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News > School News > From the Headmistress - 25th September

From the Headmistress - 25th September

Read Lucy Elphinstone's weekly 'News from the Headmistress' letter and keep up to date with life at FHS, Sloane Square.
25 Sep 2020
School News
Friday 24th September 2020 

On this chilly day, I’ll lead with the simple pleasures. We have wonderful food in FHS! In our lovely roof garden, we have a sensory herb garden and here is a picture of our head chef, Mr Joel Figueira , gathering some fresh tomatoes for one of his signature Mediterranean dishes. For today was Italian Day, and we enjoyed un banchetto of pasta dishes which reminded us all of the sunshine and colour of the South. We are so lucky to enjoy such delicious seasonal food every day, locally sourced, free range and organic where possible, bursting with flavour and variety. In such difficult times, the pleasure of eating good food together each day is an important element in keeping mind and body in the best health.
 
And we need this daily boost. This week we entered the next phase of the Covid restrictions with face coverings being worn around the School. We continue to evade the virus with no positive cases but lots of testing – and many girls absent. As I said last week, it is important to differentiate between the symptoms of a common cold and Covid. A sore throat and runny nose is almost certainly a cold, and a day or two will make it clear. Many girls are being kept at home when they really could be in school, and, since our days of staying open are probably limited, every lesson counts enormously. We are trying to pack in the teaching and learning now, prepared at any moment to return to teaching online if the circumstances dictate.
 
Our Year 10s and 11s are now remaining in School at lunchtime in accordance with our stricter Covid regime, and we have set up a bistro café for them in the hall with wraps, sandwiches and salads, as well as giving them the option to eat a hot lunch in the dining room if they wish. As the weather turns colder they will always have the opportunity to have a full cooked lunch, but if they have clinics or clubs, they also have the option to have a quick lunch with no queuing in the calmer environment of the senior hall. They seem very happy.
 
On the subject of our Covid measures, please will you ensure that you wear a face covering if you are approaching the School, and try to keep your distance. To avoid congestion and pollution near the School, do also try to park a little distance from the School, using our FHS parking permit (available from the School office) for ten minutes on yellow lines. I am delighted to see so many children walking, scootering or cycling to school – with at least two tandem bikes too bringing the girls in.
 
The girls are getting plenty of exercise now that school has brought PE lessons along with a brisk walk to or from Battersea Park. We have cut down drastically on our use of coaches to take the girls to their sports lessons but as the weather worsens we will see that increasing. It has been interesting to see how many girls have lost some skills and coordination during the lockdown and I am so pleased to see the energetic lessons and training which are bringing back the girls’ energy and fitness.
 
We have taken delivery of our first Radic8 air filtration unit and are reviewing the scientific papers reporting on their efficacy before we make our final decision as to how many we should buy. As I’ve mentioned, these systems remove all viruses (including the common cold and flu) as well as eliminating the harmful pollution of lead, carbon dioxide and radon. A comprehensive installation could have profound benefits to the health of our girls and staff, but would cost in the region of a quarter of a million pounds. In such difficult financial times, we simply don’t have that sort of resource, but we will do all we can, if our governors agree, to install as much as possible.
 
We hosted a well-‘attended’ Junior School open morning this week and were delighted by the interest shown and the many enquiries. This was followed by our Sixth Form Open Evening on Wednesday, which, again, saw an unprecedented number of ‘visitors’. There is strong interest in our new Sixth Form building, the Old School House, and in our focus on academic excellence alongside creativity, innovation and social enterprise resonates with many. I am seeing all the Year 11 students at the moment, in groups, day by day, and I am struck by the way the lockdown and the uncertainty before us are leading most of the girls to be adamant that they want to stay with us in the Sixth Form and stick with the teaching and pastoral care they know, the solidity and depth of which they have come to appreciate. Our senior pupils are grappling with the question mark over the future of public exams, and this worry is wearing for everyone. They are all just trying to keep their heads down and concentrate on working but at the same time our choirs are singing again and our orchestras are making music. We have had some beautiful music in our daily assemblies (Zoomed to all but one year group in the hall). Our clubs are bursting at the seams and the School is full of activity and initiative. Long may it last.

News from FHS Staff and Community
 
Our first ever virtual second-hand uniform sale was a huge success. This took place on Wednesday 16th September raising over £2,700 for The Katherine Low Settlement, In-Deep Community Taskforce and Mvumi School in Tanzania. Huge thanks to the SSPA for coordinating this sale and raising valuable funds for our link charities.
Nick Dyson - Director of Creative Enterprise
 
For our Harvest Festival Collection this year we are once again collecting foodstuff for In-Deep. We have worked with In-Deep for several years as they seek to combat poverty and loneliness in Westminster and Lambeth. They are always hugely grateful for our kind donations of food, which they distribute to over 100 vulnerable local people in the lead up to Christmas. They have been inundated with new referrals from Westminster council due to the hardships and privations suffered during the pandemic. Our consistent and reliable support has meant that they can carefully plan their activities in the years to come, despite the new challenges of being Covid secure. Please encourage your girls to bring in their donations in a plastic bag and to place it carefully in the box in their form room.
Will Galloway - Head of Outreach

If your daughter is in Animal Club and wishes to bring home an animal for a weekend, half term or holiday, here is a short permission form for you to fill in. The form should be completed each time the animal comes home. 
Tristan Marshall - Teacher of Biology

The PE department have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for the co-curricular sports clubs such as cross country, cricket, dance and fencing. The girls are eager to get back to netball and we have been delighted with the turnouts at training this week. For a second week running we have had over 160 senior girls involved in sport during their Wednesday games slot which includes 30 girls being coached by a professional Mai Tai fighter and ex GB decathlete at Manor Gym in Victoria. The weather has taken a turn so we would like to remind all girls to come prepared with sufficient layers for the PE lessons this term. Please note that Mr Jeanes and the PE department have spoken to all girls this week about how the new school guidelines for CV-19 will impact PE. We ask that all girls in Year 7-10 bring their FHS swimming bag or alternative dark lightweight draw string bag to their offsite lesson. The girls use these bags to store their named water bottle, FHS sport layers and facemasks. 
PE Department

On Sunday 4th October, the Virtual London Marathon is taking place in thousands of places across the UK. At FHS, we will be seeing just how many London Marathons we can run collectively as part of a 'How Far!?' challenge in PE lessons in order to support the fundraising activities of everyone's favourite Maths Teacher/Marathon runner: Mrs Catherine Price. As you may or may not know already, Mrs Price has been living with Adrenocortical Carcinoma, a particularly rare and aggressive form of Cancer. Despite this extra challenge, she will be taking up her place in the delayed Virtual London Marathon, running 26.2 miles on Sunday 4th October. She is also swimming the marathon distance AND cycling the same during September and October in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. What a legend! We are obviously very keen to support her fundraising efforts, which you can also do here.
Will Galloway - Head of Outreach


 

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