As we go into half-term break, I thought I might make a few reading recommendations based on what I’ve learned this week.

On Monday I heard the new CEO of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Cheryl Giovannoni, present her vision of the future direction of the Trust with an inspiring call to ‘create a movement in girls’ education.’ She referred in her talk to a book published this week called The Female Lead. It contains portraits of sixty women, from many walks of life. All have changed the world in a variety of fields. Among them are politicians and artists, journalists and teachers, engineers and campaigners, fire fighters and film stars. Some have led their professions; some have broken new ground for women; some have inspired changes through relentless endeavour. All were chosen for their ambitions and achievements and they tell their stories in their own words. I’m looking forward to reading this and reflecting on great role models for girls and young women today.

On Tuesday, as part of Well-Being Week at BHHS, Dick Moore delivered an incredibly moving and inspirational talk on mental health to the Upper School and then, later on to over 100 of our parents. His talk encouraged us to recognise why adolescents think and react to situations as they do and to be aware of the storms of life that they will go through at some point. Dick spoke passionately and from personal experience about how we need to acknowledge and support young people, encouraging them to talk, so that, if they are drenched by the black clouds of life, they can ‘sing in the rain’ and be strong. If you’d like to read Dick’s talk to the girls, we’ve put it up on to the relevant Pastoral pages of Firefly and, for the parents’ talk, this can be found on the Parents’ section of Firefly.

Finally, I learned with great sadness of the death this week of one of my teaching heroes, Hans Rosling. A Swedish doctor and statistician, he engaged a worldwide audience with his entertaining style and innovative thinking on topics like population growth and development. He co-founded the Gapminder foundation, a “fact tank” to fight misconceptions about global development. Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lovin, wrote in his obituary: “He challenged the whole world’s view of development with his amazing teaching skills. He managed to show everyone that things are moving forward … I think the whole world will miss his vision and his way of standing up for the facts—unfortunately it feels like they are necessary more than ever at the moment.” If you haven’t watched them, I’d highly recommend Rosling’s brilliant TED talks, starting with the one about washing machines.