In my role as a Head, I am fortunate enough to meet and share information and ideas with a variety of business leaders. Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi recently told me that in life, whatever you do, whatever you choose, you should always seek out four things: responsibility, learning, recognition and joy. Four important words and ones that resonate with everyday life at BGS. Our Open Morning was no exception.
First our Head Girls, in the Junior and Senior School, took on the responsibility of speaking to a large audience of prospective parents and girls, explaining why they chose this school and what it meant to them. Harriet Clough, BGS Head Girl said “An important part of coming to Bedford Girls’ School is that it helps us flourish, and grow into the women of the future in this complicated and fast-moving world”. Anna Sherwin, Head Girl of the Junior School, felt that “the best thing about BGS is the opportunity you get to do the things you love. I also like that you get the chance to know lots of different girls throughout other year groups and the feeling that you belong to the school”. It was Anna’s maiden speech, but listening to her speak with such confidence you would never guess. I know an all girls’ environment has helped give them the confidence to be who they are and take on the responsibility of leading the school.
The value of learning at our school was also very evident at our Open Morning. James Potter, our Director of ICT, demonstrated the power of teaching and learning with new and emergent technology. He demonstrated how iPads and apps can add a new dimension to teaching strategies and to what girls gain, holistically, from being in our classrooms. In doing so, he showcased The 13th Legacy, a book our current Year 9s have collaboratively written and is now selling on Amazon, with its own website built by the authors. Most of all he showed how teaching is changing in the 21st century and how BGS is in the vanguard of these changes.
Open Morning also affords an opportunity for our girls to receive the public recognition of their hard work and talent they so richly deserve. Our musicians played beautifully, our sportswomen showed why BGS is so successful in sport and our drama students performed confidently their parts for the next school play, the RSC production of the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It is also an opportunity for girls to act as our guides showing the many different features that make up our school, answering questions honestly and sincerely. The parents were impressed by their genuine pride in the school, their willingness to give up a Saturday, and speak so positively about BGS. They were a credit to us.
Unsurprisingly then, that there was a palpable sense of joy in the building. People were really enjoying what they were doing, whether it was performing, touring, demonstrating or answering questions; it was all done with enthusiasm, good will and most of all joy. As Nicole Chapman, Head of Chelmsford County High School for Girls, said last week in The Daily Telegraph: “Girls in a single-sex environment can totally be themselves. They don’t have to pander to anything to do with being a girl. If they love to do really sporty things, if they love their Maths, Science or IT, no boy will push them out of the way.” No one is pushing our girls out of the way, they are seizing every opportunity and that is what gives me the most joy!