Head’s Round Up: Friday 22 May 2020
Today we clocked up another first, with our first virtual Meet the Head: an event for a number of prospective parents, normally held in the more intimate space that is our Recital Room. Given the current circumstances, however, our External Relations team put together a fabulous package of videos and images, showcasing just how special Prior’s Field is. The school cycle continues despite COVID-19. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our new intake for September and hope to see them all virtually very soon.
The current Lower Sixth are nearing the end of their school journey and it has been a great pleasure to read the girls’ applications for a senior prefect position, and to interview them for their preferred role. I am delighted to announce that the appointments have now been made and girls have been awarded positions of responsibility including Form Prefects for the lower school, Form Mentors for the upper school, Subject Prefects and Prefects for particular areas, for example, Careers and Co-curricular. I am looking forward to working with my new Senior Prefect Leadership Team (SPLaT), with whom I have already enjoyed a discussion over coffee: Kariella K (Head Girl), Issie F (Deputy Head Girl), Havana P (Deputy Head Girl), Jessica S (Deputy Head Girl), Abigail C (House Captain Austin), Georgia D (House Captain Pankhurst) and Daisy E (House Captain Frank), Katy G (Boarding Prefect), Lucia M (Boarding Prefect and Eco Prefect), Yusra D (Pupil Voice), Charlotte H (Pupil Voice), Freya B (Head of Form Prefects) and Eva W (Head of Academic Prefects).
All the girls are showing great resilience in their determination to continue with their academic work despite the circumstances. Teaching staff are hugely impressed with the girls’ enthusiasm for their studies and the wonderful pieces of work they are producing. I have asked some of the teaching staff to give me an insight into what is happening in their department.
Mrs Furey’s Upper Sixth transition course students have been researching World War 2 in France and the Nazi occupation there. For Tatiana B, this has been an opportunity to discover more about her great–grandmother who was a spy for the allies in Nice and then Egypt during the war – very interesting for everyone. Congratulations to Alice S, who has won Ms Jan’s competition: ‘Use A level Psychology to explain behaviour during lock down’. Her prize is on its way to her. Upper Sixth Psychology book club is going brilliantly and discussion of ‘The Skeleton Cupboard: the making of a clinical psychologist’ by Tanya Byron is ongoing. In Geography, the Fifth Form have made an excellent start to their A Level transition course. Last week they focused on the need for global governance and this week they are looking at issues relating to natural hazards. This has helped them to focus on the current pandemic from a geographer’s point of view. In Chemistry, the First Form have been able to watch Mr Marrison’s video about the science behind his garden solar.
This morning, Mr Taylor and I ‘met’ many of the large number of girls (over 70) who have been awarded a Head’s Commendation during this first half of term. The girls should be very proud of themselves for having achieved and impressed, despite the lockdown. It was wonderful to connect with them all and to share and celebrate together their achievements. The only thing we were missing was the Head Chef’s culinary treats!
On a similar theme, I am very much looking forward to seeing what the current lower school Food Technology girls produce in response to Mrs Teasdale’s ‘rainbow challenge’ for the Alternative PF MasterChef Heats, in honour of the NHS.
It has been Eco Club this week and Ms Treanor has provided five days of activities to raise awareness of some of the environmental issues that we would have focused on had we been in school. Staff and girls have been encouraged and inspired to use up leftovers to achieve zero food waste, to reuse and upcycle and to celebrate World Bee Day, which was on Wednesday.
The whole school are enjoying all the clubs and activities that continue to be on offer.
The Music Department have released another fantastic video, covering ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. Mrs Derrick has 24 staff and girls signed up for Greek – one for every letter of the Greek alphabet – and she is particularly struck by the younger girls’ enthusiasm.
Thank you to all the girls who entered the Huxley Essay Competition. We have had more entries than ever this year and the standard has been hugely impressive overall. I am very much looking forward to reading the shortlisted essays over half term.
It is no surprise that there are more examples of pupils giving their time and energy for others. Good luck to Millie L, who has recently started running and is pushing herself to do a 10K run on Saturday 20 June, raising funds for the NHS. Millie would be very grateful for any support you would like to give. Freya B works in the kitchens at Holy Cross Hospital in Haslemere, where she cooks food for the patients, staff and the nuns. Well done, Freya! Lotti H has started her Gold Duke of Edinburgh volunteering. Participants of the scheme can now complete service at home and time adjustments have been made. Lotti’s grandmother has a flat in their home, and Lotti has been helping her with whatever jobs she needs doing. This adjustment to the Duke of Edinburgh rules has brought a more personal element to the volunteering requirement.
Staff, too, have been involved with helping their community. Miss Stickland has been delivering her cakes and tray bakes to the Robertson Nursing Home and writing to some of the residents. Meanwhile, on the south coast, Mr Taylor has been getting his hands dirty helping with a community gardening project. Many other staff continue to do their bit.
In the past, Prior’s Field girls have supported the charity Delight, which aims to ‘deliver quality arts-based programmes that broaden children’s horizons, increase self-esteem and aspiration, and better engage them in learning’. In response to the current crisis, Delight has joined together with Surrey Primary Schools and two other organisations, Paintbox and Watts Gallery, to support vulnerable children at home with their Delight at Home projects. If you interested in this initiative, please do look at the Delight website or their JustGiving page. Demand for their Boxes and Bags of Delight is growing and they would be very grateful for any support you are able to give.
You may be aware that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. As lockdown continues, we are all becoming more aware of those who are struggling with the isolation and the inability to connect with others in the way we are all used to. As a school, this awareness underpins everything we do and every decision we make – the girls’ wellbeing really is at the forefront of our minds.
Wednesday was National Thank a Teacher Day and I, myself, would like to thank all the Prior’s Field teaching staff and also those parents and girls who have taken the time over the last few weeks to thank their teachers for all the support they are providing to the girls. A big thank you too from me to the girls for all their efforts over this half of term and to parents, too, for your support of the school.
One positive from this enforced period of being at home is the increased family time that many of us have been able to enjoy. The absence of the need to commute will have meant more opportunities to be together for many families. Tutors are reporting that many girls are saying how much they are enjoying family activities, conversation and fun.
I know that some of the girls will be revising for their internal assessments over half term. I do hope, though, that you all have the chance to pause the lockdown routines which have become the new normal and to enjoy each other’s company.
With best wishes
Mrs Tracy Kirnig