As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz observed “There’s no place like home”. I have to say that whilst doing an Inspection is a rare privilege, because it give you an opportunity to see how other schools and other classrooms work, it is nice to be back in my own school. This week has been filled with the final preparations for the public, and internal, examinations along with Staffing interviews to recruit scientists to replace Ms Whitworth, who sadly has been on extended sick leave and will not be returning to us, and Mrs Clapham, who will be off on Maternity Leave next term. We have been very fortunate to be able to attract a very strong field of highly qualified and experienced Chemists and Physicists and, at the time of writing this piece, we still have the third day of interviews to go. The School did, however, have time to mount a Year 7 Biology trip to the London Wetlands, play some rounders fixtures against Queen’s Gate, and hold Confirmation Classes as usual despite the week being somewhat truncated thanks to the Bank Holiday.
Your daughters will have noticed a growing bareness in their classrooms as all of the teaching rooms have been stripped of their displays in preparation for the examinations. The rules for public examinations are very clear on the fact that there must be no possibility of outside inspiration or information for the candidates (for fear, I guess, of schools putting up posters such as ‘The answer to the question what is meaning of Life? is 42) and therefore the displays have to come down and even bookshelves have to be shrouded for fear that their titles might provide inspiration. This year we have decided to apply the same standards to our internal examinations, just so that the girls get used to working in a sterile environment. I have to say that it is a very strange experience in that one walks around school surrounded by beautiful artwork and vibrant displays in the corridors as usual and then walks in to a classroom and ..nothing! It certainly makes one realise how important classroom displays are. That said, looking on the positive side, not only does this give the girls more of experience but it also allows the Bursar to see more clearly which classrooms need to be re-decorated over the summer.
As I suspected would happen the move from Newsletter to Blog has excited some controversy amongst parents. There are many who clearly like the new format and feel that getting the news ‘as it happens’ provides a better and richer understanding of the life of our School. There are others who have nostalgia for the old format where all the information came in one ‘hit’ at the end of the week. I don’t feel equipped to comment but I have noted two requests which have been voiced most frequently, and therefore I have restored to my blog entry the ‘forthcoming events for the next two weeks’ section at the end of my narrative (despite the fact that the updated events can still be found on the School’s online calendar), and also ‘this week’s prayer in the Chapel’ again at the end of the main piece. In the spirit of the forthcoming events section can I also remind you of the MHPA Quiz Night which is coming up on Thursday 16th May? Tickets are available from the School Office.
The written papers of GCSEs begin today, and AS levels are hard on their heels, so this week also saw the Pre-Exam Service. As usual this was not a formal Mass but rather was a service of commendation and, dare one say it, commiseration. During the service I was struck, as I always am, by how good the Catholic Church is at symbolism and how important it is. The Ceremony of Lights in the service, whereby everyone lights a votive candle not for their own needs but for the needs of everyone else, expresses far more eloquently than words ever could one of the many things which makes our School what it is. The light of the candles, and the fact that they will be replaced and lit whenever there are exams in school, persists long after the act of lighting them has gone, just as the prayers they represent and the concern and compassion for others which motivate those prayers, persist long after they have been said. It demonstrates, once again, that our School is far more than just a good school; it is a community that cares for the spiritual, physical and emotional well being of all of its members, and encompasses and respects all of their beliefs and needs. There truly is no place like home.
With best wishes for another sunny weekend.
In the forthcoming weeks
|Monday 13 May||GCSE RS Module – Year 10 & 113.30: Senior Chamber Choir7pm: The Officers’ Dinner|
|Tuesday 14 May||4.15 – 5.30pm: Confirmation Class|
|Wednesday 15 May||All day: A2 Art Examination|
|Thursday 16 May||All day: A2 Art ExaminationMusic CompetitionMHPA Quiz night|
|Friday 17 May||All day: A2 Art examination|
|Monday 20 May||ACTIVITIES WEEK for Years 7 – 9Year 10 EXAM WEEKUVIth Revision Clinics week|
|Tuesday 21st May|
|Wednesday 22nd May|
|Thursday 23rd May|
|Friday 24th May||ACTIVITIES TRIPS RETURNYEAR 10 Exam week endsUVIth Revision Clinic week endsHalf Term Leave begins at 3.20pm|
|Saturday 25th May||Confirmation Service|
The Prayer in the Chapel this week has been
Lord God Almighty..
Teach us that we may inwardly love you before all things..
For you are our Maker and our Redeemer, our help and our comfort, our trust and our hope.
Alfred, King of England (c849 – c899)
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