|Lent Term 2021
Letter from the Headmistress
A Minute’s Silence & Celebration to Remember Al,
Scholarships, Mount Kenya, Half Term Trip to Watamu,
Virtual Athletics v St Andrew’s Turi,
Parent Tutor Meetings, Snake Talk from Bio Ken,
Outdoor Assemblies 7D, 5D & 5R, Weekend Activities,
House Matches, Parent Matches, Riding Weekend, Colour Run,
Inter House Sports Day, Exeat Weekend,
CE Exams & School Exams, The Senior School Play,
It is so lovely to have everyone back after half term. Our sadness is of course that Al Mwangi is not with us and passed away over half term, after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. As everyone arrived on Monday we gathered around Pre’s Lawn and joined together in a minute’s silence. The flag was hung at half mast and will remain so until Al’s Memorial Service on Friday. Our Junior School Choir will represent the school and sing ‘One Moment One People,’ suitably distanced, and then we will return to school.
A Celebration of Al’s life at School
On Tuesday evening, 2nd March, we will gather as a school by the Old Pavillion and we will all bear a candle. Year 4 will be in charge of our service and we will celebrate all that Al brought to us. He was so proud of being part of Pembroke House and so excited about the plan to return to school after Easter. Esther has told us all how he had tried on his uniform to make sure it fitted and he wore it with everyone on the journey down to the coast. At the same time he was working hard on his cursive script and reading to ensure he was as ‘up to speed’ as possible for his return to school and all the fun and excitement to be had at school amongst his friends. An example to us all and we will treasure his memory and all he taught us.
As school started we were most fortunate to be joined by Annie Barden, a past parent and school counsellor. On hearing the tragic news Annie immediately offered to come to school to work with Al’s classmates in Year 4 and with Year 7, and the children who were on the coast trip at Turtle Bay. Such immediate support has been invaluable and we are so very grateful to Annie for her help and kindness. I must also thank The Banda and Peponi School for finding a way forward that would allow Annie to spend time with us.
Anne Daykin was also very quick to help us and she has kindly taken over most of Esther’s lessons on Monday and Tuesday whilst she is away and preparing for Al’s service on Friday. We are most grateful to Anne and it is lovely having her back amongst us all.
In my last letter I had the greatest pleasure in announcing the scholarship awards for Yzeera Sebunya and Mark Namisano. Today I write with one more scholarship to add to our list. Siena Barclay, has been awarded an Academic Scholarship to Sherborne Girls. This is thrilling news and we all feel very proud of Siena. Well done, indeed. Our fourth scholar this year is Miles Tomblin who was awarded the Sir Michael Palin Scholarship to Shrewsbury School last term, whilst we were all online.
Just to keep everyone up to date, we have now received the results from twelve Covid tests since the beginning of term and so far they have all come back negative.
Parent / Tutor Meetings
Reading the feedback from your parent/tutor meetings it looks as if these online feedback sessions were successful and well received. There were of course some meetings at school with those of you who live nearby, but for our parents who live further afield I hope this opportunity made life a little easier. Equally, by reducing the number of visitors to school hopefully we also kept our school community a little safer.
Our buses and taxis departed nice and early on Saturday morning, as half term began and I hope it was lovely to have your children home in time for breakfast. Of course there are those of you who live locally and who wish to take advantage of collecting your children after games and activities on Friday. For those concerned this is quite an advantage but for families who must travel further afield, a journey late on a Friday afternoon is not easy and first thing Saturday is a much better option for these longer distances.
The Mount Kenya Trip
The party left school on Saturday morning, 13th February. It was pouring with rain and with umbrellas and raincoats to the fore we all felt somewhat apprehensive of what might lie ahead. However, despite worries about the weather there was a real spring in everyone’s step, as all the last minute kit was loaded onto the buses and everyone enjoyed an early breakfast. After so many months of solitude and lock down, not to mention online lessons, there was a very real sense of relief and excitement that we were getting back to normality and the challenges of outdoor life with all the camaraderie and fun that would no doubt take centre stage. As Headmistress, I felt that this was an auspicious moment in our history and journey through the pandemic and hopefully it would bode well for all that the future might hold for Pembroke House and its children. Fortunately, the weather picked up and was indeed kind to our Year 8s, their parents and our teachers. On the day of the final ascent the party was greeted with a clear blue sky, with not a cloud in sight. The conditions for everyone were perfect and most of the party made it to the top. I was sent all sorts of wonderful photos; the views were spectacular and the sense of accomplishment for everyone on the mountain must have been so incredibly exhilarating. The descent is for many the hardest part but despite this the group decided to proceed down the mountain, on the same day, camping and resting up, at a campsite just short of Ole Moses.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank James Savage and his team for a fantastic trip. We are extremely grateful to Tara Llewlelyn who put together an emergency base camp for some children who came off the mountain early and to all our parents for their tremendous support and good humour right up until the end of this epic safari. I would also like to thank Laelia Surtees and Mike Aung along with all our staff involved, for their real dedication, good nature and spirit in getting everyone up and down the mountain. The ascent of Mount Kenya is a tremendous challenge both physically and mentally and making it to the summit, Point Lenana, must not be underestimated.
Watamu - Turtle Bay
We are all most grateful to Miss D and to Esther Mwangi and Victor Juma for taking so many of our children to Turtle Bay for a holiday at the beach in Watamu. The children had an amazing time and Damian Davies, and his team at the hotel, went above and beyond in looking after them all and laying on so many wonderful activities.
Virtual Athletics with St. Andrew’s Turi
The athletics team have just taken part in the first virtual athletics meet competing against St. Andrew’s Turi. The field events were run at various times throughout the week with the track events run simultaneously on Wednesday afternoon. This was a great success and it was fantastic to see so many children performing to such a high standard. The winners were announced on Pre’s Lawn with a video link to Turi. Thank you to St. Andrew’s for giving us this opportunity. A special mention must go to Neema Ruwa who managed to beat the U13 girls’ 100m record, running it in a time of 12.72!
Snake Talk - Bio Ken
We are most fortunate to be able to welcome Kyle Ray to talk to us all on 15th March. We will arrange the talk outside and I know the children will be fascinated.
Outdoor Assemblies 7D, 5D & 5R
Although our form assemblies are in the calendar for a Friday lunchtime we feel that this arrangement, during the heat of the day, is not ideal for a gathering that is outside. Therefore, it is our intention to move these form assemblies to Thursday mornings at the usual Chapel time of 7.50 am. Please do come and watch if you can to see what each form has in store for us. It will be 7D’s assembly on Thursday morning, 25th February.
We will be finishing our rounders and cricket inter house matches on Friday afternoon followed by another round of internal matches on Saturday morning. There will be tea on the playing fields so please do come and watch and join us for these matches. The 1st Xl cricket team will be taking on the staff to give the boys some extra competition and add some extra bite to the day’s sport. On the weekend of 6/7th March will have a riding weekend. Rachel has been working hard in our pony paddock building some super fences and we look forward to x-c and show jumping over the course of this weekend. We are hoping to open up the track for practice rounds on Friday afternoon 5th March.
On Saturday 20th March we will have the Colour Run.
We would really like you to join us for these activities and we will be in touch closer to the time with the finer details relating to each activity.
Year 7 Team Building Weekend
The Year 7s would normally have completed a team building weekend last term but sadly this was not possible, so we have managed to reschedule the date for Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March. To set the trip in motion the Year 7s will start by camping in the forestry on the Saturday night. They will then set off on foot for the Malewa Camp. It is a fabulous weekend full of fun as well as being educational and a great opportunity to build friendships and learn more about teamwork. Please kindly put this date in your diaries. This Yr 7 weekend does clash with the riding event but between Rachel and the staff on duty we will arrange matters so that these seniors can take part in both activities.
Year 8 Mock CE Exams
These exams for the Year 8s begin on Monday 8th March and finish on Thursday 11th March.
Common Entrance Exams
In a similar way to last year we have been given permission to push the CE exams back to the week beginning Monday 21st June next term. This gives the children some extra time in the classroom to try to make up for so many months of online learning. Again please do make a note in your diaries.
The rest of the school will also be assessed in anticipation of the end of term reports. However, for this term the tests are less formal than those of Michaelmas and Trinity and all assessments will take place during lesson time.
Inter-House Sports Day
Friday 12th March 8 am - 1 pm
So far this term we have kept our assemblies and gatherings outside to try to ensure we keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. Therefore, if nothing changes we feel that our traditional Inter-House Athletics Competition, planned to take place on Friday 12th March with pre events on the Thursday, can go ahead. Please make arrangements to join us and come and watch and we hope that being outside in the open air, with plenty of space to distance, will mean everyone can enjoy the morning. The competition will begin at 8 am and should be over by 1 pm and our exeat will then begin. Please plan your weekend break so that your child is back in school by 10 am, at the latest, on Monday 15th.
Just to confirm, our 2nd exeat weekend will begin at 1 pm on Friday 12th March, as the Inter-House Athletics finishes and children should be back in school ready for lessons at 10 am on Monday 15th March.
For those children unable to travel home over exeat Miss D will once again kindly arrange a weekend away for your children.
Please do get in touch with Terry or Miss D to book your child on this trip.
Miss D email@example.com Tel: 0715396515
Terry firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0727 267642
For those of you unable to join us and watch your child compete in our Inter-House Athletics Day there will be transport to Nairobi and elsewhere leaving school at 1 pm as the competition comes to a close. Please do get in touch as soon as possible with Terry to arrange how we can help you with your plans.
Terry email@example.com Tel: 0727 267642
The Senior School Play
The senior school is working hard to prepare and rehearse this term’s play. However, in response to our unusual Covid times we have had to make a break with tradition.
Together with you, our parents, we have worked hard to keep the school community as safe and healthy as possible. As I am sure you understand the play will work best performed in the theatre. To try to keep the risk factor associated with Covid 19 to a minimum we have decided to invite only the school to watch the play this term on Tuesday 30th March with the dress rehearsal on the Monday night 29th March. The children and teachers will be socially distanced and we feel this will be a fitting way to arrange the first performance of the play. Should all go well and the Easter holidays pass without event we will then plan to stage the play in the theatre for you, our parents, to watch next term. Priority will go to parents of Years 7 & 8 but, should space allow, we can open the play up to other parents. We would like to arrange this performance for the Friday before half term, so please do make a note of Friday 28th May. I appreciate that you may well feel disappointed and frustrated that you must wait yet more weeks to enjoy the play and see your child on stage. However, we feel that this cautious approach, feeling our way forwards slowly but surely, is prudent and will hopefully allow us to continue at school keeping everyone safe and healthy.
The children have requested Easter games this term to make up for missing their Christmas games last term. Therefore, on Wednesday 31st March in the afternoon we will have Easter games followed by Easter dinner for the children and their teachers.
End of Term
Term will finish as posted in the calendar on Thursday 1st April. Buses and taxis will leave at 6 am although local parents may aim for a more relaxed pick up after breakfast!
I appreciate that I already have mentioned and expressed our gratitude to many of the teachers and members of staff who have been involved with school activities over this half term break. I would, however, just like to go one step further in expressing my gratitude to all our teachers and members of staff. Their devotion to Pembroke House is quite unique and going the extra mile is part and parcel of each day at school. As a boarding school we are so fortunate to have this level of commitment and dedication and it makes the school such a very special place. As I was taught, when I was little, the more you put into life the more you get out of it. Pembroke teachers lead by example and the children grow up with fabulous role models, all giving one hundred percent in their very different ways. This underlying ethos at school is just one of the many aspects of life at Pembroke House that sets us apart and we are extremely lucky.
When feeling grateful we must also remember that we are also extremely fortunate to have parents like you. Your trust and faith in us as a school, to look after and nurture your children, is quite unique and we could not possibly ‘do’ what we do without you…..thank you.
So ‘Letter from the Headmistress No 7’ comes to a close. As life continues to teach us we must remember to count our blessings and be mindful of how fortunate we are to be back at school and to have got to this stage in the term. I hope the information in this letter will help you to visualise what lies ahead and arrange your diaries. As always please do not hesitate to get in touch over anything at all and with the support of everyone here at school I will do my best to help.
With very best wishes,