23 Apr 2021

Message from the Head, 23 April

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

Welcome back to the summer term, and a very warm welcome to the new families who have joined us this week; I hope that you and your daughters will quickly start to feel embedded in our community, and I hope that in due course we will be able to meet together more often than is possible at the moment.

Thank you to you all for your efforts to ensure that your daughters had the appropriate uniform for the start of term; it has been so good to see all sections of the school back, and looking smart. There is a very positive atmosphere across the campus. Lower 5 begin their exams today, until 30th April, and I commend them for the sensible, calm way in which they have refocused so quickly after so long a period away from the physical classroom. The assessment period for Upper 5 runs from 3rd until 14th May, and for Lower and Upper 6 from 17th to 28th May. I know that all these year groups are working hard and that this has been a difficult time for them. We are not of course fully replicating a normal examination diet, but instead creating an opportunity, as close as possible to the end of their courses, for our students to generate evidence of achievement, on which we will base our grading.

As restrictions gradually begin to lift I am delighted that the calendar is beginning to fill up with day trips and activities again, and that our co-curriculum programme, that is so integral to the personal growth of all our students will resume, with sport starting tomorrow and clubs and activities from next week. I would like to let you know about an event that we are holding for both Upper and Lower 6 students, on Monday 21st June. We will be hosting a conference, partly on-line and partly in person, entitled Women of the Future, Leading and Living in the 21st Century. I am passionate about the importance of giving girls inspirational role models, and setting before them examples of people who have achieved a great deal in life, but not always through conventional or expected routes. I also believe that, whatever our position, we can all be leaders in our own lives. We will be inviting our speakers to reflect on the variety of pathways that they have taken in their careers, and what they consider to be their key achievements, highlighting the fact that these often do not reflect the traditional ascent of the career ladder, but have included a number of different phases and elements. I am keen to open up the students’ minds to different approaches, and different ways of evaluating success in our lives. I am delighted that that our Keynote Speaker will be Yewande Akinola, named one of the UK’s top 35 women under the age of 35 by Management Today and recipient of the PRECIOUS AWARDS Outstanding Woman in STEM award, Yewande is an engineer, television presenter and academic. Dame Laura Lee, Founder and Chief Executive of the Maggie’s Centres has kindly agreed to speak, as has Dr Omolabake Fakunle, from the Institute for Education, Community and Society at Edinburgh University. I hope that this event will open the eyes of our girls to the potential to determine for themselves what success will look like in their lives and to shape their careers in ways that none of their predecessors have done. I am still recruiting contributors to the day, as I would like to be able to give students the opportunity to work in smaller, interactive groups with speakers, as well as listen and reflect. If you or someone you know would be interested in being involved in this event, I would be delighted to hear from you.

With best wishes to you all,

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


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