May 7

A successful celebration of our re-development

Thank you to all the parents, girls and members of the community who joined us for our Grand Opening event last week. It was a joy to celebrate all we have achieved in the new re-development with you all and showcase how the girls and staff are developing and using their new inspiring spaces.

For those of you unable to join us, I spoke about the theme of the evening: ‘rebels and pioneers’. This theme is so apt for Blackheath High School – where throughout our history, we have always thought outside the box and had a sense of self. Whilst things can change rapidly in the world of education, at Blackheath High School we hold fast to the pioneering principles and values of those that have gone before us. In our case, that means some pretty impressive and formidable pioneers, like Maria Grey, GDST founder portrayed in the Datchelor Glass and Florence Gadesden, our new library’s namesake.

That is not to say we are old fashioned or staid. Our values enable us to adapt and flex with new challenges and opportunities. This is exactly the behaviour that we want our students to learn and model. To adapt and forge new paths is brave, and it takes strength and confidence. That strong sense of bravery and individuality that permeates Blackheath High School is reflected in every corner of our new building: from pioneering alumna Mary Quant who inspired the creative arts centre to local rebel Wat Tyler, leader of the 14th century peasants’ revolt who is inspiration for the students in the main teaching building.

But even the most innovative of pioneers or the most committed of rebels needs inspiration and sustenance - and our surroundings and environment are incredibly important in providing this.

The Grand Opening was about celebrating the fabulous new environment that the pioneers and rebels of Blackheath High School are now privileged to call their own and also about expressing our sincere appreciation for the generosity and commitment of those who made it possible.

The redevelopment has been utterly transformative for us as a community - there are too many examples to give, but there have been some wonderful moments already this year.

There was the Saturday when I came in to find all of Year 9 from our Senior School setting up tents around the mini-Louvre in the quad, packing rucksacks in the Wollstonecraft room and practising navigation in the Datchelor building. Then the day I came in bright and early to school to find Year 11 students working out in the new gym at 7:30am with their inspirational PE teachers, and following it up with a smoothie breakfast. I already knew we were incredibly lucky to have such inspiring staff, but it has been a real pleasure to see how the new spaces have inspired so many new learning experiences: architectural photography; the whole school carol singing under the Datchelor glass at Christmas; Physics experiments sky rocketing in the triple height  atrium to name but a few. We had our greatest numbers ever at open events this year and it was a really special moment to see every corner of the school buzzing with creativity and energy and such proud students, parents and staff. We really are incredibly fortunate.

Thank you to you all for your patience, enthusiasm and support whilst we have got to this memorable point of Blackheath High School’s development; it has made all the difference.

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