Finding Our Voice

The Head's Study

As so often in those serendipitous outcomes in schools, our Festival of Ideas theme this year – Finding Your Voice – resonated in unexpected ways this week, both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, our Year 7 and 9 Festival of Ideas students collaborated quite brilliantly to produce thought provoking and engaging presentations with the winners from each House choosing subjects as diverse as Malala Yousafzai, women’s rights and equality, locked in syndrome and Galileo Galilei to explore finding one’s voice. With two days of suspended timetable launched through an interactive warm up talk from slam poet Megan Beech, House groups were set the challenge of a collaborative presentation on the broad ranging theme of Finding Your Voice. The research, reflection, creativity and bravery needed to fulfil the brief demonstrated how well girls have embraced our learner qualities and their understanding of how important these skills are. The empowerment that comes from embracing fears, particularly those of public speaking, was palpable and powerful.

But Finding Your Voice has been equally apparent in more metaphorical ways this week too. The Year 8 and 9 production of Joshua Sobol’s ‘Ghetto’ was a chilling, moving reminder of the importance of speaking out but also recognising that moral dilemmas are rarely straightforward. Watching girls perform and find their own voice and interpretation of such a challenging text was humbling and exciting – we will follow this talented troupe of actors closely over the coming years.

A final, quieter but equally striking parallel this week has been witnessing the mutual benefit, notable in Year 10, where our four Ukraine students have proved such a shining beacon of resilience, bravery and strength. Their influence on the girls they are meeting will be impossible to measure but they have given us all a sense of perspective and admiration and possibly one of the most powerful post pandemic resets possible. We thank them and their host families for all they are bringing to our communities.