From the Headmistress

27 February 2020

We are now more than half way through the school year; much has already been accomplished by your daughters and I am looking forward to all that is to come. I am working with staff and the Governing Council on our new strategic plan and I am grateful for the feedback parents have given to me through a range of channels including the questionnaire and ‘Meet the Head’ drinks. Our vision is clear: to be at the forefront of girls’ boarding education and recognised globally as a world-class school. This vision is underpinned by our three stated aims which are the pursuit of academic excellence; the development of each individual’s talents in creative, physical and social skills; and the encouragement of faith in God and service to other people all in a happy, fulfilling and caring community.  I look forward to sharing further details with you when this plan is complete.

The coming half term will see the appointment of the new Head Girl team, our annual ‘Highlights’ dance show and the Sixth Form Management Conference with RGS (Royal Grammar School) among other things. For me, the Spring Term is always busy with staff appointments and I will keep you updated about these in the coming weeks.

You may be aware that we held our first Sport Forum before Long Leave and this was a good opportunity for parents to come together with PE staff to hear from them about the philosophy of the department, current provision and new initiatives. A summary of the information has been circulated by email.  Sport is an area of focus that I will be looking at specifically in the coming months.

Wycombe Abbey is a unique and special place as we were reminded in a recent Chapel address. I thought you might enjoy reading an article which appeared in the pupils’ magazine ‘The Publication’, known by the girls as “the Pub” which is reproduced below.

Jo Duncan MA (St Andrews), PGCE (Cantab)

A little thing called Wycombe Love

Wycombe at 11 can seem like a loveless place, but if we’re honest, any school will. Leaving everything you know and love for a small ex-chair making town is not exactly the easiest move. Even 7 years later at 18, when you’re 10 hours deep in coursework, haven’t left the library for days and that trig proof just won’t come to you – it’s easier than you’d think to feel the same way. But here’s the thing: although Wycombe might not be the first thought that comes to mind when you think of love, it certainly shouldn’t be the last. It might not scream ‘love’ (as you’d classically define it), but that’s hardly the point. While we might not be surrounded by hearts and roses, we are, without a doubt, surrounded by a little thing called Wycombe Love.

Wycombe Love is the scream during the Charterhouse Carol. It’s a room full of UIIIs playing FRIV. Wycombe Love is pizza rolls, pancake day and eating chips with pasta. It’s your LIV Geography teacher still stopping to say hi, despite not teaching you for years. It’s the mutual suffering on the bus to the Benenden match, it’s St. Leonard’s-Godstowe or is it St. Leonards and Godstowe? Wycombe Love is the sigh at cross country, the joy at dodgeball and the screams for bench ball. Wycombe Love is the feeling of running through Big School Corridor to lunch, it’s fish and chip Friday and yelling ‘THANK YOU’. Wycombe Love is Mr Atkinson and the JCQ regulations, it’s candidates still working and not talking ‘til you’re well away from Big School. Wycombe Love is rushing to the 6 computers in Junior Library, it’s crowding round a broken air hockey table and it’s the questionable smell in the Booter. Wycombe Love is nobody wearing the right kit to House Games, it’s the slamming of hymn books and the war against House Jumpers. Wycombe Love is playing in the snow with girls you barely know. It’s dancing madly at a social with a girl you haven’t talked to in terms. Wycombe love is seeing Rolo and Molly running across Midget Pitch, it’s Whole School Carol Prac and the mutual stress for the UIII Chemistry Elements test. Wycombe Love is Shilling helping you with your first real essay, it’s Tullis helping you with your last. Wycombe Love is the period of silent reflection, it’s Jerusalem and I Vow to Thee My Country. It’s 21 terms, 210 big schools and most importantly 2100 creme eggs sold in 2 weeks. Wycombe love is what you’ll remember. Because more than anything, Wycombe Love is what makes Wycombe, Wycombe.

So, don’t for a minute let yourself believe that Wycombe is loveless. Whether it’s as strong as a 7 year friendship or as simple as a victorious rounders team, Wycombe Love is everywhere. It’s a thing that no one can quite describe, but it’s there. Trust us. The more you look for it, the more you’ll see it. The more you spread it, the more you’ll feel it. Wycombe Love is not something you can choose to embrace or escape. No matter how hard you try, Wycombe Love will stick to you and it won’t let go. So we ask you one thing: don’t spend however long you have left here trying to ignore it. Because before you know it, 7 years will have gone by and you’ll be left wishing you had just a tiny bit longer to hang on to that little thing called Wycombe Love.