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Claires Court

Claires Court Maidenhead

from Nursery to Sixth Form

Mr Bevis' Words Autumn Term Week 5

Reading occupies my opening thoughts this week. Last year our Senior Girls Library team launched our Accelerated Reader Scheme, with the avowed desire to encourage more and wider reading. Our statistics show this objective was more than achieved and included 10 girls who clocked up more than a million words (War & Peace is only half a million). The Library team, always on the lookout for even more ways to get girls inside a book applied to the PTA for funding to provide Ebooks. Their well argued rationale was that this would extend library loaning over the holiday periods but more importantly it would allow us to attract those hard to reach reluctant readers as it means they can browse without being under the gaze of librarians, teachers and parents! I am delighted to say that their bid was approved and ebooks are on their way.

So please do not forget to support the work of the PTA by coming along on the 15th... and if you can give an hour of your time and help on a stall that would be wonderful - please contact our Chair Anna Taylor-West via annat_w@hotmail.com.

The Library team are also leading the way in our contribution to National Poetry Day with their ‘message in a bottle’ promotion - ask your daughter if she has contributed and come and see the display next week.

We had a number of Year 6 parents and their daughters attend our inaugural Breakfast Open Event on Wednesday. We started at 8.30am with coffee, pastries, croissant and of course some very healthy fruit and a chance to speak about the school with Senior Staff and the Head Girl team. That was followed by tours of the school led by Year 9 (very well done girls) and then a final word or two about their impressions of the school. It is easy, but wrong, to assume that our Junior Parents are familiar with the Senior school and the feedback after the morning indicated what a valuable and welcomed opportunity it was.

Year 7 parents will have received a letter from Mrs Ing and myself about our recent baseline tests (MiDYIS) and how we make use of them. I shall be following up on that with a short presentation to parents at the Parents Evening on Thursday 13th October. We are also keen to explain to parents how they can support their daughter’s learning without turning home into school!

Trips to Spain, France and Germany are happening at half term, and the MFL department held their usual parent information evening on Monday. I am so indebted to our languages department that take on what our very demanding but worthwhile ventures such as this when so many schools will not. They also ran a highly entertaining look at languages on European Day of Languages last Thursday with a very modern twist on a language vocab hunt using mobile phones, bar code readers and QR codes.

The School - Juniors through to Sixth Form took a whole host of prizes and awards at the ISA London West art competition at Norden Farm. From textiles to photography, and sketching to ceramics our entries showed the quality and the breadth of of our creative pupils and staff - well done all.

We continue to be successful on the sports front - Sports results - U16 played in the County Hockey Tournament and won the plate competition, in the U13 RBWM  Netball tournament the U13 A were runners up, and the B team took a very creditable 5th place. Amazingly our U14 hockey squad took on St Mary’s Ascot 1st XI and won 1-0.

Great news of our Under 15 tennis squad who are now through to the regional finals in Exeter on the 17th November.  The girls qualified after beating Thornden School in a nail-biting 7-6 tie break - wow!

Next Monday is the first scheduled meeting of the School Council. Our decision two years ago to appoint specific prefects to lead that body is bearing fruit. The Council is becoming a powerful voice of the pupil body and last year drove some significant changes, including a change of uniform policy, improvements to lockers, breakfast club and more outdoor seating.

The Council is made up of the elected Form Captains and Vice Captains and you will see a list of those elsewhere in the bulletin. They have received their badges in assembly presented by Mrs Ruddick and  Mrs Mulhearn (Senior Pastoral Leads) and congratulated for taking on the challenge of leadership. In that assembly Mrs Mulhearn showcased the remarkable efforts of Ben Smith who took on the challenge of running 401 marathons in 401 days, being joined by over 9,000 other runners, and raising £250,000 for anti-bullying charities. He was driven to do this after his own unhappy experiences at boarding school and the desire to make a difference for others.

My own contribution to National Poetry Day - nothing original I’m afraid, but a poem that has stayed with me from school days, the last verse of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

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