|Michaelmas Term 2020
Letter from the Headmistress
Catching Up, Exams, Tracking Meetings, Parent Tutor Meetings, Final week of Term, A Christmas Performance, Final Assembly, Reports, Back to School on Monday 11th January 2021, Staff Changes, Council and Thank you.
It seems a while since I last wrote to you so I feel I should just touch base and check that you know exactly how matters will play out in the three weeks that are left until the end of term. I also need to give you the plans for next term so that you can arrange your lives and sort out your holidays.
I am writing this letter just as exams are about to start. For each year except Year 8 the exams will take place in their online Google Classrooms and the assessments will follow the usual online timetable. For the Year 8s there is a separate timetable and all exams will take place in the invigilation classroom with a teacher there to guide and look after the children. Some Year 8s will join us at school but the majority will sit their exams online. I must thank Miss Omell for a great deal of hard work in helping sort out all matters academic at school; it has been a very busy few weeks making sure we have not forgotten anything.
Hopefully with yet more weeks of online learning under their belts the children will rise to the challenge and show us how well they can do.
Following the exams each teacher will mark the completed work and we will get together to have our usual tracking meetings. This allows us to discuss and carefully consider the progress of each child. Our concern is to make sure that all the children are managing to perform at what we consider to be the very best of their ability. By sharing information and detail, a bigger picture develops and we hope to pick up any problems or issues along the way.
Parent Tutor Meetings
In a similar way to last term we will arrange a time for all our parents to meet their child’s tutor. This is an opportunity to touch base and discuss how this term has gone. Feedback from home always helps and for children and parents it is a good opportunity to focus on matters that need addressing next with their academic work in the classroom. Tutors will be in touch to arrange these online meetings between Friday 4th and Tuesday 8th December.
For some families this meeting may be quite short since you might well have been in touch regularly with your child’s Tutor throughout the last few months. For others the meetings may be a little longer with more to discuss and go through. No matter what your situation, keeping channels of communication open is extremely important and the more we share ideas and feelings the better we can all support the children.
Final Week of Term
During the final week of term we will try and arrange a more fun filled set of activities in the afternoon. I know Mr Hudson has a House Challenge up and running and I am all ready to add my cycling distances to Fosters’ running total! Mrs Wheeler has been working on more ideas and hopefully everyone will have lots of Christmassy fun.
Reports will arrive by the close of Wednesday 16th December and if there are hiccups of any kind along the way your child’s tutor will be in touch.
A Christmas Performance
Having tackled an online Speech Day at the end of last term we find ourselves, once again, somewhat challenged with trying to manage our usual Nativity and Carol Service online. However, we were all very pleased with our Speech Day back in July and hopefully we can put together something equally entertaining. Mr Hudson, ably assisted by Ms Shoukry, has kindly agreed once more to help edit and craft the production so we are all in safe hands. The little Year 1s and 2s will feature as they retell the Nativity story and we are all most grateful to Becca Rayner, our Drama specialist, for the very creative way in which she has managed to find a way to ‘do’ this with all the challenges of very young participants not to mention our challenging online existence. Our Prefects will play their part reading the traditional lessons which will be lovely and the staff will contribute in all sorts of ways - you shall see! Ms Shoukry has worked hard with the music and the carols and we hope to have a little added festivity with a Christingle celebration - so actually all in all much to look forward to.
Final assembly will be broadcast live on Friday morning 11th December with the whole school in attendance on their devices. This assembly will feature awards for effort and attainment from the exams and this term’s work as well as the details of those who have scored very well for their Houses in the House Point competition. I have full approval from the Bursar’s office for some chocolate to be sent out as prizes so hopefully there will be much excitement centred around this competition.
The Christmas Holidays
Once final assembly is over the Christmas holidays will begin!
The Lent Term
The Lent Term will begin on Monday 11th January when children will return to school in the afternoon. Lessons will begin on Tuesday morning, 12th January. We understand that this start date is unusual because it does not fall on a Sunday. However, we are doing our best to release everyone from the pressure of travelling at the weekend when the roads are so congested. We understand that for some families this might add extra complications and if transport is needed from Nairobi or elsewhere please do let us know and we will arrange school buses.
We are very sad to say goodbye to Charlie Maidment at the end of this term. We wish him well and despite half his teaching time having been spent online we hope he will carry fond memories of his time amongst us all.
Charlie will be replaced by John Wright who joins us from Swanbourne House where he is currently joint Head of Ancient and Modern Languages. John will take up the reins as Head of French, and arrives with his wife Lucy and his two children Freddie and Olive. John will also take over 8M which will become 8W! John will also be our Latin teacher and hopefully we can add this into the curriculum come the new academic year. With luck we might be able to start a Latin Club when we all find our feet once back at real live school.
On the note of staff changes it reminds me to update you that Council is excited to welcome two new members. We have Henry Knight joining us as a representative on the educational side of things. Henry is now Head of English at Sandroyd Prep School having previously been Headmaster of two prep schools: Woodcote House between 2009-2016, then Belhaven Hill from 2016-2019. Before becoming a teacher he worked in the wine trade.
Council has also invited Bryn Llewelyn to join council as Chairman of the Pembroke House Foundation. I know Bryn will add much value and having the Foundation represented at this level will lead to an added dynamism at school with all we are trying to achieve.
During recent months Council has also reorganised itself in order to build a new structure to further improve the way in which it can serve the school.
Excom is an executive group which takes the lead in decision making. Excom is a small, flexible group and one important attribute is the fact that none of these members of Council have a child at school. This helps to avoid any concern that might be posed by a conflict of interest.
Council has worked hard in recent months to support the school in making the best decisions possible as Covid has ravaged the World. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of us all, to thank Richard Vigne and all the members of Council for their endless time and thought in trying to forge a way ahead. Our priority as always has been to look after our children but at the same time Council has taken into consideration the varying fortunes of you, our parents, as well as our team of committed and creative teachers. Ultimately in the long run the right decisions are needed to allow the school not only to survive but thrive and we must build on its history which now spans a remarkable 93 years. I will list the members of Council for your interest in an appendix at the end of this letter.
I am sure you have all read or at least glanced at the Covid booklet we sent out back in October. We are very aware that things are changing quite quickly in relation to both testing and the availability of a vaccine. We will certainly update this booklet and as the new term approaches we will make sure we are all as prepared as possible, utilising whatever new advances might have reached Kenya by that time.
Dates for your Diary
Exams - Monday 23rd - Friday 27th November
Parent Tutor Online Meetings Friday 4th - Tuesday 8th December
Christmas Performance - streamed live at 6 pm Thursday 10th December
Final Assembly - 9 am Friday 11th December
Back to School Monday 11th January 2021
Lessons Begin Tuesday 12th January 2021
Before I finish I would like to thank Steph Dloniak for her wonderful talk on the Friday just before our break. We all enjoyed learning about hyenas, baboons and bears - fascinating facts, delivered quite perfectly and always so much to learn
So I think that is about all for now. Please do get in touch over anything at all and it is a pleasure to try and help.
Good luck to our children during this, our exam week and I hope they all feel pleased with their efforts.
With very best wishes,