08 Mar 2021

A Message from the Head, 5 March

Alex Hems, Head of St George's School for GirlsDear Parents and Guardians

This week we heard that it will be possible for Primary 4 to Remove students to return full time to school from 15th March. We are very much looking forward to welcoming these girls back to the school site and to our classrooms. In the course of next week we will be in contact to give you details about the procedures that will be in place to ensure a safe return for all of these year groups.

We have the green light to bring back students from Lower 4 up to Upper 6 from 15th March, but as you are aware, these girls are required to maintain 2m physical distancing when they are here. We are still working on our plans to offer to all of these year groups an experience that is equitable, worthwhile and safe, while keeping in place the arrangements that have already been confirmed for practical activities for examination classes. This is, as you can imagine, a complex undertaking, and we aim to be able to confirm details for you early next week.

In the meantime, we continue with our focus on wellbeing and maintaining the girls’ sense of connection with school and one another. The #BeYou challenge is gathering momentum; at the end of week one the girls logged 22,708 minutes in offline activities, with our Lower School girls being our biggest contributors. This week we have tripled that total with 66,000 minutes recorded in activities away from screens, and the Upper School have taken the lead with their contributions, most of which have come from physical activity. The range of activities is impressive and refreshing: baking, reading, creative writing, crafting, scrap booking, playing chess, singing, drawing, building Lego, knitting, yoga, outdoor swimming, horse riding, dog walking, gardening, roller skating and ballet. Thank you again to the House Captains and the staff Heads of Houses for devising and promoting this timely challenge for us all. Next Wednesday, 10th March, girls in Primary 4 and above are encouraged to take part in the House Bake-Off, details of which have been circulated via their year group Teams and in a SchoolPost sent on Monday. This week we have also very much enjoyed marking World Book Day; I have been impressed by the inventiveness of girls and staff in designing and recreating book covers and characters to celebrate our love of reading. Today some of our Junior School girls enjoyed a digital detox day away from screens and the girls in our Childcare and Learning Hub made their own board games to play together.

Throughout this period of lockdown we have been very much aware of the anxiety felt by the girls in Upper 5 through to Upper 6 about the arrangements that will be in place for the awarding of their grades this summer. Their forbearance and good humour have been impressive, but we are aware of the strain that this situation has placed them under. Following the publication of the outcome of the Ofqual consultation we have now been able to publish details of the plans for the rest of this term and the summer. Last night we held a live Q&A session for Upper 5 parents and on Monday evening we will do the same for Lower and Upper 6 parents. These sessions are recorded, so it will be possible for anyone who is not able to join live to listen at a later date.

Thank you to all those of you who responded to Mr Rodger’s SchoolPost sent yesterday, about sharing your contact details with class representatives. At the time of writing we have received 240 responses. Please do take a moment over the weekend to reply if you have not yet had a chance. We need your active consent to share your details, which then enables us to build the class contact lists which I know are so helpful for parents across the school, especially at a time when we feel more distant from one another than we would like.

With best wishes to you all,

Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh


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