Head’s Round Up: Friday 20 March 2020
Another week of uncertainty has ended with school closure for most pupils. I am so sad that it has come to this. Education is so vital to all young people and a prolonged period away from learning could have serious long-term implications. The staff at Prior’s Field are committed to providing meaningful and engaging education to all the girls, including Fifth Form and Upper Sixth, via remote learning. We will also use email and Microsoft Teams to support the girls pastorally and to maintain the wonderful, caring community that we are. We are all having to be creative and innovative in our approach to this unexpected situation in which we find ourselves. I would encourage you to help your daughter to sustain her interest in learning, pursue co-curricular activities and remain positive. Staff have told me that the girls are dealing with this turbulent time with admirable grace and calm and that they have been impressed with the girls’ compassion for others and their maturity. We should all be very proud of them.
Even though events in school have been fewer, we do have some school news for the week and I do plan to continue my weekly communications while school is closed.
Sports fixtures and training have of course been curtailed this week. Games and PE have continued, however, with dance and yoga enjoyed by some classes. I can also confirm that the U12 hockey team have made it through to the South Finals Tournament, which is a fantastic achievement. Well done, girls.
On Wednesday, the Second Form finalists competed in the Prior’s Field School Championships in the Oak Hall, playing on the exquisite marble chessboard donated by Dr Chylikin. Sharanya P defeated Phoebe T in a pulsating game. Phoebe (playing White) had the better of the opening (a Philidor’s Defence) and won a knight for a pawn with a clever tactic, but Sharanya turned the tables with a stunning knight fork in the middle game which caused Phoebe to lose her queen. Phoebe put up a great fight after that, but eventually the material advantage told, with Sharanya inflicting Phoebe’s only defeat of the year. The 3rd place play off was a very close battle between two Fifth Formers: Emilia C and Dixie M. They are good friends in normal life, but the fiercest of rivals at the chessboard! The advantage swung wildly from one player to the other several times. In the endgame Dixie manage to gain an overwhelming advantage on the board, but unluckily lost on time a few seconds and just one move away from checkmate, thereby allowing Emilia to claim the bronze medal. All four of the semi-finalists have attended lessons with Grandmaster Nick Pert on Thursday afternoons during the year. In the semi-final Sharanya had defeated Emilia who had been the champion in 2018 and 2019, so there is no doubt that our new champion thoroughly deserves the trophy (Chylikin Cup), which is scheduled to be presented on Speech Day. Fingers crossed!
Mrs Horton and Ms Hedley are incredibly proud of the mature and resilient Fourth Form Drama girls, who performed their devising pieces to a select audience, just in the nick of time. The themes were socially relevant and challenging; audience feedback highlighted how beautifully and subtly the girls explored the issues.
Two days of LAMDA exams went off smoothly thanks to the camaraderie and care of the candidates, colleagues and school community. Both examiners commented on how generous and welcoming the school seemed; one even said that she felt ‘spoilt rotten’.
Congratulations to Mrs Teasdale’s tutor group who set themselves a Lent Challenge this year, to donate 40 items to the Hygiene Bank. Many people who are locked in poverty struggle to find the money to access hygiene products and this negatively affects good health and mental well-being. Prior’s Field is currently supporting this charity. Please do feel free to donate once school resumes.
I know that one aspect of school many of the girls will miss is the canine one! Ms Calhoun’s First Form English class this week loved reading aloud to Monty the dog. The Maths department have been encouraging girls to put their own spin on Pi Day. Ms Tandon’s favourite was the First Form taking part in a Pi workout: 3 lunges, 1 deep breath, 4 squats, 1 deep breath, 5 mountain climbers: 3.1415.
The Lower Sixth will now have increased time to think about applications for the next stage of their education. We have subscribed to the section in Unifrog which helps girls identify appropriate MOOCs and directs them to additional study which will help them prepare for their university courses and give them additional competencies on their UCAS personal statements. A MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. If girls are unsure of what they want to study at University, they are a great way of trying out a subject area. Fifth Form girls also have access to this area of Unifrog.
This year’s Huxley Essay Competition has been launched, with the theme ‘Brave New World’ – more apt now than when the idea was conceived. Girls can remind themselves of the Rules on Frog. Prizes will be awarded to the winner of each of three categories: Junior, Intermediate and Senior. We look forward to being inundated with entries.
This week has seen the school community pull together, showing resilience in the light of uncertainty. Students, staff and parents have all offered support to each other as we work together to keep the education of the girls at the forefront. You may have noticed that we have displayed our school motto at the entrance to Prior’s Field, for the world to see: ‘We live by admiration, hope and love’. At this difficult time, I hope this thought can guide us all and help us look forward to the time when we can all meet again in person.
With best wishes