Date Posted... Mar 24th 2020
Wow….what a difference a week makes, last Sunday the houses were full, the girls had enjoyed a relatively (although we might not have thought it at the time) normal week of lessons that were in the most part undisrupted and a weekend with their fellow boarders and normal Saturday/Sunday routine. Fast forward and today we paint a very different picture.
As I am sure you can all imagine, this last week has been like no other and has enticed every possible emotion. We have had upset where the tears have just kept coming, anger, worry, periods of calm and realisation, uncertainty, despair, relief, support, tears and laughter; but for me, the one true constant and my overriding memory has been that of admiration!
I could not be prouder of the girls, both junior and senior; they have faced these uncertain times head on and with a remarkable spirit. It has been humbling and inspirational to watch them pick themselves back up after each Government announcement, dust themselves and each other off and move forwards.
During the latter part of the week, girls from both houses begun their, in some cases, daunting and very long journeys home. For a number of the girls this was their first time travelling alone and the prospect of possible cancelled flights and closed boarders was not inviting. Back here on the ground, the hour by hour travel updates and the late-night mobile app flight tracking has come in to its own and it has been great to hear, one by one, of the girls’ safe arrivals and reunions with friends and family.
The school campus has been eerily quiet all week and on Friday, when the 3.50pm end of school bell sounded, it echoed through the corridors. The Upper Sixth came back to the house confusingly sombre yet buzzing after a day spent forgetting their troubles and enjoying/celebrating their friendships and memories of the last two years, and beyond for some. Although they were encouraged not to treat the day like their last, staff turned a blind eye to a few things to let them have their very much needed moment. Old school uniforms were doned, shirts signed and there was a party atmosphere in the Sixth Form Common Room. An impromptu water fight and rugby game even broke out over lunch on the field.
Never ones to let a photo opportunity pass, Mr Copeland and I were lucky enough to be able to get the Upper Sixth leavers together on the front terrace after breakfast!
This weekend, the mass pack up has begun with boxes and gaffer tape hotly sought after. Aom and Loera, the only two junior girls that remain in Pentreve moved their things over to Malvern and we tried to keep the mood light and positive. An hour in the SBA for dodgeball and football allowed us all to let off some steam and get some exercise. Then after supper Mr Hatfeild played Bookmaker at Race Night.
It was then back to Malvern for a surprise birthday party for Aom, who will turn 15 on Tuesday; the somewhat depleted shelves at Tesco were raided and the girls enjoyed a feast of unicorn birthday cake and classic British party food; we even played, and taught some how to play, pass the parcel! Later nights were enjoyed, further packing ensued and the girls went to bed wondering what the next day would bring.
On Sunday, there were more goodbyes as our number decreased in size once more. Another sport session kept us active and tonight we have enjoyed a hearty roast beef supper with chocolate torte for pudding. The evening has been spent packing, sorting and preparing for our first day of school shut down.
What comes next is still not clear but the leavers have been promised their send off and I know they will hold the Headmaster to his word. I cannot wait for that day! What a party we will have!
But in the meantime, remote learning will begin tomorrow; subject teachers, the pastoral team and the senior leaders will continue to teach and provide support through the many mediums online. I will be checking in regularly with all the girls on our Teams boards and look forward to hearing their voices and hearing how they are doing.
Whilst premature in its ending, we have had a great two terms in girls boarding and I think it is important we remember the good times whilst pledging to ensure there are many more to come. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to get to know the girls this year and I look forward to welcoming them back, whether that is as boarders, or returning university students, at some time soon!
Mrs Mulready, Head of Girls’ Boarding