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Request to members of the Wychwood Community

Posted: 7th April 2020

Dear Member of the Wychwood Community,

I do hope you are all safe and well and enjoying some aspects of changing your life style completely at extraordinarily short notice. Please forgive the general letter – I am writing to everyone associated with Wychwood: staff, governors, Old Girls and those on our VIP list at this unprecedented time. As you will know, the Shell and Study II have had their public examinations swept away from them by the wave of change accompanying the advent of covid19. The government guidance means that the Trinity term will be very different to normal.

Right now, the girls and the staff need a break. However, on April 22nd at the beginning of term we need get back into action. Our plan is as follows: at Key Stage 5 and 4 we plan to offer an education based on four pillars: educational, developmental, pastoral and extension.

In some ways this is an unparalleled opportunity that no other year group has ever had. We have three months to do something really exciting and new and to prepare the girls for university or A Level in a better manner than we have ever had the time to do before. Our aim is to develop the renaissance young woman in each girl. This is where we need your help: I am asking you to take yourselves back in time to when you were 16 and of Shell age and 18 or Study II age: and, when we have finished thanking goodness we are no longer at those ages, please will you select one item for each of the headings in the spreadsheet attached that, with hindsight, you really wish you had known about at that age. If you can add a quick comment about WHY you have chosen that, it makes the information even more pertinent. If you could fill them in on the downloadable spreadsheet and return them to me on and copy in Julia Bridge on (who will have the unenviable task of collating them), then we will have the most extensive and valuable resource to place in front of the current girls. We will of course make an anonymised version available on the website for you all to look at as well.

I cannot promise every girl will take full advantage but for those who do this, alongside the other pillars of the education we plan to offer they will, I hope, gain something very valuable at a very different time. As I said to Study II: At university you need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined: you need to get on with your work while making decisions about how you spend the rest of your time. For each of you, we have already researched 5 MOOCs related to your proposed degree subject and we will ask you to look at these, undertake as many of them as you feel appropriate and report back to us about which you feel were most useful. This however does not pre-empt you from finding your own MOOC(s) and doing that instead or as well – just please tell us about it. You will also be discussing the demands and nature of university level Study Skills and where to find help with those if necessary.

We will supply you with a range of developmental and cultural opportunities that members of the Wychwood Community wished they had been exposed to before they were 18. Some of us can remember that time quite well! We will be asking staff, governors, Old Girls and our VIPs, who have a long standing association with the school, to contribute these. You will be asked to hunt these down online and again you will be in charge of making choices on your own education in the realms of books, art, music, science, literature, dance, theatre and other important aspects of life online until we are all allowed to move about freely again. Again, we will ask you to report back to us about the impact anything you have seen or done has made on you. We hope that this will lead to extension work which we are defining as the development of an entirely new skill or knowledge area, whether intellectual, practical or personal. However, you are in charge of that.

In pastoral we will offer pre-university preparation to involve topics such as how to manage Freshers’ Week, budgeting, time management, work timetabling, how to organise leisure sensibly, finding time to exercise, contact with home, managing life in hall, how to say no. If you could let us have your contributions back by 10.00am on Tuesday 14th April we will be able to collate them ready for the girls, when they come back to fire up their computers on 22nd April.

Yours sincerely
Andrea (Johnson)