As our first half-term comes to a close I’d like to just draw breath and reflect on what an amazing time it’s been, and I really REALLY must start with the Good Schools Guide.
As you may know we had a visit from a researcher from the influential guide and her resulting report could not make me any more proud. I really have to thank all of the girls, staff and parents who, unprompted, answered her questions truthfully and enthusiastically. These are the same girls and staff who make this school what it is, in the words of the report a “first rate 21st century offering with academic rigour but informal in feel, without establishment stuffiness.” They could not have failed to pick up on the amazing atmosphere here, across the whole school. Everywhere we went, the buzz, the friendly chatter, the infectious laughter and good humour made a huge impression. Of course the school itself and everything it provides, the colourful classrooms, the 21st century technology, the amazing enrichment opportunities, outdoor learning provision and the dedicated, expert staff across all areas of the school, sealed the deal for us. Our exam results are impressive, our school is innovative, and our girls are happy – we’re a good school – it’s official!
Looking back over these past six weeks, we’ve done so much to be proud of. Our new girls at every level have been welcomed with an array of informal events and have settled in nicely; likewise our new staff. Laura Fowler has hit the ground running at the Infant and Junior School as the new Head and has already established a great rapport with the girls, staff and parents – something else that did not go unnoticed by the Good Schools Guide.
Our Celebration and Awards evening in September was a wonderful way to congratulate and reward the successful achievements of our Year 11 and Year 13 girls, and of course we were awarded the prestigious Lord-Lieutenants Award for the amazing charity and volunteering work that we do. We’ve won quite a few things actually – our sporting successes have left us with Champions all over the place in Hockey and Netball. And even where we haven’t actually won in competitions, our girls have been gracious in defeat and are already planning ways to bounce back; it’s in their nature and it’s what we encourage.
Congratulations are also due to the Sixth Form girls who have represented the school so brilliantly at every event they have attended, particularly the Young Leaders’ Conference at Bath High School and also the National Council of Women Annual Conference. I’ve heard great things about this and must mention Jenny Raw and Rachel Wibberley who were truly outstanding and made a real impression. These girls, as I hope all of our girls, are going to go a long way.
Another notable fantastic thing about this half-term has been the huge involvement in all things musical, with more and more girls taking up instruments, joining bands and performing in concerts. I’m so pleased about this as we’re really keen to push for excellence in music. If the first round of the Windblowers Cup competition at the Junior School, and the recent Lower School concert are anything to go by then we’re well on the way to achieving this.
There has been the usual assortment of fun and exciting educational trips during which our girls have behaved impeccably as ever, learnt lots and had a great time into the bargain. Being the globe-trotting kind of school we are, there are some incredibly exciting excursions going out during the half-term break: Year 6 and 7 will be representing us at Hockey in Holland; Year 10, 12 and 13 Classics girls are going to Greece and the Sixth Form Historians have a fantastic US tour to Washington and New York to look forward to – I’ll be keeping an eye on them myself!
So let me thank everybody again for their continued hard work and support, and the parents for their increased involvement and engagement. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many of you and I do hope to see more of you at our planned forthcoming events. Enjoy the October break and come back ready for another busy half-term with all of the Christmas events to look forward to. We’re obviously doing something right, so let’s keep on doing it.