Having survived the howling winds and heavy snowfalls of previous weeks, it is lovely to write my end of term letter in my study with the sun shining brightly. As always, this term has been packed full of adventure and our pupils have surpassed themselves in terms of our whole school goal to ‘Be Someone.’
Foreign travel and language learning is high on the agenda at the moment as the current J6 pupils are in France immersing themselves in French culture. The boys in the Senior School football team are preparing for their journey to Barcelona tomorrow and thirty excited pupils are packing their ski gear in readiness for their trip to Italy.
Higher up the school, our older pupils are frantically fund raising for their community project for their summer expedition to Swaziland. I am so delighted that our partnership with Mlindzini High School is going from strength to strength and that the pupils are determined to raise enough funds to build a much-needed kitchen for the Mbita Primary School when they get there. We have had three very generous donations of hampers of fine wines, champagne and port to raffle for this cause. Tickets can be purchased from the Senior School at a cost of £5 each, the raffle will be drawn on Thursday 19 April. If you feel you can help the team in their fund raising quest, then please do support them by buying a raffle ticket.
Looking back over the term, January seems such a long time ago, but was marked with two excellent events. The first was the official opening of the much anticipated All-Weather Pitch by Mr Michael Owen. We were delighted to be able to celebrate the opening, a year to the day from our very first fund raising event. Again, I would publicly like to thank all of you who supported us to achieve this amazing goal, whether as a major donor or by showing your support by buying a piece of Lego. Collectively we raised the funds needed to fulfil the vision for our pupils and each and every day it gives me great pleasure to watch our youngsters playing, practising and competing in lots of different sports.
I am also delighted that our partnership with Chester Hockey Club has become a reality and there is a real sense of achievement that this new found, long lasting commitment which will benefit both parties equally. We already have some of our very talented young ladies playing for the Club and being coached at a high level.
The second exciting event to happen in January was the publication of the Performance Tables released by the Department of Education in which we are delighted to report that for the second year running we were placed top in Cheshire West and Chester for Pupil Progress at A Level for our 2017 results. This is a huge achievement and I could not have been more proud of our Sixth Formers as they collected their results and secured their places at the Universities of their choice last summer.
At the end of February, pupils across the school from Infants to Sixth Form took part in Abbey Gate College’s first Wellbeing Day. The pace of life, concerns about school work, friendships, parents and the impact of social media on children's lives means that it is more important than ever for pupils to learn how to manage stress and take care of their own wellbeing.
The whole school were off timetable for the day so that pupils could participate in a variety of talks and activities themed around positive mental health and wellbeing. The sessions focused on enabling students to understand their feelings and emotions and develop strategies to look after their own wellbeing, as well as that of their friends.
Younger pupils enjoyed a mixture of activities, including singing for fun, dance yoga and British Red Cross first aid, and participated in workshops such as personal safety with PC Sally Malone.
At the Senior School, the morning sessions involved talks on key wellbeing topics, such as mental health first aid, alcohol awareness and time management. The afternoon saw pupils learning new skills, getting active, getting outside in the fresh air, working together, getting hands-on, learning strategies around resilience and managing anxiety, taking time out from the usual routine and getting creative. Pupils chose two activities from 21 possible choices, ranging from yoga to gardening, mindfulness to money skills and camp craft to chess.
To see our young people so engaged and interested about their wellbeing and resilience was inspiring. I cannot thank the staff enough who took on this monumental challenge and delivered it with such expertise and passion. It was a day that we will look back on with pride and we will definitely continue to build on this theme in the future.
I am very proud that as a school we always take on the challenge of supporting a local charity and this year is no exception. ACET UK is a Christian charity championing healthy relationships and sexual wellbeing, which we felt fitted perfectly with our whole school approach to wellbeing. Head Girl, Holly Gray organised a variety performance show which took place at the beginning of March, comprising of singers, comedians, instrumentalists and even a magician!
The event was a showcase of talent with performers moving the audience from tears to laughter. Acts included Oliver Smith singing 'The Music of the Night' from Phantom of the Opera, Evie Murphy playing 'My Heart Will Go On' from Titanic on the harp, a musical comedy sketch by Charlie Jelfs and Sol Ward and an emotional song composed and performed by Maisie Watkins. The evening was attended by over 100 people including parents, staff and a representative from ACET UK, who talked about the difference the donations will make to young people throughout the UK and internationally. A fantastic amount of money was raised – just over £1,600! I am sure you will agree pupils at Abbey Gate College really do have talent.
The Chapel Choir are preparing to sing Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Monday 9 April and again, alongside our orchestra who will play at our 40th Anniversary Service from 7:30pm on Tuesday 24 April. I do hope that you will be able to join us at this time.
One last little note from me - please could I ask all parents who drive their children to school not to drive on site at the Senior School at the beginning of the day if you can help it, nor at the end of the day before 4.15 pm after which time the buses will have left the site.
All that is left to do is to wish you all a wonderful Easter and say good luck to our Sixth Form and Year 11 pupils as they prepare for their public exams next term.
Mrs T Pollard
Published: Friday, 23rd March 2018