E-weekly Issue 133
Letter from the Headmistress – 13th June
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I should never have worried that there would be nothing to share with you every week during lockdown. Certainly, there is much to occupy us this week both at home and abroad. I intended to send this out several days ago, but delayed pressing ‘send’ as events continue to evolve. The news may seem uncertain, but we do have many reasons to feel positive.
Virtual learning continues to be successful and I know that many staff feel that the new skills they are practising will bring additional benefits to their teaching when we all return to the classroom. I hope the girls feel this too. It has been really exciting to see the work they have been producing and their continuing creativity and ingenuity! The media continue to debate when and how we will return to School for the next academic year. Please do not believe all you read (unless written by me, of course)! We are planning for a return to School in September and aiming to welcome everyone back: if not quite as usual, at least to the ‘new normal’. We are making provision to bring back our boarders early to fulfil quarantine requirements, if this is necessary. I hope it goes without saying that we are considering a range of scenarios, which should allow us some flexibility as we respond to Government guidelines over the coming weeks. Whatever happens, I can assure you we remain committed to ensuring that each girl has the best possible provision, and we will endeavour to continue to deliver with the minimum of fuss and disruption.
Rumours also abound over next year’s examinations, which I can understand is distressing to girls in Years 10 and 12 particularly. Please tell your daughter to try not to worry: as yet nothing has been decided, but if she is concerned, encourage her to talk to her teachers about it. As soon as we have any useful information I will share it with you. I hope you will take strength from the fact that whatever form GCSE and A Level examinations take in the future, our girls will be in a strong position in comparison with their peers because of the teaching and guidance they have received, and the work they have done during the past few months.
Thank you again for your positive engagement with the recent questionnaire. Some parents indicated that they were uncertain as to whom they should contact about pastoral or academic concerns. Just as you would usually, it is best to start with your daughter’s tutor (and her Housemistress for boarders), in the first instance, but Heads of School, Mrs Green and Mrs Bunce are also available to provide assistance. For IT problems, the best option remains email@example.com. Of course, I am always happy to help if I can, although I am less likely to be of use for technology issues!
Girls and staff alike are talking about the events and the media coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests, and we need to help them to understand about the issues, and to discern their own well-informed opinions. I am sure there are many discussions taking place over the dining tables in your homes. Sixth Form girls are particularly keen to facilitate open discussion and education about racism in all its forms. Mayfield was founded on respect for the individual: not least as each of us is formed in the image and likeness of God, and we are encouraged to see Christ in others. We would like girls to learn about and appreciate the value of cultures other than their own from their peers, as well as in lessons. We also want them to have a profound sense of justice, and be able to articulate their views and engage constructively with others of differing views. We are mindful that the world is changing and we are always looking at ways we can improve how we broaden girls’ perspectives and help our current girls to have a better understanding of the world.
I commend the enthusiasm and desire to effect positive change that we see in so many young people, which is exactly the response I would hope for from Mayfield girls. What we see in the media is shocking and while there should always be a place for peaceful public protest and demonstration, violence and intimidation are never acceptable. Clearly, racism in any form is abhorrent and we want to help our girls recognise this. When it happens, it needs to be addressed on many levels, and we can all start with reflecting on our own behaviour. It is not simply a case of learning about civil rights, or making our voice heard (although these are important in themselves), it is something much harder. Making sure these rights are lived out in daily life; acting with integrity; listening carefully; treating everyone as an individual and respecting them for whom they are can be challenging. I am more than aware that we do not live in an ideal world. While we cannot change the past, we can inform the future, and we aspire to help the whole School community to do this more consistently.
Over the last weeks, we have been reflecting on what we, as a School, currently do to promote this recognition and understanding, to help the girls challenge racism and other injustices, and what we need to do to improve this. Led by current Sixth Formers, we are working on establishing a School Forum to review how we help the whole community understand, and confront, issues of racism and unconscious bias of all sorts. We are looking at extending this group, which currently includes pupils and staff, to include OCs, parents and governors. We are committed to listening to all members of our School community, so if you are interested in being involved, please let me know.
We live in interesting times, but should nevertheless be positive and confident about the future. These words of St Paul from the readings at Mass on Sunday particularly resonated with me, and I offer them to you for the coming days:
“We wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you… The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Wise words in these difficult times. I hope they are of benefit to you. Have a good week.
Miss Antonia Beary, Headmistress
Under normal circumstances, we would be coming together as a community tomorrow on Mayfield Day to celebrate achievements of girls throughout the School. However, Year 11 girls enjoyed a Virtual Awards Ceremony held last week. The awards recognised a range of achievements and it was wonderful to acknowledge the girls’ commitment throughout the year
Mrs Sally Gerstmeyer, Head of Drama Department
School this Week
News from the Geography Department
As part of their AQA A Level Geography course, our Year 12 Students are required to undertake an independent investigation. The examination board stipulates that this must incorporate a significant element of fieldwork. The fieldwork undertaken as part of the individual investigation may be based on either human or physical aspects of Geography, or a combination of both. What is important is that students work on their own on the contextualising, analysing and reporting of their work, to produce an independent investigation with an individual title, that demonstrates the required fieldwork knowledge, skills, and understanding.
Despite lockdown, our girls are well underway with their investigations, and most have already started collecting primary and secondary data. Some examples of the individual investigations are listed below and will, I am sure, make very interesting reading when they have been completed:
- Variation of soil infiltration rates on arable land
- Economic and environmental impact of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
- An investigation into environmental quality and the ‘quality of life’ across Tunbridge Wells
- How effective is coastal management at Bembridge, Isle Of Wight?
- An investigation into the ‘quality of life’ and levels of happiness in rural and urban areas
- Factors influencing air quality in Wadhurst
- An investigation into soil infiltration rates on different surfaces in the Medway drainage basin
- The impacts of gentrification in East London - Shoreditch and Stratford
- Variations in the biotic and abiotic environment across a psammosere in Dorset
- How components of the Water Cycle vary over time and space in East Sussex
- A comparison of the effectiveness of regeneration schemes in Camden and Shoreditch
- To what extent do beach profiles and beach characteristics change along the Sussex coast?
Mr Steve Gough, Head of Geography
News from the English Department
Year 10 Elizabeth wrote the excellent story below in timed (45 minutes) exam conditions this week. A brilliant effort!
Mrs Natasha Evans, Head of English
From Our Foreign Correspondent
It was oppressively hot, too hot even for tourists, so the streets were mercifully quiet for Anna Herring’s walk home. She had spent the day conducting research in preparation for tomorrow’s interviews, and she had a lot to think about. She had chosen to take the scenic route back, through Old Town, in the hope that she could submerge herself in the context of the city. From her relatively few years working for the BBC, she had gathered that in order to write convincingly about an area (and the problems that it faces, in her case), you had to be on the front line, in the midst of the action, exploring it for yourself. It was this element of, what she naïvely referred to as ‘glamour’, the chance to see the world, that had led her to journalism.
Her brisk pace was interrupted by a blockage, caused by what seemed to be a large and spontaneous set up of market stalls. She smelt them before she saw them; the overwhelming, nose-wrinkling smell of charred meat; the over-ripe fruits left out in the sun too long and beginning to rot – far from the ‘fresh produce’ being advertised. It was much more crowded than the surrounding streets, which was odd, considering that nobody had the appearance of wanting to be there - you could sense the general irritation that hung in the thick air. On one long table, fish was laid out, half-heartedly packed with melting ice. How long was it since they last saw the sea? Anna didn’t want to think. Cheeses were stacked like a Cubist assemblage, in ways which surely defied gravity. Some stand owners chose to heckle at passers-by, whereas others lazily swatted a fly or two, in a way that suggested they had no care what crawled over their food.
One woman, who was slowly sipping from a bottle of water, stared obstinately at Anna as she squeezed past. She was as wrinkled as the dates which were laid out on a canvas mat in front of her. Anna didn’t think that the water would do much good in rehydrating her.
She put her head down and tried to swim against the current of bodies, which were clogging a stretch between stalls that could have been no more than 20 metres long. However, it took her a very uncomfortable five minutes, in which she was jostled and butted violently. Strategically, she chose to focus her attention to the ground in order to place her feet wherever there were gaps. One man, (she assumed from his large and dusty black trainers), jostled her with much more force than necessary. She looked up indignantly, only to see a red baseball cap.
On finally emerging from the labyrinth-like set up, she had got as far as turning a street corner before she realised that she was missing her bag. She ran back to the marketplace where she just caught a glimpse of the man in the cap shoving her conveniently small handbag into a large coat pocket.
“Excuse me!” she yelled, in English, and in vain above the din of the market. The heat and frustration causing her basic Romanian to fail her, she barged through the crowd, holding up her hand in what she hoped counted as an apology. The fish heads stared at her disapprovingly from the vacant blackness of their eyes. She grabbed the corner of their table and propelled herself forward out into the square.
“Excuse me!” she yelled again, as she tried to collect herself into some sort of authority, all the while speed walking and at intervals breaking into a little run. “That’s my bag!” she shouted at no one in particular, hating the way that she sounded like a contemptuous teenager.
At last she turned a corner and came upon the man – with two others. One, who was standing with his arms crossed, slowly walked forward as she approached them. She slackened her pace significantly. The second, with the red baseball cap, stood with the bag slung over his shoulder (in a way which she found oddly comic, in her panic) and in one hand her keys, in the other a notebook: the one she had been taking notes in, earlier that day.
And the third, just to the left of the second, was holding a gun.
Remote Food and Nutrition Lessons
This week has seen even more girls cooking at home. The themes for Years 7 to 9 were ‘Fruit Desserts’ and ‘Summer Salads’. Hopefully these healthy recipes have been a treat for all the family to enjoy together.
Year 10 girls tried out some 'live cook-along' lessons at home this week, which was great fun and resulted in some beautiful baking. Over two sessions, the girls made a Focaccia bread dough, and then demonstrated their knife skills by creating 'food art' on the bread. Lots of happy girls after this lesson, I hope you can see why!
Miss Emily Theobald, Head of Food and Nutrition
Inter-House PE Challenges
This term saw the launch of Virtual Inter-House Challenges across all year groups. The girls were asked to run, cycle, swim or stair-climb their way to victory, and the final results are now in! They are as follows:
Year 7 - Race to Tokyo
1st - Bronte
2nd - Glennie
3rd - Curie
4th - Astor
Stand out performances came from Matilda (Bronte), Mia (Glennie), Ioanna (Astor) and Mabel (Curie).
Year 8 - Climbing Kilimanjaro
1st - Curie
2nd - Glennie
3rd - Bronte
4th - Astor
Izzy G made an outstanding effort, climbing 1,470 flights of stairs, as did Georgina, who climbed 799. Special mentions must also go to Breanna, Rebecca B and Greta for their outstanding commitment.
Year 9 - The Three Peaks Plus
1st – Curie
2nd - Astor
3rd - Bronte
4th - Glennie
In Year 9, the top three climbers for each house were:
Curie - Ella, Tatiana and Scarlett
Astor – Liv L, Alice and Maddie L
Bronte - Evelyn, Megan and Emma
Glennie - Annabel, Imogen and Tilly
The girls climbed so many flights of stairs that the original challenge to climb Snowdon and the Three Peaks, was extended to climbing Everest for Astor and Curie!
Years 10 and 11 - March to the Malls
1st - Astor
2nd - Glennie
3rd - Bronte
4th - Curie
Sophie P completed an amazing total distance of 1358.1 km!
1st - Curie
Joint 2nd - Glennie and Bronte
3rd - Astor
A huge "well done" to everyone who took part in these events throughout the term. It was extremely close in the final days!
Miss Emily Starr, Teacher of PE
Beans and Peas for Kent & Sussex Air Ambulance
During lockdown, Year 7 Mabel has been growing runner beans and peas from seeds. Once they started to sprout, she sold the seedlings in her local park in Tunbridge Wells, raising £18.50 for the Kent & Sussex Air Ambulance. Her friend, Year 7 Mia, joined her to help sell them. Well done girls!
Five Triathlons for Dom’s Food Mission
Year 8 Amélie and her brother set themselves the target of running five triathlons in five days, to raise money for Dom’s Food Mission. They completed the challenge and have so far raised £550 (with donations still coming in). By day three, they were wondering what they had taken on and in total they cycled 6km (uphill), ran 1.5km (uphill) and swam 300m (not uphill!). This is an amazing achievement showing real resilience in aid of a very good cause.
Mrs Pippa Whitby, Teacher of PE and Housemistress of St Gabriel’s
News from the Chaplaincy
This Sunday’s Gospel: Matthew 10: 26-33
“What I say to you in the dark, say in the daylight. What you hear in whispers, shout from the rooftops.”
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus encourages the apostles three times, to not be afraid. To have the courage to speak out. To share God’s message as loudly and as fearlessly as possible. And what is that message?
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
In other words, every single one of us is precious in the eyes of God. We are all loved and we are all called to shout that truth from the rooftops. When we stand for the dignity and divinity of the innocent, unloved, abused, we declare ourselves for God in the presence of men. When we stand silent, or in agreement with oppressors and users of people, when we fail to protect the lives and humanity of our brothers and sisters in Christ - from the very youngest to the very oldest - we become deniers of Christ.
So let us remember the words of this week’s Gospel. “Don’t be afraid”, “What you hear in whispers, shout”, “Every hair on your head has been counted”. Jesus acknowledges our fear. He understands it. But He urges us to face our fears and shout the truth. For as long as we are on the side of Humanity, we need not be afraid.
Virtual Camino in a Summer of Hope
As of last Sunday, Miss Goddard had completed 17% (or 83.3 miles) of her virtual Camino De Santiago for CAFOD, and has just 397.6 miles remaining! If you would like to sponsor her and help her reach her goal of raising £1 for every mile she walks, then please click on the link here.
You can find out more about doing a virtual camino at https://www.the conqueror.events/camino and details about CAFOD’s Summer of Hope here: https://cafod.org.uk/summerofhope.
Thank you very much.
Mr Ronan Lavery, Lay Chaplain
News from the School Shop
In line with government guidelines, we were able to re-open the School Shop for visitors on 15th June. We have implemented the following precautions:
- Unless a pupil is in School, visits to the School Shop should be by appointment only. You can call me on 01435 873175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. Please note the last two weeks in August are reserved for uniform fittings for new pupils, so no appointments can be made then.
- The changing room remains closed as per guidelines, but you can try items on over your clothing. Any items that have been tried on will be podded for 72 hours before being re-stocked.
- We have deep cleaned the School Shop and only I have been in it since the School closed for the Easter break.
- Any new deliveries of uniform are not opened and stocked for 72 hours. All units will be wiped down and sanitised between visits, and there are two hand sanitiser units (one in the Shop and one just outside the Shop door) for your use. Two metre distancing guide lines have been marked out on the floor.
We are still accepting any second hand uniform that you may have. If it is returned cleaned and pressed before the end of term, any credit due will be applied to your account. You can drop this off in Becket if you do not want to come to the School Shop. Please put it in a bag marked with your name labelled ‘FOR SCHOOL SHOP SECOND HAND’. Any items received after the end of term will be applied to your next bill.
As always, obsolete uniform (with the old logo on) will be donated to Mary’s Meals, along with white shirts. Items that have not been washed or are too worn (threadbare or with holes in it etc), will also be donated.
The School Shop is now open from Monday to Friday 08:00 to 15:30 (unless I am on an errand). Please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries.
I hope you are all safe and well, and am looking forward to seeing you all as soon as possible.
Mrs Susan Bowles, School Shop Manager
SPARK Camp Summer 2020
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
School - www.facebook.com/mayfieldgirls
Alumnae - www.facebook.com/OldCornelians
Spark - https://www.facebook.com/Mayfield-SPARK-Camps-106408654402451