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: firstname.lastname@example.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.email@example.com
Sport and PE: Patrick Wright, Director of Sport Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org
Boarding and Choristers: Allison Onions, Houseparent Allison.email@example.com
On the Senior Leadership Team:
Pre-Prep: Emma Adriano, Head of Pre-Prep Emma.firstname.lastname@example.org
Prep: Kevin Wills, Head of Prep and Senior Deputy Head Kevin.email@example.com
Prep: Academic and Learning: Ian Nicholas, Assistant Head (Academic) firstname.lastname@example.org
Prep: Pastoral, Safeguarding and Wellbeing: Louise Squire, Assistant Head (Pastoral) email@example.com
We will be developing our social media presence this term. Our two twitter feeds can be accessed via:
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.
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.