Dear Parent, Guardians and Friends,

Over the summer, I read a book of excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt’s newspaper columns, radio talks, speeches and correspondence about the challenges in life and her thoughts and arguments are as relevant today as they were 70 years ago. In 1898 in one of her essays, she wrote about the pros and cons of being ambitious.  ER concluded that ‘it is better to be ambitious and do something than to be unambitious and do nothing’. I liked that. In May 1927, in an interview she said the best thing that one can expect out of life is the ‘privilege of being useful’ as this brought her true happiness – that resonated with me too!  She said from her own experience, the most important ingredients in a child’s education are curiosity, interest, imagination and sense of adventure for  life……and these qualities make all learning rewarding, that make all life zestful, that make us seek constantly for new experience and deeper understanding and enable us to grow as human beings and continue to grow. After reading the book, I couldn’t wait to see our 1346 girls and 24 boys in school again engaging with inspirational lessons across the curriculum and socialising with their peers as well as pushing themselves out of their comfort zone …..all to make their life more ‘zestful’ and to work towards their ambitions.

I hope that welcoming back our students to school has created some semblance of normality for you and your families.  We are very proud of your daughters/sons, as they have worked with us to navigate the one-way systems, adapt to changes in holding areas and manage rotas for lunch and breaks…all with a smile and or with smiley eyes if they are wearing a face covering! We are making tweaks to our protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus daily and today we are introducing new lining up protocols outside humanities to allow for more social distancing. Please ensure your daughter/son has a face covering, as we want all students to wear them moving around school and in assembly.  The face coverings can be any colour or pattern.

The theme for our assembly this week is ‘patience’ and we have seen students demonstrate patience everyday as they queue to go into lessons, wait their turn for the café or sit quietly whilst the teacher is sorting out the cleaning of the desks as well as setting up their lesson.  We reminded students that being patient with others makes them kinder, better friends and it is good to plan time to spend with others so they are not rushing. We gave examples of how patience is about taking time to grow and learn and knowing that results do not come immediately and that it is not about avoidance or procrastination or being indecisive or ‘forgetting’.   Have a chat with your daughter/son….see what they took away from it….we hope something!

Not only are we welcoming our Year 7 and external Year 12 students and parents to our school but we also have some new staff.  Miss Ward joins the senior leadership team as Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form, Miss Tomsett joins the geography department and Mr Ward joins history.  The science department welcome Mr Mirams and maths are pleased to have Mr Partridge join the team.  Miss Williams is a welcome addition to the social sciences department and we have Mrs Diaz, Mrs Ellison and Miss Robillard joining the languages department. Miss Sankey is splitting her time between the languages and business departments. Finally, we welcome Mr Drew, our new IT support manager.  We are very fortunate in that we are fully staffed and have dedicated teachers who are subject specialists in all departments to (in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt) “fuel the curiosity, interest, imagination and a sense of adventure of life and ambition amongst our students”.

Tonight we are holding an information evening for Year 7 parents via TEAMS at 6pm and on Thursday Year 13 tutors are meeting with their tutees and parents to discuss university applications.  This is over a video call linked to our parents evening booking system and if it goes well we will roll it out for parents evenings scheduled for this term.  We are also holding a ‘parent tour’ for Year 6 parents over TEAMS on Thursday….it is a presentation rather than a tour of the school.  We are creating a film for the Year 6 virtual open evening…..maybe along the lines of ‘through the keyhole’!

Enjoy the rest of the week

Anne Kennedy