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Start of Term Letter

Friday, 11 September 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It has been an absolute sheer delight to welcome the girls and boys back to St George’s for the new academic year. Hearing their laughter; seeing the joy their friendship with one another brings; and observing them reuniting with their teachers, has been wonderful.

We begin the academic year with 318 pupils and I would like to extend a special welcome to all those who join us for the first time this term.

Emerging with ambition

Our outlook for the year ahead is one of enormous optimism and positivity. The period of lockdown which saw ‘STGConnected’ bring learning and the St George’s connection to the children in their homes enabled us to see the children complementing skills learned in the classroom with a very different skill set: creativity; taking responsibility; perhaps a deeper learning journey; of course increased communications; and, despite the format of learning being at home, for many a new type of collaborative learning. My congratulations to all the pupils and staff, and my warmest thanks once again to you all for supporting the school through the challenges of the last six months. We have now emerged from this, and despite COVID-19 changing how we do things, we are firmly looking ahead to the future as a school.

Our strategy ‘See Tomorrow Grow’ was launched in July 2019, and announced our move towards the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate for our Years 7 and 8s; a focus on real world learning across the school, which develops ‘learning outside the classroom’, digital learning, and global perspectives. COVID-19 has only served to put the brakes on our initial rollout, however I am more determined than I’ve ever been that these changes will enhance the educational experience of the girls and boys, and we plan to make great strides this year. In addition, a focus on emotional wellbeing and celebrating our unique heritage sets us on a path to remain a school with traditional values, but with a truly innovative approach. I shall provide more information in due course, but wanted to reassure you all that we haven’t sat idle during the last six months, indeed there is a powerful conviction here that we are on the cusp of delivering something very exciting.

Academic excellence does, of course, remain the core business of the school, and I would like to once again congratulate last year’s leavers on their tremendous successes on entering their senior schools, whether at 11+ or 13+. I am delighted with our strong relationship with the local destination schools, as well as national boarding schools. As the cycle begins again with pre-assessments and interviews on the horizon, our best wishes to all pupils involved. Ian Nicholas (our Assistant Head, Academic) is the lead for the assessments, and I see the pupils for interview practice. This year we are working with 'Oppidan Education', who will come to school in November to lead interview workshops with our Year 6s. More information is going out to Year 6 parents about this and our wider preparation next week. I would be delighted to meet any parents to discuss senior school options; I have discovered the café opposite as a good place to meet! Please do contact Shelley to set this up: shelley.wall@stgwindsor.org.

Whilst at the moment we have asked parents not to enter the school buildings, please do make contact with your daughter’s or son’s class teacher should you wish to raise anything with them or have any questions. They are your first port of call and will be very happy to hear from you. Like many organisations, we encourage the staff to maintain a healthy balance by not checking their emails during the evening, so they will respond to you as soon as they can during working hours.

In addition to the class teachers, please do contact the following members of staff:

Music: James Wilkinson, Director of Music James.wilkinson@stgwindsor.org

Sport and PE: Patrick Wright, Director of Sport Patrick.wright@stgwindsor.org

Boarding and Choristers: Allison Onions, Houseparent Allison.onions@stgwindsor.org

On the Senior Leadership Team:

Pre-Prep: Emma Adriano, Head of Pre-Prep Emma.adriano@stgwindsor.org

Prep: Kevin Wills, Head of Prep and Senior Deputy Head Kevin.wills@stgwindsor.org

Prep: Academic and Learning: Ian Nicholas, Assistant Head (Academic) ian.nicholas@stgwindsor.org

Prep: Pastoral, Safeguarding and Wellbeing: Louise Squire, Assistant Head (Pastoral) louise.squire@stgwindsor.org

We will be developing our social media presence this term. Our two twitter feeds can be accessed via:

School: @stgwindsor

Boarding: @stgboarding

Facebook: stgeorgesschoolwindsor

Instagram: stgwindsor

I tweet at @goldsmithwdj

From Friday, 18 November, we will be sending out a main newsletter which will capture both the Pre-Prep and Prep. Alongside this will be Pre-Prep and Prep Bulletins.

Staffing news

At the end of last term we bid farewell to Maria D’Amaro (Netball Coach), Natalie Edwards (Pre-Prep Class Teacher), Carolina Leleu (Chorister Chaperone), and our two Graduate Assistants, Jamie Cook and Jessica Staley.

I am delighted to welcome the following new staff to St George’s:

Honor Halford-MacLeod is our new Chorister Chaperone. Honor is a Graduate of the University of Durham (Music), where she began her musical training as a chorister in Durham Cathedral. Aside from music, her interests include rowing (she rowed for the University), Netball, Duke of Edinburgh Award and Canoeing. Honor also has a Level 2 dinghy sailing qualification and is a PADI open water diver. Given her musical pedigree, Honor will also be supporting James Wilkinson in the Music School.

Molly Lawes joins us as our Graduate Assistant in the Music Department. Molly has a BA (Hons) in Composition from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has directed London based orchestras and was the composer in residence at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, where she also played the flute. Molly is undertaking a PGCE this year through the Open University.

Holly Sampson joins the school as our Graduate Assistant. Holly has a BA (Hons) in Middle Eastern Studies and World Philosophies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. She has worked for Interski as a schools and colleges Coordinator, and has experience from Dauntsey's School as a House Tutor, where she also led sign languages tuition, something she has already started with our boarding community.

Patrick Reynard completes the boarding team as our Sports Graduate Assistant. Patrick has a BSc (Hons) and is in the process of completing his MSc in Sports and Exercise Science. Patrick has gained valuable experience as Head Counsellor and Sports Coach at the Netop Summer Camp in the USA. Patrick enjoys football, tennis, cricket and basketball.

Sarah Brooks-Sayward joined the team in April as our playground mentor. She will be working across the Pre-Prep and Prep, Sarah joins us having had several years' experience working in schools and nurseries. She has already enjoyed getting to know the pupils.

Joining our team of peripatetic music teachers, Rachel Calaminus is welcomed as a violin teacher. She holds an MA from the University of Cambridge and an LRAM Postgraduate Diploma. With over 20 years' experience, she also teaches at Kings College School, Wimbledon, and the Abbey School, Reading.

Ben Svenson has completed his PGCE (achieving outstanding status) in PE, and has taken on a teaching role within the PE and Sports Department, freeing Kevin Wills up to focus on his role overseeing the Prep School and supporting me as Senior Deputy Head. Emma Adriano and he work very closely together to ensure a cohesive and connected learner journey from Kindergarten to Year 8.

Adam Jennings, our Drama Specialist and LAMDA teacher, will be leaving St George’s at the end of this term. Since his arrival in January 2019, Adam has put Drama well and truly on the map here, inspiring his classes and ever increasing numbers of LAMDA pupils – all of whom gained a distinction in the last two rounds of exams. Mary Poppins Jr went down as one of the most vibrant, inclusive and calmly produced shows, and Adam has worked very hard to raise the profile of the performing arts. My thanks to him for his contribution to the school. I will bring you news of our plans for Drama moving forwards in due course, but as a key part of our creative and performing arts strategy, it remains an area we wish to develop, and Adam leaves an exciting foundation and legacy for us to build on.

In the immediate future, we are doing all we can to make sure that the children, their teachers and our staff, and the community are as safe as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are in something of a ‘new normal’ and the daily routines and protocols do feel a little different. Despite this, everyone has coped extremely well so far this term, and we are conscious of the collective desire to get back to as much normality as we possibly can.

We will continue to post information on our 'September Reopening Hub', and an update letter with information relating to COVID will be sent out each Friday.

The Hub can be accessed here (password castle1348):

On October 1st, I take on the role as Vice-Chair of IAPS (the Independent Association of Prep Schools), the umbrella organisation of 650 schools that we are proud to be part of. Whilst this position doesn’t impact on my presence at St George’s, it will afford me the opportunity to fly the flag of St George’s across the sector, raising our profile, and through that bringing the very best of primary education back through our gates.

St George’s is certainly in a strong and unique position at the forefront of primary education. As we await our first review in the Good Schools Guide (another exciting development for us), I would like to share an excerpt latest review in the 'Tatler Schools Guide':

What really marks St George’s out is its commitment to pupils’ emotional wellbeing. Calm, contented pupils equals excellent results.

The last six months has seen our parents, pupils and staff pull together, showing the strength of this three-way partnership that underpins the success of St George’s. I look forward to seeing this continue over the coming months, and would like to thank you once again for your support as we work together to benefit the wellbeing and education of the girls and boys of St George's.

The start of term has been a little different, but the big news is that we have come back as a full community.

With very best wishes,

William Goldsmith

Year 6 pupils attending the first Prep School Assembly

Thursday, 3 September 2020 will surely go down as one of the happiest days in the school's history as we welcomed back all our pupils, especially those new to the school.

Our new pupils have done so well to settle into school life, and they have already contributed so much to the life of St George's.

Kindergarten and Reception children wasted no time making new friends and finding their favourite things to play with.

This week 1AG enjoyed the sunshine on a walk in Home Park Private.

1AG

1JH had lots of different lessons this week and were very excited to have their lesson in the ICT room!

1JH

The Year 2 looked very smart in their their new PE kits when they had a PE lesson in the Gym.

3CH had an indoor break in their classroom last week while 3ML played a maths game.

In Old Bank House Years 4 and 5 are back into the swing of things with lessons in their classroom bubbles. 5SD practised their Kung Fu punctuation in the outdoor classroom.

Lots of lessons have taken place outside this week thanks to the lovely weather. Year 7 had a geography lesson on weathering and erosion, and full use was made of the playing fields and the astro. The swimming pool is closed for the time being, but swimming noodles make great substitute hockey sticks for the children in the Pre-Prep. Reception learnt how to dribble the ball in their first games lesson.

The Years 7 and 8 girls chose to play table tennis in the gym.

The boarders enjoyed getting to know the new recruits who joined the boarding house bubble this term. It has been great to get back to boarding activities, including gardening.

Our wonderful kitchen team have been super pleased to be back to near normality preparing delicious breakfasts, lunches and suppers for everyone. Keeping us all safe has meant a lot of careful organisation and planning.

Weekly breakfast, lunch and supper menus up until half term can be seen on the Catering page of the school website.

Our Assemblies this week

Book Return - Plea from Mrs Woodrow

Mrs Woodrow is missing a significant number of novels from the English Department: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Private Peaceful, Holes and Tom’s Midnight Garden to name but a few. Could these be returned to school as soon as possible please?

Wishing the following pupils a very...

Benjamin C, Willow C, Ayoub K, Raphaël A, Amaury A, Arthur B, Zaki B, Jonty O, Oliver S, Matilda W and Keiran E.