Alex Hems: Head's Blog Apr 5 2019
My final message for this term is for all those about to go on study leave and especially our Upper Sixth girls.
On the night before the end of term the staff and the Upper Sixth leavers shared a meal together. This is one of St George's loveliest traditions. The girls organise the seating plan, and invite staff to their tables, and they also bring the puddings for the meal, every year a truly awe-inspiring spread of chocolate, meringue and pastry. Over the last few weeks I have been receiving nominations from the leaving year group, for the student who they would like to speak on behalf of their year at Speech Day, and reading these nominations is an annual pleasure. They are an eloquent tribute to the affection and respect that the girls have for one another, and their recognition of strengths and qualities in their peers which will make them good representatives for the year as a whole. I announce the name of the student chosen to deliver this speech at the dinner, always to hearty acclaim. This year the evening ended with a short performance from the Burns Singers - a student-led group whose singing was a moving and beautiful celebration of the girls' time together. It is a joy to spend time with the girls at an event such as this and I hope that they too enjoyed the evening with their teachers.
All schools have their traditions, some good and some less wholesome. Traditions can tell one a great deal about a school - they may speak of hierarchy and rigid adherence to the codes of the past, or they can indicate of a sense of community and the celebration of the best of the institution. The evening that staff and students have just shared was an event full of respect, affection and fun on both sides, and stands for so much that is special about St George's. On Wednesday night many of the same girls performed in our Spring Concert, another celebration of talent, hard work and the joy that they have in achieving together. I know how hard these girls are working, and have followed the progress of their applications for university, college and apprenticeship over the past few months, feeling for their disappointments and delighting in the opportunities that are opening up before them. They have learned how to work hard and how to ask for help when they need it. They have led across so many areas of school life and been outstanding role models to younger students. This is the time now for good working routines and healthy habits of eating and sleep to take them through the last few weeks of steady effort. It is a while of course until we say goodbye to them formally at Speech Day but as they go into Study Leave they go with our very best wishes for their final weeks as St George's girls. The school will always be here for them, and our newly formed Network St G's will give them the opportunity to remain in contact and to seek support from the wider St George's community throughout their future career paths, wherever they will take them.
I wish all of our families a very good holiday and look forward to seeing you again next term.
Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh