It’s the end of another busy, whirlwind of a successful academic year at NGHS and we’re all ready to wind down, relax and enjoy a well-deserved break.

It really has been non-stop with events and activities, inside school and out in the community, on top of all of the busy academic work going on within the classroom walls. In my final blog post of the year I’d like to sing the praises of the NGHS community as a whole, past and present. Without these fantastic, supportive friends of NGHS, things would not be quite as they are. Yes of course it’s the girls who have to sit at the desks, take part in the lessons and do the exams at the end, but without the invaluable help and guidance of the wider community, their lives would not be as enriched as they are, and neither would ours.

When I refer to the NGHS community, I mean the teachers, support staff, catering and estates teams,  parents and wider family, governors,  friends, partners and of course the alumnae and the wider GDST.

Year in, year out, we meet so many people who go the extra mile for our school, and we’ll never be able to thank them enough. This year we’ve worked with so many partners and supporters across events, activities and amazing opportunities for the girls.

Our parents have recently helped us enormously with our Summer Fair the wonderful Park Garden Trail. We know our parents often get asked to produce baked goods for charity sales and school functions, and they never disappoint. But they do so much more than that. Mentoring girls in areas in which they have expertise, supporting us with feedback, sharing insights, supporting our events such as Sports Day and our many productions in the Squire Performing Arts Centre, coming into school to take inspiring assemblies – the list is as endless as their skills, and we are grateful for their time and dedication.

A prime example of parent commitment and involvement can be found in the area of outdoor learning. Giving up a precious weekend to take part in a D of E expedition, and most recently in the incredible Three Peaks climbing challenges, is inspirational and truly admirable. I believe that people volunteer their time and efforts because they have a genuine love and respect for the school, and that’s really special.

Our alumnae are also a crucial part of the NGHS community. Some of them form part of our Governing Body, others inspire our current girls with careers talks and seminars, many offer coaching, mentoring and work experience opportunities, and many simply enjoy keeping in touch with the school and enjoy our school reunions in Nottingham and London. I can honestly say that the diverse, exciting and inspirational network of women who form our alumnae are a huge asset to the NGHS community and I will always be impressed by them and grateful for them. Our Alumnae and Community Relations Co-ordinator, Sian Griffith, sums this up perfectly:

“This year we’ve been pleased to connect with over one hundred NGHS school leavers from 1951 through to 2018! It’s always an honour to meet so many fascinating people, and hear the positive experiences that alumnae and former staff have had at NGHS throughout the generations.

At our Annual Reunion Lunch, it was very special to witness alumnae catching up with former members of staff who taught them during their time here. Throughout the day guests reminisced together on tours around their old classrooms as well as looking through school archives. It’s always amusing to see everyone be reminded of their teenage self in old yearbooks!

We love to stay connected with all friends of the school community and hear the incredible stories of what NGHS girls go on to do! We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Being part of the Alumnae Network enables those in our school community to maintain friendships and relationships that last a lifetime.

Everybody is made to be in community and to have people around them for support and to cheer them on throughout their lives. We really see the value in this, which is why it’s our pleasure to do whatever we can to enable this culture of women empowering each other through our Alumnae Network.

Our current pupils benefit so much from the incredible expertise of NGHS alumnae. We’re always thrilled when alumnae come back to school to reinvest in the next generation of young women. It is a unique and exciting opportunity for our pupils to have the privilege of hearing from inspiring women who are excelling in their chosen field, and who have had a vast amount of life experience.

Whether it’s welcoming alumnae back to one of our numerous networking events, inviting them back from University to provide UCAS advice, or sharing their career stories through the alumnae magazine Connect – it is truly inspiring for our NGHS girls to see the great role models that came before them.”

With that, let me wish you all a very happy summer break, and take with you my sincere gratitude for everything you do. This includes those members of staff who are retiring or leaving us to move on to other things. You have helped to build our extraordinary school and continue to maintain its excellent reputation as a leading light in girls’ education.