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Snow time to slow down

8th March 2018

We are picking up steam as we approach the last weeks of term and are beginning to wonder how to fit everything that goes into 14 weeks of the Michaelmas term into the 10 weeks of the Hilary term. However the girls are doing really well and the staff are very experienced so it is heads down across the board with a focus on getting things done well for the next three weeks or so. Last weekend saw the Model United Nations conference at Magdalen College School and I would like to thank Mr Siantonas for preparing the girls and Dr Donald for accompanying them. The girls felt more confident in what they were presenting having had adult support as opposed to Gap Assistant support and this showed through. We all congratulate Jasmine for gaining Best Young Delegate in her committee last weekend with intelligent and informed debate. Sunday saw the full scale rehearsal for Grimm Tales and the juniors are offering us a real treat next week – please do come and see the production and support their efforts. We have some budding theatrical starts here both on the stage and off.

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Most of last week was dominated either by the approaching snow or the snow itself –congratulations to the day girls who made it in on Friday and my real thanks to the staff who came in – we had almost a full contingent and were able to run lessons throughout Thursday and Friday, until the heavens opened at about 2.15pm on Friday afternoon. I must say I have never seen the school empty so quickly after I sent word round that girls could be collected at that point!

Earlier in the week the Upper Transits and the Study had lunch together in the library to discuss what motivates the older girls to succeed and the informal mentoring that happens in these lunches is invaluable. It gives the younger girls an opportunity to ask the older ones how to handle situations that they must all go through and to get the voice of experience in return – but a girl’s perspective not a staff voice – it is more immediate. A more sobering experience for the Upper Transits and Shell was the biennial visit from the Teenage Cancer Trust as part of the forum programme for PHSEE. As always, our forums are informed by the girls and this was requested some time ago and has proved informative and useful ever since.


Thursday morning brought the Open Classroom Morning (along with snow flurries) and we were delighted with the turn out from both current and prospective parents – thank you, if you were there, and the feedback was very positive.  It seems unfair to single subjects out as not all subjects had the opportunity to be on show. Both Mike Holland and I heard nothing but extremely positive comments about the teaching seen when asking for feedback. Parents who had had moans from their daughters about the food were able to sample what we offer first-hand and I know at least one went away realising that the moan was not entirely founded on fact. Teenagers’ perceptions are not always as rounded as they will become as the girls grow up! A number of the Lee club attended the Oxford Academically Able conference on a very snowy Friday and made up some of the 60 students who made it out of an expected 600 – Wychwood girls do not give in easily!

Our participation in OxClean on Saturday morning with the Linton Road Neighbourhood Association sadly had to be cancelled as no-one could see the litter for the snow but an intrepid group set off that afternoon for the Covent Garden shops followed by the English National Opera and Iolanthe where they were joined by a contingent of Old Girls and former staff from the Wychwood Association. This Gilbert and Sullivan operetta has been playing to four star reviews at the Coliseum and the Wychwood girls were privileged to have been invited by Becky Stockland, Wychwood Old Girl and ENO mezzo soprano. The show was great fun – a rather camp but very slick Victorian romp, with amazing costumes – designated the best G&S ever seen by the chair of the WA. Afterwards, it just got better and better with the girls being invited on stage for a Q&A with the show’s director, two principals, two chorus members, together with the wig and make-up supervisors who brought props and costumes to show the girls. My thanks go to Johanna Stephenson who initiated the idea and persuaded Becky to invite us all.

And so on to the final three weeks of term – examinations, performing arts, the Wingfield Digby Lecture and HABS MUN to come as well as the inaugural Study trip, this year combining with the History of Art trip to Rome, the House Netball, performing Arts, Wychfactor, junior maths challenge and certificate assembly at the end – so much to look forward to!