On Friday, the Year 6 and 8 teams attended the regional competition in the Independent School’s Association Netball tournament. The Year 6 team was undefeated throughout the competition and got through to the final. They lost 6-5 in a very close and exciting game of netball to Knightsbridge. The Year 8 team came second in their group competition. They won convincingly against The Mount School in the semi-final and lost to St James in the final. Both teams have now qualified for the National finals this weekend in York. Amazing netball, girls!
International Women’s Day
On Thursday our girls came together in assembly to celebrate International Women’s Day. In this centenary year of women obtaining the right to vote and in light of recent Hollywood scandals and the World Economic Forum predicting it will take 217 years to close the gender pay gap, it seems that recognition of this day is more important than ever. The theme of this year’s day is to ‘Press for Progress’. Orlaith, Chloe, Lucy, Olivia and Grace in Year 12 shared with us how they intend to do this, ranging from celebrating the achievements of women to maintaining a gender parity mind-set. Most importantly, our girls took away the key message that they should never allow their gender to hold them back.
Maths in Action
The Whole of Year 10 travelled to London on a very cold and snowy day to attend a GCSE Maths in Action Day. They listened to a variety of inspirational speakers from very different backgrounds; teachers, lecturers, mathematicians, a TV presenter and also a maths populariser and YouTube sensation. The aim of the day was to show how mathematics is embedded in all that we do, in ways we may never have thought of.
Some of the demonstrations were on topics that one might expect like code-breaking in WWII and how the Enigma code was broken. Although the girls found this topic interesting they were certainly more captivated by how that led to the discovery of passing and receiving information over the internet and messaging. They were especially impressed by the demonstration that drilled a hole in a CD to show that the information could still be read by the CD player and therefore the CD could be played as normal.
The girls had the opportunity to play games and discover how mathematics can be used to win games based on the ancient game of Nim. The mathematics behind the chances of winning in a game show were demonstrated and also how mathematics can be used in magic too. One of the sessions was aimed directly at how to study and revise for GCSE exams; some of the girls have already adopted one of the recommendations to create a mistakes book to try and eliminate repeating errors and learn from them instead.
Another presenter described the mathematics involved in the flow of chocolate in a chocolate fountain. Her study then led her to analyse the flow of food sauces and custard and the findings from this research have led to the improvement of bullet proof vests – who would have expected that!
Can we believe everything we read in the papers? This session showed how the media constantly misuse, misinterpret and abuse statistics in order to dramatise and create headline news. This opened the eyes of our girls to the potential pitfalls of listening to and acting upon sensational claims we see every day on TV and the internet. Understanding how data can be used to influence society is certainly something that will affect all of our lives in years to come.
The girls all agreed that the day had been incredibly beneficial and enjoyable!
On Thursday, the Senior House Inter-House Music competition took place. Girls from Year 7 through to Year 13 contributed musical pieces from piano, flute and clarinet to beautiful singing performances. We were delighted that Cecily Redman, former St Mary’s student and Deputy Head Girl, who is now a singing teacher here at St Mary’s, was able to judge the competition. Cecily was more than qualified to oversee proceedings, having recently graduated from The Royal Academy of Music with an MA and DipRAM in Musical Theatre with Distinction. Cecily commented, “I was pleased to hear such a variety of music and I was very impressed with the standard of performances. It was delightful to see how well the students performed, the confidence they displayed and the pleasure they took from participating”. Congratulations to Temple West, who were the overall winners.
Eco Swap Shop
Last Friday our team of Eco Warriors, with girls from Prep to Sixth Form, held “The Big Swap Event”. As part of our School’s commitment to reducing landfill and educating pupils about a more circular economy, students and teachers were invited to bring in any unwanted items from home, in order to swap them for something they might use more regularly. The response was amazing and girls from across the School were delighted to be able to take home a new toy or item of clothing, whilst helping to reduce landfill. Our Year 8 Maths students used their maths skills to calculate the amount of landfill that had been saved and it came to 12.85m3. So, a very worthwhile event!
On Sunday, 15 students from Years 11 and 12 participated in the Model United Nations Day, which was held at Dr Challoners Grammar School.
MUN is an educational simulation and academic activity in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. It teaches participants researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. The aim is to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding of current world issues.
Participants in Model United Nations conferences are placed in committees and assigned countries to represent, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, where they represent members of that body. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in the committee, staying true to the actual position of the member they represent. At the end of a conference, the best-performing delegates in each committee are recognized.
Our students gave speeches, in front of up to 130 people, on “Conventional Weapons”, the “Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar” and the “Ongoing Human Rights Situation in Crimea and Sevastopol”. They worked incredibly hard and threw themselves wholeheartedly into an unfamiliar, and somewhat daunting, situation.
Emily was congratulated for making an excellent speech, and Isabelle won the Highly Commended Delegate award.
Our School gym squad continued their impressive run of success last Sunday. This time the U11 and U14 teams both won Silver medals for their performances at the BSGA Floor and Vault Competition, which was held at St Mary’s. Well done, girls!
Youth Speaks Success
Last Friday, 19 January, our talented public speakers took part in the local heat of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition, hosted by Thorpe House School. Our Year 9 team triumphed in the Intermediate Section with their excellent team presentation on ‘Toxic Technology’, with Arabella as Chair, Ruby as Main Speaker and Emma giving the vote of thanks. They will now go on to compete in the Zone Final in Marlow on 1 February. Our Senior Team, from Year 12, did a fantastic presentation on the challenging topic of ‘Is Social Media Taking Over Our Lives?’ Their main speaker was Zamzam, with Ambar giving the vote of thanks. The Chair, Jazmin, was singled out for particular praise from the judges for her excellent teamwork and control of the meeting. Our Year 8 team also performed particularly strongly, considering they were new to public speaking. Chaired by Holly, with Ambi as Main Speaker and Siyona giving the vote of thanks, they spoke very eloquently on their topic, ‘Does Religion Degrade Women?’
Well done to all of these talented young ladies – they made us very proud.
Under 9 Team sweeps the board!
St Mary’s under 9 Gymnastic team swept the board at last weekend’s ISGA 4 Piece Challenge Cup, at St Faith’s in Cambridge. The team, consisting of Olivia, Leyla, Lucy, Lily-May and Eden, competed as individuals performing one set and one voluntary floor routine and vault. All the girls performed brilliantly against gymnasts from ten other schools from across the UK, with Olivia taking the Gold, making her National Champion, Lily-May won Silver and Eden won Bronze! A fabulous achievement which led our girls to win over all as a team as well.
BSGA Milano Regional Championships
Many congratulations to our gymnasts who competed in the BSGA Milano Regional Championships this weekend. They all performed brilliantly, with the U16 team winning the competition and the U11s coming second.
We were delighted to host the prestigious British Schools Gymnastic Association, Milano Trio south region finals competition last weekend. Several local schools competed; Wycombe Abbey, Dr Challoners High School, Maltman’s Green and Beaconsfield High, as well as schools from across Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Bucks. The U16s team comprised Freya, Poppy and Charlotte, whilst Tilda, Hollie, Rosie and Maya were in the under 11 team. All participants performed individual floor and vault routines and then a group routine. Our Under 16s scored the maximum possible for their group routine choreography, which was put together by Emily in Year 12. Both teams now go on to compete in the BSGA National competition in Stoke on Trent on 16-17 March. Well done, girls!