I think it would be madness not to consider 2016 as a year of quite extraordinary events. There is no doubt that it will be a year that many future historians will debate and analyse. However, what should we really take from it as we move forward into 2017?

It has been a year when we have lost some of the greats. From Sir Terry Wogan to David Bowie, it feels that some of those who made enormous impact but hung on to their true selves were lost this year. They were ‘personalities’ in the truest sense of the word, doing what they loved in their own honest way, and allowing us the privilege of joining them for the ride. For me, I hope that our girls will make their own marks on the 21st century world and that, whatever they do, they will remain true to who they are.

The emergence of Brexit has required many of us in the world of education to ensure we remain outward-looking and global in perspective. Watching our girls debate, discuss and mourn the loss of a unified Europe was a stark reminder that we as teachers have a responsibility to future generations. This school will continue to travel the globe and engage with all its cultures and people.

Finally, the Trump Presidential win has opened the eyes of many to the beguiling but destructive power of soaring rhetoric and the new world of ‘post truths’. On this one I am simply going to say ‘it is what it is’ and that the lessons we will be teaching in our school of over thousand future leaders will continue to emphasise that authenticity and empathy are the most powerful traits that enable us to make our mark on the world.


Image: 'Bowie: interrupted' Pencil drawing by Isabelle Keenan (Abbey alumna 2012)

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