Head's Words Lent Term Week 8
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Did you know that Tuesday 8th March is International Women’s Day.... and this year's campaign theme is Pledge for Parity?
Amongst many things this week has been World Book Week, and Thursday was World Book Day and our vibrant library team, led by Paula Copeman, has been encouraging us to get into the minds of an author. This culminated in a visit from Eleanor Wood, author of My Secret Rock Star Boyfriend, who gave an enlivening assembly on Thursday. Ellie is a former pupil of Claires Court, and on the dedication page of her latest book she gave thanks to the encouragement she had received from her then headteacher, Ann Pitts and maths teacher, Sheila Perkins. Unknown to Ellie we had invited both Ann and Sheila to our assembly and the reunion between them was marvellous to see. We are fortunate to have a library team that so passionately advocates the power of reading and I am delighted to hear that the Accelerated Reader Scheme is being extended into Year 8 next year.
This week has also seen the performing arts take centre stage. Thursday night Senior Girls and Sixth Form musicians, singers and composers gave us a night of accomplished performances, nervous debutantes and those prepared to bare their souls via their own writing. If you missed it your life has been less enriched. We can truly say that music is now a great strength of our school with high quality, depth of talent and breadth of participation. Our audiences are also improving - Hester Goodsell managed to get all of us singing ‘Hey Mr Miller’ in the round. An even wider group of pupils are also competing in Inter-House Music on Friday.
Year 9 Parents Evening went very well and I am delighted that you have felt that the process for informing you and your daughter about GCSEs and how to choose has been sufficiently extensive and detailed to enable all to feel well informed.
We have been successful on the sports field once again with our Under 13 hockey team taking third place at the County Championships and it was marvellous to present them with their medals in assembly on Tuesday. Our performing arts work continues with both Junior and Senior Drama groups competing in the ISA Southern Area Drama competition - I await texts or tweets to let me know how they are getting on.
One of our great assets is the brilliant support you give us - whether that is turning up to concerts and other events, or through the support of the PTA. The AGM was held on Monday and the officers for September 2016 have now been voted for, and the new team will have a term to work with the current incumbents and achieve that essential handover. The AGM also had the opportunity to hear from James Wilding about the extensive steps we are now taking to support the health of our pupils, and from Hugh Wilding about the future plans for the new campus.
I am also sure that 3 for 3 charity fund raising week would not have the impact that it has had without all of your support either - it has been a whirl of cakes, competitions and challenges and I will let you know the final outcome next week.
So next week - Year 11 Parents’ Evening and discussion on mock exam outcomes and feedback on how they can improve still further. We are delighted with the IGCE English language results where the girls achieved a 90% pass rate with 36% at A* or A.
Year 9 and 10s have sessions on ‘Images and the Law’. Mobile technology is leading many young people to be careless with their own reputation protection and perhaps break the law. We have Danny Gomm from RBWM Youth Support Services running workshops throughout the week on this important area.
Year 8 girls and boys are coming together on Thursday to learn about the English Civil War through role play, enactments, presentations and the chance to dress up - always a winning combination!
On Tuesday, a team of four Year 11 girls are competing at the Royal Society of Chemistry event ‘Heroines of Science’ at Reading University, presenting a talk on the female scientist who has most inspired them. It is fitting that this is taking place on International Women’s Day, Tuesday March 8th #pledgeforparity - having seen what I have seen this week we do not have to worry about parity....we will just keep getting further in front!
And finally hearing Ellie Wood speak about her school of sixteen years ago I was struck by the common thread from where we are as a school now and Ellie's experience of the school under the then Head Ann Pitts. It is the powerful philosophy of never doubting that girls can achieve, make progress, overcome difficulties and fulfil their dreams. I am passionate about all ability education because it shows to all of us the rich diversity of young people's enthusiasm, talents, and desires and the fact that we all have our strengths, and those things that may not be our strengths now can be so in the future.
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance. Kofi Annan
The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes. Bella Abzug