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Headteacher's Blog, 24th September 2021

So now we have reached the end of the fourth week of school, and it would be fair to say that we are all settling back into the routine. It certainly is different to have children moving around the school more and, for some, there is a realisation that they need to move quite swiftly to avoid being late for lessons. Uniform is good, although some skirts seem to be shrinking almost overnight - please check if your child is wearing the new skirt you bought over the holiday or if they have reverted to one from last year!!  

Today I had feedback from the Sixth Form session with “Working Options” - a charity that works to encourage young people to aim high and fulfil their potential. Colette and Meg spoke about their own career paths and skills, and shared their top tips. This included things like having curiosity, using your own networks, learning from mistakes and being creative, with the message that whatever the career choice, these elements are absolutely relevant.   

I was also intrigued to hear about Year 10 History lessons this week. Today Mrs Lowe’s class have been making tinfoil Sputniks whilst learning about the Cold War and the Space Race, and earlier this week she demonstrated the range of the impact of a nuclear attack using a raw egg.  

This week has seen a return to trips and activities out of school, with the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE) practice expedition taking place last weekend. Many thanks to the staff and volunteers who gave their time to support our girls. Our Year 13 Geographers also had a brilliant field trip to Southwold this week, with both students and the staff team delighted to move to their outdoor classroom accompanied by the most glorious weather. It is such a benefit for them to be able to practise their skills in the field, and the return to this is very welcome.  

I would like to congratulate two students this week.  

Olivia Canham (13A), has successfully auditioned to become a member of 'Aldeburgh Young Musicians' - a progressive artist development programme, which is part of the national network of Centres for Advanced Training. She will be attending residential music courses, and will work with other young musicians alongside professional musicians to develop her musical skills. 

Meanwhile Sophie Barker in 10A has been competing in the Mounted Games World Championships. After a tough three days of competition Sophie and her pony Mischief made the semi-final, narrowly missing out of the final. She is now ranked 13th in the world!!

Well done to both Olivia and Sophie on their successes.  

We are having an increasing number of issues in school arising from student interactions on social media. Please can you make sure that you are monitoring your child’s use of social media at home and be mindful that there are age restrictions for good reasons. For most social media sites this is 13, but for WhatsApp it is 16 years old. There is a link below to a ParentZone guidance for WhatsApp which you may find helpful, and I really welcome your support with this.  

https://parentzone.org.uk/article/whatsapp  

Our students are not allowed to use their phones here in school and so these interactions are taking place outside - but often we see repercussions here, which take up considerable amounts of our time. It would be particularly helpful for you to look at the section on group chats with your child, to help them be selective about their membership of different groups.  

And finally, two areas which have given me great pleasure this week. Firstly I have been giving out Headteacher awards again and have a further group next week. These are awarded for exceptional contribution, ranging from working as Sports Leader at the Summer Step programme to supporting younger students in trouble on their way home from school. Anyone can be nominated for an award and it is a real privilege to be able to thank the recipients for their contribution to the school.  

Secondly, I have resumed delivery of birthday cards this week. For a number of years I have sent a birthday card to our new Year 7 students on their first birthday as a Hitchin Girl, and also to our Year 13 Students when they turn 18. This morning I delivered, albeit a little late for some, the cards to the Year 7s who have had a birthday this term so far, and also met with some Year 13s to wish them a Happy Birthday!  

Next week sees our first Open Morning events and I look forward to giving some feedback on these.  

Have a great weekend.