May 22

Head's blog - May 2024

As anyone who has heard any of my talks will know, I am a passionate advocate for girls’ education; I am immensely proud of the work we all do here at Blackheath High School to create an environment and an education that is designed specifically for girls to thrive and flourish. Elevating the role of women - in society, in politics, in technology, in the future – is fundamental to our ethos, and I am so proud of how we’re weaving that thread through everything that we strive to achieve.  

This term has seen just a small snapshot of this ongoing ambition. Starting with the early days of Junior School, we celebrated our second wonderful Mighty Girls Challenge Celebration Assembly with children's author Cerrie Burnell, followed by an impressive Junior School Art Exhibition. Our inclusive Music programme has given girls many opportunities to perform, from the rich sounds of Pop Fest to our fantastic runner-up placement at the GSA Junior Choir of the Year Competition. We’ve enjoyed some incredible wins at the UK Maths Trust Challenge and the Cayley Olympiad among others – STEM spaces which are still relatively new to girls. While our Eco Prefects have been learning about sustainability at UCL MechSpace and Year 12 Sixth Form students have been exploring careers in asset management to economics. We have also balanced Mental Health Awareness with the assessment schedule for Year 7, weaving wellness into the programme with workshops on happiness, anti-bullying and mindfulness, we well as an innovative and hugely fun ‘Race Across Greenwich’ board game making activity! 

Celebrating our wonderful Alumnae, we hosted a fascinating talk at Junior School in association with The Blackheath Society on local artist, alumna and enigma Jean Cooke. What seems clear in much of the published analysis of Jean Cooke is how history has somewhat diminished her story to focus on her marital relationship (with a fellow artist), rather than celebrating her as the exceptional artist she was. This reinforces my commitment to amplifying women’s voices. 

Next month, we’re gearing up to host an incredible teaching conference focused on AI through the lens of a girl, and its impact on the future of girls’ education, careers, identities and lives. I am really excited about this – to lead such a pioneering, future-facing study into one of global society’s biggest issues is an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait to tell you more about next half term. 

And of course, this is a momentous year for politics - globally there are set to be at least 64 elections taking place; with the UK on 4 July and the US on 5 November, both pointing to tectonic shifts in leadership. This is the time to ask ourselves difficult questions about why women are still so under-represented in all levels of decision-making worldwide – according to the ‘Women in Politics: 2023’ map, created by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, women serve as Heads of State in only 31 countries; 26.5% are Members of Parliament; and just 23% are Cabinet Ministers. Civic engagement and political literacy are crucial, particularly for women – so I am delighted to confirm that we will be running a mock election on 4 July, guided by our History & Politics department and complete with education around campaigning, civil discourse, the logistics of voting and much more.  

As we pass through the intensity of exam season and into the hopeful lure of warmer weather, I wish you a relaxing half term and I look forward to a truly exciting summer term. 

Best wishes, 


Mrs Natalie Argile  

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