musical performances. On Wednesday, Mr Starnes is hosting ‘God and the Big Bang’ for Fourth Form girls. Four expert speakers – Dr Matt Pritchard, Anna Pearson, Hannah Malcolm and Michael Harvey – will speak to the girls and engage them on the questions where religion and science might seem to collide. It promises to be a fascinating day. Fourth Form parents will already be aware of Parents’ Evening on Wednesday evening. The girls seem to have really enjoyed Taster Day today. I popped into several lessons and there was a real sense of interest and enthusiasm about the step up to Sixth Form and the opportunities available.

New Girls’ Tea is on Thursday next week. We hope the sun will be shining on a day which is always exciting for both girls and staff.

Finally, a thank you to the pupils and staff working hard on the Lower School Production: ‘Alice in Londonland’. Rehearsals have been continuing during the week and at weekends. Remember to book your tickets for what promises to be another extraordinary production.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

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This week, the anniversary of D Day has provided us all with incredible spectacles, celebrations and, for some, memories of a momentous period in history. I was in fact in Portsmouth on Wednesday evening and Thursday and, whilst not at the celebrations themselves, I certainly sensed the excitement and the conflicting emotions engendered by the occasion.

In school, exams have again been the focus.  This week GCSE and A Level exams continue and it has been the Fourth Form’s turn.  Their exams continue into next week, when the Lower Sixth join the silent rooms where the concentration levels are almost tangible. I am so impressed with the girls’ commitment to showing what they can do.

On Tuesday, I attended a Year 6 luncheon at St Ives School in Haslemere. There was a festival theme with decorations in Aladdin colours (purple and orange). It was a delight and I very much enjoyed being the guest of the St Ives girls joining us in September.

I am looking forward to joining the whole school community this afternoon at the GCSE Creative Arts Open Exhibition.  I have seen several of the pieces already. Seeing the girls’ stunning work displayed together, though, is always a treat.  I do hope you can join us either today, or next Friday at the A Level Creative Arts Open Exhibition.

Next week, the First Form will be able to sample all kinds of delicacies at the annual Alice in Wonderland social. We hope the weather will have improved by then, as the Rose Garden is such a perfect venue.

Thursday will be a busy day. The Fourth Form will become Sixth Formers for the day and will be able to experience what life will be like for them in the Sixth Form, both academically and in the Sixth Form House. In another part of the school, we will be welcoming participants from Longacre, Aldro and St Ives to our inaugural Junior Debating Day. This is a very exciting initiative: a product of our very successful Debating Club. I know that staff have been working hard to make this a fun and interesting day. I am sure the verbal battles will be hard fought  and I will enjoy presenting the prizes when the judges have made their decision.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

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The focus of the week for most of the younger girls has been their internal exams. The girls should be proud of how they have conducted themselves this week, both in terms of their attitude to the exams and their determination to do their very best. I am aware that this can be a challenging time for some. We are keen to and do encourage the girls to focus on their own abilities and achievements and not compare themselves to others, and we help them to understand the relative importance of their exams depending where they are in the school. The Fourth Form will be revising for their exams after half term; remember, girls, to work hard and also to ensure you reserve time for a little relaxation.

On Monday, I attended one of our regular Heritage Group meetings. There are exciting things happening with the archives – news to follow soon – and we are planning to be involved once again with the local Historic England Heritage Open Day in the autumn. We would be delighted to hear from any pupil or parent who would like to help with this.

I very much enjoyed my first weekly meeting this week with the new Senior Prefect Team. They are brimming with ideas for the Sixth Form House and initiatives for the school. We were all equally excited about next year by the time the girls went off to their lessons.

Yesterday, we welcomed Stuart Maginnis, Principal at Farnham Heath End School, to Prior’s Field. It was his first visit and he was particularly impressed by the very visual way in which we celebrate girls’ achievements.

Our Sixth Form Information Evening for Fourth Form last evening was a great success. Please do contact us if you would like further information at this stage.  We would also welcome any feedback. There are several events organised for the Fifth Form (as they will then be) in the autumn.

Congratulations to all the girls who recently passed their LAMDA examination, more than half with Distinction. A number of girls were awarded more than 90 marks: Erin G, Lilly C, Madeline H, Natalie B, Amber W and Charlotte J – a fantastic achievement, well done.

I also want to express how proud I am of all the girls doing the Sports Leader award. This is a new award for Prior’s Field and the girls have embraced it with vigour, supporting primary age children both in their own school and at Prior’s Field with enthusiasm and commitment.

When we return to school after the break, we will be looking forward to our Creative Arts Open Exhibitions on 7 and 14 June. Please do come along to see the fantastic work the girls have produced.

I hope everyone has a chance to unwind and perhaps enjoy some sunshine over half term.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig

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Public exams are well under way. The girls seem focused and determined. I am sure their hard work will pay off.

This week we have welcomed the PSA to school twice: first for their termly meeting, then for the class rep breakfast this morning. As always, huge thanks must go to the PSA, who contribute so much to the school. We are very appreciative of the fund raising and events they organise.

We were all ‘bowled over’ with the Fourth Form’s Goals for Bowls fundraising day on Wednesday. From popcorn bowls to competitive boules, bowl hoopla and a lucky dip bowl, great fun was had by all. The goal was to raise enough money to provide every child at Tinga Tinga school with a bowl for their lunch and over £250 was raised. At break and at lunch, in the sunshine in the Rose Garden, girls enjoyed the activities; an array of prize vouchers were won, all valid on Monday. Well done to Emily A, who won the golden ticket and will choose a lunch menu.

The Lower Sixth mock interview evening went really well. Thank you to those parents who gave up their time to interview the girls who had applied for the ‘mock’ jobs. Congratulations to the Sixth Form girls involved, who were very impressive, particularly Saffron G, Eve M, Darcy C, Isabella P and Amber W who were all ‘hired’. My thanks go to Ms Jan and Mrs Taylor for organising the evening.

Today is the Upper Sixth’s last day in school and they have, typically, organised a fabulous ‘give back’ day for everyone.  Colleagues came in this morning to be greeted with bunting made of cards adorned with photos of the girls as their much younger selves and heartfelt messages to their teachers. They had left for the staff room a delicious-looking cake and mugs celebrating this year group’s time here. At lunchtime, we all, in very British fashion, enjoyed our BBQ outside; the girls seemed oblivious to the chill and the First and Second Form stalls were a great success.

Next week, the First, Second and Third Form will sit their end of year exams. This is an opportunity for the girls to gain exam practice and to demonstrate to their teachers how much they have progressed during the year. I know they will all do their best.

Finally, I encourage all the Fourth Form and their parents to come to our Sixth Form Information Evening on Thursday next week.  Whilst it may seem early to be thinking about this, the next year will pass very quickly. The evening will useful for both girls planning to stay and those considering other options. The Sixth Form team and students are very much looking forward to telling you about what to expect in our Sixth Form, how it differs from the rest of the school and the new opportunities you will be encouraged to take up. Follow the link in the letter sent out to let us know you are coming.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend

Tracy Kirnig

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It has been an incredibly busy week as usual.

Today has been bittersweet. At the Upper Sixth final assembly this morning, the fabulous video the year group had put together was both entertaining and extremely poignant.  The girls’ last day in school is, of course, next Friday, when they have organised a ‘give back’ day for the whole school. This morning, though, we took the opportunity to wave goodbye to both the Upper Sixth and, for now, the Fifth Form and to wish them all good luck for their exams.

This week I have been at the BSA Conference in London where the theme was ‘Building Character’. The Upper Sixth as a year group are hugely impressive and each unique individual has made a valuable contribution to the school and, in many cases, inspired the younger girls. We have been privileged to see their individual characters develop and grow over the years they have been at Prior’s Field.

It was entirely appropriate that, this morning, we announced to a room packed with an excited Lower Sixth the allocation of prefect roles for next year. Ms Jan and I were so impressed with the girls who applied to be a senior prefect; our decision really was a difficult one. Our aim was to give each girl in the year group a role playing to her strengths and one in which she will be able to gain more confidence and additional skills. I am very much looking forward to working with the new Senior Prefect Leadership Team and watching all the girls as they take on their new responsibilities.

You will be aware that, last term, the school completed its first new style ISI compliance inspection.  I am delighted to be able to report now that the school met all eight parts of the standards with no recommendations for any action needed. The Inspectors noted how the school aims to “focus on the development of unique individuals” and “foster a strong family ethos characterised by team spirit and high levels of ambition”.  The report also recognised that the ability of the pupils is above average and that this is reflected in our current placing in the top 2% of schools for value added achievement at A Level. A copy of the report can be found on the school website here.

My husband and I will be donning our walking garb on Sunday, as we are helping with the Fourth Form Duke of Edinburgh expedition, alongside many colleagues who have given up their weekend. The weather definitely seems to be heading in the right direction. I hope the girls enjoy the challenges they encounter, just as I am sure the Boarders will enjoy their trip to London’s Borough Market.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend

Tracy Kirnig

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At the end of last term, the Development Office team travelled to Sherborne to talk to Old Girl Joan Blake, now 91, a former Head Girl and generous supporter of the school. Joan donated a fund to help girls participate in the Italian Art trip, to reflect her own love of the subject. Joan was at Prior’s Field throughout WW2 and remembers watching dogfights overhead from her boarding bedroom window. Polly Murray, our Development and Alumnae Officer, and Jo Halford, our Archivist, enjoyed chatting with Joan and Micky Burton-Brown, grandson of Prior’s Field’s second Head, Mrs Ethel-Ann Burton-Brown, and nephew of its third, Miss Beatrice Burton-Brown; their memories link us directly to Prior’s Field’s remarkable history.

Continuing on the Old Girl theme, during the holidays, Polly hosted our very first Prior’s Field Connections networking event in London, opened by last year’s (and our first ever) Old Girl of the Year, Caroline Underwood. Several attendees gave a short and snappy talk about their current career. Others gave presentations on various topics including CV writing and how to build a network. I am delighted that we remain in contact with so many of our Old Girls. Their continuing link with Prior’s Field underlines the fact that the school is one step in the journey of life for all our girls and gives greater value to our aim that each and every girl leaving us is confident and ready to do so, wherever she may be heading. We will continue to look for opportunities for Old Girls to help and support our current girls and each other.

Many girls actually headed overseas during the holidays, some on school trips.  The ski trip and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Expedition both, it turned out, saw snow and were very much enjoyed by those tackling the challenges of either the Alps in Austria or the Yorkshire Moors.

We have had a number of visitors since the start of term, including this week the Head of Rookwood School, Tony Kirk-Burgess. Over the years, we have had several girls join Prior’s Field from Rookwood for the Sixth Form and it was a pleasure to welcome Tony here.

Rehearsals for the Lower School Production continue; we are all eagerly anticipating the show, which will be performed on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 June. The tennis season is already in full swing (excuse the pun!) and we are thrilled that one of Academy players, Jessenia B, is now ranked 15 in the UK in the 12&U category and 1 in Surrey! Huge congratulations to Jessenia!

As the Upper Sixth enter their final weeks at school, the Lower Sixth are preparing to step up as prefects for next year. All the girls will have the opportunity to take up a leadership role. At their leadership training last week, they were very interested in the different styles of leadership and began to recognise the leader in themselves. Ms Jan and I are very much enjoying interviewing the girls who would like to be part of the Senior Prefect team. The girls are talking about their experiences at Prior’s Field, how much they are already doing and exploring their desire to take on more. The Sixth Form girls’ mutual support for each other, both within and across the year groups, is so obvious and very much a product of our Sixth Form ethos, which allows each and every girl to blossom and grow as an individual, in an environment offering opportunities and independence. Good luck to all the applicants and thank you to the outgoing team, who will hand over the baton to their successors before they go on study leave on 17 May.

Last night, I attended a GSA boarding event in London with colleagues and two pupils and next week I will attend the BSA conference in London. I have also recently joined the GSA Boarding Committee. It is always a pleasure to promote boarding to parents who may not be aware of its value to their child. As many of you will have heard me say, I am convinced that the boarding element of Prior’s Field permeates the whole, providing a warmth and feel that would otherwise perhaps not be there.

With best wishes for a lovely long weekend

Tracy Kirnig

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It has been an exceptionally busy and successful week to end an exceptionally busy and successful term.

On Monday, the Fourth Form GCSE Drama students performed their devised group pieces to an invited audience. They chose very challenging topics to explore and all four pieces were incredibly mature and extraordinarily powerful.

Later that evening, I was fortunate enough to be able to watch a performance of Manor House’s production of Barnum. It was spectacular and so joyful. Congratulations to everyone involved, and in particular to our own Mr Pratt, who again lent his musical support, and also to his wife, Mrs Williams, who was the director.

Our annual Sports Dinner took place on Tuesday, attended by the many girls who have achieved so much on the sporting front already this year.  The speaker, Hannah Jones from Surrey Stars, was fascinating and passed on a message belying her years in its strength: she encouraged the girls to judge themselves only in the context of matters and circumstances they can control. I hope the girls listening remember that advice as they encounter the ups and downs of their sporting endeavour and also life in general.

The gym and dance on Wednesday was absolutely fabulous: an exciting showcase of talent with a terrifying and mesmerising triumphant finale. You can see some photographs in This Week in Pictures.

The Easter holidays begin any moment now, after an Awards Assembly celebrating the huge variety of successes and achievements of the girls this term. One new award was presented this year for an enterprise competition which took place during one of our PSHE days. Fifth and Sixth Form teams were charged with planning and designing a festival. Parents, guardians and grandparents will be as delighted as I am that the winning festival theme was a festival especially for the over 50s who may be ‘tired of feeling so old’ – the festival’s name is ‘Staying Alive’. During assembly, Mrs Horton made the exciting announcement that the school has been able to secure the rights to perform the musical ‘Chicago’, which will be our Upper School production in the autumn.

We have two residential trips taking place during the holidays. The Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition contingent are off to the Yorkshire Dales and the ski trip leaves very early tomorrow – I am not promising to wave goodbye to the skiers!

We were grateful for the sunshine this morning when 91 girls – and some staff – tried to squeeze into the Oak Hall for a Head’s Commendation Celebration. We were able to spill out into the Rose Garden, adorned as it is now by a multitude of different artwork. Do pop in over the holidays to have a look.

I hope all the girls have a good break, even, and perhaps especially, those who will be revising for public exams next term. I look forward to seeing girls and staff back refreshed and re-energised after Easter, ready for the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the summer term.

With best wishes

Tracy Kirnig