A welcome for new friends
We were delighted that over 120 families registered for our Open Day on Saturday 8th October. Welcomes from the Headteacher, Mrs Sarah Raffray, and from our Head Girl, Erin Costello, in the Chapel were combined with tours led by St Augustine’s Priory pupils. Families were guided around the school to meet teaching staff and pupils and to enjoy experiencing all the subjects we have on offer through various activities including quizzes, demonstrations and even, in the case of Geography, partaking of desserts from around the world! Families were also able to view the grounds and see pupils participating in their Saturday morning sports clubs.
After exploring St Augustine’s Priory visitors could enjoy our Café where our younger visitors took part in biscuit decorating while their older counterparts enjoyed a piece of cake with their morning coffee and also had the opportunity to meet our Registrar, Mrs Savic.
From Art to Classics, from enjoying a Drama performance to meeting our very own robot in the Science labs, St Augustine’s Priory showcased our range of subjects from Nursery to Priory 6.
This was a day to remember as we met new friends and they discovered the exceptional school that is St Augustine’s Priory with its extraordinary staff and pupils, including Head Girl, Erin Costello.
Here we produce Erin’s speech delivered to our guests at our Open Day:
‘My name is Erin and I have the honour of being Head Girl for my final year here at St Augustine’s Priory. I hope you have enjoyed your tours and have enjoyed seeing the creative and unique learning environment and experienced the warmth of our school community.
Undoubtedly you are all here to find the perfect school for your daughter where she will grow both academically and personally whilst developing her confidence, in what will be some of the most influential years of her life.
I would like to tell you all about my own time here as an Augustinian and share with you some of the experiences and opportunities I’ve had at this school and how they have helped to shape me.
I joined St Augustine’s nearly ten years ago in Upper I as a nervous eight year old. The seemingly intimidating task of settling in was quickly eased by the welcoming ethos of the school and the abundance of support I received from both students and staff. I have been taught by an amazing team of supportive, hard-working, passionate and creative teachers who always endeavour to get the best results for their pupils.
When I first joined the school I was excited by the beautiful grounds, the field, orchards and the meadow. Excited by the prospect of school trips around the world, displays of which you may have seen on your tours! And ten years later I have run around that field more times than I can count; I have been skiing in Switzerland, explored markets in France, and wild-camped in Wales. Girls here have seen the Northern Lights in Iceland, visited amphitheatres in Greece, volunteered in orphanages in Thailand. The opportunities are endless.
The cohesion between year groups is most apparent when the whole school comes together for events such as Charities Week where the students raise as much money as possible for charity with various talent shows, cake sales and dressing up days. The bond between the Seniors, Juniors and Preps is a wonderful example of the school’s community. Free from the increasing demands of social media on young people at St Augustine’s we are given the opportunity to play. We are given space to grow at our own pace. The older girls consciously look out for the younger ones, for example I volunteered in the Nursery every week as part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Just yesterday we had a ‘Big Sister Little Sister’ meet up day, where all members of the Sixth Form are assigned a ‘little sister’ in Form III (Year 7), where we meet up and play games and catch up with them.
At St Augustine’s Priory the student voice is extremely important and I am proud to feel I have positivity contributed to changes in the school. I first joined Student Council here aged eight. It was exciting to see the whole class joining together to brainstorm ideas for our continuously growing school. Through that time I saw the amazing impact the student voice has and how much we are respected and listened to as students.
Not only does St Augustine’s perform academically, girls here leave ready for the working world. With ‘The Apprentice’ styled industry days, to careers evenings and regular guest speakers from industry experts, we are given countless opportunities to build up our CVs.
What makes me the most proud to be an Augustinian girl is that the school caters for each individual, as we are pushed to work to our own personal goals and strengths. If that be in science, St Augustine’s is a school that is genuinely excited about females becoming scientists. Last year, students entered a VEX robotics competition run by Girls Into STEM, an organisation dedicated to encouraging girls into science, technology and maths. Whilst there is also a great focus here on the arts, with exhibitions, choirs and productions for pupils to display their talents.
Yet we are also taught to embrace and focus on where we can improve. From a young age I was always very conscious of my weaknesses in the classroom. I struggled with simple tasks such as copying information off the board and spelling. In Year 5 my teacher brought this to my parents’ attention and suggested extra support lessons. The problems I had been having were thought to be due to dyslexia. Yet during this period, the school continuously built up my confidence, pushing me to strive in my strengths and support me in my weaknesses. I was given, and still am given, a phenomenal amount of support. Only this summer a friend from a local school told me that the bottom set for GCSE English was the worst because it was ‘full of the dyslexic students’. I couldn’t help but smile as, through the immense support and encouragement I was given here, I proudly achieved an A* in my English GCSE – something which my seven year old self would have thought impossible.
I truly could stand here all afternoon, pinpointing examples of my time here that have made me fall so in love with the school. But to put it quite simply, I only need to remind you that I was a nervous eight year old girl when I joined this school and I will be leaving an eighteen year old full of the fondest memories. I consider myself lucky to have had the privilege of growing up at St Augustine’s Priory, in this academically stimulating and loving environment of which I can say I have loved every minute. And I hope that in many years you girls here today or your daughters will be able to say the same.
Thank you very much and enjoy the rest of your day.’
Categories: Junior Nursery Prep Senior Sixth Form Whole School