The new term has begun! Final adjustments have been made to timetables and everyone is ready to begin their new courses of study. Staff have been busy preparing and planning lessons and assessments and there is a real buzz and sense of anticipation across the College. We look forward to the sporting season beginning in earnest and wish all our teams and individual players success.
On 16th September we welcomed the Children's Commissioner to the College and preparations are also under way to celebrate last year's GCSE, AS and A level results. Our annual Prize Night will be on 17th September and we are looking forward to hearing from our guest speaker Dr Margaret Mountford and to welcoming back last year's A level class who did so well and are now embarking on their higher education courses.
In response to recent pupil surveys and proposals from student council we have invested in key areas and have made significant improvements to our ICT facilities in the College. Our new catering manager Mr Richard Bousfield, takes up post this month and we are anticipating positive developments in our school meals service. We have created a dedicated counselling base for pupils and I am pleased that Family Works will continue to provide expert advice and support for our pupils.
Internal mid year examinations will take place before Christmas this year so that pupils will be free to enjoy Christmas holidays without the burden of revision for exams on return in January. We hope this will allow the girls and staff to come back to school in the new year refreshed and ready for an uninterrupted period of teaching and learning in the spring term.
We are delighted to have established a link with a school in China and a group of 11 year old pupils from Jingzhou will spend 4 days in the College in early October. Following the visit of teachers from Gurukul School in India to the College in June, Miss Lynch and Miss Robinson are looking forward to their study visit to India at mid term and Mr Luney is making final preparations for the New York and Washington trip. Meanwhile Year 14 are planning their formal which will take place on 16th October in Clandeboye.
Our new biometric system is now in place and will enhance the safety and security of our school campus. The solar panels recently installed on the Cranmore campus are proving to be a great success.
We are hopeful that we will soon have final DE approval to commence the School Enhancement Project. The College's plans are progressing well within the Department and we anticipate good news in the near future. I will keep you informed of any developments.
Mrs Turkington and Mr McKee have been in school this week to say farewell to pupils as they begin their retirement. I thank them both for the huge contribution they have made to the College over many years.
We welcome new staff to the College: Mrs Karen Goddard Head of Art and Design, Miss Roisin Mulholland temporary teacher of HE, Miss Gabrielle Moore temporary teacher of Mathematics and Mrs Carherine Flanagan Classroom Assistant.
During this academic year Mrs Diffin will continue in her role as Deputy Head and designated teacher for Child Protection supported by Mrs Nugent and Mrs Haugh as Assistant Principals on the Cranmore campus. Mr O'Brien will be responsible for Years 8 and 9 on the Richmond campus, while on the Cranmore campus Mr Robinson will be in charge of Middle school and Mrs Murray will be in charge of sixth form.
I wish to congratulate Mrs Haugh on her recent appointment as Vice Principal in Regent House Newtownards. She will take up her new post later this term and we will miss her. We wish her every success in the future and thank her for her valuable contribution to VCB. We also wish Mr Whitehead and Mr McCaugherty well in their new teaching posts in Killycomaine and Strangford.
Congratulations also to staff who celebrated their weddings this summer: Mrs Nugent (Miss McMackin), Mrs Herriott (Miss Wright), Mrs Wilson (Miss McCaughey), Ms Faloona and Mr Gray. Congratulations also to Mrs Pollock on the birth of her baby daughter!
Thanks to all of our parents who have ensured that the girls have returned to school kitted out beautifully in their pristine uniforms! And my gratitude also to all of our parents who have made a voluntary financial contribution to the College. In these tough financial times we really appreciate the support of our parents who enable us to continue to provide a high quality all round educational experience for Victoria girls.
Ms. Patricia Slevin