Head’s Round Up: Friday 5 June 2020
Welcome back after a fantastically sunny half term. I hope you were all able to soak up some vitamin D at some point. A special welcome back to Mrs Baines, who is back in the PE department and pastoral team after her maternity leave.
You will know that lockdown has been slightly eased in terms of gatherings outside the home. There is a concern that young people have not fully understood the new rules. You will have seen photographs in the press of large gatherings of young people not observing safe social distancing. If there is anything you can to do to ensure that your daughter is aware of the rules within which she can meet her friends, it would be appreciated and helpful.
Equality and justice are fundamental to the founding principles and the current ethos of Prior’s Field and we have all been shocked by the recent events in the US. I have been very impressed that a number of girls have expressed a wish to do something to express their disapproval of racism and their support for justice and equality. These topics will be picked up in PSHE. In the meantime, two Fourth Form girls, Chloe H and Ila G, who are Photography students have asked other girls to send in photos so that they can put together a photo montage demonstrating our support for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign. Members of the Senior Prefect Leadership Team have also expressed their interest in helping other girls learn about inequality, injustice and discrimination.
I know girls are working hard in the run-up to internal assessments. These will necessarily be in a different format from normal. I am confident that the girls will use this opportunity to demonstrate their progress this year. I am seeing Head’s Commendations flowing into my inbox regularly. Well done, girls, for maintaining your commitment to your studies.
Inspired by the Business and Enterprise Club of the Week tasks before half term, Madeleine M in the Second Form submitted a business plan for a make–up business she wishes to start. She had thought through the full range of make–up she would like to sell and has a clear ethical focus. Madeleine considered with Mrs Lutwyche how she could move her plan forward by doing some more market research and investigating where she can source her make–up. Mrs Lutwyche was both impressed and inspired by Madeline – well done.
The Economics Fifth Form transition girls produced some outstanding work before half term, looking at the difficult choices that schools, hospitals and governments have to make in allocating scarce money in the most effective way. They used up to date programmes – School Cuts and Hospital – to put this into context and produced excellent write–ups of the issues and challenges.
Meanwhile, the Business Fifth Form transition girls investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a business of their choice. They wrote up insightful and fascinating conversations with family members as to how their work had been affected and also researched companies with which they are familiar as customers. Company insights ranged from a Ukrainian copper plant to Asos, McLaren, Waitrose, Netflix and Pharmaceuticals. The girls’ research was extremely interesting and of a very high quality.
Congratulations to all the girls in the First to Fifth Forms who took LAMDA Exams in March, at an uncertain and challenging time, just before lockdown. A variety of grades and disciplines were examined from Speaking of Verse and Prose, Public Speaking, Duologue and Solo Acting. Girls showed great patience awaiting results which came through only this week. All those who were able to take their exam passed with either Merit or Distinction – 11 Merits and 23 Distinctions – a very strong set of results. The girls should feel incredibly proud of their achievement. Special mention goes to the following girls who scored 90 marks and over, which is exceptional: Emma B, Erin G, Maddy H and Hannah T. Thank you to our wonderful LAMDA teachers, Anna Rogers and Daniella Venus, for their continued support in preparing the girls to such a high standard.
The Lower Sixth continue to receive valuable guidance from the Sixth Form team, including Mrs Taylor, our Careers Coordinator. The girls are benefiting from high quality support, not just in their studies but also in the UCAS process and super-curricular activities. We are aware that this is a difficult time for this year group, too, as they try to remain focused in the midst of the uncertainties about the next academic year. Please encourage your daughter to consider the opportunities and advice she is receiving. Universities and other further education establishments are being hugely innovative in the way they are disseminating information to prospective students.
In my assembly on Monday, I reminded girls about the importance of little things in life. I recommended a poem by Jackie Kay, the Scottish equivalent to our poet laureate, known as the makar. The poem is ‘Small’, which illustrates how small things make a big difference in many ways, including to our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. Many of Jackie Kay’s poems are available on YouTube, recited by the poet. They are well worth a listen. You may also like to explore the monologues on YouTube by well-known actors, aimed at raising the profile funds for the acting profession in these uncertain times.
Everyone has been doing so well trying to maintain a positive mindset. I acknowledged in my assembly, however, that, for many of the girls, this is getting more difficult as lockdown continues. I am very grateful for all the brilliant ideas, initiatives and challenges that have already been put forward by staff and girls to help raise morale. One idea we have had that I mentioned on Monday is Feel Good Friday. As part of that, pupils and staff are invited to wear an item of clothing of one of the colours of the rainbow on a Friday – today’s colour was red. The idea is that this will remind us that we are all part of the Prior’s Field community, together. Parents are very welcome to join in!
Staff and girls have been doing more for their own and other’s wellbeing. Our new Teaching Assistant, Mrs Howard has been instrumental in helping a homeless man to connect with a project which has helped him find accommodation. Congratulations to Fran G, our Bursar’s Assistant, who has run her first ever 5km. Congratulations, too, to Mr van Niekerk who has achieved a lifelong ambition in having his first book published: ‘Symphony of Shattering Glass’ published under the name of Gideon Kerk. The book is aimed at teenagers and is also illustrated by Mr van Niekerk.
There are two new videos for you to enjoy: another wonderful musical cover, this time of ‘The Climb’ and a video put together by the Drama department, which is sure to put a smile on your face. On the musical front, you may also enjoy this piece with Nell Bryden and the BBC Concert Orchestra, audio synced by Paul Long, Mrs Long’s husband.
We have received a second thank you from Robertson nursing home for those girls who sent in cards and best wishes to residents, this time from the umbrella organisation which oversees Robertson and other nursing homes.
Katharine L has been very busy with an entrepreneurial initiative, sourcing then decorating and selling canvas shoes. As well as being a very impressive venture, the shoes I have seen in the photographs Katharine has sent us are also stunningly beautiful and designed to make the world a happier place. A big well done!
Tinga Tinga is still closed but the Headmaster contacted me this week to send us their love and good wishes. They are thinking of us.
Finally, this week has seen the launch of a Gardening Challenge photo competition for staff and pupils. If parents or old girls are inspired to send us pictures of your garden, window box or house plant, we would be delighted to see and share them. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to use your green fingers this weekend.
With best wishes
Mrs Tracy Kirnig