David Boyd, Head of Tormead School, reflects on the year his school community has faced and how they are moving forward
Starting my second year as Head of Tormead, I’ve reflected a lot over the summer break, on the impressive manner in which our Senior and Prep School girls and staff have weathered the many challenges of the last year, to emerge stronger, more confident and ambitious for the future.
As I write, we have just celebrated the achievements of our upper sixth and Year 11 students who have received impressive A-level and GCSE results after two years of disruption and uncertainty throughout their courses.
With 79 per cent of our upper sixth girls achieving A*/A grades and 89 per cent of our GCSE grades awarded at grade 9–7, I could not be more proud of their efforts, as they have faced the challenges of studying in a pandemic, with true resilience and dedication.
Our upper sixth go on to what I know will be bright and varied futures in some of the country’s top universities and most competitive courses, and we wish them all the very best. I firmly believe, however, that schools are about more than just A-level results which conclude a girl’s formal secondary education.
In this instance, it has been the values and ethos of Tormead, instilled through their time at school, and the hard work and support of our wonderful teaching and pastoral staff, that has helped our students face the hurdles of the last two years with such success. Those values stress the importance of resilience and perspective: being kind to each other and ourselves brings greater rewards than self-interest and single-mindedness.
At Tormead, we believe that an outstanding education is a holistic one, where participation in the school’s many extra and co-curricular opportunities stands shoulder-to-shoulder with students’ effort and achievement in the classroom. Our girls are successful because they learn to be busy and engaged, supported by staff who understand that young people need help in managing competing priorities.
Throughout this last year, it is a testament to the vibrancy of this philosophy that Tormead grew its extra-curricular programme, at the same time many schools cut theirs back. We are now the only Guildford school offering rowing in our sports programme, and options for our girls vary from netball and hockey, to football and rugby, with our top sportswomen given expert direction through our Elite Athlete Programme.
On stage, the summer term of 2021 saw four drama productions performed by different year groups, ranging from a contemporary production of ‘Odysseus’ performed to a live audience, to a series of Year 7 comedy sketches, streamed online. The summer holidays began with a successful Drama Camp with boys from the RGS, Guildford. All this doesnt happen by accident, but through the dedication of staff who want the best for their students and go the extra mile, and students who are highly motivated and engaged.
In our Prep School and Pre-Prep, there is huge excitement for the new academic year as Nicki Fry starts as the Head, having overseen extensive investment in our Prep facilities over this summer. These include an upgraded, dedicated Prep School science laboratory, new outdoor school, Wild Side, refurbished classrooms, library and performance space. As our Prep School continues to grow, we know these facilities will enhance the learning experience for all our younger girls.
These examples of what Tormead can achieve under challenging conditions gives you a sense of the level of opportunity we offer our girls. Whatever their stage of learning, interests or passions, they can grow and develop their potential and confidence.
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