Dear Friends of Stoke College,
Amid the doom and gloom of lockdown, and the endless confusion surrounding the ‘tier’ system, the need to bring light into the lives of our students is greater than ever – and we have certainly been doing our best as we enter the festive season!
Whilst different Year groups have largely been operating in their own ‘bubble’ during lunch and activities outside of academic lessons, we have been able to press on with rehearsals for our whole-school production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ through careful planning, and have been enjoying a wider range of outdoor sports than in previous years. On Friday 11th December, you will be able to participate in a series of online events, starting with our Carol Service, which will include a socially distanced, unaccompanied outdoor rendition of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. It was quite an experience to rehearse the whole school last Wednesday in preparation for our recording this coming Wednesday!
Probably not since wartime has there been a greater need for community cohesion, and the beautiful words of this carol should inspire us all to support one another. To show further solidarity with our local community, you are warmly invited to attend a Christmas Carol Service at 4pm on Sunday 20th December, and Midnight Mass at 8pm on Thursday 24th December, both at our beautiful village church. In addition, there will be traditional Christmas carol singing around the village on Monday 21st December, to raise money for local charities; I shall confirm the start time and place with you nearer the time.
As you all know, we recently launched the Mark Wang Sixth Form Scholarships, to bring young, talented students from across the country and overseas to experience teaching and learning of the highest order in our expanded Sixth Form from next September. We held an online seminar on Thursday 26th, which was attended by nearly 40 families, including a number of new families, and Mrs Hunn-Smith has received a number of emails today. We took this opportunity to introduce in some detail our newly designed and unique Sixth Form Diploma in Global Competencies.
Thank you so much to our ever-supportive Parents-Teachers’ Association, who have kindly donated a substantial amount of money to transform an area of the school into a well-being centre, that extends from within the Main House into the beautiful setting of our Secret Garden. To help pay for the restoration of this stunning, well-kept secret, the PTA has joined forces with the school to hold our end-of-term Auction of Promises that should prove enormous fun, at 7pm on Friday 11th December – I hope to welcome as many of you as possible to the event. All of this is to maximize the well-being and positive experience of every single student here at Stoke College.
The wonderfully decorated Christmas trees and delicious meals planned in the coming weeks, will only add to the children’s excitement as we approach Christmas. I hope that we shall soon have the opportunity to meet properly once again, to celebrate our lovely school and community.
Enjoy this exciting Newsletter, a reflection of the creativity and diligence of our staff and students.
Dr Gareth Lloyd