March 26

A year on, we are reminded to celebrate each other

As we reach the end of the Easter Term, this week has marked one year since the UK went into lockdown and we switched to Guided Home Learning for the very first time. And what a roller coaster of a year it has been.

I know that there have been some incredibly tough times for everyone and as I take a step back one year on, it is incredible to reflect on all the ways our school community – girls, parents, teachers, staff – have responded with compassion, resilience and positivity. I have said it many times before, but it has made me prouder than ever to be Head of this wonderful school.

This term has shown the great creativity, passion and flexibility of everyone at Blackheath High – whether that is managing learning online, to finding new ways to enact drama performances online, to coming together as a community to exercise, or even take part in the Blackheath High Bake Off Challenge (and what amazing efforts we had there!), the Blackheath High spirit has shined brighter than ever.

In recent weeks, it has been wonderful having girls back in school again. Our Junior School celebrated with their very own ‘year group bubble discos’ and went to amazing efforts to fundraise for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day. In the Senior School, it has brought a smile to my face every day to see the school buzzing with smiling faces.

We of course reflect in school on some of the disturbing events in the news for women over recent weeks. They have been unsettling, but I am proud that we have a space in school where students and teachers can confidently and openly discuss these events, as well as helping each other to respond and reflect. This is one of the strengths of Blackheath High that I am most proud of, and that is testament to the contribution of each and every member of our school community who helps to create this open environment. Thank you.

As we head off into the Easter holidays, we wanted to end the term on a special high. Yesterday we hosted our bi-annual ‘Women in Leadership’ event for our Sixth Form, Year 10 and Year 11. Normally held “in-person”, I’m incredibly proud of everyone’s efforts to turn this year’s event into a dynamic, interactive online/ offline afternoon for girls.

This year’s event was the “Entrepreneurial Edit”, focusing on those skills such as communication, adaptability, risk-taking, creativity and ambition. It couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. We are so incredibly grateful to our parents, alumnae and others who have given their time and spoke at our event, made videos and ran interactive sessions.

Our Keynote Speaker, engineer, accountant, entrepreneur and CEO of 20,000+ women’s network organisation Forward Ladies, Griselda Togobo started the day with an inspiring and uplifting talk, telling the girls to “dream your biggest dreams possible and be your own advocate”. She also reminded us to celebrate each other. I couldn’t agree more and we do all we can to fuel girls’ dreams every day.

Griselda also spoke about how much we can all grow through “failure”. That through grabbing opportunities and trying new things, we learn new skills, and that our biggest successes come when plans don’t turn out as we thought they would.

A year since our first lockdown, this is more meaningful and more important to remember than ever. These sentiments were shared by award winning author and creator of the ‘How to Fail’ podcast, Elizabeth Day, who was interviewed by Mabel, Year 12, for our event. It is an incredibly powerful interview, with all credit to Mabel, and I am delighted to share an edited version with you here. I hope you find time to have a listen over the Easter holidays and that it provides rich food for thought as we take some time for a well deserved rest and reflection.

If you really enjoy it you can watch the full 45min interview here.

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