Thinking of Alice

The Head's Study

Sometimes I've believed in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.”
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Four bubbles of 15, socially distanced, bring your own picnics in the grounds. Who would have thought it? Certainly not me as I anticipated what my first end of year at RHS would be like. Indeed, so much of what is in place now awaiting the girls’ return in September seems like an ‘impossible thing’ that would only occur in a Mad Hatter’s tea party.

Yet this week’s Head’s tea parties with a difference for Years 7-9 would have also seemed an impossibility just a short while ago when we were confined to our houses except for critical outings.

As we collate our ‘lessons from lockdown’ across the 25 GDST schools and agree what to consign to the bad dream pile and what to carry forward as enriching and relevant to helping our girls thrive and adapt in a rapidly changing world, the art of the impossible is in pole position.

To close the School on Friday 20 March and open our laptops to guided home learning the following Monday with no interruption to learning.

To gather our boarders from the UK and around the world together in weekly year group socials so they can chat and interact as in the boarding houses.

To run RHS Active Remote inviting girls to discussions, talks, creativity and a wonderfully broad range of enrichment.

To be still delivering high quality learning 14 weeks into lockdown.

All of this is remarkable evidence of what is possible with a staff dedicated to meaningful learning, girls committed to adopting a positive mind-set and supportive enabling parents.

Two observations from one of the tea parties symbolise opposing aspects of the good that has come from the past 14 weeks: a group of girls saying how much more adept and confident they had become using computers; and, a tutor group putting down their mobile phones post scavenger hunt and asking permission to go and play hide and seek around the grounds.

We have learnt the art of the impossible but also the value of the simple. Lockdown has taught us much.

And so, I shall be celebrating the start of the summer holidays with a long drawn out cup of tea and an even longer, more drawn out impersonation of the dormouse. I hope you also have a restful and sociable summer break and I look forward to welcoming you back to RHS in September.