9th June 2017

My assembly address on Monday morning focused on the horrendous events that had unfolded over the previous weekend. Without too heavy an emphasis on the tragedy, I asked the school to spend a quiet period of reflection to consider the victims, their families and their loved ones.
As I write, pupils near the end of their intense assessment schedule, and there is light at the end of the Common Entrance tunnel for Form 8. We have all been very impressed by the pupils’ approach to assessments of various levels, and your children should be congratulated on their focused mindset throughout the week.
Parents have come and gone from Kindergarten and Pre-Prep parents’ evenings, and I am delighted to say that staff have reported how appreciative parents have been for all the hard work going into ensuring your children continue to flourish.
In case any of them should go astray in the future, Reception pupils visited the police station as part of their ‘People Who Help Us’ theme. I understand they visited the cells and that handcuffs had to be used, but I am pleased to report that this was only for demonstration purposes.
In amongst all the assessments, fixtures were squeezed in on Wednesday, and results perhaps reflecting growing fatigue levels filtered back from various cricket and rounders pitches.
Also as I write, the kith and kin of St. Mary’s pupils are visiting various areas of the school, and there is a splendid atmosphere amongst the range of generations on campus today. We look forward to a short concert and an opportunity for me to thank our visitors for all their support of St. Mary’s before we break up for half term.
Ahead of next week we wish our Gordonstoun Challenge Team - Anna M, Fergus H, Iona, Antony, and Jake - all the very best, as they will be driven up by Mr Rawson and Ms Ozwell on Friday morning.
Congratulations to the following pupils for passing their ABRSM music exams with some excellent results; Lucy B, Dicken, Imogen, Liam, Molly C, Freya D, Isla, Naesima, Amelie, Willa, Jess K, Georgia, Eliza, Amelia, Zara, Rosie, Iona, Elsa, Molly S and Jessica W.  And further congratulations to Lucy B for being selected to trial for the Scotland U16 hockey squad.
Finally, I wish to highlight a quite remarkable hat-trick. The inspirational teaching of Miss Wood would appear to have produced our third Fringe Festival Poster competition winner in five years. I encourage you to look out for the multi-coloured flames being exhaled from Tom D’s magnificent fire-eater. Tom’s picture will feature on the front of the Fringe Festival programme for summer 2017. Each year the competition receives several thousand entries, so I leave you to calculate the odds of three pupils from a small prep school in the Scottish Borders being picked as winners in a five year period. My guess is Miss Wood is particularly adept at nurturing pupils artistic talents!
Have a restful half term holiday.

Jules Birdsall, 09/06/2017

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