​Our Service of Lessons and Carols at St Paul’s Cathedral, Thursday 3 December, 7.00pm, is for all students in Years 4 to 11, their families and other members of the Lowther Hall community. An inspiring service of reflection on and celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.

We know that feeling connected to a community is highly beneficial, and acts as a significant protective factor for our girls. To this end, during Terms 2 and 3, the Years 7 and 8 students at Lowther Hall have worked together to develop better their understanding of their capacity to ‘shape their world’ as they navigate developing their own community within their section of the School.

This week the events in France have given reason to stop and reflect on life and to be grateful for every day that we have to enjoy. Our thoughts as a community are with all those touched by this tragedy, and particularly with our friends at our sister school La Malgrange. At School this week I have enjoyed visiting the Year 10s on their camp, hearing the rehearsals for the various Christmas services, seeing lots of wonderful learning in Junior School and the relief of exams being finished or nearly finished for Years 7, 8 and 9 girls. Next week the Junior School girls will “move up” for the morning of the 25th and Senior School girls will commence their 2016 classes. I hope that this will be a time of optimism and positivity as we look forward to everything that the new year will bring.

This morning our 2016 Prep cohort had their first transition experience in preparation for next year while at the other end of the School, our Years 10, 11 and 12 students are all busy with examinations. This led me to reflect once again on the journey that each girl makes and on the privilege that it is to walk that journey with every student. Attending Lowther Hall does not guarantee that you will be protected from the vicissitudes of life – the griefs, disappointments, fears or challenges – but it does mean that through those, and indeed through the joys as well – you will find yourself surrounded by a community of adults who genuinely care and who are there to help with the navigation. In meeting with the 2016 Prep parents this morning I felt absolutely confident to assure them that their girls will be in excellent hands as they begin their travels through formal schooling at Lowther Hall. I hope this is continuing to be the experience for all our families as the year draws to a close.

Our Year 12 girls finished their final day at Lowther Hall recently with their annual tradition of throwing their hats from the Mansion balcony.

This week, we bid our final farewell to the class of 2015. We have recognised them at formal assemblies, watched them throw their hats off the Mansion balcony and at their Valedictory service yesterday afternoon they were given a lit candle as they left the Cultural Centre which they symbolically carried out into the world, ready to shine! At Lowther Hall we see our job as being to educate young women so that the world might be a better place because they are in it. And I am confident that each of our graduating students is ready to fulfil that mission – to shine a light into the world. I thank each girl for all that she has contributed to our School during her journey. This morning, I spoke to girls in Years 7, 8 and 9 about preparation for exams. In particular, the girls have been encouraged to get a little more sleep (9 hours is the ideal for teenagers), to commit to study in silence (no messages, notifications, music with lyrics or TV) and to use study techniques which are really likely to make a difference. Girls in all three year levels have the slides from today’s assembly and parents of girls in Years 7 to 9 might like to ask their daughters to step them through our discussions so that they can support them in the coming weeks!

Each year, every Year 12 girl receives a yellow rose from a Prep student and, in turn, presents her with seeds, symbolic of the growth that we anticipate for her as she moves through the years at Lowther Hall.

It has been delightful to welcome back girls and staff for Term 4 with some warmer weather. The term is off to a busy start and the Visual Arts staff are working hard to prepare for the Revealed Art Exhibition which opens on Friday night. I do hope that all families will make the effort to come and view not only their own daughter’s work, but the fantastic work produced right across the School.