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Our 2021 Leavers have, like the cohort of 2020, faced another year of uncertainty and disruption with regards to their education. Lessons continued at St Mary’s Calne during the various lockdowns through our robust and well-received online ‘Calne Connected’ platform, and we are enormously proud of how the girls have dealt with the challenges they have faced. They have shown great resilience and adaptability in these unsettling times, setting shining examples for the younger girls.

The girls have worked exceptionally hard towards their A Levels and we congratulate them on their impressive, well deserved results. We are delighted that the external quality assurance process undertaken by the individual examination boards on behalf of Ofqual validated our Teacher Assessed Grades, with not a single grade being changed.

The girls will be going on to study at a range of leading universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Exeter, Edinburgh, King’s College London (KCL), London School of Economics (LSE) and University College London (UCL). Among our top achievers are two sets of twins - Kunmi and Yimika Adesola and Cate and Sam Glover. Kunmi and Yimika, with a superb clean sweep of A*s, are set to read International Relations at KCL (Kunmi) and Political Science at Columbia University, USA (Yimika). Sam is also heading to the USA, to study at Villanova Business School, Pennsylvania, while her twin sister, Cate, will be reading Economics and Management at KCL.

Special mention and congratulations go to our successful Oxbridge candidates – three girls will be heading to Oxford University: Charlotte Slater will be reading English at Magdalen College; Megan Harley-Martin will be reading Philosophy and Theology at St Peter’s College and Flora Wilson will study Classics at University College. Megan and Flora were also awarded prestigious Choral Awards. Meanwhile, Clemency Fisher has secured a place at Cambridge to read Archaeology at St John’s College and Belinda Harrison to read Engineering at Newnham College, Cambridge, with a Choral Award at Selwyn College. In addition, two Post-Qualification Admissions (PQA) students have secured places to read French at Exeter College and Geography at Jesus College, Oxford. Former Head Girl, Fenella Challinor, will be reading Medicine at Leeds University, while two students will be heading to Liverpool University to study Veterinary Science. In the Performing Arts, we are also delighted to see a student accepted onto the Musical Theatre and Cabaret Performance course at the University of Chichester and, in addition to Megan, Flora and Belinda's Choral Awards, to see another student reading Music at York.

The girls should equally reflect on what they have achieved outside the classroom and how they have responded to the pandemic, as the skills they have learnt during these difficult times will stand them in very good stead for the future. Our 2021 Leavers will be remembered as a socially conscious and generous year group. The girls have launched numerous clubs and societies, including a new Cultural Society, which highlights the girls’ commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and equality. They also joined the global, community-based EmpowerHer*Voice platform, which aims to facilitate the empowerment of women through communication such as talks, podcasts and events. In addition to the school’s annual Charity Week, girls also raised funds for local charities, including The Harbour Project in Swindon, a charity which aims to help asylum seekers and refugees to rebuild their lives. The girls designed bespoke tracksuit bottoms to sell, with the profits going to this charity. The girls’ highly successful Young Enterprise company (awarded ‘Best in Wiltshire’) aims to help other young people who might be struggling with the same issues that they have encountered as teenagers. Twenty-eight co-authors, both boys and girls, contributed articles for their book, Note to Self, on topics close to their hearts, ranging from racism and health issues to exam stress and social media, and their Pod to Self podcasts complemented the book.

Head, Dr Felicia Kirk, commented: ‘The girls have responded with positivity and determination to the challenges they have faced, and I am full of admiration for them. They have grasped opportunities to help others and the generosity they have shown has been commendable. The girls, supported by our superb teaching and pastoral staff, have worked consistently hard during their time at St Mary’s, and their results reflect this. I wish them all the very best with the next stage of their lives. The girls have well and truly shown that ‘Calne girls Can’, despite these exceptionally challenging times.’

Year 13 at their leaving 'Lily Ball'
The Young Enterprise company team
Kunmi (left) and Yimika Adesola 
Flora Wilson, Belinda Harrison and Megan Harley-Martin with Mrs Bethan Dudley Fryar, Director of Vocal Studies
Sam (left) and Cate Glover