Back To Blogs


All the leaves are brown….

10th October 2018

Towards the end of last week Wychwood welcomed Selena Ryan-Vig and Lynda Ware to do a PSHE forum for the older girls on Evidence Based Medicine. They were introduced to us by one of our governors, Dr Ann Sharpley, and Lynda works with Cochrane UK, based in Summertown, as Senior Fellow in General Practice. With her colleague, Selena Ryan-Vig, she has embarked on a programme of visiting schools to talk on critical thinking and Evidence-Based Medicine. Their talks have focussed on students from Years 10-13 and they aim to encourage critical thinking around healthcare claims, particularly in the media. The girls were made to think very carefully and I think gained a great deal from their visit.

On Friday a very excited crowd set of for Manchester to MUNCH – Model United Nations Cheadle Hulme. Mr Siantonas, the MUN co-ordinator and Dr Donald went up by minibus on Friday evening arriving at the Premier Inn Hotel ready to debate the issues of the world on Saturday morning. We took 5 Lower Transits and 2 Shell girls, again one of the youngest delegations amongst the 30 or so schools attending from across Britain and one group from Spain! Our pupils represented Malawi and Austria and sat on various committees including Youth, Refugee, Health and Environment. The girls all played a full part, proposing motions and amendments, making points of information and voting on the resolutions. Congratulations should be made to Jasmine (LT) who received a ‘Special Mention’ at the closing ceremony for her work on the Health Committee, and Sophia (Shell) who was a Guest Chair of the Youth Committee and so ensured the smooth working of her committee over the two days. The girls all had a good time discussing the issues and meeting their fellow delegates from across the country. An added bonus was that they met up with former Wychwood teacher Mrs Roitt who now teaches at Cheadle Hulme and the girls were delighted to see her. All in all, they had such a great, intensive time at MUNCH that they slept nearly the whole journey back to Wychwood!

We entered a team for the cross-country at the Dragon and Miss Centamore reports that the girls were very nervous but ran brilliantly. They showed great sportsmanship and were a pleasure to take. Well done to Bianca, Lia and Lizzie from Remove and Olivia from Inters, who all competed in the Dragon Schools’ annual cross country competition. The race length was 2km and the girls ran fantastically well. Steady pacing and great support for each other meant the girls all completed the run in very respectable times. Well done!

As we move towards half term there is a real sense of achievement in the school coupled with slight disbelief that half term has arrived so quickly. We are now halfway through the main teaching term of the year and already work has begun on coursework that will count towards final public examinations. Many girls have come a long way in tackling the challenges and opportunities that a new school year brings to everyone and are beginning to feel that now is the time to move up a gear to improve their initial attempts still further. That is coupled with that enjoyable sense of tiredness that comes with a job well done and everyone is looking forward to a break at half term.

May I remind all the Remove to Lower Transit parents that the girls will be having assessments after half term in the week beginning 12th November? These assessments are quite low key and are a chance for teaching staff to see how your daughter is settling into academic work at the school. More formal assessment will follow in the last half of the Trinity (summer) term during the school examination period. Please do not allow your daughters to worry about these as they are assessments not examinations and encourage them to take them in their stride!

I have not asked this question of parents for at least three years now so I feel the time has come to ask again – would parents want a longer half term break in the Michaelmas term as many other schools do at this stage of the year. For larger schools a two-week or ten-day half term is used to allow school trips to happen so that they do not impinge on teaching time.  For us, as a much smaller school we would not be able to mount the multiple trips that go out at larger schools. We run a two-yearly cycle on many trips to allow every girl the opportunity to go on each trip, as we would not have enough takers to go every year. Many of our girls want to do as much as they can and so running concurrent trips would remove that opportunity. Nevertheless, please could parents email me with their thoughts on an extended half term break in the Michaelmas term? If we were to go down that route it would have the knock-on effect of lengthening the term at Christmas and reducing the length of the Christmas holiday.

Can I remind parents of day girls that we do offer a breakfast club for those travelling a long way or those who do not eat at home? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day in terms of education so please can I encourage girls to use breakfast club? All they need to do is to sign the breakfast book in the dining room on any day that they come in and we will then add the charge to the school account. At a very reasonable £1 per day, please do make use of the club. If a girl is going to be in regularly it would be helpful to know in advance, please.

Lastly, we have been taking advantage of the fantastic late Autumn weather with art and drama lessons in the grounds. Watching the Wychwood leaves turning whilst shuffling through them as they fall is such a pleasure and I hope we can all enjoy that for as long as possible before the days turn greyer.

Andrea Johnson