Headmistress’ Weekly Blog – 28.05.2019

This week has brought many events. It was wonderful to welcome so many parents to the school to come and find out more about some of the senior schools to whom our girls, and boys, traditionally move on to. There were stands with information and head teachers and registrars there to answer questions. I am sure that there were some schools there that parents may not have known about, or considered, so it was a good opportunity to explore options. This was followed by a question and answer session and some hotly debated topics such as tutoring, state vs independent vs grammar, single-sex vs co-ed. This is an annual event and it is always interesting to hear the senior school heads taking the stage.

Inter-house cricket was a great event, with the girls demonstrating their still new skills. Some of the Year 5 and 6 girls have certainly mastered batting and the ball had to be retrieved from far flung places on several occasions. The girls are really enjoying learning to play cricket and have taken part in several matches against other schools.

Year 1 had their swim challenge and demonstrated their learning to their parents. The focus in lessons is not just on how to swim and develop their strokes, but also on water safety, so the girls showed what they would do if they found themselves in difficulty – lie on their back in a star shape.  This way they do not overtire themselves and  put themselves at greater risk.  These are essential skills and there are many recorded incidences where this has saved lives. At the other end of the school I was able to award the Year 6 girls with their personal survival certificates, showing that these skills remain relevant and are developed as the girls grow older. The Year 6 swim gala was a great event, it showcased so many qualities that the girls have. I was delighted to see the girls heartily cheering each other on and think most of South Croydon must have heard them!  The Year 2 girls benefit so much from seeing the older girls swim and are inspired by their strength and grace in the water. The older girls love to see and encourage the younger girls and realise how far they have progressed themselves. The sportsmanship that the girls naturally show is also humbling, on one occasion two of the Year 3 girls, unprompted at the end of the race, shook hands and congratulated each other. It was a lovely moment.

For a small school I believe that the sporting provision here at Cumnor is outstanding and the girls get some incredible opportunities. We look forward to Sports Day next half term but I am sure you would echo my thanks to Mrs Pym, Mrs Harvie and Mrs Lewis for all they do to encourage the girls.

Year 4 had a very successful trip to Dulwich and went to the picture gallery before visiting the exhibition on Ernest Shackleton. They had a splendid day and were able to enjoy their picnic lunches in the sunshine. Thank you to Mrs Currie and Miss Threadgold for taking them.

The joint chamber choirs of the Girls’ and the Boys’ schools went to Harrow School and took part, alongside St Nicholas Prep (another Cognita school), in a choral day. We rehearsed with their Director of Music, David Woodcock. We then had a brief tour of the school, learning about its history and some of the famous alumni such as Robert Peel, Churchill and Byron – as well as some of their unruly antics! We rehearsed again with a select group of Harrow boys and then performed our evensong in the chapel. It was an enriching event and all the girls were awed by the whole experience.  Thank you to Mrs Fontanals for making this happen.

As we approach the end of a very busy half term I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you some staffing changes that will be occurring from September.

Madam Camiah, who teaches French to our girls, will be leaving Cumnor, French will be taught by Cecile Bartlett who the girls know. Madam Bartlett teaches at the Boys’ School but is also a regular teacher at the Girls’ School. We wish Elodie all the best with her future endeavours.

Mrs Loudon will be coming back for a short while before the end of term, but has decided not to return to full-time work at Cumnor from September. We thank her for all that she has done for the girls here at Cumnor and we are sorry that we will be saying goodbye to her. I am sure that she will enjoy her time at home with her daughter, Olivia, watching her grow up.

We will also be saying goodbye to Miss Threadgold, she wishes to further develop her career in a larger setting and has accepted the position of Deputy Head in the Junior Department of Croydon High School. We thank her for the contribution that she has made to Cumnor and hope that she will be happy in her new role.

Mrs Taylor, our peripatetic Speech and Communication teacher, will not be returning in September. She has taken several girls through various LAMDA examinations and they have enjoyed learning with her. We will continue to offer our girls drama lessons as part of their weekly curriculum and Mrs Kimber is looking at how we can incorporate optional LAMDA examinations into her teaching schedule.

We look forward to welcoming Emily Browne, who is currently teaching at a primary school in Sutton, and Sophie Dunnell who is currently teaching at a primary school in Epsom.

I hope you have a happy and restful half term.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.


Mrs Amanda McShane

020 8660 3445