E-weekly Issue 131
Letter from the Headmistress – 1st June 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I did not imagine I would be writing to you again at the beginning of the second half of the Summer Term still without clear official guidance about when we might all be able to come back to Mayfield. Nevertheless, I would like to share with you our understanding about the current situation and our hopes for the future. I hope the girls have spent their time constructively over the holiday and, given the lovely weather (at least in England), they have been able to find creative and active alternatives to screen time, because I fear that lessons will have to continue remotely for the foreseeable future. In the short term, on-line learning will resume as per (what has become) usual. The girls are engaging positively and increasingly proactively: staff are confident that the girls are making good progress, albeit that lessons are not the same. This is excellent and I am immensely proud of all the work done by girls and staff (and parents!) to ensure that the show not only goes on, but gets excellent reviews!
You might be forgiven for being confused by the announcements from Whitehall, as guidelines seem to have changed every day even over the course of the holiday week. However, it has been confirmed that secondary schools will not begin to return until on or after 15th June and even then, the only expectation is to:
· “Provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of Year 10 and Year 12 pupils, with a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality”
· "Continue to use best endeavours to support all other pupils remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer.”
As I have said before, we do not want to bring people back to School as a token gesture, as we believe it will have a detrimental effect on the quality of our academic provision. Under current guidelines we would have to bring back such small groups (only a quarter of Year 10 or 12 at a time) and their movement would be so constricted that they would be better off continuing to learn at home. I appreciate that the opportunity to get together with friends (and teachers) in person is important, and we are a preparing number of opportunities for those in Years 10 and 12 who are able to come in to School in the coming weeks, in ways which conform to the government guidelines and provide both a valuable and safe experience. Mrs Stone is currently adapting the introduction to A Levels and Sixth Form Choices Programme for girls in Year 10, which would usually be taking place at this time. Similarly, Mr Doy will be focussing on UCAS preparation with Year 12. Both will combine face-to-face meetings in School with remote engagement. This means that lesson content can continue to be delivered on-line for Year 10 and 12, ensuring those girls who are unable to come in to School will thus not be disadvantaged. Year 11 and 13 have induction programmes to help prepare them for Sixth Form and university life respectively: this information will be sent out in the coming week to the girls concerned.
Sadly, it is clear now that it will not be possible for our boarders to return until September, nor is it likely that day girls (other than those mentioned above) will be able to come in to School before the Summer Term ends on 3rd July. Therefore, our ongoing on-line provision will ensure that every member of the School community, wherever she is, will have the same access to high quality educational provision, and be able to see her teachers – and friends - as much as possible until the end of term. While all trips have had to be cancelled or rearranged, we will endeavour to replicate these out of classroom learning opportunities in different ways. I still remain committed to bringing together the Upper Sixth girls at School. Exactly how and when this happens remains to be seen and is to a certain extent currently out of our hands, but the views of the girls themselves will be a primary consideration.
Thank you very much to each of you who took the time to respond to last week’s questionnaire: we will use your responses to help ensure that we continue to improve and refine our provision for the girls, inside and outside the classroom. I am delighted that you are so pleased with all that the girls are achieving. While we would not have chosen this situation, it is heartening to see how well everyone is responding. As Cornelia Connelly said: “You never know what you can do until you try…” I am grateful (and I know from your ongoing letters and emails that you share this appreciation), to staff and all they have continued to do, even over the holiday, to support and challenge the girls, and help ensure that the coming weeks provide the best possible educational experience for them. Cornelia also commented: “Let us never believe that we have done enough…” so be assured none of us are feeling complacent.
This will not be the second half of term we had anticipated but we will make the best of it, and want to ensure that the girls have a range of learning experiences. The apparent focus on senior girls might leave our current Years 7, 8 and 9 feeling rather overlooked. Please don’t worry. We will make sure that they have the undivided attention and support of their teachers (although they should be careful what they wish for!) In the first instance, we are looking forward to the Virtual Cornelian Association presentations on the evening of Tuesday 2nd June. Just as importantly, I know I can rely on our junior girls to play an important role in welcoming those who will be joining us in September and helping them over the coming weeks with a transition which may be more daunting than usual.
We are all working hard to ensure that the School is ready to begin anew in September and I am confident that the education we provide, and the way in which the girls learn, will be improved by the experiences we are sharing now. Things may not appear quite the same as usual, at least initially, but we will do all that we can to find a way to make things run as smoothly as possible. We are putting in place appropriate procedures and taking steps to ensure that we will be able to conform to all Government requirements in September. I don’t need to tell you that these guidelines are constantly changing, but I can assure you that we will be ready to bring the girls back as soon as this is permitted. Issues concerning quarantine continue to pose challenges for our overseas parents, but I will be contacting those parents separately and I am sure that we will be able to resolve any concerns. We are keen to do all that we can to ensure girls return safely and speedily.
There are many reasons to be confused and concerned, but we need to be optimistic and encourage the girls to see the positive in every experience. Mayfield and our region of the country has been comparatively spared from the worst excesses of COVID-19. I know not all of the wider Mayfield family has been so lucky. While I am not aware of any confirmed cases among the current Mayfield community, I have heard of one or two serious yet still unconfirmed cases, and some sad bereavements of extended family members. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope that you are comforted, as I am, by the reassurance that none of us is alone in dealing with the challenges we are facing, and together we will make the best of our situation. I have been particularly heartened by new parents who have commented to me “after only a few months, we feel welcomed and we are being supported as if we had always been part of the Mayfield community.” That is how it should be! Everyone has someone to walk with them during the times of difficulty and, perhaps just as importantly, during the times of boredom and frustration. The coming weeks will, I suspect be the greatest test of our mettle, as we navigate our way safely through the transition from lockdown to re-integration. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to continue to support you over the coming weeks. I am not a great biblical scholar but these words seem fitting for our time: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
With my continued prayers and best wishes,
Miss Antonia Beary, Headmistress
OC Raises over $16,000 for NAACP
We are extremely proud of OC Imogen Mellor who was asked by one of the largest gaming sites in the world, Eurogamer, to do a special livestream to followers around the world on Wednesday, to raise money for NAACP in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Imogen, who is a gaming journalist for an online platform called PCGamesN, has raised more than $16,000 so far!
School this Week
Virtual Cornelian Association Anniversary Competition 2020
On Tuesday 2nd June, Mayfield held a virtual Cornelian Association Anniversary Competition awards ceremony – another first for the School with our online learning programme! Many congratulations to all those in Years 7, 8, and 9 on a stunning set of competition entries where you showed great imagination, presentation skills, artistry, research and communication. Overall, the entries were of such a high standard that choosing the winners was extremely difficult, and we were in awe of this group of students.
The entries were so varied that it was a real pleasure reading the stories, essays, and explanations, and examining your drawings, sculptures, paintings, posters, and even watching a film. The judging team would like to thank you all for your hard work and your ingenuity, and just sheer brilliance!
The winners are as follows:
Overall Winner – Mia
Highly Commended - Matilda and Anna
Winner Enterprise - Alexa
Overall Winner - Rebecca B
Highly Commended - Maddie G and Tabatha
Winner Best Artwork - Katie
Winner Novel Presentation - Phoebe
Overall Winner - Elizabeth
Winner Best Essay - Isabella H
Thank you all for taking part.
The Cornelian Association
Intermediate Biology Olympiad
Even though we may not be in School, a number of our Year 12 Biologists took part in the on-line Intermediate Biology Olympiad this week. The competition, run by the Royal Society of Biology, challenges and stimulates students with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents. It enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded with publicly recognised certificates and medals. Well done to Octavia, Georgia, Natasha, Claudine, Ellie, and Vanessa. We await the results in the next few weeks!
Mrs Jocelyn Mahon, Head of Science
From the English Department
Year 10 Creative Writing
Mrs Evans’ Year 10 English students were given a creative writing prompt from the opening of Dickens' novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” and Phoebe wrote this lovely piece in response to the brief:
The streets are filled with empty space, the sound of deafening silence expanding until it bursts our eardrums. London, New York, Madrid. All overwhelmed with quiet.
But if we dig a little deeper, and burrow inside the homes of the inhabitants, the day-to-day lives of people continue. The joy of new life still envelops the world of new families, although the barrier of glass divides grandmothers from their grandchildren. Single mothers struggle with chores and entertaining children all at once, whilst the children stare at their computer screens, missing their friends and the chaos of school life.
The trees wave in the wind alone, with no inquisitive souls to wave back. The water of lakes flows gently, not interrupted by the stomping miniscule feet of toddlers splashing around. Wasps buzz lazily, interested as a snail, without seeing the reactions of the tiny monsters that haunt them. The flowers droop without hearing their fond compliments from passers-by. The bird song seems a thousand times louder, drowning out the sins of society. Nature continues, but continues changed.
Everything is deserted, except for the supermarkets. Lines of agitated people queue for miles, forced to smother their hands in sticky hand sanitizer. Most of them can't breathe, masks suffocate them and leave them gasping.
The one sole time that anyone ventures out is to clap. To yell from the top of their lungs and clang pans in appreciation for the angels that say they are just doing their daily job. That same 'daily' job that saved the lives of brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers.
Handmade rainbows stick onto the glass that divides others: hope. Hope for better days and hope for a time of unity.
Phoebe, Year 10
Year 8 Poetry
Mrs Leslie’s Year 8 English students are currently studying poetry and were asked to write their own poem based on E.E. Cummings’ poem ‘Maggie and Milly and Molly and May’. Breanna chose to set her work out to reflect the motion of waves, mimicking another poem we studied called 'Island Man' by Grace Nicholls.
Mayfield potters have continued to be wonderfully creative in their virtual lessons, with Year 7 designing delftware vessels inspired by spring flowers, and Year 8 designing their own Henry Moore sculptures based on organic forms.
Mrs Yolanda McFadyean, Teacher of Ceramics
History of Art
Year 12 History of Art students have been working hard on the outline proposals for their Pre-U coursework essay and these have now been approved by Cambridge Assessment. Students are pursuing their own individual interests on topics ranging from symbolism in Kuniyoshi's prints, Khmer religious architecture, Hokusai's illustrations for books, and Salvador Dali's surrealist objects. Well done, Year 12!
Dr Joanna Weddell, Head of History of Art
Remote Food and Nutrition Lessons
We have started this Half Term by offering the girls the opportunity to cook a recipe at home during their Food and Nutrition lesson (if possible). This, however, is not expected and written work tasks are still available for the lesson. Recipes will be sent in Teams at the end of the lesson for the following week, so there is hopefully time to discuss as a family which ingredients would work best. The recipes can be adapted for vegetarians, and for different fruits and vegetables depending on family preferences. The girls should not be asking you at the beginning of their lesson if they can cook - they need to plan ahead! In the first week back we have been making pasta sauces and next week will be fruit desserts. Other suitable recipes can be made if you prefer, but please bear in mind the timing as girls must not be late to their following lesson. If you have any queries please contact Miss Theobald at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The girls have also made some wonderful dishes for their families over Half Term, ranging from elderflower cordial to lasagne, and from focaccia to cookies. Well done girls!
Miss Emily Theobald, Head of Food and Nutrition
For the first time ever, due to the cancellation of the annual Mayfield Aquathlon and Triathlon, the PE Department organised a Remote Triathlon for the School community to participate in. This consisted of a range of events and distances, suitable for all ages and abilities. The date was set for the Bank Holiday weekend and those who entered sent their times or strava screen shot to Mrs Whitby and Miss Jones.
It was a hot weekend so huge congratulations to everyone who took part and thank you to those of you who also got your families involved. All participants have been issued with a Virtual Triathlon Certificate, so if you haven’t received yours and you sent in a time, please email Mrs Fletcher.
I would like to make special mention of the following competitors:
- Mr Webb (father of Maisie in Year 12) who recorded the fastest 10km bike time of 16 minutes and 8 seconds
- Year 10 Sophie who recorded the quickest 10km of any student, clocking in at 22 minutes and 10 seconds
- Lydia in Year 8 for her fantastic effort and the fastest student time of 59 minutes in the Sprint Triathlon, and Year 8 Rebecca B for her time of 48 minutes and 50 seconds in the Mini Triathlon.
Well done to all the staff who also took part, it was great to hear from those of you who managed to get involved, and a huge “well done” to Mr and Mrs Whitby (our Mayfield Triathlon specialists), who completed all of the distances and events over the weekend! And to Mrs Rachel Davies (Deputy Head of Sixth Form) and her daughter, Year 8 Lauryn, who completed the 10km bike ride.
We will continue to offer the girls a full range of remote sporting opportunities and with the Athletics Diamond league in full swing at the moment, girls from Years 7 to 11 are being selected to represent Mayfield against 16 other Sussex schools.
Mrs Georgina Fletcher, Director of Sport
We are working hard in the hope of bringing a range of activities to SPARK Camp this summer holidays while ensuring the safety of our children and workshop providers in a socially-distanced setting. We are currently in the process of adjusting programmes and enabling bookings for the following dates:
Week 1: 20th – 24th July
Week 1: 20th – 24th July
Week 2: 27th – 31st July
Week 3: 3rd – 7th August
Please follow our new SPARK Camp Facebook Page - like and follow to get the most recent updates. Alternatively, please see our Twitter or Mayfield SPARK Camps pages on the School website. If you have any questions, please email: email@example.com
Mrs Lynette Le Riche
Mayfield Social Media Accounts
For up to date information on School events and activities.
Mayfield School - @Mayfieldgirls
Mayfield Geography - @MGeographers
Mayfield Economics - @MayfieldECON
Mayfield Food and Nutrition - @MGFoodandNut
Mayfield Music - @MayfieldGirlsM1
Mayfield Drama -@DramaMayfield
Mayfield STEM - @MayfieldGirlsS1
Mayfield Careers - @MGCareersDept
Mayfield Sport - @MGPEDept
Mayfield Spark Camps - @SparkCamps
Mayfield Library - @MGLibraries