Date Posted... Mar 13th 2020

Weekly Roundup 13.03.30

Dear parents and guardians,

Our Environmental Consultation Organisation (ECO) were active this week, leading assemblies on the topic of waste, calling us all to think before we throw away waste products. The message is that sending something to landfill should be the last resort. It was alarming to hear the predictions that it won’t be long before our oceans contain more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish. We have new waste bins that have recently been installed around school and I’m grateful to our ECO for giving us some training on how best to use them.

I can’t say enough about the value of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the independent research project taken on by many of our sixth formers. Listening to the EPQ showcase presentations this week was, as ever, a humbling experience as each candidate delivered a viva on their dissertation or artefact, taking and handling challenging questions from the audience. It’s no surprise that a happy by-product of these efforts is the outstanding grades that are achieved year in, year out, but most importantly how well prepared these students are to cope with the academic rigour demanded by the leading universities where these young women and men will end up.

It all begins in the lower school as highlighted by the many pupils inspired by their subject and entering the recent science poster competition. There is a bigger focus than ever on encouraging students to engage with the supra curricular activities offered by our departments, stretching themselves beyond the syllabus in the process.

Congratulations are due to our 1st Year girls who are not only county netball champions, but who have also advanced to the regional hockey finals. Great stuff!

The unhappy backdrop of our happy school is the ongoing threat of the Covid-19. It’s with a mixture of disappointment and relief that we have been advised to cancel all our overseas trips, planned for the Easter holidays. The details around these cancellations and plans will be shared to the relevant parents by Zoe Jobling, Director of Co-Curricular. Clearly there is a watching brief on those planned for the summer holidays. It seems inevitable that we will at some point be advised to close the school and our plans for this are being piloted so we can make the transition to remote learning in as seamless a way as possible. The medical authorities are clear that closing schools now is unlikely to be effective because not enough people have yet contracted the virus. Clearly, getting the timing right is a very delicate balance. We continue to prepare students for public exams and we are liaising with Ofqual about arrangements, we ask that everyone continues to proceed as planned at this stage. In chapel assembly yesterday Mrs Ellison spoke to our 5th Year and Upper Sixth students about carrying on as normal until we hear otherwise. Mrs Ellison will be sending out a survey to all parents so we can gather information about individual travel plans over the Easter holidays.

As a school we continue to take precautionary measures including the construction of hand sanitiser stations strategically placed around the school. In order to further reduce the risk of cross contamination we will be disabling the school’s water fountains next week. Please can all pupils bring refillable water bottles during this time. We will be setting up a hydration station in the dining room so that they will be able to fill their water bottles and get a drink of water during the day.

We continue to follow official guidance and I am very grateful to our parents and pupils for their support.

Mr Gordon-Brown, Headmaster

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