|13 Sep 2021|
LEH is back! Greeting our pupils as they arrived in school last week was the second best thing I have done in 18 months. The first best was holding a whole school assembly in the Sports Hall, with every LEH pupil and all the staff together to celebrate our return. I was overwhelmed by how joyful everyone is to be returning to school and to more-or-less normal life. The ordinary has become extraordinary; let’s remember this and perhaps not take so much for granted in future.
Assembly messages from myself, Mrs Mortimer, Dr James and Mrs Poyner, as well as the Head Girl Team, all focused on a fresh start, remembering how to work with and support one another, with kindness at the forefront of all our interactions. The rest of the day went past in a blur, with everyone meeting new tutors and new teachers, settling into new classrooms and new lunchtime arrangements, and for all our new girls, beginning to find their way around this rather large school.
A lot of work has taken place during the summer holidays, with significant changes and improvements in both Junior and Senior schools.
We have generous alumnae and the Friends of LEH to thank for major refurbishments of both the Nora Nickalls Hall and the Junior Assembly Hall. As well as redecoration, the Halls have new windows and blinds, new lighting and new stage curtains. Thank you to all who helped raise the significant funds required for these works.
The biggest building work over the summer was the construction of the new Quadrant Building in the Senior School, offering seven lovely new classrooms. The building also contains the Megson Room – a large meeting room named after alumna, Barbara Megson (Class of 1948), who has been very generous to LEH in recent years.
In my start-of-year letters to parents in September 2018 and again in September 2019, I wrote these words: There is no doubt that the year ahead holds many challenges for our country and possibly also for us as individuals. It is our goal to maintain a strong and purposeful community at LEH, encouraging thoughtful and informed engagement in the world around us.
None of us would have guessed at the time just how challenging the years ahead would prove to be – a global pandemic was not on anyone’s mind! I hope you agree that LEH has met its goal to remain strong and purposeful throughout the past 18 months of upheaval and uncertainty. Now is not the time to sit back and relax, however, it is the time to re-state our determination to provide the best possible education to all our pupils, both within and beyond the classroom.
We must gird our loins and determine to keep alive that spirit which has seen us through so many shocks and anxieties. I am not naïve enough to imagine that the year ahead will be smooth-running and stress-free – we can’t anticipate what may come our way. However, if I had a glass to hand, I would raise it now and toast the new year at LEH: may it be as rewarding and enjoyable as ever and may we all find the strength and enthusiasm to deal with whatever the future holds.
I hope to see many of you at our Virtual Alumnae Reunion on Saturday 2nd October, and to raise a glass of mulled wine with you in person at our Alumnae Carol Service on Monday 29th November.