Welcome from Jo Duncan


A warm welcome to the first e-bulletin of the Summer Term. This is a term which will be different from any other that we have known but I am confident that we will work together and be successful as we face the challenges ahead. In a new initiative, each week will be linked to an overarching theme which will be referred to in our Chapel and Big School messages. The theme for this week is, aptly, ‘Community’, a term which I have already mentioned in my recent messages.

Without doubt, the past few weeks have reminded me of the strength of our School community and I am deeply grateful to many people for their hard work, commitment and dedication during this time. Teachers, in particular, deserve our thanks as they have been working throughout the Easter holiday to prepare to move to remote teaching and learning this term for their classes, creating new programmes for year groups who should have been sitting examinations and honing their own digital skills.

The staff who remain on site have been looking after the buildings and grounds – no mean feat on an estate the size and complexity of Wycombe Abbey and, along with the rest of the nation, many others have made the abrupt transition to remote working, ensuring that the School continues to function as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Our Governing Council have guided the School with wise counsel and, in addition, have supported extensive investment in hardware to ensure that every member of staff is equipped for this new reality in which we are now living and working.

The start of a new academic term usually sees some new members of teaching staff and I am delighted that Miss Sarah Phillips has now joined us as Assistant Housemistress of Shelburne House and teacher of Mathematics. Colleagues will be working closely with Miss Phillips as she settles into life at Wycombe Abbey and I know that she is particularly looking forward to getting to know the girls in person when they return to School.

Supporting our local community, we continue to respond to calls for assistance from those outside Wycombe Abbey in a range of ways, including offering accommodation to NHS key workers, should it be required, donating lab coats, goggles and bedding in response to the request for additional PPE, raising money for local charities and experimenting with creating visors using DT equipment. We are indebted to those on the front line both in the UK and around the world, which I know includes some of our parents and Seniors, who are working to save lives for the benefit of us all.

Thank you to all of you for your messages of support over the past few weeks; while many things will be new and strange, at least at first, our community remains as strong as ever and I am convinced that we will grow stronger through this challenge.

Jo Duncan