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News > Head's Blog > Letter from the Head - end of school year 2019/20

Letter from the Head - end of school year 2019/20

An end of year message from Mrs Hems

25 Jun 2020
Head's Blog
Mrs Alex Hems, Head
Mrs Alex Hems, Head

A Letter from the Head


I write at the end of what has been, by anyone’s reckoning, an extraordinary term. On Wednesday afternoon we said our formal farewell to the Upper 6 leavers, in a virtual Speech Day, celebrated not amidst the austere beauty of St Mary’s Cathedral but rather broadcast from my office, Mrs Bryce and I in our gowns, and Mr Brewer and our student speakers making their moving contributions via recorded message. No substitute of course for the real thing, but I hope we managed to convey to the girls and their parents, our pride in their achievements and all that they have contributed to the life of the school and our deep affection for them all. The fortitude and resilience that they have shown in these last three months has been remarkable and we bid them farewell with great respect for the qualities that they have evinced, which will carry them far in life.

Every year we also say goodbye to some members of our staff. Mrs Morven Peden, who retires this term after thirty five years with us, will doubtless be remembered with a combination of awe and affection by all who know her. Ms Norma Kerr, who has been with us for nearly thirty years and has led PE, Outdoor Education and latterly the House system as well, is stepping back from her leadership role, but may return to teaching in due course.  Mrs Annelie Strydom and Mrs Kathy Wawro have been with us for ten years in the Junior School, Miss Nicola Collins who has inspired so many young netballers, moves on after 12 years at St George’s. Ms Sue Evans who taught music here since 1996 left us in April. Miss Tricia Lancaster, Mrs Karen Gray, Miss Rebecca Loxton, Mrs Mairi Rice and Mr Craig Walker leave from the Upper School. In Nursery we say goodbye to Mrs Nimisha Mistry, and from Houldsworth to Miss Clare McLaughlin, Miss Megan Hammell and Mrs Roseanna Skyba. We wish happiness and success in their future lives to all who are leaving St George’s to move to retirement or the next stage of their careers.

Despite the unusual circumstances the term has been busy right up to the end. On Tuesday Lower and Upper School threw themselves with gusto into Sports Day, and in the evening we enjoyed Sports Celebration Evening, with inspiring guest contributions from Judy Murray, and St George’s alumna Charlotte Robison. They reminded us of the importance of taking up opportunities, pushing oneself to embrace new challenges and of actively working for success rather than waiting for it to find us.

I am sure that you will have listened with interest to Mr Swinney’s announcements this week about the return to school for the state sector in August. Our plans for a full-time return, described in my letter on Friday 19th June, are already in place. My senior colleagues and I will be back in school at the start of August and will review any changes that have been announced at that point. It is likely that there will be some changes to the physical distancing requirements, but we intend to keep in place measures such as the one-way systems, the additional cleaning and hand hygiene regimes and the simplified uniform, at least in the early weeks of term. The Return to School Handbooks will be published by SchoolPost in the week beginning 10th August.

I wish you all an enjoyable summer. Thank you for your words of support and encouragement, which have meant a great deal to us all. Your daughters have impressed us with their good humour, patience and adaptability throughout this difficult period. They have worked hard and managed to sustain motivation and enthusiasm, but now they need a rest. I hope that as restrictions begin to lift over the summer, they will be able to spend time with one another in person, and leave their screens behind them for a while.  We look forward to welcoming them back to school in August, to hearing their laughter and to seeing our classrooms busy once again.

With my best wishes to you all.

Alex Hems

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