28 May 2021

A Message from the Head, 28 May

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

As we come to the end of this first half of the summer term, I would like to let you know about some important staff changes that will take effect for next session. Dr Andrew de Ville who has served for the past four years as Senior Deputy Head, and as a member of the Senior Leadership team since 2008, has decided to take a step back from leadership from August. Andrew has played a key part in steering the school through the challenges of the pandemic, as well as leading a number of significant educational developments in recent years, such as our adoption of Office 365 and Teams, and promoting International Education and our approach to teaching Sciences and Modern Languages in Lower School. I am delighted that he is not leaving St George’s, however, as he will remain with us as an extremely popular and highly regarded teacher of Mathematics. Mrs Jill Bryce will become Senior Deputy from August. In this capacity she will retain her oversight of Boarding, but will be handing over the reins of the Sixth Form to Mrs Jo Mushat, who will be our next Head of Sixth Form. From August Mrs Sonia Edwards will be Deputy Head Academic and will continue to oversee the work of the Faculty of Support for Learning. Mrs Trudi Robertson will be retiring this summer.  Trudi has been at St George’s since 1998, and has been part of the Lower School leadership team for ten years, during which time I know that she has contributed immeasurably to the lives of hundreds of Lower School children, through her work in the classroom with Primary 6, in her role as a teacher of Support for Learning  and in her wise pastoral leadership. She will be succeeded as Deputy Head of Lower School by Mrs Laura Taylor, currently Principal Teacher for International Education, who is already known to many of your daughters as a Lower School tutor.  I look forward to working with these colleagues in their new roles.

We have always set considerable store by our outdoor education programme at St George’s and I am so glad that, despite current restrictions and the weather, over the past few weeks we have been able to offer a rich variety of activities for girls from Primary 6 to Upper 5. The residential feature of our annual Camps has had to be put aside for this year, but nonetheless our students have been out and about,  canoeing, abseiling, trying new watersports and orienteering.  You may have seen some of the photos on our Twitter feed. The Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions at Bronze level have been completed, and the Upper 5s have given time this week to community service on the Water of Leith and to beach cleaning, in addition to turning their minds to their future in the Sixth Form. These are such important opportunities for our students, taking them beyond the familiar, allowing them to see one another in a new light as well as nurturing the resilience and inner confidence that we all need. It has been a joy to hear about the gusto with which they have thrown themselves into these activities, at times in exceptionally unappealing weather conditions. They have shown a real spirit of fun and willingness to have a go, as have the staff who have accompanied them.

The second half of this term will be short but busy, and I would like to draw your attention to some dates for your diaries.

3rd June at 6pm:  Looking Ahead to Secondary Education – Primary 6 parents
3rd June at 7.15pm: Higher Education and the University Application process – for Lower 6 Parents and students
9th June at 6.30pm: Looking Ahead to Primary 1 – for Pre-School parents
17th June at 7pm: Looking Ahead to Sixth Form - for Lower 5 parents
23rd June at 5pm: Primary 5 Farewell
29th June at 2.30pm: Speech Day – for Upper 6 parents

On 29th June lessons for Upper 4 to Lower 6 will end at 12 noon to facilitate all the arrangements in school for Speech Day that afternoon.

These events will all take place online and you will receive further details in due course.

I wish you all a restful weekend, and look forward to seeing your daughters back in school on 3rd June.

With best wishes to you all,

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


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