As ever, we reach the end of the Michaelmas Term in a whirlwind. From the moment we welcomed the beginning of December, with pupils dancing and singing along to Christmas favourites in the ‘snow’ on our school steps, through to the final bows of our Year 7 pantomime as we finished term, the Junior and Senior Schools have been filled with laughter and excitement.
I was absolutely delighted that GHS was awarded the UK’s ‘Independent Secondary School of the Year’ by The Sunday Times at the start of this month. In my interview with the paper, I spoke of a ‘GHS Feeling’ that comes from participation in such a wide variety of activities, stimulating lessons, and daily interactions between pupils, teachers and friends. The ‘GHS Feeling’ is never more in evidence than at Christmas time when we come together to celebrate.
If the last two weeks have been a grand finale, the preceding weeks of term were a fabulous showcase of the values we hold dear at GHS.
It has been a great pleasure to see the introduction of a weekly academic enrichment slot for all students. Life’s big questions are tackled in topics from Everyday Psychology to Astronomy, with sessions bringing together subjects to show the richness of our world. Curiosity has been piqued with lectures from ‘Links between the Classical World and US Politics’, and ‘How Biology Influences Design’, to ‘Metacognition and Learning’. We hope these sessions will instil a lifelong love of inquiry and provide students with oracy, problem solving and critical thinking skills to truly continue their learning journeys.
Alongside this, our pupils are fully engaged in their studies. Our new Year 7 cohort are getting to grips with new subjects and new experiences, whilst the Upper Sixth consider their next steps beyond GHS. Great attention has been paid to supporting students in their UCAS applications and it is wonderful that many of them have had interviews and offers already. A big thank you to the inspiring teachers who take the time to help our students find their passions and focus.
We have welcomed alumni back to school to share their wide breadth of knowledge at two careers forums, focusing on ‘Women in Technology’ and ‘Finance and Consulting’.
Beside the hard work in the classrooms, students have shown great teamwork and determination on the field. Congratulations to the lacrosse players, cross country runners, swimmers, netballers, footballers and gymnasts who have brought home a host of trophies this term. The love you share for your sports brings great joy to our community.
Trips and visits have been plentiful throughout the term with highlights including Year 9 visiting Lille, Classicists exploring Greece, Physics students touring the Cern laboratory in Geneva as well as more than 150 pupils hiking and camping as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award scheme expedition.
It would not be the Michaelmas term without the magnificent array of performances. An incredibly powerful production of ‘Chaos’ by Laura Lomas was staged by Upper School pupils at the end of November. Staged over three evenings, audiences were witness to a tightly scripted and brilliantly staged production. The Michaelmas Concert was a showcase for our musicians in the GHS String Orchestra, Big Band, Wind Band, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Mathias Band. Our Year 8s took on Shakespeare with aplomb, and our whole school came together with the grand finale of the Carol Concert at Guildford Cathedral this week.
Karen Laurie, Head