Welcome to Withington's first ever Blog! Every so often we shall be updating you via this Blog with what might affect or interest you as a former pupil of Withington and I do hope you will leave a comment or email us with your thoughts on the topics we cover.
I was asked to address the new Third Form parents at their Introduction Evening in September and while preparing my speech to welcome them into the Withington community, I found myself thinking about how they and their daughters are at the beginning of their journey with school. It is lovely to see the new little 7 and 11 year olds excitedly running around school in their freshly-pressed jackets and pleated blue skirts. This is perhaps a reflection of my own personal experience, but I found myself wondering how long it would take before those hemlines start creeping up and the non-school coloured accessories start to make a surreptitous appearance!
As former pupils of School we are a valued member of a network of people of all ages who span the world engaging in all manner of activities but we are united in at least one common experience and that is our time at Withington Girls' School.
In 1890 a small group of far-sighted individuals established WGS to provide the highest quality of education to bright girls across the North West. It was their wish that girls could enjoy the same high quality education which was afforded to boys at the time. Does it still give you a thrill when school outperforms the boys' school down the road?!
Withington has retained its position as one of the highest performing schools in the country for many years, with this year's GCSE and A-Level results proving no different, placing Withington in 2nd and 4th place in the national league tables. Girls from school have gone on to study fantastic courses at top universities and we are very proud of those who continue to achieve and find recognition for their work. However, you only need glance at some emails from fellow Alumnae to see that their exciting journeys after school have continued into unforeseen and stimulating areas, personally and professionally.
Therefore, to consider solely the academic function of WGS and its pupils is to overlook some of their greatest assets. The most recent Inspection reported that the girls here are given ‘a very secure, well founded, exemplary set of moral and social values to guide them through life'. I know from personal experience the value of the tangible and in some ways, more importantly, the less tangible skills Withington provided me with to take into my career and life beyond school. Girls I have met at reunions or on my travels around the country have also reported a certain "inner confidence" ,"general high standards for themselves and others" and "a lack of perception of the limitations for what they can achieve"
So, what is the Withington Community? In addition to overseeing the 100 Plus Bursary Appeal, the Development Office works to connect and expand this network for the benefit of current pupils and Alumnae. We work to put Alumnae in touch with each for support while at university, for career advice, social gatherings and more. And the strength of our community has never been more evident than in its getting involved with the Bursary Appeal.
Staff and current parents donate through regular standing orders, over 200 Withington Alumnae join them to contribute regularly, with a year group grouping together to raise funds for a Bursary place. Just two months ago Alumna Joyce Hytner OBE hosted a preview screening of Oliver Parker's Dorian Gray at One Aldwych in London for fellow Alumnae, which raised funds for the Appeal.
The 3000 plus Alumnae we are in touch with in the Development Office come from as far and wide as Australia, South Africa and the USA and it doesn't stop there. Neither does our connection with you.
As this is the first Blog we welcome your thoughts and any further ideas and look forward to reading, as we do every year, your letters and emails with news.