As I sit and write this blog, the sun is shining, the daffodils and blossom are out and the temperature feels balmy and pleasant. I feel an enormous sense of wellbeing, albeit somewhat tired after a long and busy term. I am sure many of the students feel the same way. The longer days bring an air of positivity to all. There have been so many exciting events recently: from fantastic sports matches to fabulous concerts; innovative drama pieces to enthralling school trips; success in competitions and the awarding of colours; and the election of the new GLG to the CCF AGI, it has been a busy term. There have been so many opportunities for our students to find their passions and they have risen to the opportunities.
They do this on top of the wonderful learning that takes place each and every day: I have seen students give presentations in pecha kucha style in computer science; Sixth Formers intellectually struggling through challenging science and maths problems by collaborating on their responses by writing on their desks (certainly not something encouraged at school in my day!); I have observed students work creatively together using their ipads to design theatre sets and costumes; whilst others have shown their high level thinking analysing poetry in socratic circles. It has been wonderful to see students excitedly playing games confidently using their newfound language skills in Spanish; and our youngest students thriving in their enquiry based learning in the IB PYP creating non-chronological accounts. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how emphatically our students throw themselves into their learning; they are happy to share their ideas with me, even trying to explain the most complicated scientific theories to a historian! They are an absolute credit to the school and, of course, to their families.
However, a recent survey undertaken by the University of Manchester found that girls are feeling more pressure to be a “perfect teenager” than their male counterparts. It also reported they get less sleep and exercise than boys. Girls were also more likely to use social media spending an average of 4.8 hours a day online. Although it can be a source of support for girls, it can lead to greater pressure on them in areas such as body confidence. It saddens me that our young women are putting so much pressure on themselves; clearly from all I have seen this past term both in their lessons and co-curricular activities, our students have so much going for them. It is important that they realise they are all unique individuals who have a lot to offer in their own ways and that here at BGS they can discover and celebrate their passions and interests in a safe environment. They need to understand that no-one is perfect; we all make mistakes and that this is how we learn and grow. As educators and parents, we have a responsibility to support them as they learn to see their value and embrace their individualism. Speaking with the outgoing GLG and other Sixth Form students who have delivered sessions on gender inequality and LBGTQ+ awareness, I can see what confident young adults they grow into. They know their own minds and are ready to tackle the challenges they may face.
I also took to heart from this survey the importance of sleep, particularly as we come to the end of a frenetic term. I know that some of our older students will be revising for examinations over the holidays, but I hope that everyone ensures they have some relaxation and plenty of sleep over the break. I think this quote from Homer’s The Odyssey is an apt way to end the Spring Term “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”