Wednesday 4th July 2018

On Saturday 30 June, the community of Queen Anne’s School came together for the schools annual Speech Day and Prize Giving ceremony to celebrate the end of the academic year.

We were delighted to be joined by our guest speaker, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a scientist and broadcaster referred to as the BBC’s ‘face of space’. She is the presenter of the astronomical institution The Sky at Night, has fronted a number of space documentaries, and regularly appears on science and non-science programmes. As well as fronting The Sky at Night, Maggie has appeared in programmes including Stargazing Live, The Science of Doctor Who, and In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World. An engaging and passionate speaker, Maggie’s enthusiasm for science and learning is infectious. As well as looking at the wonders of space and what it can teach us, she also tackles science education and public understanding, and women in science and engineering.

Speech Day started in true Queen Anne’s style with performances from the music department. Concert band performed with an energetic start to the day with a collection of songs, they were then followed by the L4 choir who truly captivated the audience with their performance. Our tap dancers, Sophie, Isabella, Tia and Hannah took to the stage to with their joyful ‘Backstage crew’ performance. Next, an array of spectacular songs by the Jazzabelles group welcomed the start of Speech Day.

Pupils, parents, governors and guests were welcomed by Jonnie Noakes, MA, Chair of Governors. He spoke of the future development plans for the school and highlighted the great achievements the girls have had within the academic year and what they look to achieve moving forward.

The theme for this year’s Speech Day was to celebrate the 100 years since women received the right to vote, a theme which is very important and Mrs Harrington referred to this throughout her speech. When asking the U6 girls for themes relating to the right to vote, this is what they said.

“Women should step up and take the lead; educate girls, change the world; girls with dreams become women with vision; education is a weapon, women are the warriors; she believed she could, so she did”

Mrs Harrington’s speech was broken-up by a series of performances that captivated not only the theme of the day, but also how the girls at Queen Anne’s give their all into every moment they have. Isabella performed a drama, piece written around 1918 on how women’s dreams and passions had to be shaped – around the male hierarchy from The Importance of Being Earnest. Olivia and Madeleine showed how emotions often don’t need words to be conveyed by words as they sang a duet from Cats. Katie dancing a solo called Look up, on how important it is, in a world where social media can take over young lives, that we develop real friendships. Disha showcased a solo drama piece titled Superhero, reflecting on how it can take an initial act of bravery to get involved and then the willingness to commit to see improvement.

“Things have changed, and our girls demonstrate, a woman is now able to have the career she chooses”

Paloma had composed and written a piece for Wind Quintet, which has now been published, demonstrating creativity, performance and team work in action. Ash Girl, a modern take on Cinderella was perfectly performed by Abigail and Scarlett. Our dancers show us how important it is to have your own space in a world where the pressure of life can stifle us as they performed across the stage and onto the floor in, Area. The extremely talented VOCES 8 showed their skills and creativity in their own arrangement of Let it Be. Olivia grasped the attention of all in the audience as she performed a piece she had devised and choreographed herself on women fighting for a voice. Mrs Harrington summarised stating “Our dancers demonstrate creativity and integrity, and will take this piece to the British Red Cross Make Your Move finals at the O2 in July. The competition encourages young people to use their creativity to help people in crisis”, the final performance on the morning concluded a powerful statement as the 25-strong dance group took on “Taken in Terror”.

“You will often hear me say we are not and do not want to be a hot house, but doesn’t mean the girls don’t get those hot grades alongside those skills  that employers such as Google and EY are highlighting as being so important to success:  creativity, cognitive flexibility, collaboration, complex problem solving and emotional intelligence.  Our warriors’ weapons include all of these skills alongside their top grades”

Guest speaker, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, then graced the stage as she delivered an engaging, passionate and thought-provoking speech. Coming from a modest background and diagnosed with dyslexia, Maggie overcame the naysayers to study at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Maggie shared with us her story from being a young girl with a pocket full of dreams, to becoming a lady who has seen many of her wishes come true. She reiterated the importance of never giving up, and importantly, never feeling as though you are not good enough.


Together as a community we applauded the achievements of the girls throughout the prize giving ceremony, during which Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock took the time to congratulate each individual girl.

We were then joined on stage by Head Girls, Amy and Georgina.

“As a result of the depth and diversity of talent here, much has been achieved with the significance of this year further heightened as 2018 marks the centenary of the granting of votes for women in this country”

They delivered a speech that touched upon their time at Queen Anne’s, and encouraging the younger years to embrace all the opportunities the school offers. They concluded by saying

“Thank you to everyone for making our time here so special. We have memories and friendships that will last forever and we hope that all the younger girls will enjoy their time here as much as we have”

Guests were then invited to enjoy refreshments outside Michell House. Pupils, parents and staff members enjoyed sparkling wine and strawberries as a steel band played followed by a number of dance performances from some of the pupils.

To view the photo album from Speech Day and Prize Giving please click here. This album is protected, please find the password in the weekly bulletin.