Note from the Headmistress
27th September 2019
This morning, I had the pleasure of announcing our Prefects for this term. “Prefect” is a term used to describe ‘an older student with some authority over younger students and some other responsibilities and advantages’. While this may be the dictionary definition, what we want to see in our prefects are qualities such as leadership, willingness to help others, high integrity and be capable of communicating honestly and effectively. I would like to thank Mr Wilkinson for co-ordinating the application process and to all staff for contributing to the selection process. The VI form pupils approached the process with sincerity and created a number of opportunities to ‘impress’ staff and demonstrate their commitment over the past few weeks. I am very much looking forward to working with the team and I am confident that their contributions and support to the younger pupils will prove invaluable.
In the Junior assembly this week, we focussed on the seasons. We looked at some of the signs to look out for as we approach autumn. The children used pictures to remind us about the chilly mornings, how the speckled sunlight shimmers through ever-thinning leaves, that the leaves will shortly start to fall and how the hedgehog eats its winter fill before it hides away! We reflected on how autumn is a beautiful time of year when the leaves change to orange, yellow and red. Scarlet berries appear in the hedgerows and farmers are busy gathering in the harvest in orchard and field.
Last week Mrs Kelly, Miss Ann and I accompanied the 6th Form students to the Ploughing Championships in Co. Carlow. The event gave us the opportunity to visit representatives from The Green School, Met Éireann and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. One of our pupils wrote the following: ‘There were lots of quizzes and things to do. They were giving out metal (drinking) straws which are really cool’. Another wrote: ‘I also liked going to the mobile library and the Harper Adams University microscope and the full-fat versus light experiment’. Another wrote: ‘Yesterday we went on a trip to the Ploughing Championship. I enjoyed almost everything but the thing I liked the most was the Irish Angus TY projects and also Áines Chocolates, they were very good. I learnt a lot of things about green schools and also geography stuff which will be very helpful when I do my geography project. I also liked Met Éireann, which was about meteorological thunderstorms and how they are formed. In conclusion, I think it was a very nice educational trip’. We were also invited to the Angus Transition Year (TY) secondary school awards were the pupils got to meet Mrs Anna May McHugh and Miriam O’Callaghan. We also met and had a group photo with the Tánaiste, Mr Simon Coveney.
The boarding pupils went to Zipit Forest Adventure at the weekend and by all accounts had a great day out.
Mrs Lawson Clarke has introduced a spelling programme to the Headfort English Curriculum this term. The spelling programme is based around repetition and teaching children to break up words successfully using their sounds, letter patterns and syllables.
Every English lesson starts with a spelling input. Using a range of strategies and resources such as whole class games, independent workbook activities and sentence and dictation work, children are taught to identify the different sounds and know what letters are within in them. We also use the look, say, cover and write strategy to further embed the spellings we are currently looking at.
Mr Parker and I attended The Kings Hospital Assembly 2019 on Friday 20th September. We attended a talk delivered by Natasha Devon on mental health, body image and equality. (https://www.natashadevon.com/). We also attended a session on the effect of screen-time on pupils’ performance and progress delivered by Dr Aric Sigman. Dr Sigman explained how excessive recreational screen time may affect cognitive skills, attention, brain development, literacy and academic achievement. (http://www.aricsigman.com/SigmanPSHE.02.19.pdf).
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paddy Coldrick and Phillipa Collier for their service to the school. Both Paddy and Phillipa leave us this week and I wish them both a very happy retirement.
Notices and dates for your diary
● Don’t forget! Boarders should return by 7.30pm on Monday 30th September. Day pupils return on Tuesday 1st October at 8.30am.
● VI form students have an art trip to the National Gallery in Dublin on Thursday 3rd October.
● Maths Focus Week Week beginning 14th October