• BBC School Report

BBC News School Reporting Day 2016


BBC News School Reporting Day 2016

Our girls are looking forward to taking part again in this year's BBC School Reporting Day, on Thursday 10th March.

Already they are researching news stories and sourcing interesting people to interview. 

BBC News School Reporting Day 19th March 2016

Students from this school made the news for real on 19 March 2015 as they took part in BBC News School Report.

Photos of the students' interviewing activities appear throughout the articles and at the foot of this page, and videos can be viewed on our website video gallery.

Our roving reporters have been dashing around to interview prominent local people and staff on a variety of local and national issues, including fracking in the local area, technology and innovation, the future of London architecture, the Magna Carta, wartime fashion, the role of sport, the British Library and other fascinating topics. Read the students' articles below:

Magna Carta Celebrates 800th Anniversary - by Lily & Emma

Thursday, 19th March 2015, Year 7 students at Blackheath High School investigated the history of the Magna Carta. With unprecedented help from the British Library, we began to discover the extraordinary history of this document.

Magna Carta, meaning 'The Great Charter' was issued by King John in 1215 as a solution to the political conflict he faced. It is one of the most famous documents in the world and is currently being housed in the British Library, where this year it will celebrate its 800th anniversary.

Magna Carta 2The Magna Carta was the first formal document to establish the fact that the King, just like his people must also abide by the law. It restrained the power the king had and prevented him from making bad decisions or creating unacceptable laws.

The Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede in June of 2015. It was signed with the royal seal between King John and the feudal barons. It promised that King John would act and deal with the people of England, according to the customs of the feudal law.

The need for a document like the Magna Carta was primarily due to King John’s strained relationship with the church. John was extremely unpopular amongst the barons. This is because the King had tried to exert his own power over the church. He was also continuously losing battles so his government in England, heartlessly demanded taxes from the nobility.

The Barons believed that King John was using his power to exploit their loyalties and beliefs. As a result of this the barons were made incredibly unhappy. They turned against the king and forced him to negotiate.

The Magna Carta has also had a massive influence on the way that people live nowadays. Without it, modern people’s perspective on civil rights would be something completely different. During the medieval period, in order for the country to remain stable, it relied solely on one man who had complete control. The Magna Carta gave people rights and later generations of Englishmen celebrated the Magna Carta as a symbol of freedom.

Currently only four of the original copies of the Magna Carta remain. Two of these are held at the British Library. This year the library will be celebrating the 800th birthday of the famous Magna Carta by holding an exhibition. For the first time, all four copies are going to be brought together.

Innovation and Women in IT

- by Phoebe, Min’aa and Imogen

Today we interviewed Mrs Dawn Wright, owner of Techgate plc, where she is Head of Sales and Marketing, about innovation and women in IT.

She thinks that more women should be encouraged into IT and engineering from a young age as it “Opens up many opportunities for the future”.

Women have many qualities that men don’t and men have many qualities that women don’t, so if both men and women work together instead of IT jobs being branded “For men” we will be able to achieve more advances and innovations in IT.Dawn Wright

Mrs Wright also said that there are no female engineers that work for her. She said that she would like to employ some but cannot find any women who are trained as engineers.

Also if more women do engineering at school, when they leave they will be employed very quickly because of the shortage of female engineers ergo they will get lots of money.

We asked several people and they said that when they were in school there was no internet and if they needed some information they had go to the local library and look for a book that had the information in it and then write everything by hand.

However now that we have the internet we can look up our homework in our pyjamas in the comfort of our own homes.

Other huge innovations such as the internet and the work done by Apple on iPads, iPhones and computers are the sort of things that inspired people like Dawn to get into IT.

And for a great job in the future IT and engineering is the right way to go.

Ideas of a new head - by Dilmi, Francesca, Megan

This year we had the pleasure of introducing our Headteacher Ms Chandler-Thompson to the Blackheath High community. We decided to question her about her childhood, her life in Korea and her hopes for Blackheath High.Carol Chandler-Thompson

As a child, Ms Chandler-Thompson was into all school activities, “lacrosse, debating, public-speaking.” She said she “loved all of it” and that’s why she became a teacher.

When she was child she never dreamed of becoming a teacher, but she was inspired by her educational experience. She studied history in college. Once she achieved a degree in history she decided she wanted to be a teacher and worked her way up to Headteacher.

When asked if the redevelopment of the school is worth the disruption she replied, ”Absolutely! My aim is to make sure you are all disrupted as little as possible. We have a whole project team planning the works to make sure this is the case. We already have a wonderful school, the project will make sure our buildings and facilities match that.”

We are sure that this new change will bring a new and confident angle to Blackheath High School.

Imperial War Museum ‘Fashion on the Ration’ Exhibition - by Alexandra

We were lucky enough to make contact with the curator of the ‘Fashion on the Ration’ Exhibition, Laura Clouting from the Imperial War Museum. Here we have an exclusive interview that throws light on what happens behind the scenes at this fascinating exhibition:

What kind of sources did you use to find out about 1940s British street fashion?

We have a huge library of history books that we use for research.But we also look at primary sources from our collection for information, and to understand what people were being told at the time, or thought at the time.Films, photographs, magazines, letters, diaries and much more are important primary sources that we use for exhibition research.

Your exhibition is a very unusual angle on WW2, how did you come up with the idea?

Lots of people are involved in brainstorming ideas for exhibitions at IWM London and we plan our exhibitions a long time in advance.The idea for Fashion on the Ration came up a few years ago to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1945. We hope that the exhibition will appeal to many visitors, from those interested in the British home front generally through to people very interested in the clothing specifically.

We really like the name of your exhibition Fashion on the Ration because being careful and economical is not something you normally associate with fashion. Having researched your exhibition, do you think that it was important to let people still think about being fashionable, even in a time of war?fashion

You can find clear evidence in the exhibition that people wanted to still feel good in the clothes that they wore even during the wartime when there were so many restrictions like rationing.Personal appearance was one of the few aspects of day-to-day life people could control during this difficult time of ‘total war’.Shops continued to appeal to customers to buy clothes in adverts.There was also a lot of pressure to look smart, because there were worries that looking scruffy was a sign of poor morale.

From your exhibition, what would you say are some of the most inventive things people did to continue with some sense of fashion during rationing?

Because people were so restricted in how many new clothes they could buy, they had to look after the clothes they already had.But lots of people decided to make their own clothes using materials found in their house, or more unusual fabrics.The exhibition has some great examples of the ‘Make Do and Mend’ approach to clothing, and one of my favourite pieces is a child’s cloak made from an old blanket.People had to make the most of all the materials they could possibly find to expand their wardrobes.

You have a section in your exhibition on Weddings. What kind of things did people have to do in order to provide clothes for their wedding? Was jewellery, especially rings, difficult to get? Weddings today can be very extravagant and expensive, what kind of things can we learn from what people did in the early 1940s?

Many people decided to get married during the war, motivated by the dangers faced in the military services or as a civilian living with the threat of air raids.Couples wanted to make the most of a life they feared could be cut short.Even in wartime, many women aspired to a white wedding. But clothes rationing and shortages of materials made this difficult. Families pooled their coupons, renovated dresses from other family members, or made imaginative use of fabrics which were not subject to clothes rationing.Some couples got married in their military uniforms, if they were serving in the forces.Rings were hard to come by in wartime because of the shortage of metals, needed for the war effort, so many made do without a proper ring until the war had ended.

Were there still fashion shows during the war?

We have photographs which are evidence of fashion shows put on as part of the ‘Make Do and Mend’ scheme, so people could show off the clothing they had made themselves and inspire others.

Was make-up difficult to find? Were particular make-up brands popular at this time? Did people do any interesting things to try to ‘produce’ their own make-up?

Make-up was increasingly difficult to find.  It was never rationed, like clothes and food, but there were shortages. In 1940, production of cosmetics was reduced by the Limitation of Supplies (Miscellaneous) Order. The introduction of Purchase Tax on luxury goods - which included cosmetics – also pushed up prices. Many women turned to the ‘black market’ for make-up, which would be packaged to look like well-known brands but might contain potentially harmful ingredients.

How did WW2 affect the production of jewellery, considering metals were so important?

Metal was one of the most important wartime materials, so new jewellery was hard to come by. But attempts were often made to create jewellery from unusual materials, and we have a number of examples of accessories made from aircraft factory scraps.

In your exhibition you also have a section on post-war fashion? What were the influences here? In your research were you able to find out how women reacted to the more luxurious post-war fashion? Did it keep any of the designs or style of the war years or was it a total shift?

The end of the war in 1945 was marked with celebrations and street parties. But the end of the war did not mean an end to austerity restrictions for clothing.Rationing of clothes lasted until 1949, although many of the austerity style controls were lifted from late 1945. In 1947, the fashion world was shaken by the launch in Paris of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’. The tiny corseted waists and long, full skirts meant this style was feminine, rather impractical and it immediately divided opinion. Many were angered by its extravagance at a time of continued austerity, or feared that it represented a backward step for women. But by 1948 the first ‘New Look’ styles had hit the British high street and the look became popular.

In our world today, where we are very wasteful with resources, what can we learn from your fascinating exhibition?

The exhibition shows show far-reaching the impact of the Second World War was. It affected so many aspects of daily life for British civilians. It has also had a lasting effect on the fashion industry.Developments in mass manufacturing of clothing helped to accelerate the growth of mass market fashion, which in turn helped department stores to flourish.

The trend towards a more relaxed and informal style of dress also gathered pace in wartime. The manufacture of Utility clothes required efficiency in production and less wastage – principles which have become popular today for many people. In recent years the concept of ‘Make Do and Mend’ has had a revival. People are becoming interested in renovating existing clothes. Knitting and sewing are becoming very popular outlets for creativity and invention again, just as they were in the 1940s out of wartime necessity.

The Art of Architecture - by Trisha, Ela, Hanifah and Sofia

On the 19th March 2015, we researched Architecture and as a part of the process we were privileged to be able to interview an architect called Dr Savas Sivetidis.

Dr Savas SivetidisThe interview was a brilliant experience. We learnt a lot about the world of architecture, which all of us knew little about. As it is science week at Blackheath High School we asked Dr Savas Sivetidis if there is a big relationship between science and architecture and his response was: "Architecture and Science have a relationship because science is used for knowing about the right materials, but the thickness between walls and how to create a building that can stand." It was interesting to find out the relationship between science and architecture and to see how they blend in the workplace.

Another question we asked Dr Savas Sivetidis was about what he did in his job. He said: ‘Most of the time I am designing buildings for example when someone wants to build a house, I help them with design’. He also is a client because he talked about how buildings are only built if there is a client. He also talked about how there is more than one person in an architectural job - there's a designer, an engineer, a building company, electricians, a client etc. It was interesting to discover how much work and input goes into building something, and how the designer is only one person besides many others.


The British Library - by Lily and Karoline

As we know this year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. What people may not know, however the important role is the British Library play in protecting this amazing document. We have been lucky enough at Blackheath High to have had an exclusive interview with the British Library and discovered some of the amazing things they do.

British LibraryThe British library is a national library, it has 150,000,000 total items and 2 of those items are the two copies from the last four copies of the Magna Carta that have survived 800 years. So the British library have organised an exhibition which will be held this September.

Was there a particular reason that you decided to have a Magna Carta exhibition now? What have you found most inspiring about putting this exhibition together? What has been the most difficult part of putting the exhibition together?

2015 was an obvious time to do this exhibition, because it marks the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta by King John. Magna Carta is one of the most popular items held at the British Library. It’s been inspirational to learn about all the people over the centuries who have used Magna Carta to assert their rights. One of our greatest challenges has been how to compress more than 800 years of history into one exhibition!

In your exhibition you have two of the four original Magna Carta documents.  What materials were used in the manuscripts that you house and/or the two original Magna Carta documents in the exhibition? How do you keep them protected from the decaying process? Is it expensive preserving such documents? How does the British Library raise money to pay to protect such valuable items?

The original manuscripts are written on parchment (made from the skin of sheep). Parchment is far more durable than paper. We keep our manuscripts at near-constant levels of temperature, humidity and lighting, in order that future generations will also be able to see them.

How old are the various manuscripts relating to this Magna Carta exhibition? There are also royal relics, paintings and statues in the exhibition. How do these items relate to the original Magna Carta documents? Is there a ‘story’ that the items all tell when put together? Are there any other documents, (perhaps lost or destroyed now, or just not available) that you would have liked to have included? 

Some of our manuscripts are a thousand years old! Every item chosen for the exhibition helps to tell the story, each one was chosen for a specific purpose. 

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition will be the largest exhibition ever staged about this world-famous document. It will explore Magna Carta’s journey over 800 years from a political document to an international symbol of freedom. The best way to find out more about the story that the exhibition tells is to come and visit us and do a schools’ workshop! To book a workshop visit www.bl.uk/workshops. You will also be able to get much more information from our website once the exhibition has opened (we don’t want to give too much away beforehand!)

We went on your website page advertising the exhibition and it says: Discover the history, and challenge the myth, of one of the world’s most famous documents. What do you think are the greatest myths about Magna Carta? Do you think those myths have actually been helpful in creating a more just society over the millennia? Is there anything about the myths that is damaging?

One myth is that the granting of Magna Carta was the beginning of democracy – you need to see the exhibition to understand why! The exhibition considers the legacy of Magna Carta and the way in which its meaning and significance has evolved over the past 800 years.

Do the advances in technology make your job in protecting all of this material easier?

 Advances in technology have enabled us to store large parts of our collections, like our newspapers which are especially fragile, in fully-automated, purpose-built buildings, where oxygen levels are kept low to protect against fire, and temperature and humidity are also electronically monitored. But advances in technology also present their own set of challenges – as each type of technology becomes obsolete there is the challenge to make sure that the information stored in it is still accessible. Our sound collections are particularly vulnerable because wax cylinders, microfiche and cassettes, which were all cutting edge at one time, are no longer being produced and so we have challenges be able to play them. As more and more information is digitised, we also face challenges around digital storage – where do we put our servers and how do we protect the information on these?

We saw that you house 8 million stamps. Why are stamps important?

Our philatelic collection contains over eight million items, including stamps, airmails, booklets and postal stationery. You can find more information on the collection on our website. Stamps are important because they can tell us a lot about a period of history or a part of the world, as well as how people communicated with each other, often over huge distances. They sometimes have a beautiful design to commemorate a particular event.

What do you think about libraries closing down? Why are libraries important in general?

Public libraries can provide access to lots of books and information services, which can help people learn. They can also function as important community spaces where people can come together to meet up and perhaps undertake classes, maybe get help with writing their CV, or just have some quiet time to read.

What do you think about e-books? Does the British Library consider them a positive move in publishing or a negative move?

The British Library now collects digital and physical items – in 2013 we started collecting the whole UK internet (more than four billion webpages so far) and thousands of e-books too! Our job is to preserve the nation’s heritage, and both digital and physical items are equally important since they reflect what our society is like for future researchers.

What is your dream for the library in the future?

Personally I would like to see libraries as places where everyone is welcome to come and learn, to read and to engage with the collections and, in the case of somewhere like the British Library, to come to our workshops, public events and exhibitions.

I am sure we can all agree that the British Library is an amazing institution that has exceled through the ages in protecting our history and culture.

 Dr Mackie talks science, inspiration and the wonders of the eye

by Lumina, Elena, Cassia and Sapphire

This week Blackheath High School celebrates Science Week. This morning as part of the BBC School Report, some of us in Year 7 put some research together on Women in Science. Students in our class interviewed scientist Annie Mackie and she told us how she was inspired to become a doctor. In her interview she talked about her experience at the age of 11 when she dissected a bull’s eye. She loved it and decided that day that she would become a doctor. She told us that she had an endless curiosity about how the physical world works and that she loved experiments. Her current job is to bring together all the evidence about national screening programs.

So, what exactly makes science so interesting to Dr Mackie? She told us that she likes approaching problems, and also likes working and helping people. She said that putting them both together made medicine a good job for her. The area of science she is most interested in is trying to understand modern physics and evolution. She informs people about whether they should run screening programs or not and how to run them. She also advises governments and the NHS. She said “this sounds simple but is very complicated”.

Dr Mackie told us that she doesn’t have a typical day, and that that is part of the attraction. “So this week for example I have met with a colleague about how to make sure that people from poorer or ethnic minority backgrounds can use and gain benefit from screening as much as everyone else.” She also said much more about what she had done, which included screening for blood pressure, and reading scientific papers about how people make choices.

We asked her if she was involved in finding a cure for Ebola, but she said that that needed specialist attention and she mainly worked in finding cures for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, and cancer.

Is science a unisex subject?

- by Elena, Cassia, Lumina and Sapphire

Recently, it has come to our attention that some girls, who are academically capable, have been shying away from certain subjects. We believe that they are still being affected by the gender stereotype, and believe that boys are ‘more able’ to lead careers in subjects like science and maths. This is definitely not the case, as some studies have shown that some girls are better at science and maths than boys.

A few days ago, some of our classmates interviewed Dr Anne Mackie, a female doctor working in science.She said she had always wanted to be a scientist when she was at school and, fortunately, she said that being female has never held her back in her job. She also told us that at least half of her colleagues are female, and none of them have faced any sort of disadvantage. The world is definitely opening up to women a little more, though there are still some problems.

Sadly, there are still some women who aren’t being paid as much as men. For example, in some countries, women are paid up to 30% less than men in the same jobs, although overall, girls work harder in school, as, for example, boys are much more likely to spend more time playing video games, and less time doing homework.

We have also asked some other students, who said that it is good that more women are involved in science are becoming engineers, and breaking the gender stereo-type, but some of them said that they thought science was more of a boy’s subject. Some people were also scared that they were going to be bad at science, which was holding them back.

Overall, we think that science is definitely improving for women, but there is still room for improvement, and we will keep trying to make the world a better place for women.

Beauty and the Beast

- by Lauren, Severine, Alicia, Sherhonne

Blackheath High School performed ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Greenwich Theatre on Monday 16th March 2015.

An independent girl’s school near Blackheath Village have hired Greenwich Theatre to publicly perform the school production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. They have been rehearsing for three months and performed the actual show after months of frustration, encouragement and hard work last Monday.

Alex as Belle

Alex as Belle

The cast ranged from years 9-12 but the orchestra ranged from years 7-10. The main character Belle was played by one of their year 12 students, Alex, and the Beast was also played by a year 12 student called Rosie.

The story of Beauty and the Beast is about a prince called Prince Adam. He was cursed to a beast form by a Enchantress who saw no love for others in his arrogant heart. The one way he could break the spell was to learn to love another and earn her love in return before the petal from his enchanted rose fell, which would bloom until his 21st birthday. But who could ever learn to love a beast?

Ten years later, Maurice, an inventor from a nearby village, becomes lost in the woods and seeks shelter in the Beast’s castle, which is when the Beast imprisons him for trespassing. His daughter Belle, a book worm who dreams of life outside her provincial town, finds him trapped in the castle and offers to take his place. The Beast accepts after making her promise she’ll remain in the castle forever. In the beginning Belle views him as nothing more than a monster; he views her as difficult and stubborn. But the two soon taste the bitter-sweetness of finding you can change and learning you were wrong.

Beauty & the Beast rehearsals

Production rehearsals

The director of this Production was Mrs Tyrrell, who worked incredibly hard on directing this performance. When asked about the production, she replied: “I thought the most challenging part of the production was taking a play that had been rehearsed at school and having to put it on a new stage with only a days preparation.”

She then went on to say: “I thought that the hard work paid off and that it was really successful. My favourite parts were Belle’s songs and the characters in the castle made me laugh.”

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performance and special recognition is to the technical team for their excellent backstage work.

This performance has been reviewed as 10/10 stars.

Vintage: the face of change - by Victoria

Fashion. Has it changed anything? Think not? Think again?

Vintage Fashion. When you hear those words you immediately think of a specific style of fashion, but when I think about vintage fashion I think of courage, bravery, imagination, determination and a world that can change how we are as a whole.

You may be thinking that vintage fashion comes from a time when women were not considered equal to men. When we look back to 1930’s to 1940’s clothing it was more than just a piece of fabric stitched together, it was something truly close to a woman’s heart during World War 2, signalling the expression of gender equality.

During this era the fashion world collapsed as clothes rationing was introduced and you were only allowed a certain amount of coupons per week. From my perceptive this was a good thing as it introduced a period of fashion that we will remember. During rationing women had to start wearing trousers as it was more practical for physical work, which women had to take over as the men went to fight.

It is clear to see how much fashion changed the way women are perceived. They could be considered equal as they took on traditionally male jobs. This enabled for women to come out of domestic work and into a world where you can be anything you dream of being.

If you are thinking, well after the war women went back into a hole where they were expected to cook, clean and look after the children well forget it. For one, Dior’s new look entered the universe of fashion and promised to reunite women with what they had most missed during clothes rationing. After fashion for women changed from a long dress to clothes which   could be worn without being judged or commented on.

The 1970’s was a fashion revolution. Many revelations included the Mini Skirt, the Wrap Dress and much more. The mini dress was designed by a former Blackheath High School girl, Mary Quant. This name may not ring to current Blackheath girls but this lady made our world that world it is today. To many who lived through the 1960’s, she is a fashion icon. Think about how many women have worn a mini skirt since it was made. Thousands, millions, it is something which will never go out of fashion.

In these flamboyant years, fashion changed from pale colours to something quite new. Clothes were red, neon yellow, neon pink and orange. It was a decade that showed that fashion doesn’t always need to be dull.  

Fashion has changed our society for the better and made women confident in themselves by allowing them to wear what they like, without restricting them.

Fashion has changed our lives and the way we live and it will continue to throughout the future.

Sci-fi future round the corner - by Min’aa, Imogen and Phoebe

The Robots of the future

Over the past few years robots have been becoming a bigger part of our lives in and on social media. Every day the programs such as ATLAS and the big dog (an all-terrain robot) are becoming more developed, but will the robots ever become clever enough to take over the world?

No, says Raia Hadsell, one of the programmers on the navigation systems on Googles deep mind project on something known as AI (artificial intelligence); she believes that the artificial intelligence that she has encountered is far off ever taking over humanity and that they are being really careful not to let the opportunity ever arise.

As some readers will know there is a project in the U.S known as the Microsoft hololens which is attempting to merge reality with the real world where Google failed to succeed. The program uses software that “puts you at the center of a world that blends holograms with reality”; “with the ability to design and shape holograms, you’ll have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualize your work and share ideas. Your digital content and creations will be more relevant when they come to life in the world around you.”


Microsoft Hololens

This is what the Microsoft hololens team are trying to achieve at this point, Hadsell agrees: “I think that immersive reality programs like this will be a big part of our lives in the future and will be great for people like gamers where you can interact with say a purple dragon coming through the doorway”. However the hololens is not the only major robotics project going on at the moment. There are of course others such as the robotic surgeons in Scotland that may be operating on cancer patients in the next two years. Hadsell says that it would be extremely difficult to program them, but it could and should be done.

There is of course the topic of self-driving cars, which in many ways are a brilliant invention. They have many controversies, such as the problem of traffic and junctions, which they are not yet equipped to manage.

Of course many people may argue that with robots doing jobs then many hundreds of people may be unemployed. On this point Raia Hadsell also disagrees “There will always be jobs that our robots cannot do, therefore there is no need to worry about jobs.” People who are replaced by robots might get jobs servicing them. Thankfully, we can be sure that the robotic revolution will not come any day soon.

Is gender equality still a problem in 2015?

Today, for the BBC News School Report in Blackheath High School, we have been thinking about “women in business.” I’m pretty sure if people from the past could see the world today, it would be unrecognisable, however the world we live in is not perfect. There are still many problems occurring and some of them include a lack of real gender equality in the workplace. To counter this, we interviewed local entrepreneur Shirin Shabestari, who set up a business called Persian Pursuits. Shirin Shabestari, who is very passionate about Persian Pursuits’ mission and promise, offers climbs and treks to people travelling on holiday to Iran.

Shirin Shabestari went through a tough time during her early life, however she says “The conditions in Iran at the time were very poor so I was lucky because all of my family survived when the war was going on. I always had my father by my side, and he played key role in my life. My father always showed me the way of equality, whether it’s about race, gender or physical appearance. ” We asked some more people about women in the business industry, and they replied “We can’t just hand all the credit to men. Females need to stand up and say what’s right. I sometimes believe that women aren’t appreciated the same way as men are, although they are doing the same things. I believe men earn more than women. It’s known that women are weaker and less able and their appearance is known as sensitive. Particular Men think that they should be physically and emotionally wiser, as well as stronger than women”

Shirin Shabestari is an inspiring woman of our generation. As she was a war child, she experienced growing up through tough times in Iran. She was born the day that the Iraq attacked in Iran. She states that she had a better childhood than other Iranian children, and she is very grateful for this.

Why do women earn less than men, when they work twice as hard, and have the same education?

Tuesday is known as equal pay day. The symbolic day which women have to do extra work to catch up with pay wage.

Men and women should not be compared, mentally or physically. All genders should and must be equal. Women in different countries should be treated with respect due to the reason of birth and life given by all women. Women are the reason that our population grows. It is not fair that men, as well as women, should carry out jobs traditionally. For example, a women should be a hairdresser or a nurse, but are frowned upon to work in the army. It also states that men are not smiled upon if they work as a make-up artist, a fashion designer, or specialise in facial and beauty products. Today we have proven that men and women should not be showcased as to work in masculine or feminine activities. Personally, we think that each society should grow to love, cherish and indulge in gender equality.


Book Week at Blackheath - by Sunanda, Tilly & Esther

At Blackheath High School, alongside many schools nationally, we have an annual book week which encourages children and young adults at the school to read and to start writing their own work.

Numerous activities took place during the week including an author visit and a book character parade.

Miss Glazebrook, our new librarian, said that her first book week “was intense”, but she enjoyed it as much as the pupils at this school. A student at Blackheath High, Jasmine in year 10, claimed her favourite part of the week was the author visit by Gayle Forman. The author made the pupils write a story and told them the stages of writing a book. Mrs Forman interacted with students which was the main factor which gripped their attention.

Also during the week there was a 5-10p book sale and all the money went to charity. There was a “guess who?” game where a photo of a teacher pulling a face was hidden behind the teacher’s favourite book. Whoever guessed the correct teacher won a prize.                                           

IMG_2354The final, very entertaining event of our Book Week was the “dress up as your favourite book character” day. All the students, including the sixth form, dressed up in astounding outfits. Even the teachers joined in. The staff winners were the PE teachers, Miss Reed, Mrs Swinge and Mrs Brooks, as the three blind mice (see how they run!). There was a variety of costumes from the elements of the Periodic table to Jesus and his many followers. Miss Glazebrook organised these exhilarating activities which all of us enjoyed very much.

This year’s book week was brilliant and certainly enabled us to share and celebrate books.


Annual Author Visit: An Inspiration - by Sunanda, Tilly & Esther

Blackheath High School holds an annual book week each year with many activities to encourage students with literature.

One of these activities was an author visit. Year nine and ten were fortunate enough to have the American award winning writer Gayle Forman talk and give ideas.

gayle foremanThe first thing the girls were told was how to structure a book, for example the first step was to begin with the main character. Mrs Gayle gave advice from her personal experience as she released a bestselling book If I Stay, which was adapted into a film. Gayle Forman talked about how she woke up and imagined Mia, the main character. Then she progressed with the rest of the characters until she got a clear plot of the story and of how her book would end. Mrs Forman also stated that she likes to connect with her readers by making her books passionate and bringing up an emotionally connecting relation with the readers, which is very apparent and well-presented in her books. She also expressed the fact that most of the climax’s in her many books, are based on life experiences which makes it easier for her to write and relate to the readers.

We talked to a few of the students that attended the workshop, many said that “It was really engaging because we were very involved, and she was enthusiastic about encouraging us to write our own work.” 

Gayle Forman connects to a vast amount of children and adults. Books connect with many booklovers in a personal way. The stories which connect this way are the stories which inspire people’s lives.

Is Science Sexist in British Schools?

What can be done to improve the amount of women in STEM?

During Science week there have been many discussions, about Women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). However the amount of women working in STEM is limited.  

Recently across the news there have a lot of things going on about Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). We have celebrated International Women’s Day and there are other occasions like Ada Lovelace Day which celebrates the importance of men and women equality in science.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded by Suw Charman-Anderson and aims to raise the importance of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work admires them. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old all over the world.women in science

Not many women are found working in STEM subjects and this is because it is not seen as a common job for women. But for men.

Women such as Raj Bhatia is one of the few women that study a STEM subject and has been successful in finding a career in that field. Although there is still more men studying STEM subjects at university. Even though women have the same potential in succeeding.

We interviewed our Maths teacher Mrs O’Hanlon on what she thought about STEM. She said that it is very vital and that without people in STEM related jobs there would be no technology and no knowing what anything was. She said that she loved her job and what she was doing as it teaches girls how important mathematics is. She tries to get people to do talks about STEM. She wants at least one or two girls to do a course in STEM. She stated that even if you don’t choose a STEM subject as a job it does not matter and you should just do what you love.

And that she encourages the study of maths and science as it is a brilliant career choice and many industries are recruiting women in science and maths.

In conclusion there need to be more women in STEM. At the moment only 13% of STEM jobs include female workers. This needs to change and fast. Women are more than capable to have a job in any STEM field yet nobody seems to think that. We asked some students if they enjoyed any STEM subjects.

The majority of students said that they enjoyed science although do not see this as a career choice.

In our interview with Raj Bhatia she mentioned that in single sex schools pupils enjoy STEM subjects more than they would if in a mixed sex school. This is because they don’t have the pressure of acting like a girl because boys are around. Even if you are in a mixed school you should do what you want and not just go with what all of your friends are doing. More women should be involved in STEM. These jobs are not just for men. They are for women too and we hope you think the same.


– by Hannah Edwards

Including an exclusive interview with Laura Bond

In the 20th century teenagers in school are under increasing pressure, meaning it is harder for them to stay healthy and relaxed in both mind and body. In this report we look at the causes, outcomes and solutions to this problem.

Healthy eating and Nutrition

Some of these eating issues relate the members of a family’s busy schedule, with parents and children at work and school. It is so much easier to eat out when everyone is busy, and so much cheap (unhealthy) fast food is available that families end up ordering take outs to save time, or buying sandwiches.

Qualified health coach Laura Bond says:

“What young girls today may be missing today is home cooked meals. The amount of time cooking in the UK has halved since the 1980s according to a 2024 report, which found that most people survive on a diet of sandwiches.”

Laura believes parents, guardians, friends and role models can really influence health and dietary habits in teenagers.

“A combination of all these factors will shape a young girl’s attitude to health. If a mother spends her life dieting and never sits down to eat with her kids, it’s quite likely that behaviour will influence the child’s behaviour with food.”

It can really help if teens are taught to cook in school or at home, because not only does this encourage healthy eating but can also be relaxing and fun.

“Cooking for me is relaxing – I love nothing more than leaving the keyboard and picking up the chopping board at 6pm. It’s a chance to be creative, to unwind and share nourishing food and great recipes with people I love.”

Don’t forget that if you feel unhealthy, a huge lettuce leaf diet is not going to make you feel better about yourself, or lose weight. Exercise and a balanced diet is what you need.

Here are our top tips for eating healthily

  • Eat a balanced diet and don’t ‘comfort snack’ on junk food, because it won’t make you feel any better!
  • Try cooking at home to make sure you eat healthily. It’s good to appreciate what you’re eating, so you know what quantities of sugars, fats, carbs etc. you are eating.

Sport and general exercise

It’s necessary to keep fit to be wholly healthy. This isn’t a huge problem in teens, because of the wide sport available in curriculums at school. It is still really important to be doing plenty of sport to keep your fitness high.

The issue here can be that teens don’t feel comfortable exercising in front of people; they may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. But you need to realise it doesn’t matter what you look like, nobody’s photo ready when exercising and the THIS GIRL CAN campaign is a brilliant example. “Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox.”

Even if you don’t feel very confident about sport, if you build up your fitness gradually and you will surprise yourself!

Our top tips for sport

  • Just get out there and go for a run! Make sure it isn’t something you keep putting off, or you will never achieve anything.
  • Go out with friends or even your parents, it is good to have someone pushing you when you may otherwise give up.
  • Remember even if you are not into the obvious sports like running, try swimming or something less well known – there’s something for everyone!

Mindfulness and Meditation

More and more senior schools are introducing mindfulness into the curriculum, because of how productive it can be. Many teenagers have high stress levels because of exams and general school pressures, and mindfulness is a way to shut everything out and relax.

 “So much of stress is linked to anxieties about the future and worries about our past. Learning to stay in the present moment is one of the most transformative things you can do for your health, but it’s not easy! I try and do a ten minute meditation every morning … when I am doing it daily I notice I am able to think more clearly, am more creative and respond better to stressful situations.”


Yoga is another brilliant way to relax. It is good for your body too, and a great way to de-stress while keeping fit.

“Yoga forces you to find inner peace in difficult postures. It also puts you back in your body – through breathing exercises and postures – and encourages you to leave your life on the mat. The practice has taught me to value ‘being’ as much as ‘doing’. My natural inclination would be to spend the day ticking off my to-do list, but yoga practise helps me find joy in the ‘now’.”

Some of the problems stemming from stress can be depression and other mental health diseases. Aside from that it will not help you feel happy, and will probably affect your work too.

Here are our top tips for staying happy and healthy, and learning how to stay calm.

  • If you have an exam coming up, or anything stressful try doing mindfulness or yoga to focus your mind on something else for a while. Doing mindfulness or yoga daily can have great benefits too.
  • Find a hobby or activity that helps you feel relaxed – painting, gardening, cooking, anything that helps you calm down.
  • Play with a pet or hang out with a friend, just have some fun!
  • Don’t forget when you are really busy it’s great just to have some you time. Just you!

We hope this helps teenagers everywhere understand how to prevent or deal with stress in their day to day life, and helps them keep healthy!

How Sports affects us – by Sophie

Sports is good for our health. Mr Parsons, Assistant Head said, “Sport helps us both mentally and physically.” I think that it is very important that you understand how it affects us. There are many sports that helps us improve on our skills, and social skills.

how sports affects usThe first benefit is your social skills. There is friendship because you meet new people and you have to work together and cooperate with each other. That is when social skills come in - you have to talk to your players so they know you are there.

Another benefit that sports help us with is our health. It improves your fitness, your coordination as well as balance. It also helps you keep yourself fit so and don’t become over weight, it also helps you improve skills.

Sports help mentally because it can improve your confidence as well as relief tension.

I enjoy sports a lot and I think it has made me improve on social skills, physically and mentally. So just remember, sports is good for you in many way and it affects us a lot!

Reed's Report

Ms Reed is a PE teacher here at Blackheath High School. She teaches most year groups including our year. We have interview her today on the 19th of March to ask her a couple of questions about sports in general and sports in our school and we have

“I think we have had good results we have had some wins and some losses I think some of the wins the girls have done really well.”- Ms Reed

Her main sport is hockey but she thoroughly enjoys other sports such as running (the picture on the right is of Ms Reed running competitively).ms reed

We also asked Ms Reed what her goals were for this following year, she answered us that she would like the girls at this school to enjoy one PE related activity. Another thing she said was that she doesn’t care if we are not the fastest or if we don’t throw the ball to the right person or we don’t score a goal she only cares that we enjoy it and that we try. The final thing she said was that she would like to see the girls trying a new PE related club this year such as gymnastics, dance or football.

These Girls Can

– by Jasmine & Beatriz:

Today we have interviewed three extremely sporty girls in Blackheath High School. They have told us and inspired us with their stories.

Shona’s Story:

Our first interviewee was Shona. She loves to swim and started when she was six years old. Shona does two hours of swimming every day whether it’s early in the morning or late in the afternoon. As well as swimming she does other sports such as; indoor rounders’, outdoor rounders, netball, hockey, cross country, trampolining, gymnastics, dance, diving and many other skills. Pictured, right: Shona.this girl can - shona

Lauren’s Story:

“It’s not about falling down, it’s about getting back up.” – Lauren

When it’s the beginning of the week, she needs to rest and do no sports to be prepared for her sportive week ahead. Lauren does many ‘boy sports’ like martial arts and sailing. She is always surrounded by boys when she does these. Unlike many other girls she doesn’t care about her appearance and who she is doing her sports with, Lauren only cares about doing her absolute best and giving 110% at it.

Tilly’s Story:

“Tough times never last, but tough people do”- Tilly

Tilly has an active week, and to show this, we have recorded her weekly sports routine. Her main sports is running and doing netball. On Monday she plays tennis in the afternoon if it’s either training or competitively. On Tuesday Tilly has hockey or netball club, depending on if it is netball or hockey season. Then Tilly also has a double physical education lessons which expands her skills. On Wednesday she does iron woman which is a club at school where they go to Greenwich Park and usually do a 2km run. Throughout the rest of the week, she does plenty of sports including; gymnastics, dance, physical education, indoor rounders, netball, swimming and a 2km run on the weekend.

In conclusion we think that these inspiring girl’s do a lot of sports that keep them healthy, at an average weight and prove to that these girls can.

 Mr Parsons on Sport - by Blake

Mr Parsons, Assistant Head at Blackheath High School, is a keen sportsman. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions on his view point about Sports. Iron Woman is a club run on Wednesday’s, after school. When asking Mr Parsons why he decided to create Iron Woman, he explains: ”I am a great believer in physical fitness. The test is to achieve running two miles. The fact is that only a small percentage of  the population of children aged 11-16 can run two miles at without stopping.” Iron Woman is made up of different abilities. Some of the children run for county, whereas others are starting from square one. 

mr parsons on sportNot only do the children benefit from it, but Mr Parsons himself, benefits as well. He said that “It is good to get away from being cramped at a desk and being able to feel fresh air.”

Mr Parsons has had the chance to run a Marathon. Two years ago, himself and another member of staff (Mr Nott) ran the 26 mile Marathon. “It was all fine until it came to that 20th mile. Everything felt weird and strange after that point.”

In preparation for doing any exercise, Mr Parsons recommends eating and sleeping well. He finds that gentle swimming helps to stretch out your body and un-knot your muscles. The final and key thing that Mr Parsons said with extreme enthusiasm is that, “Sports is a physical and mental thing.” We were very grateful of speaking to Mr Parsons and feel that Sports is an important thing to everyone.

BHS School rebuild project: for the better?

By Miriam, Bianca, Maddie, and Joelle

Blackheath High School – good school with a good history. What happens when old meets new? Blackheath High students Miriam, Bianca, Maddie, and Joelle report on the school’s massive multi-million building project, and ask, is this really for the better?

arial view redevelopmentBHS, a school situated in the outskirts of Blackheath, has invested in a huge building project. In the rebuild, the existing main school building will be completely re-developed. A whole new sixth form centre is going to be built. Other features include a new underground resources centre, a new art, DT and music wing, and a larger dining room. The dance studio and front building will remain the way they are. The science block will stay as well, but the rest of the school will be completely demolished.

Several facilities will be changed and improved, such as the PE changing rooms. Above the Resources Centre will be an open courtyard where students will be able to spend their lunchtimes.

The new building will be an exciting opportunity, but how will this reflect the true nature of the school?

In a survey, twenty children were asked whether the school rebuild is a good idea. Eleven replied yes, seven said they didn’t mind, and one said no. This feeling seems to be reflected throughout the whole school. The head teacher, Ms Chandler-Thompson was enthusiastic about the whole project. She said that ‘the re-development will make sure our facilities are more than adequate for our needs and that they match the quality of the education that we provide.’mr sutherland interview

Mr Tony Sutherland, the school’s business manager, was also asked about his views on the whole project. He said that it was long overdue and it was going to be fantastic for the school. The project will take about two and a half years to complete, and during this time, the school will be housed in temporary portakabins. However, this may seriously disrupt the school’s academic prowess. In a survey, more students thought that they would be affected by the change than their teachers. Although the school may prosper, the state of pupils may differ.

The project offers the school a total new facility. Blackheath High School, a small private school part of the GDST is a relatively old development with good, though not ideal facilities. The new building offers new opportunities for the school. Admittedly, the re-build will cause some disruption but in the long run, it is for the good.

The new school librarian, Deborah Glazebrook says that yes, the build will cause disruption but the new building will be for the better. For the younger pupils, Year 7, they will be able to experience it for years to come. All people at the school are excited for this fresh start, but it may cause some problems. Will the atmosphere of the school change? Only time will tell.


 Saffron, Aimee, Mia and Florence report on the upcoming election in May 2015

polling candidatesIn 48 days millions of people across the country will be taking part in the general election 2015. Over the next few weeks MPs will be fundraising and persuading the British public to vote for their party. Only 50% of ‘Youngers (18-29) voted in 2012, accounting in 23 million votes. Hopefully in this year’s election the numbers will increase and change.

We contacted Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East constituency to discuss the election. Here is what she said:

What are your goals as an MP?-To represent Lewisham East and all the people who live here to the very best of my ability - even if people disagree with me about things, I’d like them to feel that I am honest and work hard.

Do you think UKIP is a threat? -I’ve been to some parts of the country where people are attracted to UKIP but ultimately I think they made up their policies as they go along.

Why are there so few woman in parliament?-I think one big reason is the lack of role models- although I hope that is changing. I’m not sure that younger woman look at parliament, with its aggressive atmosphere, and I think ‘this is the job for me’.

Thought provoking words from our local MP.

As you may know, MP’s have been revealing their budgets, for the upcoming election. Here’s what they have to say

UKIP leader Nigel Farage -“This government has evidently failed in its promise to the British people to eradicate the deficit and whilst it took Labour 13 years to double the debt this government has done it in five. Mr Osborne talks about a long-term economic plan, today he pushed all his targets back and created a long grass economic plan."

Labour leader Ed Miliband - “Never has the gap between the chancellor's rhetoric and the reality of people's lives been greater. This is a budget people won't believe from a government that is not on their side - because of their record, because of their instinct, because of their plans for the future."

ed balls - george osbourne - danny alexander

Ed Balls (left), George Osborne (centre), Danny Alexander (right)

This is the estimated number of votes that each party will receive. Alongside this issue is how Labour are going to win seats from the ‘Tories’ (conservatives), but lose seats to the SNP.

Here are the results from the latest opinion polls of the top four parties;

Labour - 268

Conservative - 277

UKIP - 3

Lib Dems - 24

With such a short amount of time till the election, it is too fast to say who will succeed and what will happen, only time will tell…