From our Head of Sixth Form
Isolation is the antithesis of community, and so we worked hard during lockdown to maintain links between home and school. As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we are overjoyed to be back in school, returning to the vibrancy of day-to-day life at St Mary’s.
It has been a morale boost in itself to see how quickly our Sixth Form students have thrown themselves back into school life: this despite the challenges of catching up with missed work and with extra exams adding to their workload.
We held our first social event (a quiz night) in March, and it was heartwarming to see many Sixth Formers together in the hall, having fun (and pizza) – whilst showing admirable general knowledge skills. It is easy to underestimate the importance of such an evening. I am sure the joy, laughter and friendship would have brought a smile to Mary Ward’s face.
Nisha Alvares Meneses Memorial Fund
One of the most exciting Sixth Form innovations this year was the launch of the Nisha Alvares Meneses Memorial Fund, set up to encourage current and recent students to travel, do good works and extend their understanding of the world. Nisha attended our Sixth Form in the late 60s but sadly died in 1989. When Nisha’s sister, Geeta passed away six years ago, she left her entire estate to the school to provide bursaries in memory of her sister. We match travel funding up to £1,000 to Sixth Formers or recent alumnae who plan travel that will benefit others. We were delighted to make our first award to an alumna heading to Costa Rica this summer to participate in ecological work.
One of the most exciting Sixth Form innovations this year was the launch of the Nisha Alvares Meneses Memorial Fund, set up to encourage current and recent students to travel, do good works and extend their understanding of the world.
Speaking of travel, we are eagerly anticipating our forthcoming Tanzania trip. This trip will include visiting a conservation initiative in the Uluguru Mountains, where students will explore the connection between chillis, bees and elephants, before heading for a couple of days on the Swahili Coast. This type of enriching, life-changing trip has really been missed in the last couple of years, and it promises to be a real highlight in next year’s calendar.
Taking the lead
Our Sixth Formers are the leaders of tomorrow and they play an important role in leading our school. As I write, we are finalising the line-up for an incredibly strong, passionate, and capable student leadership team who will leave their mark in the year to come. With roles encompassing our student council, charity, inclusivity and diversity, the community, and the Junior School, we have a team that will be a force for good across St Mary's.
Expanding our community
We continue to set high standards in learning, life-changing experiences and leadership as our Sixth Form grows over time. After topping 100 students this year, we are looking forward to welcoming an even larger group in September, and aim to increase this up to 150 students in the future. One of the many gratifying aspects of my role is bringing the unique benefits of a St Mary’s education to an ever-growing cohort.
Our ambition doesn’t stop there. Ultimately, we are keen to grow further and the recent launch of St Mary’s 125 fundraising appeal to raise money for a number of developments, one of which is to bring a St Mary’s Sixth Form education to even more girls.
St Mary’s Sixth Form is a unique and special environment with a bright future thanks to our wonderful students and their determination to participate, develop and lead.
Robin Griffiths, Head of Sixth Form
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