4th September 2020 

It was an absolute joy seeing your sons and daughters returning to the campus for reintegration sessions on the 27th and 28th August.  This was preceded by a most useful training day for all staff which involved some hugely valuable input from Counselling Psychologist Mrs Flora Maclay and this helped everybody ready themselves for this our opening week.  And, what a week it has proved to be.
Before I list the multitude of things to mention, I want to welcome our Gaps for the term Georgie Pringle and Patrick Friell.  Georgie left St. Mary’s five summers ago (Head Girl 2014/15) to attend Oundle School, and she is aiming to travel after Christmas, before heading to Birmingham University to study Creative Writing.
Patrick Friell left Hawick High School in the summer and is taking a year out before embarking upon training at Edinburgh University to become a Teacher of Music.  Both Georgie and Patrick have had a very busy first week, and have made the most marvellous start to their term with us.
We are looking forward to welcoming Miss Amado back next week.  She has been quarantining since arriving back from Spain on the 24th August and therefore will appear on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, our live streaming of Modern Language lessons has proved hugely successful and well done to both Miss Amado, and to Mrs Hutchison for adjusting so expertly to this new form of curriculum delivery.
Though our current regulations will have restricted the opportunity, I hope you have had a chance to look at the nearly complete but already in use, veranda development.  Mrs Currie and her new charges in Reception are certainly settling in well to their state of the art, ensuite classroom facilities and Messrs Key and Brown alongside Miss McRae are equally thrilled with their refurbished teaching spaces.
Form 1 and our multi-skilled and talented Mrs Rawson have also found their feet very quickly.  It has been a pleasure to see them so busy and active in their learning, though I think a rest for all concerned at the close of play today, might just be timely.
Mrs Rawson and her boarding team have been catering for rising numbers throughout the week and it is indicative of growing confidence that we are already seeing boarding numbers heading towards those normally associated with peak season in the Summer Term.
We have had a Fire Evacuation practice drill, HPV vaccinations took place and Form 8 carried out some fieldwork on their Geography field studies.  We are so very lucky to have the Eildon Hills on our doorstep for such purposes.  However, I wanted to mention the achievements of Bea and Magnus who conquered the equivalent height of Mount Everest when in lockdown (8848m).  Not a bad effort considering they live in a bungalow!
It has been a wonderful week.  Whilst understandably pupils have tired towards the end, their enthusiasm for being back at school has been palpable and written all over their faces (even those of our facemask clad senior pupils!).   I will admit to having a wee tear in my eye and a lump in the throat as the campus filled up on Monday morning.  It is great to be back.

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