Views from the Headmistress’ study – 4th November 2016

Dear Parents,

Welcome back after half term. As you know we had a group go out to Austria for the annual music tour. Here is a summary of their week from Mr Anstice:

‘This was the school’s first choir tour to Austria, and it was a true privilege to be able to perform in two of Europe’s most musical cities. The girls marveled as we pulled up outside the magnificent Gothic facade of our first concert venue – St Stephen’s Cathedral in the heart of Vienna – but despite the building’s impressive stature, the staff could not have been more welcoming. The officiate for the Mass was kind enough to come and speak to us before hand to welcome us, and our host presented us with a certificate to commemorate our performance.

Our other major concert was at the Cathedral in the centre of Salzburg, a magnificent building which was once capable of holding almost the entire population of the town! The interior of the Cathedral is perfectly designed for music-making, and has no less than 5 organs dotted around (we were even shown which one Mozart used to practise on)! The concert here was wonderfully well attended and hugely successful.

We were also honoured to be welcomed into 3 schools on our visit, two of which not only made banners heralding our arrival but invited the girls to join some of their lessons. This was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience for the girls, some of whom I understand are still in contact with some of the Austrian students they met!

Outside of our concert commitments, we enjoyed very informative walking tours of both Vienna and Salzburg, a rather rainy visit to the Hohensalzburger Fortress and a thoroughly exciting trip down the Salt Mines at Hallein (especially the toboggan slides!) We also had the opportunity to sample the unparalleled cultural heritage of the region, as the girls enjoyed trips around the Mozart Museums in both cities (although none of them enjoyed this half as much as myself)’

The trip was a wonderful success, and special thanks go to Mr Keeley, Miss Dale, Miss Brown, Miss Seconi, Miss Minto and Mr Anstice for organising the trip, as well as keeping the girls safe and entertained.

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I always enjoy hearing what the girls have been up to and Julia (Year 10), Emma (Year 7) and Eleanor (Year 7) have also been busy over the half term.

As you may recall, Julia is a very keen golfer and she told me on Monday that she has now reached a handicap of 6.5, which is incredible. Not a lot of people know this but I started playing golf at the age of 11 and my handicap has never got below ‘high’ double figures!

Emma was Irish dancing in the Great Britain Championships 2016 and has qualified for the World Championships next April.

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And in fencing Eleanor won the Under 11 LPJS (Leon Paul Junior Series ) in Manchester and said, ‘It was really important because I had to defend my No 1 rank from the No 2 girl who is trying to catch up’. She then went out to Hungary and this is what she told me, ‘On the 22nd October I competed in Debrechen, Hungary at the Olimpici Grand Prix. This was my first international Under 13 competition. I was ranked 30th after the first pole. Then there was the DE (direct elimination) against a 3rd ranked fencer. Sadly I lost, my final result was 30th out of 85 girls. Last weekend I came 2nd in the Elite Epee Junior Series Under 12, it was a close call as I lost 9/10. However, the series is long and will end next December 2017.’

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This is me with Geza Imre (he won 4 Olympic medals and current world champion)

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Emese Szasz – Current Rio Olympic Champion. She is on the same team as my coach in Hungary.

Well done to all of them and good luck in their future competitions.

On Tuesday morning we held a service in our chapel to celebrate the Feast of All Saints. This service was for parents, friends and staff of the School and was led by Father Graham who is new to the parish of St Mary’s. During the service I lit three candles. The first candle served as a prayer offering for the girls, that their light may always shine in the darkness. The second was for all parents involved in working with More House to bring out the best in their daughters. The third was for the Staff, that they would always find purpose in their vocation. This week’s prayers are from the service.

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Tea and croissants after!

More’s Household welcomed Raissa Uwineza to speak to us on Wednesday after school. She is a young business woman who wants to inspire as many young women as possible. Drawing from her traumatic childhood experiences in Rwanda, Raissa believes that anyone can achieve their goal if they are truly committed. With an endearing mixture of humour and advice, she seemed really to inspire the girls present and we thank her for coming.

Our Year 11s enjoyed their Sixth Form Taster Day yesterday, sampling all the delights that will be available to them next year. Highlights including learning about the comedy of Shakespeare, dissecting frogs, titration and making the most of the comfy sofas in the Sixth Form Centre!

It’s been another good week for the PE department, and we had several matches with very pleasing results. The U13 team had a league match against Holland Park, beating them 8-2. Sadly the U14 lost 13-7 against Queen’s Gate in their friendly match. However the U15’s managed to beat Queen’s Gate 18-14. Congratulations to Emilia, who was U13 Player of the Match, and Lizzie who was U14 Player of the Match. Well done to all! On Thursday morning we had our last climbing session with Rachael, she has been a fantastic addition to the P.E team over the past 3 years. We would like to thank her for always going out of her way to ensure she brings out the best in each individual. We are so sad to see her go, as her support has been amazing. We wish her all the best.

Rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are well under way, costumes are being sourced, props and staging being made. The performances will take place on Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th November and Thursday 1st December. Put those dates in your diary! Tickets will be available soon, please keep an eye out for more details.

Also save the date for the Parents’ Association Christmas Fair – you will have received an email this morning with more details.

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Remember on Thursday it is Prizegiving and the girls will all have supper in school before going down to Holy Trinity Church for 6pm. We are looking forward to listening to our guest of honour, Rebecca Hilsenrath.

Here is a little bit about her:
‘Rebecca Hilsenrath was appointed Chief Executive Officer to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in October 2015, before which she held the role of Chief Legal Officer. After graduating from Cambridge, Rebecca trained and practiced law at Linklaters before leaving to have a family. After a career break, she worked in the Government Legal Service, where she held a number of roles in the then Department for Education and Skills and in the Attorney General’s Office. She was then appointed CEO of LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group), a national charity facilitating free legal advice to community groups and individuals in need, where she worked for five years before moving to the EHRC in 2014. Rebecca has also established two schools, set up the National Pro Bono Centre in Chancery Lane and has sat on the boards of a number of charities and advice agencies, including the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the Mary Ward Legal Centre. In 2012, she was listed by the Times among the 100 most influential lawyers in the country. She has four sons and a foster daughter and her hobbies include renovating a listed cottage in Snowdonia and writing e-novels’

I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday evening.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the fireworks,

Amanda Leach

Tuesday 8th November Year 9 Parents Evening | 4.30-6.30pm
Thursday 10th November Prizegiving | 6pm | Holy Trinity Church
Friday 11th November Occasional Day | School Closed
Friday 11th – Tuesday 15th November Classics/History of Art Trip to Italy

Bidding Prayers from our Parent Prayer Morning for the Feast of All Saints.

Lord, we pray for the protection of the children of our school.
We ask that you would guard their heart and their mind in Christ Jesus.
That you would wrap them up in Your love,
And deliver them from all evil.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that you would give them great enthusiasm for their studies.
May you inspire them each and everyday.
May each lesson and class bring fresh inspiration to their work.
May each moment be filled with the energy they need for their tasks.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray that they would know the hope to which they are called.
That their life would be transformed by revelation from Heaven.
That You would inspire their direction
And lead them to their destiny.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for the safe return of the missing schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria. We ask you to open the hearts of their captors, to strengthen the hope of their mothers and fathers and to grant them peace in their struggle. Inspire the girls of More House to look beyond their everyday existence and to speak out for all injustices at home and abroad.

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