Now that we are two weeks into term and have settled into what feel suspiciously like a rhythm, we have been able to turn our minds to other things. This week’s assemblies and form times have focused on something that lies right at the heart of the Brighton Girls experience: we called it the Guild.

“What is the Guild”, those new to the school may ask?

Put simply, the Guild is the name given to all the school’s charitable endeavours and fundraising or, as the author of my favourite little green book (Brighton & Hove High School 1876-1952) put it, “The Guild has been in existence during most of the school’s life, and has come to be a valued and traditional expression of its sprit”. In other words, it’s part of our DNA. Mr Edmunds, Head of Community Engagement, launched the 135th year of the Guild in Monday’s assembly with a call to action. Borrowing Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, Mr Edmunds reminded us of everything we achieved during lockdown and got everyone thinking about the year ahead. He started with a presentation about Whoopsadaisy, the first of our main school charities for this year. Whoopsadaisy is a local, independent, child focused group who offer support to children with physical disabilities, and whose values echo our own. You can find out more about this charity’s life-changing work in this short film.

The school’s second Guild charity will be determined by the student body. All week, form groups have been researching, debating, and delivering their presentations. I was delighted to be there to hear representatives from the Year 10 forms pitch their ideas to their year group. Three superbly researched presentations were delivered in support of both national and international charities, impressive in their energy, heart-warming in their empathy, and all sensitive to the changed landscape and added complexities resulting from the pandemic. On Monday, year groups will go head to head in the final hustings to determine our second Guild charity for this year. This whole-school, collaborative effort is something unique to Brighton Girls. As Mr Edmunds put it, “We are a socially engaged, outward-looking community” – we are both kind and bold.

Speaking of being kind and bold, we have continued this week to explore how we can live by our values: teachers have been using these words to shape discussions around professional development and, for students, we are exploring how the values could be incorporated into our rewards system. On Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to demonstrate what it means to live by your values when I met Katy Wells, from the charity Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals. Katy is an alumna of Brighton Girls and knows just what it means to be both kind and bold. So, when Katy walked into my office (clutching, funnily enough, a copy of that favourite little green book) and asked me whether I would be willing to do the BA i360 iDrop to celebrate 50 years of maternity services in the Tower Block at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, how could I refuse?

As Katy pointed out, so many of your daughters, and so many former students of Brighton Girls, will have been born in that tower. All I need to do now is to raise £250 for the Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals, turn up at the i360 at 6:30am on the 3rd October, take a deep breath, and remember to be bold.

You can sponsor me through my JustGiving page HERE.