As we celebrated International Women’s Day this week on Tuesday, I shared with the Senior School girls some of the reasons that I believe it is important for them to develop a thoughtful approach to matters such as gender equality and the role of women.

The Lowther Hall uniform has seen many changes and evolutions since our school began 96 years ago. The uniform is an important means by which our student community can feel connected to each other and it fosters a sense of belonging.

We are flying the French flag at the front of Lowther Hall this week in celebration of the arrival of students from our sister school in France! The girls and boys are currently being hosted by Senior School families and their visit is providing wonderful opportunities for our girls to practise their French!

​This week I am proud to announce that Lowther Hall will be partnering with St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne to provide the first girls’ cathedral choir in the southern hemisphere. The choir will be comprised of 18 girls from across Years 4 to 10, who will be selected by audition.

2016 is off to a flying start at Lowther Hall! Welcome back to all of our returning families and a special welcome to all of the families who are new this year. The girls have embraced the new year with confidence and enthusiasm and it has been lovely to see their excitement.

​The 2015 VCE results for Lowther Hall are outstanding and a cause for much celebration with 51% of graded assessments being an A or an A+! The class of 2015 embraced every aspect of School life with energy and vigour and we are proud of each student and all she has achieved during her journey.

​I am certain that all girls and families who were at St Paul’s Cathedral for our annual Carols Service will agree that we are truly blessed to have a school capable of producing such beautiful singing and creating such a special occasion. The girls, as always, made me incredibly proud as they lifted their voices together in song with great enthusiasm. An enormous thank you to everyone who contributed to the service, particularly our Director of Choral and Voice, Ms Joanne Carroll, whose repertoire choices and training of the choirs are always thoroughly well advised!

​Our Service of Lessons and Carols at St Paul’s Cathedral, Thursday 3 December, 7.00pm, is for all students in Years 4 to 11, their families and other members of the Lowther Hall community. An inspiring service of reflection on and celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.

This week the events in France have given reason to stop and reflect on life and to be grateful for every day that we have to enjoy. Our thoughts as a community are with all those touched by this tragedy, and particularly with our friends at our sister school La Malgrange. At School this week I have enjoyed visiting the Year 10s on their camp, hearing the rehearsals for the various Christmas services, seeing lots of wonderful learning in Junior School and the relief of exams being finished or nearly finished for Years 7, 8 and 9 girls. Next week the Junior School girls will “move up” for the morning of the 25th and Senior School girls will commence their 2016 classes. I hope that this will be a time of optimism and positivity as we look forward to everything that the new year will bring.

This morning our 2016 Prep cohort had their first transition experience in preparation for next year while at the other end of the School, our Years 10, 11 and 12 students are all busy with examinations. This led me to reflect once again on the journey that each girl makes and on the privilege that it is to walk that journey with every student. Attending Lowther Hall does not guarantee that you will be protected from the vicissitudes of life – the griefs, disappointments, fears or challenges – but it does mean that through those, and indeed through the joys as well – you will find yourself surrounded by a community of adults who genuinely care and who are there to help with the navigation. In meeting with the 2016 Prep parents this morning I felt absolutely confident to assure them that their girls will be in excellent hands as they begin their travels through formal schooling at Lowther Hall. I hope this is continuing to be the experience for all our families as the year draws to a close.