Dear Parents and Girls,

Welcome to the first newsletter of the school year. It has been wonderful to welcome back all the girls and I’ve enjoyed catching up with parents – long-standing and new – at our Welcome Back events this week. Despite the hot weather, summer now seems a long way off but I must congratulate all the girls from last year’s Y11 and Y13 for their sterling performance in the public examinations. BHHS girls achieved 61% A*/ A grades at GCSE and 82% A*/ B grades at A Level. In both cases this represented an increase of over 5% on last year’s results and we are all very proud of their achievements.

However, while it is marvellous to celebrate the girls’ exam success and to see BHHS bucking the national trend in terms of results, the focus on outcomes of exams will always be a double-edged sword: the more we have pictures of girls jumping for joy with their certificates, the greater the chances of putting extra pressure on teenage girls who, according to a recent government study have some of the highest levels of stress in our society.

We need, therefore, to keep our girls’ feet on the ground. It’s important, I believe, to point out that these girls’ exam success is not something magical or gifted – it is the result of huge amounts of hard work and perseverance on their part. This latter quality is what matters most of all: ‘stickability’ – being able to keep going even when things are tough and challenging. We must foster confidence and resilience in girls – both in lessons and outside the curriculum. Today’s activities across the school, from abseiling at Blackland Farm to bonding with the Sixth Form at Thorpe Park, are the start of the year’s Wellbeing programme which we hope will support our girls throughout the year as they work hard for success in all aspects of their learning.

Here’s to a happy, productive and resilient school year for all our girls and staff!