HEAD’S UPDATE - Week beginning 8th March 2021
It has been truly wonderful to have the children back in school. Seeing them play outside, run down to the games pitches, and laugh with their friends has been incredibly heartwarming, and I LOVED teaching my first lesson outdoors.
I would like to focus on our Year 8 children this week. This time last year, they were in Sauveterre, enjoying a truly unique educational experience. As the pandemic took grip, their departure was both abrupt and unexpected. Some children found themselves back at Mowden for a few days before the Easter holidays, and some went straight home. Little did they know they would not return for months. The phased return in June gave them some contact with school and friends, but it was nothing like the experience they would have had in the Summer of Year 7.
They have faced further disruption to their attendance at school since January, and on their return this Monday, they have gone straight into mock examinations for Common Entrance. Their approach to this and subsequent conduct has been highly impressive. They are positive, purposeful and committed; and I feel very proud of them all.
Common Entrance is the name for a set of examinations taken by boys and girls for entrance to senior independent schools at 13+. The syllabuses are devised by the Independent Schools Examinations Board which is composed of Heads from the three Associations which represent the leading independent schools in the country: The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, The Girls' Schools Association and The Independent Association of Prep Schools.
Preparing for these exams is a huge part of a child's prep school experience. The overall process is very carefully managed to ensure children are challenged in a supportive and responsible manner. Having taught many children at senior schools, I strongly believe those who have taken Common Entrance have a huge advantage, whatever type of school they move on to after prep school. They already know their strengths and weaknesses, they have learned numerous revision strategies that work for them, and importantly, they have the ability to take responsibility for their own learning.
Our Year 8 children always have a highly conscientious approach to their examinations. They regularly study in groups, attend additional lessons, and commit to dedicated revision sessions with subject specialist staff. Looking back at my own education, I did not learn the skills our children have at 12 and 13 years of age until the Upper Sixth. I have no doubt that the overall outcome for me would have been significantly better if I had been taught these skills earlier in my education.
As a prep school Head, I am mindful of the overall educational journey, not just what is achieved during the Mowden years. We have done a good job if we feel confident that the Mowden child leaves fully prepared for the next stage of their education. The process of Common Entrance is one of the most impactful ways we achieve this.
We celebrated the end of the mocks with a BBQ. It went ahead, mostly in the dark, whatever the weather and whatever the conditions (within reason). Furthermore, the children were great company, they always are, even if they are wet and cold (and don’t dress appropriately…..).
I wish you all a lovely weekend. On Sunday, I will be thinking of all the amazing women who support our entire community.
Mrs. Kate Martin, Head