Amid the Christmas traditions of peace and charity, at Putney, our commitment to social responsibility and the community of which we are a part, is at the forefront of our minds. Opportunities to contribute, to volunteer and to collaborate with local schools, hospitals and residents are fundamental to developing our students’ sense of empathy and what better way to learn that academic achievement should go hand-in-hand with moral purpose. Offering a thorough grounding in “life”, being “down-to-earth” and promoting these values throughout the year is something which we all hold dear, but what better time to remember this than during the “season of goodwill”.
Senior Citizen’s Party
This Tuesday, on the coldest winter day, we welcomed senior citizens from the surrounding area to join us for our bi-annual Senior Citizens’ Party. Men and women from local centres joined girls from Years 8 and 11 for tea, cakes and to chat, sing carols and listen to other musical performances. Good will was felt by one and all as girls distributed the assembled gifts at the end of the afternoon – what better way to welcome in the spirit of Christmas?
Sharing their passion for books and storytelling, pupils in Years 12 and 13 have been promoting a love of reading in younger children, volunteering at Granard and Ronald Ross Primary Schools to support those in Year 1 and above in their reading. Following specialist training, our girls have been improving the children’s skills by developing their understanding of phonics. “It is really rewarding seeing week on week the children becoming confident and improving as a consequence of the support you give them,” Year 12 student.
This week the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 drew all our attention to the plight of the world’s oceans and the devastating effects of our overuse of plastic. As a rowing school, and now with our own boathouse at Putney Embankment, one keen rower in Year 10 has been taking matters into her own hands, spearheading a campaign to clean up the River Thames. Donning rubber gloves, Darcey Boyle has been removing the numerous plastic bags and discarded bottles that litter the water’s edge. Actions speak louder than words!
As educators, we appreciate the enormous importance of sharing knowledge and opportunity. Throughout the year we seek ways to strengthen our relationships with local schools and the wider community, sometimes through volunteering or outreach projects and often by inviting external pupils to join us at events at Putney High.
Following our successful drama and music workshops, our Cool to be Clever programme, in partnership with Roehampton University, has seen girls from Year 12 mentoring Gifted and Talented children from local primary schools. These children have joined us for masterclasses in everything from Maths code-breaking to prototype building in Design Technology, and even app building in a special computer science class. Watch this space for the next brilliant collaboration.
Earlier this term, local state schools, Ark Putney and The Priory C of E, took part in our PIE₂ day, part of the Putney Ideas Exchange; an entire day off timetable spent indulging our curiosities and learning about “cool stuff” just for its own sake. Our Performing Arts Centre also played host to local primary schools, Granard, Brandlehow and Hotham who joined us to hear an exciting talk from children’s author, Robin Stevens about her latest book, The Gugghenheim Mystery.
Charity fundraising opportunities are many and varied at Putney with girls both enthusiastic and adept when it comes to raising money for a good cause. National campaigns such as Jeans for Genes are always met with huge enthusiasm and our Harvest Festivals raise money for Regenerate RISE and Wandsworth Foodbank, local initiatives that we are proud to support.
One of the highlights of the Christmas term, this year’s Sixth Form Fair raised over a thousand pounds to be split between the school’s House charities: 50 cent period, Stop the Traffik, Duchenne UK and Save the Children and this Friday and there will no doubt be much hilarity as teachers and students pay their pounds to don Christmas jumpers and enjoy a Christmas lunch together to celebrate the end of term.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you for a happy 2018.