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A Golden Week….

21st June 2018

From the very end of last week – the Year 6 Taster and sleepover (I am sure I am supposed to call it a boarding experience but it is always more of a sleepover spirit that pervades the house on these nights) was energetic and amusing and exhausting. The girls really enjoyed themselves and Miss Tyers excelled herself together with Evie and Bronwen, the gap assistants. There was a scavenger hunt that caused much squeaking and racing about, delicious food and a great deal of acclimatising and generating a feeling of belonging. My thanks go to all the boarders and Remove who helped us to make the new girls feel part of the school. It helps so much with the beginning of next term when that eventually comes.

After that, the weekend needed to be relatively low key so Mrs Crossley took a happy collection of girls to the Cotswold Wildlife Park on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for nature watching and ice cream. The week itself was dominated by Upper Transit and Study I examinations: of course these are relatively speaking unimportant as no future education institution or employer will ever interrogate the girls about them but they also give the school a clear idea about how much progress they have made towards their next set of public examinations.  Study I and Upper Transit school examinations are a serious and important part of a girl’s school year. The important feedback to pupils, staff and parents on what needs further work and what is going well is essential for girls to be able to assess the level at which they must work or aspire to work in order to do themselves justice. The results are coming in apace and most girls are quietly pleased with most of what they have done. It is however also important to realise that these are rehearsals – important for improving the final performance, but that girls will not be held to public account on these results. My thanks go to the staff, who have to deal with each examination three times, once in the setting, once in the marking and again on returning them to girls. On some occasions there will be another round next term as those who we judge have underperformed will be asked to re-sit in September.

Friday brought Wychwood’s first Golden Lunch for the WOGS of that generation and WOGS they wanted to be called, not anything else. These are the women who left in 1968 and earlier – 50 golden years ago. We had a marvellous time and I am so sorry but I cannot repeat a number of the stories I was told – I do not want to put ideas into the current girls’ heads! The stories did make us howl with laughter and the noise level in the history room was deafening. We had some charming and delightful thank you emails and I hope the girls of the current generation will take note of the pleasure such efforts give and continue in the Wychwood tradition of thanking those who have made an effort for them:

“Thank you for all your planning in giving us a great day at Wychwood and a delicious lunch. It brought back many happy memories and lovely to catch up with ‘old’ school friends again.”

“Just a brief note, to thank you for organising a special lunch for all the Shell of 1968 and earlier. It was a relaxed and friendly gathering. The choice of menu and drinks made a perfect combination. The girls at Wychwood now are very fortunate, they are in good hands. After we left you on Friday, we walked to The University Parks and spent a couple of hours sitting in the sun, reminiscing about old times. We had such a lovely day.”

“Thank you so much for organising the Golden Girls lunch yesterday. I think you can consider it a great success. I am only disappointed that there were no Old Girls from my era; I hope they have not all died….. Seeing the school again brought back many memories even though The Hut is no longer the same. But, wow, how the copper beech, the climbing tree, has grown in 65 years! And I remember a fireplace, which was once an electric fire, in one of the rooms where we, as boarders, used to toast marshmallows on the end of a knitting needle!”

And there were many more in that vein.

The day ended with the Shell post-exam tea – the staff do enjoy that one where the Shell come in to see their GCSE staff for the last time, to thank them after their last exam and to allow us to connect them with the Wychwood Association. The sense of relief is palpable but the slight sense of confusion about how to run a life that has been dominated by revision and exam preparation is also always present in the Shell girls and it is a pleasure to see them begin to wind down and realise that that immensely long exam season is finally over.

Until next time….

Mrs Andrea Johnson