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Principal's Blog: School Year 2019/20 Welcome

06 September 2019

It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you to the Autumn Term of 2019 here at Surval. We have had a wonderful first week, with our Induction Weekend uniting our new girls with the returning students in two days of fun activities – from our Clubs Sign Up Fayre to some home-baking in the student kitchen; a sunny afternoon tea in the garden and a hike up the spectacular nearby Chauderon Gorge. Our annual Parents’ Brunch gave students, their families and the Surval staff the chance to meet and mingle, whilst enjoying the delicious Japanese-themed meal prepared by Chef Chevallier and his team, and the beautiful flower-filled setting of our terrace garden.

I am writing this as the first week of classes comes to a close; already stories of improvement, achievement and enthusiasm are being shared by our teaching staff, with the girls’ successes both in and outside of the classroom celebrated in our weekly Excellence Book. New to the staff team this term, we have been delighted to welcome Mr Tim Smale as our Vice-Principal; Mrs Debbie Wilkinson as our Head of Boarding; Dr John Philips, as Teacher of Economics & Business; Mrs Watson as Teacher of Mathematics; and Miss Wells, our new Residents Sports Graduate, whose fluency in French will be a great asset for students keen to practise their new French-speaking skills!

I continue to be extremely proud of the standard of teaching at Surval. Our teaching staff offer a wealth of experience, both in the UK and International Education systems, and the development of our curriculum programmes and effective Learning & Teaching continues to be a key focus: new for this academic year, we are pleased to be able to offer courses in Economics and Environmental Science; and, for higher level American High School Programme students, the opportunity to study for Advanced Placements in selected subjects. Already our girls are benefiting from the small class sizes, which offer frequent one-on-one support – not to mention inspirational views from every window!

As we look ahead to the new term, with the ever-popular Swiss Tour beckoning next weekend, and the Tour of Italy and Prague Weekend not far behind, the adventures of our last school year and of Summer Camp 2019 already seem in the distance. However, I would like to take a moment to recall some of the highlights of our summer. In August, we celebrated some excellent examination results, and offer a special congratulations to our class of 2019 Graduates, Lucia Saiz, in successfully gaining her place at the University of Exeter to study International Law with French, and Sandra Smith, who is bound for Hungary’s esteemed McDaniel College in Budapest to study pre-Med. July and August saw another action-packed Surval Summer Camp, with girls coming from around the world to be part of our safe and supportive all-girls environment, enjoying lessons, activities and trips, and making friends from all over the world. You can discover more about our Summer Camp programme on the Surval Summer Camp website

Throughout summer, it has been such a pleasure to host visitors – prospective families discovering the delights of Surval’s uniquely stunning campus for the first time, and several of our much-valued Surval alumni returning for a trip down memory lane. We love when our Survaliennes get in touch, whether to visit, by email, or even sharing a memory or tagging a friend in one of our Instagram posts! Most recently, Survalienne Mariana Lebrija, of the Liberal Arts class of 2017, contacted us to tell us about her new passion for sustainability, which is one of our popular Global Perspectives clubs, and to share her reflective essays on why sustainability matters and her experience of studying at the University of Oxford at their summer school, The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. For me, it is wonderful to see strong links being forged between Survaliennes and our current students; we truly are an international family.

Our theme for the new school year is Becoming the Best that We Can Be; and, by being part of our strong and supportive Surval family, each girl can strengthen her existing skills whilst discovering hitherto unknown talents and passions. In my first assembly of the year, I turned to the way that geese flock together as a metaphor for how I hope our students will “travel on the thrust of one another; help each other; fly together.” A year of learning, discovery and friendship lies ahead for the girls of Surval 2019/20 – I know that it is going to be a wonderful journey…