All eyes, tomorrow, will be on the inauguration of a businessman and former reality television star to the highest political office in the world. It caps a year of dramatic political change, sometimes rancorous debate and heated arguments that divided families, friends and neighbourhoods along stark but previously invisible lines.
As Christmas approaches, like most of us, I have been turning my mind to presents. For the first time in some years, I have the pleasure of buying for a baby in the family – my three-month-old grandson. Browsing the aisles in search of the perfect gift, it has struck me quite forcefully how stark the gender divide is even for items destined for the tiniest of people. Girls’ clothes and boys’ clothes. Girls’ toys and boys’ toys. Books for girls and books for boys. The...
It’s a typically misty November, that time of trick or treating, bonfires and fireworks. Outside the mania of exam season, coursework deadlines and the nail-biting trial run of mock exams you might think it’s a good moment for our girls to sit back and relax.
If you walk around Headington at any time, you have a fairly good chance of hearing the sound of Music. Whether it is one of the nearly 500 individual instrumental lessons which take place each week, girls practising in their Houses for the Original House Song competition, or perhaps a rehearsal of one of 21 different ensembles, it is one of my favourite things about walking around the School. This term, there are a few new people getting in on the action – the staff.
In a school like Headington I am constantly impressed with the girls’ work ethic. Our girls work incredibly hard, make remarkable progress and record excellent results. They do that within an atmosphere of nurture and support alongside the necessary stretch and challenge. We expect a lot of them but they expect even more of themselves and we need to be wary of that.
Today our country goes to the polls to make arguably the most important decision for a generation. Whether we are ‘in’ or ‘out’, ‘remain’ or ‘leave’, the outcome of the vote has the potential to have a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. For some of our girls it will be the first opportunity to exercise their democratic rights. However, the vast majority at Headington will have absolutely no say whatsoever in a decision which will shape the direction their country...
As the country faces a huge moment in its history we, as exponents of single-sex education, have found ourselves in the midst of our own mini media storm this week. “Don’t call girls girls”, “Girls can’t be girls”, “Stop referring to pupils as ‘girls’” screamed the headlines whilst the phone has been ringing off the hook at Headingon, of which I am head teacher, with radio stations trying to persuade me to go on air to discuss the issue.
Headington, like schools everywhere, has gone into a special phase which happens at this time every year. After ‘muck-up day’ saw a joyous outbreak of mirth, practical jokes and some creatively outlandish fancy dress costumes, silence now reigns supreme as our eldest girls have gone off on study leave, ready for the serious business of external exams.
Each year we welcome a new set of sixth formers to help lead our school as prefects and each year I am humbled by the different skills they bring to the role. These young women are truly inspirational as they demonstrate their hugely diverse burgeoning talents in every possible career path imaginable. Among those is our new Head Girl Hannah Anson – a gifted writer who has just featured in the latest edition of our journalism publication,...
As the Headmistress of a girls’ school it is my hope that the girls in my charge grow up to challenge preconceptions. That could be preconceptions of what an engineer, a stockbroker or a computer programmer looks like. It could be assumptions about choices they have made, about what their abilities are and what they ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ do. Throughout their lives, our girls will face preconceptions and prejudices head on.