25 June 2020
Around 600 people should have gathered on Pergola Lawn on Tuesday 23 June for our traditional New Families Reception. We were due to have around 100 families – students-to-be, parents and siblings – welcomed to the community by Woldingham staff and their student ‘buddies’ for September. Instead, our warm evening in our beautiful grounds was replaced by a warm Woldingham welcome by video sent out by our Admissions team to all September starters.
Mrs Hutchinson set the scene - quite literally - as she showed viewers Pergola Lawn bathed in sunshine in welcoming students and families to our Woldingham community. Mrs Hutchinson spoke directly to students reassuring them about any perfectly natural nerves and telling them that we want all students to be happy, do well and be 100% Woldingham girls, throwing themselves into every opportunity that comes their way. She handed over to Woldingham’s Head from September, Dr James Whitehead.
Dr Whitehead talked about some of the positive aspects of our unusual times and seeing what we can get out of it. For him these have included improving some of his computer skills, having more quality time with his family and reconnecting with nature. He drew a parallel between this and students’ future experience at Woldingham, a place that will teach them to look at the good in other people and to see their own personal abilities. Dr Whitehead returned to this theme wishing students a good summer and encouraging them to keep up any activities or interests discovered during lockdown as Woldingham will give them a wonderful opportunity to develop these further.
The Head Girl team, Charlotte, Misan, Milan and Sofia, added their individual welcomes and offered new joiners some insights from a student perspective. Charlotte talked about her nervousness on her first day and how quickly this disappeared thanks to the kindness shown by everyone she met. Misan explained that, as a boarder for four years, Woldingham has become her second home and offered her many wonderful opportunities. Milan showed a photograph of herself on her very first day and reflected on the new friends and experiences that lay ahead. Sofia confided that she had quickly developed a love of Woldingham’s syrup sponge, that remains to this day, and said that students can look forward to years of making wonderful memories at Woldingham, as she has.
Those joining in Years 7 to 10 also saw a personal message of welcome from their respective Head of Year, Miss Owen, Mr Nunes or Mr Kellaway.
A number of new parents sent messages of appreciation to the Admissions team for the virtual welcome they have received:
C and I really enjoyed watching the videos together this evening. It was a great idea and really well executed. Please do relay our thanks to all who helped with it. C is now really looking forward to starting in September! Parent of student joining Year 7
It was a shame we were unable to visit but the video has really helped to ease O's anxieties about starting something so new and so different to any other educational experience she has had! She especially appreciated the talks from the girls - seeing her peer group was much appreciated. Parent of student joining Sixth Form