Head Master's News 2020
Wednesday 16 December
These last few days of term have been extremely busy and although the students have worked hard until the end there has been plenty of festive cheer. Much fun was had at Saturday sports masterclasses and sustainability was at the heart of the Key Stage 3 Christmas classroom decorations which were very innovative. Even the staff, who have given their all this term, managed to put on a “radio” pantomime to end the term with some theatrical style.
Over 270 food items have been now sent to the Warwick and Leamington food bank and I thank you all for your generosity. Over the last few weeks, students from across the School have been recommending books and films that our community can engage with to continue to educate ourselves on issues relating to diversity and racial equality. The following link has been shared with all students and we hope that you too will find them engaging and thought-provoking.
In our final assembly today we paid tribute to our leaving staff Mrs Saville, an inspiring English teacher who has been with us for the last three and a half years as well as Miss Derry-Jones who has been our Graduate Art Assistant for the last year. We wish them both well in their new ventures and thank them for their hard work and commitment to their students and the School.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their unwavering dedication to their students and providing them with a full curriculum and co-curriculum offering amidst the serious challenges that Covid-19 has presented. I know how hard it has been for all King’s families and hope and believe that the support that we as a community have shown one another has made these last ten months bearable.
It has been a privilege to be acting Head of King’s this term and I look forward to continuing to work with the students and staff next year. I would like to extend my own congratulations to Dr Burley who takes over the permanent headship in the Spring.
Until then, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.
Friday 11 December
As we approach the end of term, it has been wonderful to see the outcomes of projects that staff and students have been working so hard on this term. Yesterday evening it was a privilege to hear poetry readings from our “A Growing World” anthology by Professor Leadbetter and Year 8 to Upper Sixth students. We are hoping to share this with you shortly. Students participated in the RSC Shadowing Scheme Showing of Twelfth Night on Wednesday and were fortunate to hear Dr Lydia Plath from Warwick University in the History Society’s talk on “Ancestors”: Resistance, Agency and Survival in 19th Century African American History as well as Professor Cathy Merry from the University of Nottingham, about her research, and the university’s new "Cancer Sciences" degree course.
Our Universal Justice Society gave a powerful presentation to the Senior Management Team on Thursday about the work they and the Equality working party and other groups such as Hobbs Society have been undertaking on raising awareness about important issues such as racial discrimination. The research these students have undertaken is impressive and they were able also to meet their counterparts at Warwick School and present their ideas for future action to Warwick Juniors as well as Warwick Prep. Thank you to Laura and Gemma from our Environmental Action Today Society who wrote and led assembly this morning, focussing on the work they are doing and how we can make Christmas more sustainable. I am also very much looking forward to hearing the Key Stage 3 Inspire Homework submissions which are a three minute speech on the topic of 'Environment'. Students have also actively given of their time to call Old Girls who have been self isolating over past few months and others have been supporting charities such as Annabel who has made a Christmas video with the High Sheriff to support Ex Cathedra’s award winning Singing Medicine project link or the Kindred Spirit charity where money is donated by the retailer if you shop via the Give As you Live online platform link here. If you feel you are in a position to support these charities and enterprises then thank you.
Last week we published the Junior Creative Writing Club Winter Anthology to your portal page but if you would rather read it online here is the Winter Anthology issu link.
As we approach the end of term, the Year 11s and Upper Sixth have been working hard preparing for their mock exams after Christmas and Upper Sixth have been attending interviews and 212 of them have already received offers from their chosen universities.
My thanks must always go to the staff who despite having to manage the challenges presented by Covid-19, and providing excellent lessons and such a breadth of co-curricular, have also found time to attend additional training and working parties such as on “the Classroom of the Future”. This working party is using national research to inform discussion about the relationship between physical environment and learning in a technology-enabled educational setting. I look forward to hearing their findings.
Finally, with the weekend nearly upon us, my mind turns to sport. Last weekend - as if being allowed back on to site for sport specific training sessions in netball wasn't enough - the students were put through their paces in an online HIIT session led by GB Hockey Olympic hopefuls Leah Wilkinson and Sarah Jones. Leah is the most capped sports performer ever for Wales with 169 caps and Sarah has 30 GB caps to date. The athletes put them to the test with fun challenges before answering their questions and offering advice on what it takes to be an elite level sports woman. The excitement to be back doing some form of Saturday netball was clear to see and the older students braved the cold and headed outside for a session with Mrs Parkinson-Mills, whilst Key Stage 3 spent half of the session working on improving their fast feet, a vital skill needed to be a great player, before then putting it into practice in a game scenario. It was a great morning full of energy and enthusiasm from all them. This weekend we see the final sessions of 2020 on the hockey pitches and netball courts.
I think we will all look forward to the arrival of 2021!
Friday 4 December
The run up to Christmas is always busy and even though we aren’t able to hold events in person we have been able to get into the festive spirit. Despite our need to socially distance, choirs and musicians have been recording carol service items and actively enjoying body percussion, sign language and instrumental work as part of the super initiative “TuneUp Tuesday” which promotes the arts as a positive force for life and mental health. It was a joy to watch their performances in the Landor Association carol service last night and thank you to all the staff and students involved.
One of the positives of our Covid-19 experience has been the time given to students to enable them to pursue their own interests and read independently around subjects. It was wonderful to hear that Hope has released an album entitled the “Lockdown Sessions”, while others have joined Benedetti Foundation’s online classes with some of the world's best performers and educators. Some of our percussionists have attended a workshop with the world-renowned Dame Evelyn Glennie and others are participating in the Wynton Marsalis project, where they “travel” around four countries: USA, Hungary, Finland and Serbia with amazing violinists who teach Marsalis’s composition as well as learn about the culture of “their” country. Thank you to all those who have also participated in creating the WISF Virtual Advent calendar which features festive music, readings and fun every day in December.
Our virtual exchange sixth formers have met with their partners at Tara School in Sydney Australia this week and discussed their favourite flora and fauna and around a fifth of Year 11s are attending the Moventis Scientiam club, where recently they have been looking at the hydrophilic nature of lotus leaves, optical isomerism in thalidomide and ibuprofen, making models and looking at alginate worms as cross linked polymers. Certainly students are showing huge enthusiasm for engaging in such multi disciplinary activities and extending their knowledge beyond the curriculum. Our Cafe Scientifique Society is extremely popular too and students and parents are invited to attend a talk on “The Science of Cancer” by Nottingham University’s Professor Cathy Merry (Wednesday 9 December, 4:15-5.00pm link). This week’s Language Society hear Oxford University’s Master’s student Benjamin Owen talk about the importance of studying languages and gave sound advice to students who are preparing for interviews and how to write the perfect personal statement! This weekend I am uploading the Junior Creative Writing Club's Winter Anthology and I hope you enjoy reading the poetry and prose pieces from our talented students.
Finally I would like to thank the sports department for their continuous enthusiasm and congratulate those students who have competed in their 'virtual hockey fixture' challenges. For many girls, although bizarre, this has been their very first opportunity to represent King's High this year. They have competed in a series of 5 hockey challenges against over 30 schools from across the country. We can't wait to receive the results from the other schools and to announce the individual and team winners. This Saturday will see girls returning for Saturday sport after the recent lockdown and we are so excited that our virtual fitness class will be led by two current Great Britain International Hockey players Leah Wilkinson (Wales’s most capped sports personality of all time), and Sarah Jones. Not only will they provide challenges, there will of course be an opportunity to ask them questions after the sessions. Netball masterclasses will then follow on our fantastic courts. Congratulations must also go to our sports women who have been selected to represent the School Sport Partnership at the County Virtual School Games finals. Selection was made by our local School Games Organiser through our participation in the area inter-school competition (Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire County School Games Secondary Dance (CSW)). Selected schools throughout Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire have been put forward to the CSW specialist panel who will judge and place the dances. The county winners will be announced on the 16th December and we look forward to hearing how the girls have gone. Our lockdown Bingo challenged finished this week and special congratulations go to Bella C, Jessica Z, Lucy G, Maddie P, Mae R, Maisie H, Mollie H and Ottelia T who all got full houses.
Alongside our music advent calendar is out sports health and wellbeing advent calendar with mini daily challenges being emailed out daily. I do hope that you will have some time to take part in these events and opportunities and I wish you a very happy weekend.
Friday 27 November
I am continually impressed by King’s girls (and staff) as they are always engaged and energised, despite it nearly being the end of term. The National Council of Young Women (NCYW) committee have hosted really thought provoking talks this week and a "wear orange" day on Wednesday supporting the United Nations "End Violence against Women” campaign. Our student-led Universal Justice group have been discussing the rights of indigenous people in the USA and Australia, with Jennifer, Shaan-Loren, Maddie and Maud each making presentations focusing on the inequality and mistreatment faced by these indigenous populations through history and our Hobbs Society heard Joana and her brother Josh talk about their experiences with racism. These groups have prompted really meaningful discussions on these incredibly important issues. I was delighted to hear also that we have set up a King's High Inter-faith Council, so that we can develop awareness of different religions and share collective experiences. This group will meet termly to discuss events, festivals and celebrations from any culture and this understanding can then be shared more widely. Please do encourage your daughter to get in touch with Mrs Jewell.
With classroom doors open because of covid procedures, I get to hear so many interesting lessons and one such lesson this week was Year 9 English where they prepared and conducted a mock trial for Lord of the Flies, with each student assigned a specific role and the legal teams presented accounts of the boys’ time on the island. With full opening and closing statements, witness statements, direct cross examination of the witnesses, jury deliberations and verdicts reached and then pronounced by the Judges, it was hard not to be impressed by their knowledge of the text never mind their professional, confident and articulate performances.
I also wanted to thank parents for their support of the talks in the Festival of Ideas week and the NCYW talks and there are more talks next week, highlight in this mailing that you may also wish to attend.
With Christmas nearly upon us, we are looking forward to welcoming you to this year’s Landor Association Carol Service on 3 December. Although we cannot be together in person, we will be holding the event virtually, and hope you will still be able to get into the festive spirit and join in with the carols. The link will be available here on the night, so please do join us just before 7pm next Thursday to tune in to the service. We would also love to see how you are getting involved. Please share your pictures or videos as you and your family sing along and take part. Use the school Twitter handles @KHSWarwick or Instagram @kingshighschoolwarwick.
We have also gone live on our virtual school swimming gala and virtual hockey fixtures and we have 27 schools nationally already signed up. The girls will be taking part during their game’s lessons and after school clubs.
This weekend Mr Bryce will be holding a live Year 7 & Year 8 sessions with the girls and the link to join has already been sent to them. For Years 9-13 we have emailed pre-recorded session links with Mrs Walker, Miss Clark and Mrs Riley to complete at their leisure. It was great to see the videos and photos of the girls taking part in the Lockdown Bingo Challenge that the PE department are running. Special mentions go to Eve, Jessica, Lucy, Maddie, Maisie, Molly, Ottelia, Paige, Seren, Mae & Bella for their efforts. In next week’s live virtual session on Saturday 5th December, Mrs Parkinson-Mills will be joined by two GB players.
Finally, I would to draw your attention to the updated term dates for 2021-2022 where our February 2022 half term has been brought into line with Warwickshire’s.
I wish you all a healthy and happy weekend.
Friday 20 November
What a week it has been! It has been such a privilege to hear so many speakers delivering such an enviable programme in our Festival of Ideas. To name just a few, Professor Linda Hutcheon, sparked debate about the importance of languages and was a role model as a former leader of the International Modern Language Association. Both Dr Emma Doyle and Katie Reilly spoke with huge knowledge about environmental issues with Emma reflecting on the impact of social media on wildlife conservation and Katie showing us the visible effect that microplastics are having on the environment around us. Mr John Jefferies (Warwick’s Head of Politics) was so eloquent, with an amazing depth of knowledge and he challenged us to interpret current political events in the light of the past and not to take things for granted or be complacent. Perhaps though the highlight was Pirasha, Ivy and Joanna’s powerful, moving and heartfelt assembly question and answer forum, where they answered questions submitted by each form across school after introducing themselves and describing their lived experience of racism. In addition, our Wellbeing Ambassadors have been active in promoting upstander behaviour this week as part of their anti-bullying week’s activities and for those of you who missed Rose, a Wellbeing Ambassador and Diana Award Youth board member, here is the link to her SkyNews interview and her iTV interview link. In addition, yesterday she presented the school's ambassadorial work when she was chosen by the Diana Award to speak with Prince William. Next week our National Council of Young Women (NCYW) will run a series of talks raising the profile of equality for women and participate in the United Nations "End Violence against Women" Campaign. I do hope you will be able to join us and the links can be found in the NCYW's programme brochure uploaded to your portal today.
Amidst all of these inspiring talks, school life has continued unabated and students were able to join Dr Seal for an evening with Shakespeare’s King Lear where students saw the bard in full force, exploring whether love can endure in the face of manipulation and madness. Our Year 11 Drama students today have enjoyed a live RSC performance of the The Tempest. Year 11 having completed their Create projects, are beginning to reflect forward and to work with maturity and focus, writing up SMART goals for the months ahead, learning that personal motivation is number one on the road to success. Whereas Key Stage 3 are working on their latest Inspire Homework, creating three minute videos to raise awareness about issues relating to the theme of 'Environment'. Special congratulations to Year 12s for their superlative leadership of the Sixth Form societies so far this year: Hobbs, Cafe Philo, Scientifique, Wildlife Conservation and History are all having a huge impact on the school. Our Young Enterprise teams are formulating their project plans and please do read the information from the students in the Utopia group who are seeking your opinions.
Sport continues to thrive and this weekend Mrs Parkinson-Mills will be holding a live Year 7 & Year 8 HiiT session and Years 9-13 have been emailed their pre-recorded Zumba and/or HiiT session links by the Sports Leaders to complete at their leisure. It was great to see the videos and photos of the girls taking part in the Lockdown Bingo Challenge and special mentions go to Arabella, Bella, Emily, Jessica, Maddie, Mae, Maisie, Marina, Mollie, Molly, Olivia, Orla, Ottelia, Rosanna and Serena for their efforts. Thank you also to Mrs Bryce (in her Pudsey outfit) leading the Year 8 girls live HiiT session and Ms Howells the Year 7 session.
As these winter days draw in, could I ask that parents ensure that their daughter has had a good breakfast before leaving the house each day so they do not start to feel faint or dizzy during the morning and it would be good if they had a high energy snack to consume at break. I am grateful to the King’s Catering staff who have done an excellent job in providing hot meals for all staff and students daily, despite the significant adjustments they have had to make for Covid-19 regulations. Their hard work and dedication is hugely appreciated and on Monday they are introducing soup to the menu. Disposable cups with lids will be available but if possible and in order to be as environmentally friendly as we can be, staff and students are welcome (and encouraged) to bring their own reusable cup.
Finally, I would like to thank the KHAPS committee for offering remote coffee morning meetings to new parents and those in Key Stage 3 Year groups. I do hope you will find time to drop in.
Friday 13 November
It has been another really busy week and, on Wednesday, School joined the national observance of the 1918 armistice and it was a really moving ceremony with 105 of our CCF in attendance. I was so impressed with the Key Stage 3 Historians who put together a very thought provoking wall of memories about members of their families who had served in WW1 and WW2. It is such an inspiring wall and so many stories were uncovered as the students undertook their research. Year 7 have been working really hard over the last few weeks on their Religion and Philosophy projects on inspirational women and their independent research skills and creativity in their presentations has been fantastic.
This week saw a really interesting talk organised by the History Society where Warwick University’s Dr Rebecca Earle spoke about ‘Women's History and her use of unusual sources’; a real insight into social history using recipes and clothing to support her insights. Students interested in clinical psychology were really fortunate to be able to attend the Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust seminars, gaining invaluable insights into the profession and our Sixth Form artists attended the first Inspire Art lecture led by University of the Arts, London. Sadly, our usual senior production was not able to go ahead with the challenges of Covid-19, but the Drama Department has put on a wonderful series of showcase performances this week, including pieces from both Lower and Upper Sixth as well as students participating in the virtual Shakespearean scene performance with Knox Grammar School in Sydney, Australia.
With Christmas just six weeks away, or four and a half before the end of term, the Houses have started their preparations and celebrations and there seems to be a phenomenal amount of dancing happening, including from the staff! I was delighted to announce the winners of our Christmas card competition in assembly this morning with Scarlet coming first, Charlotte 2nd and Isabella 3rd and Kate, Paige and Holly were highly commended for their entries.
We will also now be able to celebrate Christmas in style as our new organ the ‘Lady Susi Jeans’ has been delivered from Birmingham Conservatoire, built and is now finished and being played. It looks stunning in the Rehearsal Studio and Mr Hancock has been in to put it through its paces: a Year 2 class was so intrigued by the sounds they heard, that they crept in to listen.
Congratulations should be given to Polly, who not only performed a stunning bugle Last Post for the Remembrance Service, but during half term she also attended an inspiring virtual composition workshop organised by the National Youth Brass Band. The session was led by Andrea Price who talked about how to get started with composition, working through from an initial idea to extending it and adding accompaniment.
There is definitely a festive feel in the new music building as the sounds of carols and Christmas songs are now starting to be heard along the corridors and Mr Laing was caught using sleigh-bells in a rehearsal yesterday!
The Sports Department, as ever, have taken on a new venture and have launched the ‘Lockdown Sports Bingo’. I hope your daughter will participate in this as well as the virtual Saturday sessions we are running. Last Saturday saw around 25 Year 7s and 25 Year 8s tuning in live and there was good attendance at the recorded videos for the other year groups. We are really pleased that our Sports leaders are recording some sessions in their Friday afternoon activity. These Captain's ‘fun challenges’ with our senior team set an unknown physical challenge to attempt. Hopefully, this will bring about a few smiles! In addition, the Department will be running a series of 4 virtual fixtures this half term with other schools, to get as close to a competitive fixture as we possibly can right now. There will be swimming, fitness and hockey fixtures and the first netball and cross-country fixtures are planned for after the Christmas holidays.
Next week sees the start of our week-long Festival of Ideas and I do hope that you will take some time over the weekend to read through the brochure and all talk links are embedded in it. Your daughter has received an email from me, inviting her to attend and I ask that you encourage her to do so. I am so proud of the girls who will take part in next week’s events with Pirasha, Ivy and Joanna running the Equality Working Party’s Question and Answer session, as well as the Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability Society organising the Dr Emma Doyle talk, where attendees are invited to bring photographs.
The title of the Festival is ‘Our World’ and now that we are up to speed with being educated through screens, I hope that parents will join us in what promises to be a fascinating and diverse set of talks.
Wishing you all the best for a happy and hopefully relaxing weekend.
Friday 6 November
I am really pleased to be able to update you with news from King’s. Over half term, our Equestrians were extremely busy and congratulations go to the 85cm team of Amelia, Alina, Arabella and Tillie coming 1st in the Eland Lodge NSEA Eventer Challenge and so qualifying for the Hickstead Championships next year. Arabella also came 6th individually in the 95cm class and at the King’s Bromyard NSEA dressage event, Eloise came 4th in the Prelim 1 and 2nd in the Prelim 2 events and Gemma came 1st and 4th in the dressage qualifier. With lockdown now in place, we know all our sportswomen will be looking to maintain their fitness and competition readiness and the King’s sports department have been hard at work to provide sporting challenges for Saturdays, please see the details outlined in this mailing.
Although Christmas seems a long way off, the Music Department is starting preparing for our remote concerts. This year’s Landor Association Carol Service will take place on Thursday 3 December and will be pre-recorded. Of course we will be sad not to see you in person at this special event but we hope you are still able to enjoy what we put together for you. We will send out a link of how to tune in nearer the time. It was wonderful to see the Year 7s so actively engaged on Wednesday in their House competition: Christmas Dance Off – there will be more to come on this.
Year 11s have been working hard and have now completed their Create projects and presentations and Ms Tedd commented on how interesting their ideas were and their intellectual engagement with their projects on topics ranging from global warming to the shortage of parking spaces. Dr Seal launched the Key Stage 3 inspire Homework today where the girls were challenged to write a three minute speech on “A Greener Future?” I look forward to reading and hearing about their research in the near future.
This week we have seen the start of a new cohort of one hundred students across the year groups volunteer to become Wellbeing Ambassadors, as they undertake their Diana Award training. I could not be prouder of these Ambassadors as they are passionate about creating an inclusive and positive environment for all students and actively lead assemblies, run wellbeing activities and mentor students. They really are inspirational and I thank Mrs Watson for her commitment to and leadership of these students. Congratulations also must go to Rose who has been selected for the Diana Award Youth Board and will be featured soon on ITV news talking about Anti-bullying week and her own experiences and what support systems can be accessed. In addition, Rose will be co-hosting a Sky News roundtable panel event with MPs and representatives from Demos, Facebook and the Diana Award where they will explore the wellbeing ambassador programme. Mrs Watson will join her to share our School's perspective on our wellbeing work. Developing an open-minded and inclusive community is so important and students can extend their knowledge and understanding by engaging in activities, societies and discussion groups to name just a few. Sofia has raised money this week by selling doughnuts in school for new operating tables for the Ejisu-Besease Clinic in Ghana, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those students who are focussing on social justice and equality issues. The King’s High Equality working party met with their counterparts at Warwick School this week and reported on their progress so far and shared their plans for the next half of term. In Wednesday’s Hobbs Society, students across the school were encouraged to hear Pirasha speak on “Being British and Being Brown”, where she asked them to explore their own and others’ identity and she explained what it is like having two cultures. Our History Society this week welcomed Dr Adam Bronson from Durham University who gave a fascinating talk on “Modern Japanese History”.
I am very grateful to the staff who work so hard to provide such an excellent enrichment programme and thank you, too, for your continued support of the school.
Friday 16 October
What a half term it has been!
It has been inspiring to see the resilience and spirit shown by the staff and girls. There has been so much to contend with and I thank the staff for their flexibility, dedication and professionalism. The girls have also coped well with the changes and have embraced the many opportunities on offer.
Saturday saw a Creative Thinking workshop for Key Stage 3 focusing on TRIZ and morphological analysis and participants produced brilliant ideas relating to the design of cities.
Following last week’s staff training on “Race, Privilege and Justice”, the student Equality working party met and watched a thought provoking video about black history month and this was followed by a constructive and creative brainstorm on decolonising the curriculum.
Also this week, the Wellbeing Ambassadors led a Year 8 assembly on using social media safely, the Year 7s received welcome cards from their house parents and the sixth formers launched the Café Scientifique competition in the Key Stage assemblies to celebrate the prominence of Mars in the October night sky. Forms also participated in the national Big Draw whose theme this year was #ClimateofChange focusing on the relationship between people and our living environments and ecosystems.
On Wednesday evening, students gathered together virtually to watch David Tennant's 2009 performance of “Hamlet”, which was a truly amazing event and a teacher-led discussion on Teams chat occurred during the performance which Dr Seal commented on as “an absolutely brilliant way of doing Shakespeare!”
Thursday lunch time saw the inaugural meeting of the Languages Society with a talk on ‘Japan - Land of the Rising Sun’ with great contributions made by the attendees.
Key Stage 3 have been handing in their problem-solution inspire homework, with outstanding projects on architectural solutions to overpopulation, biodegradable beauty projects, and radars to improve car safety.
Lower Sixth are now beginning to think about entering essay competitions to help their academic profiles to stand out, and in time we look forward to reading their submissions.
Today our Year 11 have had a sixth former taster experience where they have joined talks led by sixth formers in subjects which they are interested in studying at A level.
There is so much going on and it is so pleasing to see that for Saturday sports around 100 students have been attending weekly. Despite the occasional deluge of rain Tennis, Athletics and Cricket have been enjoyed too, ensuring girls did not miss out from last summer and, of course, the traditional winter sports have continued. We look forward to continuing to develop our Saturday sport next half term with opportunities for inter year group fixtures in the younger years and the introduction of Strength and Conditioning workshops for the older years. As ever, please do look out for the email to sign your daughter up to these sessions. Last Saturday saw the first cross country of the term and congratulations go to the year group winners Annie (who won Year 7), Rosamund (Year 8), Maddie (Year 9) and Gigi (Sixth Form).
Maisie should be congratulated for her success in the Warwickshire Ladies County Championships in September where she won the Silver Division Medal and congratulations should also go to our skiers, Scarlet and Claudia for their successes in Saturday’s Gloucester ski race.
I do hope girls and their families have a relaxing and re-energising half term and I am already looking forward to seeing what will be achieved in the second half of term.
Friday 9 October
I am always so impressed with the energy and dedication of the staff and students and we have had a really inspiring week.
We welcomed virtually Alice Fookes of UK National Council of UN Women to speak to Lower Sixth about “Stand Up, speak out, use your voice to empower others” and students from Years 10, 11 and Lower Sixth had the opportunity to participate in an interactive Physics masterclass with Oxford University’s Physicists.
Our Wellbeing Ambassadors have spent the week leading activities and sharing #HelloYellow’s tips on improving wellbeing, and offered the staff a range of lunchtime relaxation sessions including photography, ceramics, origami, painting, illustration and a glass workshop. What a well deserved treat for them and a kind and generous offer from these students.
We have seen students competing in the House Spelling Bee competition, our Year 9 Book club exploring the world, one book at a time, and our Year 7 and 8 Geography club, setting up their bird feeders and hedgehog houses to help with local wildlife conservation.
Despite the poor weather this week, students have enthusiastically worked on their hockey skills and even swiss balls were used to increase work rates and improve defensive skills in netball. This weekend sees not only netball and hockey masterclasses but also an in school or virtual cross country run. I shall put on my trainers and see what I can achieve, inspired by younger spirits!
Year 7s have been undertaking individual projects in Religion and Philosophy lessons including Rosa Parks, Soujorner Truth, Kisa Gautami and Dr Hawa Abdi, as they explore the intrinsic links between religion and community. Pankhurst House’s chosen charity Kindled Spirt are raising their profile, so please do support them if you are able and if you are looking for King’s High interest in the Warwick Words History Festival then be advised that Nicholas Milton is one of the speakers on Neville Chamberlain's Legacy.
My next mailing will be for half term so I am sure that we are all looking to regathering our energies then.
Friday 2 October
It has been another busy week at King’s. We have celebrated the European Day of Languages, held annually since 2001, where in assembly the diversity of languages spoken throughout the continent was celebrated with the aim of achieving greater understanding between the different cultures. A European quiz was launched as was the Routes into Language poster design competition with a deadline of 9 October. I do hope your daughter will take up this opportunity to participate.
We welcomed virtually, Dr Jess Wade award-winning Physicist at Imperial College to talk about ‘Physics that Inspires Me’, Professor Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at Sheffield University who spoke about ‘The Ethics of Coronavirus’, and Mrs Gillian Bishop, Founding Member of Family Law in Partnership who described ‘Life as a Family Lawyer’.
Thursday saw us celebrate National Poetry day with special recitals and lunchtime activities. Our Black History Month programme of activities to celebrate black history, heritage and culture was launched today, as was #HelloYellow, a Young Minds fundraising venture to raise awareness of and support young people’s mental health. Next Friday, we support their campaign by having a non-uniform day where students show support by wearing a hint of yellow and donate £2 to the Young Minds charity.
It is so heartening to see staff working hard to provide such a great range of additional opportunities for your daughters. We also wanted to let you know that students now have full online access to 'The Day' magazine and I hope that you have had some time to read the Your Future Bulletin.
Despite our lack of fixtures, there have been excellent numbers at our masterclasses in Netball and Hockey and these continue tomorrow. On Saturday 10 October, we see not only hockey and netball masterclasses but we are looking forward to a special cross-country event in which participants can take part either in school or virtually.
This week, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak with students who have been awarded a Head’s commendation for exceptional work, those Upper Sixth who have September birthdays and I would also like to congratulate one of our pupils who has been selected from the U15 Oxfordshire County Hockey team to attend U17 South Performance Centre (PC) hockey trials.
Can I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support at what I know is still such a difficult time for so many King’s families.
Wishing you all the best for the weekend.
Friday 25 September
While our thoughts have been very much dominated by Covid-19 over the last week this has also been a time when the regular life of school continues to thrive.
It was a pleasure to see so many students attend the Big Ideas club to discuss the topic of social justice and racial discrimination and put forward ideas on how each of us can make a positive difference. Our Year 7s in their 2020 club have been making bookmarks to give to the Kissing It Better (KIB) charity and our KIB activity packs are currently being enjoyed by patients in Warwick Hospital.
Four Lower Sixth have set up a Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability Society and I am looking forward next week to meeting with our Environment group to discuss how we can lead the way in protecting our environment. Our links with Tara School in Sydney Australia continue to strengthen. Our virtual exchange partners have all met and will be discussing at our next meeting our home country’s “Flora and Fauna” and we are now setting up some cross school department links -more to follow on this. Congratulations must go to Grace for being placed in the top fifteen of the national Trinity College, Cambridge Linguistics Essay competition and to Ottelia who taught herself (online over lockdown), Grade 5 music theory and was awarded a distinction. I was also really impressed to read the first issue of a new Café Scientifique Society magazine which was written by Shivanshi. I hope you will enjoy dipping into it too.
This week, we have seen the launch of a call for entries for our new poetry anthology, collated and with poems from our Poet in Residence, Professor Greg Leadbetter as well as a request for entries amongst students for designs for our new academic magazine, Spiritus.
Record numbers have signed up to hear talks from Professor Angie Hobbs (Philosophy), Dr Jess Wade (Physics) and Gillian Bishop (Law) in our Inspire Lectures series as well as for our upcoming Key Stage 3 Creative Thinking workshop and the RSC showing of Hamlet. I hope to that Year 10s and above will sign up for the upcoming Oxford University’s Physics day run for us by Oxford Academics.
Our sports women have been bursting with energy and over a hundred have turned out for morning training sessions in hockey and netball, with Year 10 showing particular tenacity even when Mrs Hinton was making them defend a rounders post! We congratulate Jess, who is representing Norton Lindsay’s U13 A team for cricket, Charlotte, who has become an advanced kayaker, Mollie, who was awarded the Coaches Player Award for Loughborough Lightning U15s as an U13 and who also was awarded the Lockdown Legend award for U15s; Zoe, for her skateboard/longboard skill development, Taya, for passing her black belt grading for tae-kwon-do, Alannah, who was reselected for the Summer County Cricket performance squad, Lily for her eventing equestrian achievements, Madeleine for winning the Warwick Tennis Club U18 Club championships and Megan, who won the U16 Singles title at Warwick Tennis Club Championships.
Thank you to all parents who supported our Harvest Festival collection and these items will be delivered to the Leamington Food bank next week. Our MacMillan coffee morning will be held remotely on Saturday and thank you to all those who have made donations to the charity.
It is disappointing that we are not able to welcome parents into school but we were so pleased that so many current and prospective parents attended our sixth form open evening on Wednesday. This evening we are holding our Open Evening remotely and I do encourage you as current parents to drop in to see the departments in action as well as encourage any of your friends or colleagues with children to register to see what an incredible education we offer.
I am confident that next week will prove to be as dynamic not least because we will be trialling a new lunch timetable where all students are able to choose whether they have the main hot lunch offering or a salad box, baguette or jacket potato.
In the meantime, I wish you all the best for the weekend.
Friday 18 September
It has been another productive and exciting week at King’s and I have been pleased with how the students continue to embrace the new circumstances with maturity, great spirit and ingenuity. Our sixth formers have celebrated the appointment of the Senior Team; Head Girl, Deputy Head Girl and Senior Prefect, the School Prefects and the new School Ambassadors. I am confident that not only will they develop their leadership skills over this coming year, but that they will also be forces for good in our school community. It has been a pleasure to see them already leading and organising events and co-curricular activity sessions and sharing their expertise and passion with such enthusiasm and professionalism.
The Year 11s have all had individual careers interviews this week and Lower Sixth had a very informative virtual seminar from Katherine Pagett, Student Recruitment Manager from Birmingham University, who shared her expertise on how to effectively prepare for A Level studies as well as life beyond King's.
Expanding one’s intellectual curiosity is always at the forefront of our minds and over 80 Lower Sixth students have started their Extended Project Qualification, as well as launching into the King’s Baccalaureate. We congratulate our Inspire Essay Competition winners and the SCAMPER competition winner. I have been pleased to see our Big Thinking Club starting the process of setting up a school society on Equality, as well as the work the departments and students are doing in auditing and putting in place programmes that develop our knowledge and understanding of racial equality and social justice.
After months of enforced rest, our sportswomen have been training hard with great turnouts for senior netball and over 35 Year 9 girls attending their netball training sessions during the week.
The Years 7-11 Saturday morning hockey masterclass had around 70 girls attend and it was impressive to see their drive and focus on defending in game play. Year 7 turnout was fantastic and their skills and talent bode well for the future. Our equestrians continue to excel, producing great results at Broadway SEG ODE last weekend.
We congratulated in our whole School assembly this morning our new sports captains for Hockey, Netball, Swimming and Water polo.
Over the summer, we have been running a virtual exchange with Tara School in Sydney, Australia and it was great to come together yesterday to reflect on the journey we have all been through and set our goals for the coming term. We look forward to our relationship with Tara School strengthening as we pursue some joint cross-curricular projects.
It only leaves me to remind you to sign up for our Macmillan coffee morning, for Year 11 parents to register for our remote Sixth Form Open Evening (23 September) link here and to have a happy and peaceful weekend.
Friday 11 September
This week has been a hum of activity and I am so pleased to see your daughters embracing the opportunities on offer. The musical life of the School has adapted quickly to Covid-19 restrictions and although we have only been able to have socially distanced and small group ensemble and choir gatherings, it has been a joy to hear music resonate throughout our new Music School and the sound is glorious in the auditorium! Mr Laing has commented on what a privilege it is to have musicians as young as 3 through to 18 all now housed in top class facilities. We look forward to being able to invite audiences to experience this exciting new performance space.
Our sportswomen have been back on the pitch, the court, the field and in the pool, with year groups enjoying their practices and lessons and our equestrian teams have returned energised from Hickstead NSEA Championships. Congratulations to all those who competed and we wish all of our sportswomen every success in their future competitions and training.
This week saw the launch of our Key Stage 3 Inspire homework competition where the girls have been asked to identify a problem, undertake detailed research into it and then produce a creative proposal on how to solve the problem. I do hope that you will encourage your daughters to participate. Our Create programme was launched for Year 10 students and a record number of Lower Sixth students have started their Extended Project Qualifications choosing topics ranging from medical ethics to the preservation of rare languages to the design of systems to aid driverless vehicles. Today also sees the launch of our Ivy House Leadership Award with twenty-eight students from Year 11 to Upper Sixth learning how to compete and succeed in today’s challenging workplace environments.
Our Geography Department should also be congratulated as they have been awarded a Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) with Centre of Excellence from the Geographical Association. This is a prestigious award which recognises and promotes quality and progress in geography leadership, curriculum development and learning and teaching in schools and they are only one of 33 schools in the work to get this Centre of Excellence award.
Although strange to be doing it remotely, it has been a pleasure to welcome parents in Sixth Form, Years 7, 10 and 11 to their introductory events, and we look forward to talking with Years 8 and 9 parents next week. The presentations from these evenings have been uploaded onto the Parent Portal.
I would like to remind parents that we have Sixth Form Open Evening (remote) for our Year 11 students, parents and prospective students on Wednesday 23 September and our remote Open Evening being on Friday 25 September. Further details will be published shortly but I do hope you will join us.
I hope that you can use this weekend to reflect on the success with which your daughter’s have embarked on this new academic year.
Friday 4 September
I was delighted to welcome back your daughters to school and the corridors of King’s have sprung into life again with all the chatter and hubbub that one would hope for in a happy school.
Although we have been absent from site for nearly six months, I have to commend both the staff and students for the commitment they showed to their studies during the lockdown months, as well as to the 500+ students aged 7-18 who signed up to join the summer school. With over 41 courses to enjoy including Ballet, violin technique, textiles, creative photography, nRich maths, history detectives, Spanish conversation, chemicals that changes lives, alternative medicine, ecocriticism, the feedback received from both parents and students was exceptionally positive.
The new term has started with the same energy and I was able in my beginning of term assembly to commend the girls on their hard work and the significant difference they made when they contributed to a range of community projects. We also applauded the new Lower Sixth and our outgoing Upper Sixth who were awarded an excellent set of GCSE grades and A level grades. They should be truly proud of their achievements not only as a reflection of their dedication to their courses over the two years but their perseverance during the last months. We wish the Upper Sixth well as they go on to university, to take a gap year or take up prestigious degree apprenticeship places.
Congratulations should also go to the 31 students who completed their King’s High Baccalaureates this year (an EduQual accredited qualification), with 24 students receiving a level 2 (Blue) and 7 at level 3 advanced (Jade) award. This really is a superb achievement that reflects our students’ ability to think creatively, be committed to a myriad of events and activities and to volunteer their time to help those in our wider community. They have developed their teamwork and communication skills and demonstrated that they have true leadership qualities. Over the summer, we were also able to congratulate Florence Lloyd who won Junior Composer's Prize 2020 at the Junior Royal Academy of Music, Annabel Husband who has been shortlisted for the prestigious Gould Essay competition run by Trinity College Cambridge and Samantha Simkin who was awarded the Mary Dormer Harris prize.
Naturally it is disappointing not to be able to welcome parents into school but we have already ‘met’ remotely with our Lower Sixth Parents for their Introductory event and I look forward to ‘seeing’ parents in other year groups over the next few weeks. As I write this, the Year 7s, unable to go on their residential bonding trip, are having an excellent time participating in a carousel of activities including baking, fun bonding challenges, orienteering around St Nicholas Park as well as toasting marshmallows around the campfire. It is impressive just to see how much they can fit into a single school day. In addition, our Year 9s, 10s, 11s and Lower and Upper Sixth have bonding sessions and speakers from Brook and Warwickshire Pride, PUSH and the Self Esteem Team, with talks including, ‘Finding Solutions – developing resilience, grit and determination’; ‘Your Body’; ‘Consent, the Law and Healthy Relationships’ and ‘Study Skills, Motivation and Wellbeing’.
For those of you who have come onto site, you will see that Project One Campus has now been completed. The site is truly transformed and an incredible space in which all our Foundation students can work and play. Please do follow this link POC Finished Site Video
Despite the challenges we face we remain confident that we can continue to achieve our central goals as a school:
Scholarship: To foster a love of learning, intellectual curiosity, independence of thought, and effective learning habits.
Environment: To provide a safe, stimulating and supportive school environment, where each pupil can feel inspired, challenged and valued.
Community: To foster a vibrant school community, built on trust and respect, and instil a sense of social responsibility.
Character: To develop resilience and confidence, and to inculcate integrity.
Opportunity: To provide a rich and stimulating school experience, where our pupils can explore and develop their interests, gifts and talents, and discover new ones.
It just remains for me to say thank you once again for all your support over these last few months and I look forward to getting to know all your daughters and seeing them flourish.
Friday 3 July
It feels extremely odd to be writing this, my final Friday message to you as Head Master of King’s. I would thank each of you for your support, encouragement, and kindness over the last five years - it has been the greatest of privileges to lead the school and support your daughters. I look forward to remaining in touch with you all, albeit in a different guise, and assure you of my absolute commitment to every family in the Foundation.
The last day of the academic year is always bitter-sweet. We would ordinarily mark the successes of the year, and celebrate the contributions of those who are leaving us. This has been hard to capture remotely, but in assembly this morning, I paid tribute to our Upper Sixth, for the great leadership they have shown individually and collectively not only in setting the tone for our move to our new site, but also in the run-up to 20th March. They are a wonderful year group and we look forward to their Graduation, and saying ‘thank you’ in person, in September.
There are two wonderful Music events which are being uploaded onto www.foundationathome.co.uk over the coming days – the final concert from our Foundation-wide virtual music festival, and the performance of our Foundation ‘lock-down’ symphony. So many have contributed to these – thank you for doing so, as, along with the sports, charity, and House events, they have helped to keep a sense of community alive during the period of school closure. I am delighted too that so many have sign-up to the virtual Summer School – there have been some 600 course bookings so far.
We were very pleased to read the new guidance from the Government on school opening in September, which was published yesterday. The senior teams are working through this, and we are continuing to plan for a full return. We will be in touch with you again later in the summer, once the plans are finalised.
It just remains for me to say thank you once again, and to wish you all a happy summer.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 26 June
The week has ended with a really wonderful ‘virtual’ sports day, with a huge range of recorded and live events - I believe some parents have taken part, too! It has been a good example of the spirit of community coming through, at a time when that could be impossible to achieve. Thank you to pupils, parents, and staff alike for engendering this.
I am very pleased to let you know that King’s has again been shortlisted for a national award - ‘Girls’ School of the Year’, organised by Independent School Parent magazine. It is great to see that the multiple achievements of our girls, supported and nurtured by their teachers, has been recognised in this way.
It is good to see that the virtual summer school is proving popular; I hope it can provide some stimulation and structure over the summer, and is certainty something we are considering repeating in future years.
Finally, I hope you enjoy reading about the events and activities which have taken place this week. Even though we, sadly, continue to work mainly remotely, there remains a fizz of energy, which is uniquely King’s.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 19 June
For schools, there have been many ups and downs over the last three months, as indeed there have been for all of us. However, this month a glimmer of normality has been seen, first with the return of pupils in Prep and Juniors, and, this week, the partial return of pupils in Years 10 and 12. Next week, Prep and Juniors, following the revised Government guidance, will be welcoming the other years groups back for albeit very limited contact time. Nonetheless this means all our primary aged pupils can, in some form, return.
We would dearly love to welcome other year groups back too, but the revised guidance does not allow for this. Whilst this may be frustrating, we are continuing to do what is asked of us, and therefore managing our own expectations about what can be done. I would like to thank all of you for your understanding and patience, as I know how challenging it can be for our pupils who are having to continue to work remotely.
Both in school and in the virtual school, there has been much to celebrate. I hope you enjoy reading about highlights from the Key Stages, and please do visit www.foundationathome.co.uk for further news.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 12 June
I wonder when we will next experience the amount of change we have seen in the last 12 weeks? Change can be good, but change when we have little control over events can be daunting, even frightening for us as adults, let alone for our children.
Some of the extraordinary changes we have had to accept since 20th March are now being steadily reversed. In our Foundation schools, pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 have now been back for two weeks; on Monday we welcome back Years 10 and 12, albeit in a very partial way. It will be lovely to see those who are able to come back – and I know staff are equally looking forward to some semblance of normality with them; I cannot wait to see them!
We have seen change in our Foundation, too. I know we will all be saddened by Dr Smith’s decision to step down, but also respectful of it; we wish him all the very best for the future. Mr Barker has begun his acting Headship energetically, and I would like to thank him and the Warwick School senior team for the spirit of collaboration and ‘can do’ approach to the return of pupils next week. In this, the collaborative working between Warwick Prep and Warwick Juniors blazed the trail.
In the attachments today, I outline the shape of the King’s leadership team for the next year, as I prepare to take on the role of Foundation Principal - I know they will be able to draw on your continued support.
Finally, this week has exemplified in so many ways why I have been so proud of leading this wonderful school. As well as adapting to online assessments, we have seen some 330 new business ideas developed during our Enterprise Day, a vast array of ideas and opportunities to develop pupil wellbeing and, today, a focus on Creative Thinking.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 5 June
The start of this week saw us welcome back pupils and staff to Warwick Prep and Warwick Juniors, and it has been wonderful to catch a glimpse of normality on the Foundation campus. Next week, we will be writing to parents in Year 10 and Lower Sixth about the arrangements from 15th June, when we look forward to welcoming groups of pupils in those years back to the school site, in line with the Government’s plans.
Nevertheless, we have perhaps become used to events which have changed our world incredibly rapidly. The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has fundamentally changed so many aspects of our lives, not least some of our very basic freedoms.
The global demonstrations, in response to the dreadful scourge of racism, seems to be another one of those moments.
Our school community is based on values of respect, acceptance, and understanding, and we are very proud that our girls are such great champions of equality and justice. In school, there are always opportunities for them to raise and discuss serious issues which concern them, but that is a little harder to do remotely. Heads of Key Stage will hold discussion forums next week, so that we can explore with the girls the very serious issues raised by the deaths and demonstrations in the USA and around the globe. I often say that we want our girls to make a difference in the world - by living the values we espouse as a community, we know they can.
Whilst assessments continue for KS3 next week, there are Careers and UCAS days for Years 10, 11 and Lower Sixth, as well as three enrichment days for all, details of which are outlined below. We hope that the girls will enjoy these different opportunities, making up in some way for the festivals of Wellbeing and Creative Thinking which we have had to postpone.
Finally, may I encourage you to visit the Foundation’s community site, to see some of the really tremendous accomplishments of our pupils during this time of school closure: www.foundationathome.co.uk.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 22 May
It hardly seems possible that this half-term is drawing to a close. A huge amount has been achieved in our virtual school world, and as well as the learning in their lessons, it is good to see so many girls taking part in our community activities and the many academic enrichment opportunities. Please do visit the Foundation’s community website for more details: www.foundationathome.co.uk.
A particular highlight of the week was a workshop on Shakespeare’s 'Taming of the Shrew' led by Mr Michael Griffiths, Director of Drama at Knox Grammar School, Sydney. I like to think that this is a project we would have attempted had we been at school in normal times; however, it was certainly something we felt more confident to try, and I hope is the first of many more international collaborations.
The week following half-term sees online assessments for all pupils in Years 7-10 and Lower Sixth. We know that this will be a very different experience for the girls, and we simply ask that they do their best in what we know remain difficult circumstances.
I hope that you and your families remain safe and well, and that you will be able to enjoy some of the bank holiday weekend and half-term break.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 15 May
In my assembly on Monday, I quoted from the poem ‘Anticipation’ by Emily Bronte. The following lines seemed very relevant then and even more appropriate now:
‘Nor ever let my spirit tire,
With looking for what is to be!’
So much has been turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last Sunday, the Prime Minster outlined the Government’s plan for easing some of the restrictions, and that included the revised approach for schools. The teams across the Foundation are working to implement the Government’s requirements, and we will keep parents with girls in those year groups updated on these plans. It remains a complex time, and we realise that any change can create greater uncertainty. Still, we often speak of the King’s High spirit, and I can assure you that our spirit is certainly not tired, as we continue to seek the best answers for our school community in responding to the many challenges we all face.
Over the past weeks, we have begun to welcome our new Year 7s and those joining Lower Sixth in September. The induction programme for both years is wide-ranging, and I would like to thank those current pupils who are acting as ‘buddies’ for the older girls or have written letters of welcome as ‘big sisters’ for those joining in Year 7. Extending the hand of friendship at this time is so important, and our new-joiners already have a sense of the very warm welcome they will receive when we can return to the physical campus.
As ever, there has been much to celebrate this week. Much is captured on the ‘Foundation at Home’ website: please do visit it, as there are so many inspiring stories, and such excellent work highlighted.
Finally, thank you to those who expressed interest in having individual music lessons. This is quite a logistical exercise, which is currently being undertaken by the directors of music across the Foundation. We expect to be back in touch next week.
Thursday 7 May
I am pleased to be sharing with you just a few of the highlights from the virtual King’s High this week. A sense of purpose and commitment across the school community have been very much in evidence once again, particularly in the preparations for the VE Day celebrations. The efforts made by so many in the Foundation to mark such an important event in our history have been both impressive and moving, not least the partnership with the charity, ‘Kissing it Better’. Please do visit our virtual community website, www.foundationathome.co.uk, for news about these events and a wide range of activities.
The last week has been a particularly important one for Year 11 and Upper Sixth. Last Friday, Year 11 formally finished their GCSE studies and are now embarking on the EPQs and preparations for sixth form. As I write, the assembly marking the end of A level studies for Upper Sixth has just finished. It has been great that traditions such as ‘rag week’ have continued virtually. They will now start on their pre-university and life skills courses.
At what is already an uncertain time, there has continued to be a great deal of speculation about when and how schools may be reopened, and that more information may be given by the Prime Minister on Sunday. Like you, we are watching the news closely and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible, once we know more.
Finally, I do hope that you have as enjoyable a bank holiday weekend as possible.
Friday 1 May
It has been another busy week in our remote King’s High. Our birthday celebrations have been rather different to those planned, but nevertheless is has been good to see our 141st anniversary being marked in all sorts of ways, not least in the baking of hundreds of cakes! The sense of community at King’s has really shone through throughout the school closure, and it is good to share just some of these highlights through the new ‘Foundation at Home’ website: www.foundationathome.co.uk.
My senior colleagues outline below significant events across the Key Stages and in the pastoral and academic life of the school: I hope you will enjoy reading about them.
In the email yesterday, I touched on instrumental and VMT lessons. If your daughter would ordinarily have these lessons at school, and you are interested in exploring the possibility of remote lessons, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot offer any guarantees, but would like to investigate possibilities, dependent upon interest.
Finally, and most importantly, I hope that all remains well for you, the girls, and your families.
Friday 24 April
It was lovely to welcome the school back for the start of term on Tuesday. We all seem to have settled into the new routines with remarkable speed - I am so incredibly impressed and proud with the way the school community has adapted and risen to so many new and unforeseen challenges. I do hope that the stability of the school day and the many activities offered for the girls is helping family life, too.
As I sit writing this on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I can just imagine what our first summer on the new site would have been like. Whilst I know that there will be many more summer days for us to enjoy together, my thoughts have turned to how we as individuals, and thus as a community, may have changed when we are able to reunite. Something which our girls are well known for is their generosity of spirit. Even with this in mind, the many and varied ways that they have reached out to help others has been very humbling and is to be commended; I feel sure that they will continue to live out such an important value long after the current crisis has passed.
We will shortly be launching a Foundation-wide website, highlighting the many extraordinary accomplishments of our community during the lockdown, as well as offering some practical tips and suggestions. Further details will be sent out next week.
I do hope that you and your families are remaining safe and well, and that you will enjoy reading about some of the highlights from our first few days back.
Friday 27 March
It has been such a different and challenging week, and I would like to thank you for the support you are giving in the midst of such national upheaval.
We are all in our different ways having to find reserves of resilience, adaptability, and creativity, and I am so proud that your daughters and their teachers are rising to this challenge with such energy, determination, and skill.
In a usual school week, I will drop in on lessons to see what and how the girls are learning. In our new ‘virtual’ school, it has been quite amazing to watch some of the recorded lessons, loaded up onto ‘Stream’. Alongside these, live webinars have taken place, with a wide range of activities taking place within them, including Kahoot quizzes. Please visit the school website to read about the full range of ways everyone is keeping the special spirit of King’s burning brightly. I would also encourage you to follow our social media news feeds, which I hope will help everyone continue to feel connected.
Whilst day-to-day school is continuing, there are one or two aspects which are taking a little longer to complete. Please bear with us with reports - we will contact the individual year groups separately about this.
In the meantime, we look forward to continuing to hear about the girls’ learning, activities and achievements.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 20 March
This afternoon, we ended our school day by singing our school song, ‘Jerusalem’. I am reminded that the previous time we sang that in the Quad was on the final day of summer term, when we assembled in our new school buildings for the first time. I am happy to report that the rendition today was every bit as inspiring as that last July.
There are always rituals to go through for both Years 11 and Upper Sixth. Whilst some of these are now likely to take place at a later date, we nevertheless look forward to them. We have therefore said ‘au revoir’ to those year groups, and look forward to seeing them again before too long.
We are keen to ensure that the school day remains as similar as possible, although our community will be functioning remotely. I am aware of just how much a wrench being away from friends can be and we want to stay as connected as we can until we are reunited on this campus once again. In order to do this, as well as the lessons and work which will be ongoing, we will be sending virtual assemblies, thoughts for the day, communications via social media, and our usual Friday email. If there are stories you would like included, please do let me know: it would be good to share positive experiences at this time.
Detailed information about remote learning will be sent shortly - please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, should you have any queries.
In the meantime, please rest assured that we are here for you and your daughters as surely as if we were all together as usual, and I look forward to staying in touch, albeit virtually.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 13 March
As you will imagine, it has been a complex few weeks, with daily meetings taking place across the Foundation to respond to Government guidance on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and plan for multiple scenarios. We will keep you informed in as timely a manner as we can of any developments which impact on the school community. Thank you once again for your support.
In the meantime, school life has continued to be busy and active, with a great deal to celebrate. The Jazz, Rock and Pop evening was once again a superb showcase for a wonderful spread of talent - and thank you to KHAPS for organising such a lovely event. In addition, our U6 A level Drama group gave their examination performances, Year 9 is to be congratulated on rising to the challenge of National Enterprise Challenge Day, and it was a great pleasure to welcome pupils in Years 5 and 10 from local primary and secondary schools to their respective ‘Young Scholars’ afternoons, as part of our partnership programme with Clare College, Cambridge.
In sport, our U15 waterpolo team competed in the national finals, the U12 Hockey team were runners up at the County Tournament and are through to Midlands Finals, and the U13 Netball team have been crowned County Champions.
Finally, amongst the highlights of next week, we are looking forward to the India Trip fundraising dinner, and what we hope will be a well-attended event, and ‘Park Run’ at Warwick Races on Saturday. Please feel free to join me, Mrs Renton and our girls!
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 6 March
As you can imagine, it has been a hard week in school, as we have all come to terms with the loss of Mr Pardoe. Many have already written messages in the Book of Condolence in Reception, and we are discussing with Mr Pardoe’s family, arrangements for a school memorial. As soon as we have firm plans in place, we will let you know.
However, the girls are to be commended in the way in which they have supported one another and drawn on the support of others, and in amongst the sadness, there has been much to celebrate. I would particularly like to commend the cast and crew of the joint King’s and Warwick ‘Mary Poppins Jr’ for a simply glorious production. Both the leads and the ensemble were superb, with the choreography being led by one of our Year 11s. Many congratulations to all involved; it shows what great things can be achieved when our Foundation schools work together towards a common goal.
In sport, we are delighted that our equestrians go from strength to strength, with the 85cm team coming second in the NSEA Eventer Challenge at Onley, meaning that they have qualified for Hickstead.
Many of you will know that Mrs Steinhaus will be going on maternity leave. We have decided to slightly rearrange the pastoral structure of KS3, and I am pleased to say that Mrs Topping has been appointed the new Head of Year 7, which will take effect from Monday. Her email address is as follows: email@example.com. When Mrs Steinhaus returns, she will come back to a new KS3 pastoral role.
Finally, I look forward to welcoming those coming to the KHAPS AGM and the ‘Taste of King’s’ supper afterwards: it is always a lovely evening, with the perfect combination of great company and great food!
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 28 February
School has, as always, been busy, and I am pleased to touch on just a few of this week’s highlights.
The week began with our third Landor Association Lecture, delivered by Dr Helen Castor, a former pupil and highly respected academic and broadcaster. Continuing this community theme, tomorrow sees our first Old Girls’ Association Annual Lunch in the new school - thank you in advance to the current pupils who are hosting and giving tours to their predecessors. In addition, the KHAPS AGM and ‘A Taste of King’s’ takes place next Friday - please do join us if you are able; it is always a lovely occasion.
The week began with our third Landor Association Lecture, delivered by Dr Helen Castor, a former pupil and highly respected academic and broadcaster. Continuing this community theme, tomorrow sees our first Old Girls’ Association Annual Lunch in the new school - thank you in advance to the current pupils who are hosting and giving tours to their predecessors. In addition, the KHAPS AGM and ‘A Taste of King’s’ takes place next Friday - please do join us if you are able; it is always a lovely occasion.
There has also been a particular emphasis on the creative arts, with both the Dance Night, and a Singing and Choral Concert taking place: it is so good I see so many pupils taking part and sharing their gifts and talents.
In sports news, we were delighted that the U15 Netballers have been crowned County Champions, and the U15 Waterpolo team have qualified for National Finals. In equine sports news, four girls have qualified for Hickstead at the NSEA 75cm Eventer Challenge at Eland Lodge; the Prelim 7 team and Novice individuals have qualified for the NSEA Dressage County competition at Allenshill and the Prelim 14 team has qualified for the National County Championships at Hartpury College and this Sunday sees the school’s first entry in the SUPA Polo competition as beginners, at Rugby Polo Club.
Next week, amongst other highlights is the joint production of Mary Poppins with Warwick School - I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Finally, you may have noticed that further landscaping works have been undertaken recently, including the planting of some 75 trees across the campus. Additional parking, the route through the campus, and final landscaping will be completed for September.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 14 February
As the half term draws to a close, the whole school community can reflect on a wide array of both individual and collective achievements, be they academic, cultural, creative, or sporting. There is always such a great variety of accomplishments to celebrate, and in which we should all take pride. Many of these are promoted through our social media channels and the website, so please do visit them for the most up-to-date news.
Particular highlights this week have included the Valentine’s Fete, organised superbly by Year 7, a language workshop run by our MFL team for pupils at local primary schools as part of our ongoing partnership with Clare College, Cambridge, and the LAMDA evening, showcasing a number of the 180 pupils who have been taking their exams this week.
Next week, trips include the ski trip to Sestriere, Italy, with the Landor Lecture, this year delivered by former pupil Dr Helen Castor, taking place at 7pm on Monday 24 February.
In sport, Congratulations go to our gymnastics teams who competed in the recent GSA U14 and U18 cup competition, and to our cross country runners who have been selected to run for Warwickshire. It is also great news that our U13 hockey team is through to the regional final, being runners up in the county.
Amongst the letters today is further guidance about the Coronavirus. I hope this will prove useful, especially if you are travelling over the break.
It simply remains for me to wish you all a very happy half term, and we look forward to welcoming your daughters back to school, refreshed and revitalised, on Monday 24 February.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 7 February
I am pleased to update you with news from King’s.
Highlights have included an afternoon Woodwind Concert, a First Point USA Talk to those considering studying at university in the States, and an iChampion session for parents.
It was also a pleasure to welcome parent and girls in Year 11 to their Parents’ Evening last night. Over the weekend, we are hosting the Myton Cookery session, and on Sunday afternoon girls are joining the choir of University College, Oxford, in evensong in the college chapel.
This evening, I will be at the Times Educational Supplement Awards, where we have been shortlisted for the Community Award. This is the third year in succession that King’s has been recognised by TES - hopefully this year we will win!
In sports, our equestrian teams were on exceptional form again at Eland Lodge, qualifying for Hickstead at the 75cm Eventer Challenge. The U13 netball team were again in action on Monday afternoon, this time in the quarter finals of the Sisters N Sport National quarter finals against Cheadle Hulme. The U12 and U13 football teams have also been in action this week, with a series of indoor matches against other local schools. On Tuesday the U12 team played 3 games winning 1 and drawing 2. The U13 team won all three of their games without conceding a goal. On Wednesday two more teams were in action with the U12B team finishing as runners up in the tournament having won 3 games and lost 1. A special congratulations to the U12A team who, despite competing against other schools U13 teams, won all of their matches and the tournament overall. Yesterday afternoon we hosted the Warwick 50s and once again our swimmers were on impressive form. The U12a team came runners up out of 15 teams, the U13 team came joint 3rd and we were runners up overall. The U13 hockey team deserve a special mention this week having played in the XI aside county tournament on Saturday. They played 4 games, winning all 4 and without conceding a goal. Congratulations to the team who were crowned County Champions.
Finally, thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring that your daughters abide by our uniform code. It is important that they are smart and professional, and that they are respectful of the school’s community standards.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 31 January
Even in a school as vibrant as King’s, there has been a great deal to celebrate this week.
On Tuesday we unveiled The Spirit of King’s, our striking new sculpture at the front of the school. Made possible through a generous bequest, we were reminded by Kathleen Soriano, our guest of honour, of the importance of the arts and creativity in education. At a time when many schools are not able to support these disciplines as they may wish, we are proud that creative and expressive arts hold a key place in our curricular and co-curricular programmes, and indeed are central to our ethos.
There has also been a great deal to celebrate in our world of sport. Congratulations goes to the U16 netball squad who competed at the Regional Finals on Sunday. They performed strongly in every game and took victories against St Joseph’s, Queen Mary’s and Wigmore School. The 1st XI hockey team represented the school in the last 16 of the Tier two National Plate competition on Monday travelling down to Blundell’s school in Devon. Playing in front of a large crowd, the team acquitted themselves exceptionally well and despite playing some excellent hockey narrowly missed out losing 4-3. Following their successes at the recent West Midlands Biathlon event I am delighted to share with you the news that all 7 of our competitors, 8 including Mrs Riley, have qualified for the National Finals in March. Congratulations to all. Finally the U16 netball team stormed to victory last night in the latest round of the Sisters ‘n’ sport National netball competition, beating Rugby School 65-16.
A particular highlight has been the success of our Year 11 debating team. Earlier this week, competing against sixth form teams, they won their place in the national semi-finals of the prestigious Schools’ MACE competition. This is a very significant achievement, and we believe the first time King’s has progressed to this stage.
Looking ahead, can I draw your attention to two events for our wider community. First, this year’s Landor Lecture, delivered by former pupil, the historian Helen Castor, takes place on the 24 February. Please reserve your seat by registering here. Second, the renowned Birmingham Symphonic Winds are staging a concert with some of our pupils in Warwick Hall on Sunday 8 March. This is a fundraising concert to help us realise our ambition to be a Steinway School. Tickets are available from www.bridgehousetheatre.co.uk
Finally, I spoke in assembly this morning about the UK’s journey in the European Union. A significant moment in our country’s modern history, it was important to mark the closing of one chapter and the opening of another, and to remember in our thoughts those entrusted with leading our nation at this time.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 24 January
I am pleased to update you with news from King’s.
As I write, The Spirit of King’s, our sculpture for the front of the school, funded by a generous legacy from a former pupil, is being installed. This is being unveiled on Tuesday, and will add a further dimension to our new campus.
The week has seen a particular focus on careers, with the UCAS and Higher Education Evening on Monday and two lunchtimes careers talks. We are always very proud of the girls’ achievements, with, last year, some 84% attending the 25 universities most targeted by top employers.
Evening events have also included the term’s Pastoral Forum, the Year 9 Parents’ Evening, and this evening we look forward to the Inspire Dinner, with our guest speaker being Professor Gregory Leadbetter, our Poet in Residence.
Thank you to the pianists who performed in our first Musical Horizons concert of the term - it made for a perfect way to end a Wednesday afternoon.
There has been much to celebrate on the sporting front. Highlights include: the cross country team coming second overall in the county, with some super rankings for individual girls; our U13 gymnasts were placed third in the ISGA competition; and the U13 netball team beat St Catherine’s, Bramley convincingly, to go forward to the quarterfinals of the national cup.
Finally, and remaining on a sporting theme, the U16 netball team are taking part in the regional finals on Sunday and the 1st XI hockey team play in Devon on Monday in the next round of the National Cup. I know we will all wish them the very best of luck.
Mr R Nicholson
Friday 17 January
It has been another busy and purposeful week at King’s, and I am delighted to share with you some of the highlights.
Yesterday, Year 7 staged a physical theatre interpretation of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ as their ‘play in a day’, led by the team at ‘Highly Sprung’. The creativity and teamwork on display were, once again, outstanding. Thank you to the many parents who were able to support.
Last night we also welcomed Year 9 parents and pupils to the GCSE Options Talk. This is such an exciting time for the year group, as they start to chart their course which will ultimately lead to university and beyond.
The week has also seen interviews for all Year 12 led by Claire Jenkins of ‘One to One Interview Coaching’. Developing interview techniques is such an important life skill - from having spoken to some of the girls about the sessions, they have already learnt a great deal.
Tomorrow sees the opening of our first Art Scholars’ Exhibition, held at The Loft in Leamington. It is open from 6.30pm-7.30pm daily between Wednesday 22 January – Saturday 1 February - please do visit it if you are able.
On Monday evening, we are holding our annual UCAS and Higher Education Evening. There will be talks and presentations from a range of universities, as the girls begin to consider their options and careers beyond King’s. As ever, there is excellent news from the Upper Sixth UCAS applications, including Oxbridge. Five of the twelve girls interviewed have been offered places, to study a wide range of subjects from Architecture to German with Russian. All the girls who applied deserve our admiration - it is a very demanding process, requiring huge reserves of tenacity and resilience.
Tuesday evening sees this term’s Pastoral Forum led by Roz Bicen. Details are included on the Forthcoming Events progamme.
Looking further ahead, on Sunday 4th March, the outstanding Birmingham Symphonic Winds are generously staging a fundraising concert in aid of One Campus Plus and in particular our ambition to be a Steinway School. Further details will be with you shortly, but it will, as always, be a wonderful afternoon with a distinctly celebratory feel. Please do put the date in your diaries.
On the sports fields; last weekend saw us compete in the West Midlands Biathlon with tremendous success with first, second and third place in both the U12 and U14 competitions – taking all 6 podium finishes and a second place in the U18 competition. It was a busy weekend as our Junior Hockey teams played Bromsgrove – a special mention to the U12A team who won a thrilling 6-5 encounter. The first Key Stage 4 ‘Couch to 5k’ running club also took place and we look forward to their progress over the coming weeks, and in Water Polo our U13 girls took on the boys in a competitive match against Warwick School, and recorded a convincing victory against Northampton Boys. On a broader matter, thank you once again for your important input into the recent review of Sports - we are currently planning exciting developments to be rolled out over the coming months.
The letters uploaded today include updated information about BYOD devices. Should you have any queries, please do contact Mrs Parkinson-Mills.
Finally, can I please thank you for your patience with the current pick-up, parking and drop-off arrangements, especially as the new traffic light system settles down. As always, can I please encourage you to be mindful of others, particularly at peak times, and also to consider if there are suitable alternative pick-up and drop-off locations (such as St Nicholas car park), which could ultimately save valuable time. The final stages of Project One Campus are underway, which includes a route through the Foundation site and additional parking, all of which is on schedule for completion for September.
Friday 10 January
I do hope that you had a lovely Christmas break. 2020 promises to be another exciting year at King’s, and I am delighted to update you with news from the first few days of term.
Pupils in Year 11 and Upper Sixth are currently undertaking mock examinations. I know they will have worked hard over the holiday to ensure that they give a good account of their understanding at this point in time. This, in turn, will help them to plan for the remaining months before their A level and GCSE examinations in the summer. Good luck to all!
There are a number of important events coming up next week, including the Year 7 ‘Play in a Day’ on Thursday. We look forward to welcoming as many Year 7 parents as possible to the performance at 16.45 in the Bridge House Theatre.
At the start of term, I set the school three challenges:
- Try a new club or activity;
- Go for a day without social media;
- At lunch either (or both)
a. invite a pupil you don’t know to sit with you
b. sit with someone you don’t know
I am pleased to say that I have had a number of conversations with girls since Tuesday and it is clear that they are engaging with these goals; please do discuss them with your daughters and encourage them to turn them into ‘good habits’, which will not only be positive for them as individuals but for our community too.
Mr R Nicholson