9th July 2021

The last of this academic year, and being typed on Friday 9th as we have all just come back to earth have been scooped up in the whirlwind that was our final half a week.
Whilst racing around like bluebottles on Monday, suddenly we were all given a calming and most therapeutic visit from Miss Abbie, with her new baby – Grayson.  He was asleep, so we all had to keep the noise down.  Thankfully at that time, the noisiest mob; the middle school were all out on a picnic, so young Grayson could rest in his pushchair slumber. 
We had a lovely Pre-Prep Prize Giving, live linked into the homes of our proud Pre-Prep parents, and I hope they felt the sense of pride we all felt as our Reception/Form 1 and Form 2 pupils strode up to receive their Certificates of Achievement from Mrs Harvey.  Prior to this, a brief summary of each of the classes year was given, and what a full timetable even this year has provided.

Mrs Bell, Mr Inwood and a team of staff, cleverly managed to run a Sports ‘Day’ of sorts by a clever relaying of pupils coming and going from the school, over to the back field.  It was heart-breaking to see no parents there, but that sorrow was soon replaced by the joy of watching our 5 – 7 year olds enjoy their athletics competitions.

There were rounders and cricket matches for the seniors in the afternoon, which proved relatively easy victories for our leavers, and the atmosphere in both events was just a delight. 
Tuesday brought a most unusual Form 8 assembly conducted in a room with no audience, and the rest of the school tuning in from their Form rooms.  Star of the ‘show’ was definitely Ernie from the office!  He looked at his fellow ‘performers’ with some confusion as they lolloped about impersonating staff and acting daft, before concluding with a most touching tribute to all staff, teaching, support and otherwise.

Final assembly in the afternoon allowed for prizes of a sporting nature to be awarded and squad performances to be acknowledged, with a grateful thanks to Mrs Bell for all her tireless work organising, coordinating, list making and checking, and informing.
Prize Giving for Form 8 in the evening took on a very different look, but was deemed a great success by all, including many who were able to watch from the comfort of their own homes.  Former Dollar Academy Principal and St. Mary’s School Governor Mr John Robertson delivered a super and most thought provoking address before wishing Form 8 well with some wise advice about making the most of their opportunities. 
Mr P then chipped in with a brilliant summation of the idyllic Form 8 Camp week and a hilarious poem full of truths, half-truths and out and out inaccuracies simply for the purpose of finding appropriate rhymes! 

I then had the honour and privilege of paying tribute to each of our brilliant Form 8 leavers and announcing the prizes they had been awarded.  It was an emotional and hugely uplifting experience, set in a garden that has been enhanced by their kindness and generosity in no small measure.

On Wednesday, Mrs Bell and Mr Inwood pulled off a second morning of athletics, with another cleverly set programme to ensure compliance, but a very valuable opportunity to celebrate the seniors’ athletic endeavours and abilities.  The staff/pupils’ tennis doubles concluded with the brilliant Kate J and her ageing, overweight, semi-immobile partner unexpectedly triumphing in the final over the naturally and supremely talented Mr P and his excellent partner Archie D. 
Presentations took place in the veranda garden and then a second wonderful gathering of Form 8, their parents and staff took the form of a Leavers’ barbeque.  All within regulations, I can assure you!

What a year, in which the best of this wonderful St. Mary’s community pulled together to support each other.  Pupils, parents, staff and governors have all played a part in seeing St. Mary’s through the last seventeen months without a positive Covid-19 case among our pupil population.  That, alongside a multitude of positives of another, more meaningful kind are cause for great celebration, and a happy, safe and restful summer break.
Thank you, to each and every one of you, and have a very happy summer holiday.


Jules Birdsall, 09/07/2021


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