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Painting the Journey

Posted on: 24th September 2018 | Category: Principal's Blog

Surval’s theme for the 2018/19 school year is ‘Painting the Journey’; and, only a few weeks into a busy and exciting start of term, an artist would need an energetic brush stroke and colourful palette to capture our journey so far…

We welcomed new and returning students, together with their families and the Surval staff, at our annual Parents’ Brunch, a celebration that encapsulates the spirit of our international community which makes Surval so special. It is always heart-warming to hear our returning girls describe the school as their home from home, and to watch them helping our many new students to settle in. It has been a pleasure to welcome such a delightfully enthusiastic group of girls from all corners of the world.

Surval is a small school with a big global outlook, and this is reflected in three key areas of our school life: Social Enterprise, which has close links with our tremendously active Charity Committee; World Languages and Sustainability. A new subject this year, Business Studies is already proving popular, and, under the support of our new Business Studies teacher, Mrs Schofield, the Liberal Arts girls have embarked on an important National Enterprise challenge working to create a business solution to a UN Sustainable Development Goal.

Surval is proud of our commitment to Sustainability; our Sustainability Club, established by Miss MacLeod last term, has attracted even more girls to join this year. It is uplifting to see how many of our students want to be part of active change for our planet’s future, and the club are already working together on positive initiatives for the school year.

As I write, Mrs Geldard is in France, guiding the trekking phase of the ‘Strive Challenge’ from Tignes to Chamonix. This is part of a huge fund-raising venture for ‘Big Change’, the charity led by the Branson family, which aims to drive positive change for young people. It is a worthy and fitting adventure for Surval to proudly support, and the girls and I are looking forward to hearing our intrepid English teacher’s account of her experience in her upcoming Assembly. Additionally, looking ahead to 11 October, our Charity Committee, led by Madame Spigarelli, are preparing to mark the International Day of the Girl Child, with plans including guest speakers and participation in international online forums.

Surval’s mission is to inspire and support our students in becoming the best that they can be. We celebrated some excellent Examination results this summer, with some particularly impressive individual performances in English and across the board in French. As we continue to strive towards academic excellence, we have been delighted to welcome Ms Nataly Miorin here, in the new role of Director of Teaching and Learning. You can hear Ms Miorin on the video link here discussing some of the initiatives we have introduced for this academic year, in addition to sharing her first impressions of the unique learning environment offered to girls who come here from around the world to gain an international education and experience.

Our leavers’ destination list also reflects some wonderful personal and transformational journeys; just this morning I was thrilled to receive an email from a former Liberal Arts student who wanted to let me know the happy news of her acceptance to Oxford Brookes University, and asking me to share the following words: “I just want to thank everyone at Surval for all they have done for me; I would not be where I am without them.”

Of course, learning here at Surval does not just occur in the classroom; it was my great pleasure to accompany a large group of students on our annual Swiss Tour, leaving our part of French-Switzerland to explore the Italian-Switzerland canton of Ticino, and the beautiful sights of Lucerne in German-speaking Switzerland. It is extraordinary to witness the diversity of culture and spoken-tongue within this one small yet beautiful country; a mirror of the international culture and spirit of unity at Surval.  

The following weekend saw a group of girls gaining gold, silver and bronze medals at a Cross Country competition in Bern; a trip up the mountains for some star-gazing; and an afternoon of SUP in the sunshine on Lac Léman, where the lake’s waters were still warm enough for a spot of swimming!

Surval truly is a genuine call to adventure for all of us who are privileged to live under its beautiful roof. A long way from our own countries, families and friends, each year new friendships are forged here across a plethora of nationalities, cultures and languages, creating a unique, remarkable family in its own right. Boarding, of course, is at the heart of this. We pride ourselves on Surval being a much-loved home to our girls, whom we care for dearly. Our Boarding team plays a vital role here and has been strengthened by Madame Rocca, who has joined us as our new Senior Housemother, and Miss Drake, our new Resident Graduate, who specialises in French and Sports.

With such a strong and committed team of staff, and a group of girls who seem determined to make the most of every moment here at Surval, I am already looking forward to seeing the picture that we will have painted for ourselves by next June’s Graduation and Prizegiving…

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