October 2017: New buildings, new opportunities
Monday 9 October 2017
What a busy start to the year it has been!
I am delighted at how well our new girls have settled in to the Queenswood routine. The slight change to the structure of the
school day and tutor system have bedded in now, and I know that girls
and staff are really appreciating the daily contact time for tutor
groups. All girls, from Year 7 through to the Sixth Form, are members of one of the four Houses, and we have already held several inter-House competitions this term, including the brand new Capture the Flag contest organised by the Senior Prefects. Next week sees the return of the House Performing Arts Competition; this is an internal event held during the school day, but videos of all performances will be available to view on the school website.
It was fantastic to welcome so many parents of Year 10 and 11 girls to the Open House event in our new Bellman Sixth Form Centre. All Sixth Formers, boarders and day girls, now have both the privacy to work in their own, bespoke study bases and also a pleasant and well-equipped social space all under one roof. Meanwhile, as you are probably aware, the Library has moved into the Old Pool hall, one of our most beautiful heritage buildings. Our librarians and Sixth Form staff, along with the Maintenance Department, have worked with tireless enthusiasm to make these new facilities ready for the girls, and they proved a real hit with the record number of families who toured the school on Open Morning last Saturday.
Our next Sixth Form open event is on Wednesday 1 November, where there will an opportunity for Year 10 and 11 girls and parents to experience a flavour of academic life in the Sixth Form, along with sessions on Oxbridge and American University applications, the UCAS system in general, and the unique opportunities available to Sixth Formers at Queenswood. More information about this event will follow shortly.
The campus looks particularly stunning at this time of year. My view across Trew Lawn has been enhanced by the beautiful mountain ash tree that was planted as part of the Boarding School Association’s ‘Boarding Orchard’ scheme. We were delighted to welcome Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive of the BSA, to the planting ceremony, and to show him around the school. Boarding is really gaining in popularity at Queenswood, thanks to our new flexible packages, and we look forward to working closely with the BSA on their #ILoveBoarding campaign this year – look out for the Boarding Bus that will be visiting the school next term.
Robin Fletcher was also at the HMC meeting in Belfast, which I attended earlier this week. It was my first experience of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, to which Queenswood became affiliated last academic year, and I really appreciated the opportunity to meet other Heads and share good practice. I particularly enjoyed listening to the keynote speaker, John Lloyd. John Lloyd has been behind some of the most successful and well-loved TV and radio of the last three decades. He’s also written or co-authored over 30 books, and is the driving force behind developing a new concept of education based on his BBC panel show, QI.
There is so much happening at Queenswood in the coming weeks. Our junior hockey players are off to Barcelona over half term, and we are thrilled to be welcoming Clare Balding to the Clarissa Farr Theatre on Tuesday 31 October. There are just a few tickets remaining – please visit www.queenswood.org/box-office to book your seats. Further ahead, I am looking forward to the Upper School Play – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – and my first carol service at St Albans Abbey.
Finally, Wednesday 11 October is International Day of the Girl, and we will be reflecting in Chapel and tutorials on the needs and challenges that girls face throughout the world, focusing on how we as a community can help to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.