15 Oct 2021

Head's Letter to Parents 15 October

Dear Parents and Guardians

Alex Hems web7As you read this a well-deserved half term break will be starting. I would like to commend all your daughters for the energy and vigour that they have brought to these first few months of the school year.  

Thank you to all families who supported our various Harvest collections across the school.  The volume of contributions has been really heartening to see; we heard today that the donation that went from the Upper School this week to the Edinburgh City Mission Food Bank was the largest that they had received from a single organisation. We are very much aware of the material good fortune that most of us enjoy at St George’s, and I am so glad that our community can find a way to give something back to those whose need is so acute.

You may have seen our message on Thursday announcing that St George’s is starting the journey towards becoming a Rights Respecting School. Our first step, which we hope to achieve by the end of this academic year, is to be recognised as Rights Committed. Among the many reported benefits of this process in schools that have successfully achieved accreditation at Gold level are: an increase in self-esteem amongst students; a shared sense of community and belonging; an improved culture of respect across the school, and an understanding of global citizenship. While I hope that many of these are in place already at St George’s, I believe that the requirements of accreditation will help us to develop a common language and understanding of rights which will be valuable and enduring for everyone in the school. Certainly the impressive work that our Big Four, the student leadership team, have done in the last few weeks to develop a constitution and a formal plan for a new Student Council suggests how seriously they take the need to ensure that everyone within the school has a voice and the opportunity for it to be heard. I look forward very much to working with this new group. St George’s is proud of a long tradition of developing ‘women of independent mind’ and so I am delighted to find that spirit expressed yet again.

On Thursday we hosted a careers event for all students from Upper 4 upwards, with contributions in person and online from a diverse range of organisations, opening up perspectives on careers in technology, journalism, dentistry, law, the armed forces and politics to name but a few. I hope that all students came away inspired by a sense of the opportunities that lie ahead of them. The first university offers of the new season have come in already. At this time of year I meet individually with everyone in Upper 6 to discuss their aspirations and plans; these meetings never fail to lift my spirits as I hear about the goals that students are setting for themselves, their growing knowledge of themselves and their intellectual interests.

We have no further news as yet of changes that may come to current Covid guidelines for schools, despite the rumours that you may have seen in the press at the weekend. We will of course let you know of any significant changes. It has been a great pleasure to welcome parents back to our sports fixtures over the past couple of weekends, and I thank you all for helping us to do this safely, even in the driving rain last Saturday.

It has been a rich, busy and rewarding first half of the term. I hope that your daughters are able to have some rest over the holiday. We look forward to welcoming them back on 1st November.

With my best wishes to you all

Alex Hems

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