15th March 2019

I took along a copy of last week’s .Mail to assembly on Monday morning, and asked the pupils if they recognised what I was holding up.  I was most reassured by how many pupils did, but the number who actually read it was significantly lower.  This led on to me being able to highlight the purpose of the online document. 
Forthcoming events/fixtures, an “inspiring” note from the Headmaster, links to various sites or reports of interest and relevance, detailed reports of the previous week’s activities from Kindergarten right through to Form 8 (often accompanied by super photos), Boarding house news with photos, “housekeeping” reminders and much more.
As I said to the pupils on Monday, the beauty of St. Mary’s flexible, weekly boarding system is that those precious face to face conversations, often had whilst children are sat at the kitchen table, whilst mum or dad are preparing supper, can be under-pinned by a copy of the .Mail.  School news is sometimes hard to get out of pupils, particularly our teenagers at the top of the school, but try using the .Mail as your “tour guide”.  You will be amazed how much you learn about your child’s week, learning, happiness and general state of mind.  This is why we make time in our busy schedules to produce this weekly newsletter.
Parents of Forms 5, 6 and 7 will also have received detailed updates on their child’s progress at parent/tutor meetings on Monday evening and parents of Forms 3 and 4 the same on Tuesday and on Thursday. 
Mr Brown and Mrs Routledge took Form 5 to Dynamic Earth on Tuesday and as I have mentioned in my opening paragraphs, a report and photographs feature later in this newsletter.  I am sure you will agree they certainly look as though they enjoyed their educational and informative trip.
Oundle’s Registrar Mr Gary Phillips, who will be retiring at the end of this academic year, visited us on Wednesday.  Gary has become a great supporter of St. Mary’s over the last few years and he always brings with him, positive and uplifting reports on how our FPs are doing.  This time was no exception as we heard Oscar S continues to impress and charm all who come in to contact with him.  He is making the most of Upper Sixth, Thomas M is ducking, diving and thriving in Fourth Form, and Maria I and Iona S have made a very impressive start in Third Form.
Mr Antony Bounds, Oundle’s new Registrar and Mr Guy Steel-Bodger of Rugby School accompanied Gary and it was a pleasure updating them on what good heart St. Mary’s is in.  Mr Steele-Bodger noted the Rugby School cricket boundary pad “acquired” as a memento when our U11 Girls competed in the IAPS National hockey competition at Rugby School last October.  He has the names of parents Jeffrey and McIntosh for invoicing purposes! 

As ever, Wednesday was awash with fixtures but look out in particular, for the U11 netball victory at the IAPS Netball tournament at Ardvreck.  These girls have developed a fearsome reputation on the back of their highly skilled, competitive and committed approach to all sports. 
U11 Winners - March 2019

They are all very talented but are led in a calm, understated and impressive way by Cadence, and superbly coached by Mrs Bell.

Dr Morgan was very proud of the two Maths teams he took to the Merchiston Maths Challenge on Thursday.  It says a huge amount that Dr Morgan always applies for more than one team to attend these excellent events, as he is eager to immerse as many St. Mary’s pupils in fun Maths days as is possible.  The winning is less important, it is the involvement that benefits all.
As the week drew to its conclusion, we were treated to a Form 8 RS mini production of “The Sacrifice of Isaac” in assembly, this morning.  As you might expect with Mr Brown directing, this involved some unorthodox acting, costumes and colloquialisms featuring in the script.  However, the message of facing up to one’s challenges, no matter how daunting they may seem, came through loud and clear.  I am pleased to report that Isaac (Callum A) was spared, but the donkey (Mac) “willingly” made the ultimate sacrifice!
Whilst a Friends of St. Mary’s cake sale takes place in the dining room as I write, Mr P and Mrs Wright have headed off on hockey tour with all Form 8 girls.  They are touring the north of England, and fingers crossed the snow does not impede their scheduled matches with Sedbergh Prep, Barnard Castle and Windermere School.
Finally, good luck to our U11 rugby squad ahead of the Merchiston 7s tournament on Sunday.  We hope that Mr Brown’s loyal and courageous “band of brothers” will avoid being the sacrificial lambs on the day.  I am sure they will do St. Mary’s and Mr Brown proud.  They are a dedicated bunch.
Enjoy your weekend.

Jules Birdsall, 15/03/2019

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