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NEWS > School News > Head Mistress' Welcome - September 2020

Head Mistress' Welcome - September 2020

Head Mistress Heather Hanbury updates alumnae at the start of the new academic year, as the school re-opens its doors after the unprecedented five month lockdown.
14 Sep 2020
School News

Dear Friends,
I hope this newsletter finds you well and I send all good wishes to you and your families as we begin a new academic year at LEH.
Regrettably, I can’t say that this summer holiday offered much in the way of rest and relaxation, as the Governors and the SMT spent many weeks planning intensively for a safe and secure return to school for students and staff this September. I know you’ll be delighted to hear that just about everyone has come back, ready to take on a new school year with enthusiasm and vigour. Now we keep our fingers firmly crossed that COVID-19 stays well away from us all, whilst having plans in place to deal with any cases as and when they arise.
Examination Congratulations!
We start every new school year with public examination news. This year was very different, but our congratulations were as heartfelt as usual. The full results can be viewed on our website, and I am now able to add that a wonderful 80% of our leavers are going to their first choice university. We wish them all the very best for the year ahead, wherever it takes them.
GCSEs results were also fabulous, with 84% of exams being graded A* (new grades 8 or 9). Just over 95% of exams were graded 7 – 9 (i.e., A or A*).
Despite not being able to sit any actual exams, these U5 and U6 students must remember that the results which they were awarded recognise their hard work and effort during their exam years, and so are no less valuable than if they had taken their exams.
Virtual Teaching and Learning
We are very proud that our rather rapid immersion into the world of virtual learning took place so successfully and we have found that there are many benefits from independent study. Learning is demanding. It requires real effort, it shouldn’t be easy and it often includes failure. The most successful learners are those who become independent learners, and every one of our students last term saw their independent learning skills grow and develop. Teachers have started their year with departmental discussions about what new things they learned about teaching during lockdown, what worked well and what remote teaching skills we must not lose.
We all know that nothing quite makes up for the face-to-face classroom teaching experience but our pupils are now ideally placed to continue their learning in a more independent way: a silver lining in what has otherwise been a dark cloud. 
Summer Term Teaching
There is a lot of comment in the press at the moment suggesting that pupils all across the country have fallen far behind in their learning, having missed a whole term of teaching. Despite this messaging, the fact is that LEH pupils can be confident about their summer term learning.  My assembly message to the girls at the start of term was this: “you covered a lot of work in summer term. In fact, you have done MORE than usual as you had two additional weeks of lessons: Exams Week and Activities Week. Far from being behind, most of you will find you are ahead of where you need to be at this stage”.
Events this term
We're very much looking forward to restarting our vibrant and varied events programme, despite things looking a little different this term. We hope you’ll join us for our Virtual Alumnae Lunch on Saturday 3rd October, and there are more details about this as you read on. We are hoping to carry out other events virtually too, and are planning virtual Careers events and talks as I write. Towards the end of the Autumn Term, we hope we might be able to run a selection of physical events; in particular our much loved Alumnae Carol Service, however, as I'm sure you understand, these events are subject to change in line with government advice.

Thank you
Finally, a huge and heartfelt thank you to the many kind alumnae who donated over the summer to the Bursary Fund. We start the year with 58 bursary students and 42 of these on full bursaries. These pupils are cherished within our community and in turn they enrich the lives of those who study with them. Without your help, the truth is that we wouldn’t be able to offer them this life changing opportunity; you really have given them a truly remarkable gift and I am so grateful for your generous support.
Please keep well and keep in touch; we love hearing your news!
Warm regards,
Heather Hanbury
Head Mistress

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Lady Eleanor Holles School
Hanworth Road
Hampton, TW13 3HF

0208 979 1601


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