Prize Giving 2019

Prize Giving 2019


Senior Prize Giving is one of the major events of the Farnborough Hill annual calendar and this year’s ceremony, which took place on Friday 8 November 2019, was no exception.  Held in a packed Chapel with guests of honour, governors, staff in academic dress, parents and girls present and recent past, this was a fitting acknowledgement of the achievements of our pupils in all the many of activities which make up a Farnborough Hill education. 

Chair of Governors, Tim Flesher, opened proceedings emphasising the special nature of the evening, celebrating all the pupils and marking the success and ethos of the School in the context of girls’ education.  Head Girl, Tabitha, gave an assured account of the past year highlighting Sport, Music and Drama as well as academic achievements, notably pupils’ excellent public examination results.  Charity fund-raising, more than £13,500 raised, and fun new events like the enormously successful staff and Sixth Form pantomime, held just over a year ago, also featured in her speech. 

The Head’s report took on a more philosophical tone as Mrs Alexandra Neil explained some of the fundamental tenets which underpin her view of the School.  She quoted David Epstein and the value of breadth of experience and identified some key attributes such as effort, academic tenacity, resilience, the ability to cope with failure, confidence, strength, willingness to try and compassion.  In conclusion, she thanked the founding Sisters of the RCE, the last of whom will sadly be leaving us soon, for their charism and tradition, which continue to impact on the School today.  Mrs Neil’s speech can be read in full by clicking on the link below.

Head's Prize Giving Report

The presentation of prizes and certificates by our guest of honour, Dame Helen Ghosh, was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with the girls on their many accomplishments.  Public examination certificates were presented (GCSE and A level) and the sense of pride amongst those present was palpable.  There were also prizes and awards for a broad range of achievements, perhaps not surprising in a school so committed to ‘educating the whole person’.  There were awards for character, effort, hard work and talent as well as for academic excellence.  For example, the Burgess Endeavour Prize, awarded to a school leaver for consistent work and progress throughout her school career; the RCE Prize went to the student who best embodies our vision of education and the Engler Prize was for outstanding courtesy and helpfulness.  Congratulations to all the girls who received prizes and certificates.

After the presentation of prizes, everyone enjoyed a musical interlude during which the Senior Choir sang an arrangement of the Skye Boat Song and two Gershwin songs, ‘Love Walked In’ and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’.

Dame Helen, a Farnborough Hill Old Girl who left in 1973, gave a very interesting address offering some insights into her school days, work and approach to life.  After a degree and MLitt from Oxford, she pursued an illustrious career, working for 33 years as a civil servant including a post as first woman Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, six years as Director General at the National Trust and her current role as first female Master of Balliol College Oxford.  She spoke very fondly of her time at Farnborough Hill and talked of some of the teachers and Sisters and the ‘incalculably diffusive effect’ they had on her.  The sense that women could be in charge of things, which she took from her education in a girls’ school, was a great message for the pupils sitting in front of her. She came across to them as down-to-earth and approachable, admitting to her own insecurities and doubts at times, which was very encouraging and inspirational. 

Aimee, Deputy Head Girl, gave an eloquent Vote of Thanks expressing appreciation for Dame Helen’s sentiments and advice.

Thank you to all the girls, parents and guests for being part of this special occasion and to all the staff and senior students behind the scenes who worked so hard to make the evening such a success.  

Prize Giving 2019 Photos