E-weekly Issue 134
Letter from the Headmistress – 22nd June
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I write this letter to you on what would have been Mayfield Day. The sun is shining and the school site looks beautiful, due in no small part to the mowing, trimming, and the planting of beds and baskets, by our dedicated groundsmen. I am sorry that you cannot be here to share it with us, and still more disappointed that we are not able to celebrate together the amazing achievements of the members of the Mayfield community, which have continued even (or perhaps particularly) during the period of lockdown. However, I am heartened by the Prime Minister’s insistence over the past couple of days that everyone will be back in school in September. While we have long been committed to this, we cannot do so without Government backing. Things are looking more positive and I am cautiously optimistic about the future. With this in mind, I am also writing to parents based overseas to explain our August quarantine provision. Upward and onward!
On that subject of advancing, this letter is accompanied by a letter from Mrs Bunce outlining ways in which we are looking at building on the advances in IT made throughout the School community over the past few months to further improve the quality of teaching. In the past, we have shied away from expecting every girl to have a laptop in lessons, on the grounds that if they were not using them sufficiently, they were a wasted resource. However, now seems the right time to review this situation and make a change, as every department is more confident and increasingly accomplished in using technology to enhance learning. We are anticipating that it will help girls become more organised, to access resources more easily, and for staff to be able to oversee and engage with them in a still more effective manner. Should girls – or indeed staff - be absent, it will facilitate the accessing and setting of work. What it does not mean is that girls will spend all day at school looking at screens. We are well aware that this is one of the downsides of remote learning. Nor will the girls be ‘des-killed’ in terms of their written work. As I remain an English teacher at heart, you have my word that I will be working to ensure legible handwriting remains a priority! Furthermore, we anticipate girls still having to write Public Examinations by hand for the foreseeable future.
The Centre Assessed Grades have all been submitted for our GCSE and A Level girls. I can assure you that departments have deliberated over every girl to ensure that she is rewarded appropriately. We now await the results. Mr Doy and Mrs Bunce are in touch with the Upper Sixth and Year 11 girls so that they are aware of the processes on results days. Doubtless, there will be much furore in the media in the run-up to results days. Please don’t get drawn into that. As Julien of Norwich opined: “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” We are here to support the girls and if needs be, will work together to do all that we can to solve any issues. I know that there has been some discussion in the press about next year’s examinations. It is looking increasingly likely, although I must emphasise, nothing has been announced, that next year’s exams may well be a combination of traditional examinations and centre assessed grades. However, as long as girls are engaging with teachers in lessons, talking and debating wherever possible, they do not need to worry. Staff, and the girls themselves, have worked hard to ensure that they are not disadvantaged academically even though they are not at School. If anything the girls ought to be proud as, providing they have followed direction, they will be in a strong position when they return to School in September.
Work continues apace to ensure that the School is ready for the girls to return. In addition to the cleaning, painting, decorating and some refurbishment which is in progress, we are looking at improving outside spaces for the girls at break and lunch times. There are also some changes to current staff roles. The structure in Lower School is altering in line with that of Middle School. Mrs McFadyean is stepping back and returning to Ceramics while Mrs Lawson is taking over as Head of Year for Year 8 and Mr Smith will be Head of Year for Year 7. Mrs Doy is taking over as Coordinator of Extra-Curricular Activities, and Miss Staunton is taking over as Head of English as Mrs Evans sadly leaves us to return to Wales. Mrs Parrett and Mrs Williams will be back from their maternity leave, and we are excited to be welcoming a number of new teachers who will be profiled at the beginning of the term.
We are looking forward to seeing some Year 10s and 12s back in School this week and next, and to Year 13 coming together, at least virtually, on Friday. Similarly, it was good to see all those girls contributing to the E-Drama Extravaganza, and we are looking forward to the virtual Sports Day and the Sports Awards next week, and some ‘choral’ singing. We will be announcing our new Prefect team to the School and I look forward to sharing their goals for the coming year.
As I send this out, we are anticipating a reduction of the 2 metre social distancing rule and more information on air bridges and travel corridors. All of which could make things easier for us and facilitate our return to School in September. Between now and then, much more could change. I was both amused and reassured by the following extract from Sunday’s Gospel: “Do not be afraid. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.”
As things become clearer to us we will share them with you. In the meantime, have a good week and take care.
With my prayers and best wishes,
Miss Antonia Beary
Letter from the Director of Studies – 22nd June
Dear Parents and Guardians,
With a term of remote teaching under our belts, I would like to publicly express my thanks to all the staff and girls for their diligence and determination in making this strange new world operate with such efficiency. Whilst there have been teething problems, I am proud of the way everyone has risen to the occasion and embraced Teams and OneNote, allowing the girls’ academic progress to continue.
As we near the end of term, it is prudent to look to see how we can successfully incorporate some use of this technology into our regular lessons once things have returned to ‘normal’, thereby better equipping girls with the skills they need to meet the needs of the age. Many staff and girls have commented to me how useful they have found the OneNote class notebook as a way of organising material into one place, not to mention cutting down on the need for huge files and folders of photocopied paper – something the MESSy team in their environmental drive are keen to continue to reduce as much as possible!
However, I am also conscious that whilst we are planning for everyone to be able to return to School in September, this has not yet been officially confirmed by central Government and social distancing requirements may mean we need to be ready to offer a more blended learning approach for pupils in September. In addition, whilst we hope it will not be necessary, we want to ensure that the School is in a strong position to react quickly in case of any future isolation requirements. To this end, we will be asking girls to ensure they have a personal laptop or tablet that they can bring into School for all lessons from September. This will enable them to gain the best of both worlds: having the direct teacher input and class interaction that we have missed and are all looking forward to resuming, while successfully harnessing the benefits of technology within lessons, without excessive screen time and also maintaining the vital skill of handwriting.
We do not expect any girl currently using a serviceable laptop or tablet to buy a new device. However, experience has shown us that a laptop with a keyboard and a graphic pen is the best combination of devices to use, facilitating use across the curriculum, including supporting Learning Support applications. There are many inexpensive USB Pen Tablets available to give existing laptops a ‘write-on’ function. One which comes highly recommended (by one of our Year 13 Prefects studying Chemistry and Biology) is a UGEE Graphics Tablet M708 10 x 6 inch Large Active Area Drawing Tablet. There are also lots of wireless or Bluetooth keyboards on the market, which enable more comfortable typing for use with tablets.
In our Year 9 Innovate lessons, the School uses a 13 inch screen Acer Spin i5 with a graphics pen. For more information about the Acer Spin range please see the following website: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/model/NX.H62EK.005
We are conscious that the market in IT equipment is large, and that more expensive does not necessarily mean better, especially if you are paying for unnecessary applications. Therefore, for those of you who may wish to purchase new equipment, our IT Systems Department has put together a list of our minimum recommendations for a device designed to last at least five years, with the more expensive optimum specification in brackets.
Laptop/Tablet required specifications:
· Any operating system (Recommended - Windows or Mac OS).
· A minimum i5 processor. (If the price difference to upgrade to an i7 processor is negligible, we would recommend the i7).
· A minimum of 4GB RAM (8GB or more would give an optimum device).
· A minimum of 256GB SSD drive (Solid State Drive). Beware ‘bargain offers’ because these will probably be HD drives which are not as good. (A 500GB SSD or more would give an optimum device).
· A convertible device e.g. a laptop with keyboard that can also be used as a write on tablet with pen. It is really important that devices come with a separate keyboard or a keyboard that can be folded behind the screen. Trying to work with an on-screen keyboard for any length of time is not effective.
· A minimum of 12.3 inches screen size. (The larger the screen area the better!)
· A good battery life – at least eight hours.
In addition you should ensure you have:
· An antivirus package (such as the ‘Sophos home virus protection’ which is free to download) is loaded on all devices.
· As lightweight a device as possible.
· A good protective sleeve or case.
· Everything identified (laptop, case, cable and charger) with a bright mark or name. All laptop chargers look the same in a classroom! Fluorescent nail varnish is one way to mark property or “sharpie” pens to help your daughter quickly identify her equipment.
· A separate note of the serial number, make and model and make sure you register for any warranties and separate insurance.
Once her School email account has been activated in September, each girl will have access to five free Microsoft Office Licences to download onto her devices. Using these, she should download Microsoft Teams and OneNote. In addition, girls will receive instructions on how to enable a ‘remote session log’ anywhere with internet. This service offers full access to a School desktop and files stored in their personal folders. Obviously, any girls struggling will be given support in how to fulfil these initial steps. We will also be working with girls throughout the term to help them organise and store information so it is easily accessible. Establishing good habits now will be invaluable in the future.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.
Mrs Annabel Bunce
Mayfield Annual Sports Dinner
Following the cancellation of the Mayfield Annual Sports Dinner in May 2020, the PE Department has created a special video to celebrate the successes of the last sporting year, highlighting and announcing all the award winners. With the annual event usually taking place at the start of the Summer Term, the video reviews all School sport from the beginning of the Summer Term 2019 until the end of the Lent term 2019. It is an opportunity for the whole School community to celebrate all types and levels of sport, with coaches awarding their teams’ most improved player and their own coaching award. It allows us the chance to say “goodbye and thank you” to our leavers, and for parents and pupils to recognise the huge amounts of support and commitment we have from our girls throughout the School.
This year we were due to have the world famous cricketer and advocate for Mayfield Cricket, Lydia Greenway, as our guest speaker. She has been a huge inspiration to us, and has visited the School every year to provide workshops for girls and staff alike. We hope she is able to return in person soon, but in the meantime, she, and another surprise guest, have contributed their own messages to the girls in the video.
I hope you will join us in watching and congratulating the girls who are award winners, as well as those who aspire to be in the future, though their continued enthusiasm and commitment to sport at Mayfield.
The video can be accessed here. Thank you and well done to everyone involved, and to Miss Nixon for her wonderful editing skills!
Mrs Georgina Fletcher, Director of Sport
News from the Chaplaincy
Every weekday morning since the lockdown began, staff members have been recording prayers, or reflections, or short messages to the girls, which are then uploaded to the Chaplaincy Team Channel. Every reflection is unique, and well-prepared, and I’m incredibly thankful to all the members of the School community for giving up their time and energy to bring a taste of the School to our distanced community each day.
Each week, contributions are inspired by a Cornelian Principle. This week’s Principle has been Gratitude. And I am very grateful to Mrs Le Riche and her tutor group, 8LLR, for putting together an absolutely beautiful reflection. It’s less than two minutes long, but speaks volumes. It is well worth a watch, as it reminds us we have so much to be thankful for in the simple beauty of life. Please click here if you would like to watch it.
This Sunday’s Gospel: Matthew 10: 37-42
I am very struck by the contrast between the first and last sentences of this Sunday’s Gospel. We begin with: ‘Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me’, and yet we finish with the simple, charitable act of sharing a glass of water - ‘and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.'
Two thousand years ago, in the early church, to identify as a Christian ran the very real risk of losing mother, father, son, daughter. To renounce the Truth in an effort to appease unbelieving family and friends was commonplace. In many ways, it still is today. How often do we bite our tongues when something is said or done in front of us that we disagree with? How often do we let the opportunity to do the right thing slide by us, due to fear of ridicule or criticism? To be a follower of Christ impacts on every facet of our lives - from our intimate relationships with family, to the stranger asking for a cup of water. Above all, to be a follower of Christ means to love, simply, and gently. I’m sure we can all, without too much trouble, think of an act of love we experienced. A small gesture, but one which has stayed with us for years.
This is what Pope Francis refers to as he exhorts us to simple love, ‘like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love’ (September 2015).
This week, let us try to love simply, and let us try to allow that love to shape our faith.
“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” St Augustine
Mr Ronan Lavery, Lay Chaplain
From 1st July, staff and girls will have access to JSTOR, which provides academic journals to support student research, and extended essays.
With over 2,700 archival journals – the majority of which are unavailable on the open web – four primary source collections, and more than 2,000 open access e-books, the JSTOR Secondary Schools Collection provides students with a safe and trusted environment to research topics across the curriculum. Login details will be emailed directly to relevant year groups.
Mrs Julie Gabriel, Librarian
School this Week
Year 10s return to Mayfield
It was such a joy to see two thirds of our Year 10 girls come back to School on Tuesday to attend Introduction to Sixth Form and A Level sessions. The girls heard from Mr Doy (Head of Sixth Form), had a tour around the Sixth Form Centre, and talked to some of our current Sixth Formers. The girls then had an Art and Ceramics session, and played sport. The girls found the sessions useful and fun, but the best part was seeing their friends and socialising with one another again (like the old days…. well, like the old days with social distancing!)
Mrs J Stone, Head of Middle School and Teacher of Mathematics
Year 8 Maths
During our review of the year lessons, Year 8 pupils were given the opportunity to try teaching the class themselves via Teams. The task was to teach Compound Areas, and the girls could work in pairs. Breanna and Greta presented a fantastic extension question on comparing two areas of compound shapes and encouraged their peers to interact by answering questions.
Mrs Lavinia Motoc, Teacher of Maths
News from the English Department
Year 9 students have been creating ‘found’ poetry in which the words are ‘found’ around the house – on bathroom products, in textbooks, handwritten notes, on fridges, anywhere. Students then gathered the words together and chose which to usher into a poem. Others wrote their poems by looking at objects they ‘found’ in a single place. Sometimes the effects are surreal, sometimes soothing, sometimes strangely moving.
Mrs Amy Doy, Teacher of English
In the heart of Somerset
Where the wild things are
In the sun
A classic ghost story,
A Buxton water bottle,
Still mineral water.
Art from around the world,
Kallo cheese breadsticks,
Sugar cane tissues,
And a witch black fineliner.
The maths classwork book,
Splattering paint for kids.
And a single blue Crayola crayon.
Be still glowing embers,
An outline of Greek beasts and where to find them,
Fresh and clean,
Calming and protecting,
Harvested by hand and made naturally,
Like an afternoon tea,
Plant in autumn,
Daily luxury with nature’s ingredients.
4 reasons to use i-GLU
1. choking hazard
2. portrait of a killer
3. allergy comfort
4. acquaintance developing
As you like it specially selected tallest of the tallest ships safeguarding the curly wurlies.
Enchantee, Marie Curie.
Find faraway China with Hannibal,
You promise to pay?
We are very passionate about paying guests,
Everything you ever wanted to know,
about the adventurously faraway tree.
Hand prints of long ago,
School photographs of past.
Magnets, steel and glass.
Calendars of old events,
Photos of long – lost holidays
Reminders of parents' evening.
Postcards, old and grey.
ESOL Department Coronavirus Time Capsule
In recent lessons, our ESOL girls around the globe, have been working collaboratively to record and their share their experiences of the lockdown. The project includes a variety of topics such as ‘Objects in Lockdown’, ‘Letter to a Future Grandchild’, ‘Family Interview’, ‘The Positive Aspects’, and ‘Lockdown Fashion’. We hope that it will serve as a reminder of this very unusual time to look back on in the future, by providing a record of different aspects of our shared experiences, helping us to focus on what we’ve learnt from it, and all that we have to be grateful for.
Miss Melanie Whittle, Teacher of ESOL
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