September 23

The first Highlife of term and already so much has happened!

I had underestimated how powerfully joyful it would be to see our pupils exploring the school site unrestrained by one-way systems and bubbles and able to see each other’s smiles and warmth once again. It really has been a tonic for the soul and not something I will take for granted again!

As I am writing this, we have senior students enjoying our first ‘Trips and Workshops Day’ of the year and I am fresh from reading about our cross-country successes and the progress being made by Miss Hickman and Mrs Gunton in getting our community engagement outreach projects for the older girls underway. It is really good to be getting back into our local community more positively. Last weekend saw our first in-person Open Day. Whilst we took many sensible measures to protect our visitors and community, such as limiting numbers and staggering activities, it was a pleasure to share our beautiful sites with visitors ‘in real life’ once again. Thank you to those families for allowing us to borrow your daughters on a valuable weekend.

At the start of term, we had the pleasure of hosting a much-delayed Sixth Form Ball for three year groups. It was a delight to spend an evening with a group of mature, accomplished and exciting young women at the start of their next adventures.

I particularly want to pay tribute to our graduating Year 13 and share some of their A-Level successes with you. I am sure you realise they had a very challenging Sixth Form experience, much dominated by the pandemic. Despite all of that, they achieved a stellar set of outcomes. 94% of our students achieved A*-B grades and 72% of all the grades achieved were A or A*. This means over 50% of the students achieved a set of straight A/A* grades. On results day, 91% of the girls had their first choice university place and all of them had a chosen place by the end of that day. They have chosen a great set of courses and universities with everything from Engineering at Cambridge to Korean Studies at SOAS. We know that the education we give the students is about so much more than examination results, but nonetheless this is definitely the moment to congratulate the students, and their teachers on all they have achieved academically; it is quite remarkable and demonstrates the ambition and hard work of the whole school.

We also had the pleasure of hosting our Valedictory ceremony, with the keynote address given by Professor Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, Professor in Marketing and Sustainable Fashion at the British school of Fashion, and Blackheath High Alumna. During the evening, we celebrated Year 13’s achievements, but also those of Year 11, who look set to challenge our Year 13s in their achievements at school. Year 11 also achieved a fantastic set of GCSE outcomes this summer. More than half of the whole year group were awarded a set of straight 7-9 grades (A/A* in old currency!), with a quarter of the students with straight 8/9s (A*).  Looking at GCSE grades in core subjects: 93% of these were grades 7-9 (A/A*) in English, Maths and Science. Given every student sits these GCSEs, they are not optional, this is a fantastic achievement. It is no wonder then, that we have such a strong and positive Year 12 this year with nearly fifty Year 12 students starting their A-Levels this term.

Of course the foundations of this kind of success are laid early on. When I attended Year 6 assembly to announce the Year 6 roles of responsibility, it was great to see the mature, positive and supportive way in which the girls celebrated each other’s successes and were already buzzing with ideas to take forward. Definitely a great sign for their future at Senior School.

Finally a thank you, for all parents involved in the BHSA committee past and present. It will be a real pleasure to revive our in-person events and I hope you have all had a chance to peruse the new website with lots of areas to get involved in: . At the time of writing, welcome drinks tickets for this evening are quickly ‘selling out’, so please do reserve a ticket if you would like to attend.


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