My profound connection to the values, spirit and ethos of South Hampstead has been a constant throughout my first seven weeks here.
For my first blog post, I had intended to share some personal highlights of my first half term. But given the unfolding situation in Israel and Gaza, following the terrorist attacks a fortnight ago, I would instead like to focus on paying tribute to the warmth and strength of our school community.
I have spoken to some of you as parents, and to all my staff, about the fact that I have always loved going to work. I count myself as very fortunate to be in this position and this has certainly been a hallmark of my first half term at South Hampstead. I love being here – with the girls, with the staff, and with our parent community, when you are able to visit us. I am immensely proud of our school, and I feel that sense of pride every morning when I step into the building. Whether we are supporting each other in times of happiness or in more challenging times, we are there for each other; that principle, which is built into the DNA of our school, has been powerfully evident in recent weeks.
In our assembly last Friday, I spoke to the girls about how much I am enjoying getting to know them as individuals. I also highlighted that, as well as being incredibly impressive individuals in their own right, they also share something wonderful in common: they are South Hampstead students. This means they are kind, respectful, and courageous. These shared values and sense of togetherness have never been so important in amplifying our common humanity. Our assembly also focused on the principle that we must not allow acts of terrorism to breed hatred, fear or division; it is by standing united as a community that we will challenge these attempts to divide people. South Hampstead provides a safe and supportive environment for all our pupils; it is their educational home, and we will always be there for everyone, both now and in the future.
During assembly, we explained the notion of a ‘ripple of hope’ and suggested that, if we all send out a ripple of kindness, those ripples can build to create a current which can be immensely powerful and positive. It has been moving to see staff and students engage in dialogue about the importance of empathy, listening, and letting people know they are there for them. I have every faith that these ripples of kindness will continue to gather momentum at South Hampstead and that a sense of unity will continue to prevail.
Thank you for everything you and your daughters do to ensure South Hampstead is such a warm and welcoming community. I wish you a peaceful half term break and look forward to seeing you in November.
Blog post by Mrs Paul, Head since September 2023.