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Mrs Pattison’s Blog

Emma Pattison Headmistress, Croydon High School

Choose your friends carefully; they hold the key to your success.
An article on the BBC website at the end of last month caught my attention. Better friendships equal better grades, according to its author.
Apparently, research has recently proved that happier children perform better academically and children are happier when they enjoy long-standing friendships and favour high-quality relationships. Obviously, this came as no surprise to Croydon High School!
As a school, we regularly praise our students for their numerous academic achievements and we are proud to shout about their successes outside the classroom.
For example, this week alone, we awarded badges to our scholars on the Sapientia and Consilium scholarship programmes for them to wear with pride. I was also thrilled to announce in assembly on Monday to a very surprised Sakizna that she had won the runner up prize in the Rotary Schools photography competition.
Perhaps we should also celebrate more regularly the friendships that are born, enjoyed and nurtured day in, day out at the school.
At our annual Ivy Link lunch, it is always a joy to witness how happy our alumnae are to see each other again and to hear their shared stories. It is clear that the friendships they made lie at the heart of the memories they treasure of the School and that they remember each other for the people they were, not their grades or the competitions they won or lost. It is a healthy reminder of what is important.
It is, of course, your friends that pick you up when you are down. It is your netball or cross-country team that help you find that extra push when you are feeling a bit under the weather. It is your peers that teach you that making mistakes is human and that you will be forgiven – even when you say or do the wrong thing.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could package up the feeling your friends can give you at that moment? But, of course, there is no substitute for time spent with close friends and how it can make you feel.
Another article which came out this week stated that in order to prevent girls ‘pairing up’, ‘being too chatty’ or ‘cliquey’ and to avoid ‘emotionally-based relating’, we should encourage them to show more ‘flexibility’ with their friendships. As a whole, the article is well worth reading but I strongly disagree with this particular notion.
If you would like girls to experience the huge benefits of showing kindness towards each other then you have to do what the article itself suggests … You have to model it – let them be what they can see! (How to raise a confident girl)
We are so proud of our girls because they are compassionate individuals who care about their peers and will go out of their way to support their happiness. The genuine friendship across our year groups, indeed across the whole School, undoubtedly ultimately contributes towards the success of our girls and the whole community. Nothing can replace it!
Of course, I’m not suggesting we make friends simply to get better grades! But, it is nice to know that just by looking out for, standing up for and believing in each other, we have the power to help our girls achieve even more and to accelerate the progress of the whole Croydon High community.
Emma Pattison

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