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Walthamstow School for Girls

Headteacher's Fortnightly Message

9 February 2024

Dear Students, Parents and Carers

It does not seem like two weeks since I last wrote to you. We have had an action-packed fortnight!

Last week saw our year 9 students heading to the Marylebone Theatre to see ‘The Most Precious of Goods’ by Jean-Claude Grumberg, about a family affected by the holocaust, our year 11s taking part in a coding workshop and year 10 students participating in a Solutions not Sides workshop (see below). Year 11 Professional Interview day also took place on Friday when all of our year 11s had a 1-1 formal interview with someone from a professional or industry background. This is great experience for our students who approached the event with their usual aplomb and our visitors were suitably impressed.

On Tuesday this week, Brilliant Club Scholars from year 9 officially graduated with a celebration at City University which included Bahar and Sarah presenting to a large audience. See below for further details. In other year 9 news this week, our football team are now borough champions! They beat Eden 4-0 in the semi-final and Heathcote 2-1 in the final. Come on, WSFG!

And, of course, the biggest event of this week was our school show...

Matilda!

If you were lucky enough to be in the audience of our school show, ‘Matilda!’, I am sure that you will agree that that it was amazing! And it was lovely that so many parents and audience members told us how much they enjoyed it. Many of our students simply ‘shone’ in their performances, whether dancing, acting, singing or as part of the band. The backstage crew, costumes, makeup, tech and lighting had been working hard to ensure the show ran smoothly.

‘Matilda!’ is an uplifting musical anyway, but our students and staff made it even more inspiring through the inclusive nature of the show, the quality of performances and the simple joy of everyone working together as part of a performance. This is what schools are all about!

Thank you to parents and carers for your support and to our fabulous cast members for their dedication and hard work. Thank you to the staff, especially Ms Cornford, Ms Bradshaw, Mr Hitchman, Ms Childs, Ms Smith, Mr Shum and the Performing Arts team, who gave up so many hours of their time since September, over weekends, holidays and evenings to ensure that ‘Matilda!’ was a resounding success.

Solutions not Sides

Last Friday we welcomed visitors from Palestine and Israel as part of a workshop delivered by Solutions not Sides. Thirty of our year 10 students took part and were an absolute credit

to the school in terms of their thoughtful and mature approach to such a controversial subject. I was very proud of them.

Hajia and Serena have shared their reflections here:

The Solutions not Sides workshop was extremely intriguing and interesting as we got to hear the situation from both sides; Palestine and Israel. Both sides talked about how life was growing up and just on the matter in general. We also had a Question and Answer session where we got to ask our own questions which I found interesting as both our guests have different views on certain things. Overall I feel more educated on the conflict and I feel able to put my feet in somebody else's shoes and see the matter from their point of view. - Hajia 10C

I found the Solutions Not Sides workshop enlightening. In short, we heard from a citizen of Palestine and a citizen of Israel on the history of the conflict from their perspective, their lives before and after it, and their views. Whilst they might not have always agreed, they demonstrated civility in their answers even in such an emotionally charged subject. Without a doubt it provided valuable insight into not just the conflict but how to approach people with different viewpoints towards it with empathy and respect.

On Friday, we were introduced to the speakers, who were brave for sharing their stories and encouraging questions. Both speakers advocated for peace in the region and for their families, liberties, and speech, yet of course respectful disagreement occurred on certain topics, such as boycotting. They both took a turn answering our questions which were either written on a post it note or asked aloud.

Overall, it was an invaluable experience where we heard from people who experienced tension and conflict in the region firsthand, sharing personal stories of their family and friends. It was not only a lesson in history and empathy but showed me how important it is to make your own conclusions after hearing both sides- especially in the midst of an increasingly more content driven world where often the loudest voices seem to prevail rather than the most peaceful or logical. - Serena 10W

Aerosols and sprays – why they are banned items

Please can parents support us in reinforcing the message that aerosols and sprays are not allowed in school. This is because they can be extremely harmful for students who suffer from asthma. We have now had several incidents where students have had to be taken to A&E as a result of students using sprays in classrooms.

Lunar New Year

On Thursday, our canteen served some amazing food to celebrate Lunar New Year. I thoroughly enjoyed my vegetable chow mein! For those of you who are celebrating, I wish you love, luck and health for the Year of the Dragon.

Wishing you all a restful half-term!

Yours faithfully

Helen Marriott
Headteacher
 

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