SLT’s view – 10 July 2020

Another academic year over – one like no other in living memory. In conversation with a colleague a while ago, she commented, ‘there’s always something’, but we didn’t think she quite had this in mind.

So first of all we’d like to commend the girls for their efforts during lockdown. Some girls made the transition to remote learning seamlessly, for others, not coming into school was a real struggle. When we planned our remote learning provision, we knew that we had to build flexibility into the system, in order to accommodate girls’ and staff needs. It may interest you to know that surveys show that during the pandemic, men have been able to complete three hours of work compared to one hour for a woman where they are living with children. I think this says something of the burden of childcare still carried largely by women – and our staff body is overwhelmingly female. Please do view the Academic Showcase (coming shortly) and the Music Showcase, which show some of the work that Abbey girls have achieved, at your leisure over the next few weeks,

From September, we enter a new period in Abbey history – a new Head, our first male Head. We welcome Mr le Fleming to the Abbey. I know that his intention is to meet as many girls as possible in his first year and to get to know Abbey families. We are saying goodbye to some much loved teachers: we wish them well. Some are moving for promotions, or further study, two are retiring, some are ready for a change and a new challenge. And in their place we welcome new members of staff, who will bring with them new ideas and will breathe new life into the corridors and classrooms. We have been delighted with the calibre of applicants to The Abbey and it is clear that our reputation as a provider of outstanding education for girls is what draws exceptional teachers to the school.

One of the joys of lockdown has been seeing the girls in GMeets, whether academic or pastoral. I know that the teachers have particularly enjoyed this contact with their classes. From September, we are expecting to be back in school full-time, and although it won’t be exactly as it was in March, I hope it will be normal enough for us all to enjoy it, and to feel and be safe. We have had new guidance for schools and for parents (What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term) which will limit some of what we can do in schools. We are hoping to run clubs and activities, but we know that these will have to be done in year groups. Further government guidance is due out mid-August, so we will be in touch again after that.

Meanwhile, we hope that you have a good summer break, that the sun shines and the virus disappears.

With our continued best wishes,

Allison Hadwin, Brendan Fanning and Melanie Pople – Senior School Deputy Heads & SLT