Views from the Headmistress’ study – 25th November 2016

Dear Parents,

I had the pleasure of spending Monday and Tuesday in Oxford at the annual Girls’ Schools Association Conference. Venturing from The Randolph Hotel, the Ashmolean, evensong at Christ Church cathedral and Rhodes House , it felt as though I was on the set of Inspector Morse! Over 150 Heads listened to some fascinating speakers and I particularly enjoyed thinking about ‘The Pursuit of Success’ with Michael Ramsden and listening to Professor Ngaire Woods talking about how we can educate girls to become ‘Leaders in the 21st Century’. Professor Woods’ wish list for young women today would be; to know what you want, be bold and understand that being trusted is more important than being liked.

Our first set of Informal Concerts this year were a wonderful display of the girls’ talents, and the hard work they have been putting in behind the scenes, both at school and outside. One of the most pleasing aspects of the concert from the Junior section of the school came from our Year 7 girls, who showed they will have a lot to offer the school throughout their time here. Of particular note were Genevieve and Miku, whose violin duet version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ was played with real confidence. We also had very assured performances from some of our young singing stars of the future, especially Francesca, Phoenix and Matilda (all in year 8) and Cecily (Year 9).

The Senior’s concert was a great demonstration of talent, especially from our GCSE and A Level students. I would particularly like to mention Rhea, who sang beautifully and performed confidently, and our Music Captain Mathilde, who performed with her usual flair, a song she composed herself.

The evening was hugely enjoyable and my thanks go to all the students who performed, and to their teachers for their hard work and dedication, and for accompanying during the performances.

Millie (Head Girl) and Ines (Deputy Head girl) met with the Student Council to hear their views and wishes for their school. They have brought lots to the table; summer skirt, recycling bins, PE kit, food at break and improving the water fountain. I will now meet with Millie and Ines and look at what ideas we can take forward and implement.

On Wednesday morning the sixth form Art Historians visited the British Museum to consolidate their understanding of Greek Sculpture and Architecture and its place in creating idealised classical art. The morning was spent at the Lost Cities exhibition learning about the spread of the sculptural form from Egypt to Ancient Greece and the relationship between the two cultures on classical idealisation. The exhibition bridged a gap in artistic historical knowledge of the development of classical idealisation in figurative sculpture. We then visited the permanent Egyptian exhibition to see the statues of figures more traditionally associated with the traditional Greek Kore and Kouroi of the Archaic and Severe periods.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the girls listened to a talk by Dr Fionna Moore, Head of the London Ambulance Service. She discussed the path she took to become a doctor, sharing her experiences and the way in which her career path changed over time. The girls were asked many questions and it was evident that they had all enjoyed the recently televised documentary ‘Ambulance’. Fionna was clearly pleased that it had resulted in the girls thinking twice before calling 999. Many of the girls are interested in some area of medicine and it was great to see so many stay to speak to her afterwards. Her gift for speaking and her infectious enthusiasm made it a stimulating and enjoyable afternoon for all. We so appreciate her interrupting her unbelievably busy schedule to come and speak to us.

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To support their GCSE English Literature studies Year 11 attended a performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End with Mr Hegarty, Ms Travers, Mrs Boulter and Ms Jones.
This production was performed by the National Youth Theatre company supported by a strong creative production team. The interpretation of the play was original and vibrant with a contemporary setting. It was set against the 1950’s post- war Britain, the year of Teddy Boys, with its rival gangs. There was cross gender and cultural casting, with Tybalt played by an actress and much of the other casting culturally diverse. Also, several of the scenes had been abridged.
All this proved to be excellent fodder for further discussions of the play in class. What was missing and why? What was effective? Everyone seemed to agree the soundtrack and dynamic lighting was exhilarating, particularly at the party or fight scenes but some felt that heavy editing of the text meant something was lost in performance.

It was an evening which made us all look at the play in a different light and it also reminded us how familiar the girls are with the text, as they discussed and reviewed the evening. In the end we all agreed that studying a Shakespeare play in class is one thing but seeing a live performance really helps to consolidate the learning.

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Congratulations to the following for their entries into the House Art Competition. The theme was ‘Community’.

1st place Melissa  – CANTERBURY

2nd place Kayla – IONA

3rd = place SANTIAGO+WALSINGHAM

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On Thursday lunchtime, the Houses continued to battle it out with a Fashion Show. The theme was ‘Recycling’ and the teams had to put four outfits together in 30 minutes. Well done to Iona for their wonderful collection of pieces.

Eleanor (Year7) continues to triumph on the fencing circuit. Last weekend she was in Espoo, Finland competing in two events. Eleanor fenced with her heart out against a tough opposition which included a strong contingency of boys who were out to figuratively to draw “blood”.  As usual, Eleanor raised her game to end up with a bronze on the podium proudly carrying the Great Britain flag. She lost out to the eventual winner from Estonia.  Final Ranking 3rd out of 46 competitors.

The following day she competed again and the British fencing community is very proud to have Eleanor as the No 1 ranked GBR Under 11 girl to fence with success above her age group. Well done Eleanor!

We’re very excited about the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the girls have been working extremely hard in their rehearsals. Don’t forget to buy your tickets online here!

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Tickets for the Christmas Fair are available here. 

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Have a wonderful weekend,

Amanda Leach

Sunday 27th November School Play Rehearsals for Whole Cast | 10am
Monday 28th November School Play Rehearsals | All Day
Tuesday 29th Nov – Thursday 1st Dec A Midsummer Night’s Dream | 7pm
Saturday 3rd December Christmas Fair | 12-3pm

Prayer taken from our Spirit and Truth prayer book.

Heavenly Father, we pray for the people of Aleppo. We keep them in our thoughts as they struggle in adversity. Make us mindful of the peace we enjoy in this country and make us thankful for the excellent medical care we often take for granted.

Lord in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

 

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