Musings from the Head’s Study – 29th November 2013


Dear Parents,

It has been a very interesting week. We started with Year 11 Parents’ Evening which, in my experience, is usually one of the most focused ~ after all this Year Group is closer to examinations than any other given the fact that they have their Mock Examinations immediately that we start back in January. They are also thinking about the next step of their educational journey in terms of what they will be studying in September. It was also interesting, and very touching, that a large number of people just wanted to stop at my table for a chat ~ it made me realize once again what a history 5 years of knowing someone really produces.

Sadly my duties as a Governor at Finton House prevented me from sampling, personally, the awesomeness that was the ‘Mama Mia’ fund-raising sing along after school but I am told that it was a great success.

In an attempt to focus their minds, we have been running special day -long Study Skills sessions for Year 11 and LVIth & UVIth this week. Although the company concerned were not, in truth, telling the girls anything they hadn’t been told before over the years here, there is something about being told by an expert which encourages one to give active consideration to actually using the techniques on offer. The presentation style was very inter-active and engaging and even the cynical skeptics of the UVIth (and you know who you are) admitted to finding it ‘quite enjoyable really’ and ‘a nice rest from lessons’. Only time will tell if this investment by the School will have worked its magic.

We have seen a large number of rehearsals for Into the Woods which opens next week. It looks to be a tremendous production (I get to go all three nights ~ the last time I will have this privilege as Head so I plan to make the most of it) and tickets are selling well so if you plan to come ~ and if not, why not? You know how good the School is at Creative and Performing Arts ~ you need to get in as soon as possible. Call or e-mail the School Office for your tickets.

Spare a thought for Mrs Leach next week as she launches into her first experience of Admissions Interviews because next week sees the start of the Year 6 Admissions Interviews. For me the whole experience will be most strange because I will have no role (and no Study!) during the week but this is as it should be. They will be her girls and not mine (the first cohort of ‘Leach girls’) but I know just how much she will enjoy it, exhausting as it is.

Thursday saw both our Junior Debating Team and a selection of our Netball teams in action.  At the time of writing I have just heard that our Debaters have actually won their competition, beating Putney High School in both the prepared and unprepared rounds which is a tremendous achievement given the comparative differences in size of school and narrowness of selection ~ this is an ‘FA Cup giant-killer’ style upset ~ all the more so because of the need for a last minute substitution as one member of the team was suddenly unavailable so an unprepared member of Year 8 had to be dropped in. Very well done to Sky and the (unprepared) ‘Tilly  ~ their mental agility and clarity of expression won the day, aided by Françoise who asked excellent questions from the floor which enhanced our points and diminished theirs, despite having a mouth full of painfully new braces. Finally, congratulations to ‘Coach Hegarty’ for getting them ready.

I spent a fascinating lunchtime this week in the company of some of the Household as they were kind enough to invite me to one of their ‘food for thought’ lunches. The topic under consideration was ‘the problems caused by being a perfectionist’ although I suspect that some of the girls were actually hoping for guidance on how to become a perfectionist. Hopefully, by the end of her presentation, Ms North (The Steward of the Household)  had convinced at least some of her audience that being a perfectionist was not all that it was cracked up to be. The conclusions which were reached were really that perfection needs to be an aspiration but one built on the understanding that ultimately one is destined to fall short of that absolute perfection because that is reserved for God. However this is not an excuse for not trying one’s best, it is merely an attempt to promote balance and to understand the important role of mistakes in the process of learning.

I have been asked to remind you not to forget the MHSPA Christmas Fayre which is next Saturday. Come along, bring your friends and their money. You’ll have a great time and help the girls raise money for their charity which produces talking books.

And finally ~ I am delighted to announce that the Christmas Tree has arrived in School ready for the onset of Advent. As is traditional it will be decorated by the School Officers and members of Year 7 today so that it is ready for Advent on Monday. The Advent Ring has gone in to the Chapel as has the ‘old’ crib (which sadly is really starting to show its age now ~ I know how it feels!) whilst the ‘new’ crib will be ready to go into the Main Entrance Hall. Christmas is coming!

With best wishes for the opening of Advent this weekend,

Robert Carlysle

The weeks ahead

Sunday 1st December 9.30am -4.30pm: Into the Woods rehearsal

Advent begins

Monday 2nd December Year 6 Interview Day

3.30 ~ 4.30pm: Senior Chamber Choir

  Evening: America Ski trip briefing
Tuesday 3rd December Year 6 Interview Day

4-6pm: VIth Form Portfolio Club

Dress Rehearsal for the School

7.30pm  School Play ~ opening night

Wednesday 4th December Year 6 Interview Day

AM Year 8 HPV Vaccinations

4pm U12 v HUH

7.30pm School Play ~ middle night

Thursday 5th December Year 6 Interview Day

All Day: UVIth Classical Civilisation trip to the British Museum

4-6pm VIth Form Life Drawing Class

7.30pm School Play ~ closing night

Friday 6th December All Day Year 8 Rivers trip

Charity Mufti Day

Saturday 7th December 12 ~ 3pm: Christmas Fayre
Monday 9th December Year 6 Interview Day

Inter-House Netball week starts

3.30 ~ 4.30pm Senior Chamber Choir rehearsals

Tuesday 10th December Year 6 Interview Day

P1 ~ lunch: 7PC Geography trip to the

British Library

4.45 ~ 6pm: U12 Netball v SM

2~6pm: VIth Form Portfolio Club

Wednesday 11th December All Day: VIth Form Maths Conference P2 ~ 6 : VIth Form History of Art Lectures (in school)

6pm: More House Singers

Thursday 12th December All Day ~ Section 48 Religious Inspection

Charity Christmas Jumper Day

School Christmas Lunch

4 ~ 6pm: VIth Form Life Drawing

Friday 13th December Inter-House Netball Week ends
Monday 16th December Rehearsals for the Christmas Concert

3.30 – 4.30pm~ Senior Chamber Choir

7.30pm: Christmas Concert at Our Lady

of  Victories Church

Tuesday 17th December Morning: School Carol Service (in


12 noon (approx): School ends for the

Christmas Break

The Prayer in the Chapel this week:

Be You a bright flame before me, Be You a smooth way below me, Be You a guiding star above me, Be You a watchful eye behind me, This day, this night, for ever

Saint Columba

(c521 597)


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