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26/05/20

Today’s Evening Standard featuring YR 6 pupil, Emma, and her BHS for NHS fundraising design. Well done, Emma! We are very proud of your community, creative and entrepreneurial spirit https://t.co/2XYbRhvmpT

25/05/20

As part of the English lessons via Guided Home Learning, Year 8 put together storyboards based on Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart', and they gave us some incredible results! https://t.co/jklGu5JqAx https://t.co/SvKxt3HUvR

22/05/20

In case you missed our stunning performance of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars today - you can watch the winning music video here https://t.co/lYAwe4tcsi Well done - you absolute superstars Enjoy! https://t.co/9xUSF5Blk0

22/05/20

Huge congratulations to our very own ‘The Rolling Tones’ and 'Higgins Quartet' who have won the People's Choice Award in today’s ! Talk about ending the half-term on a high note! 🎤🥳 https://t.co/a2SjB6olNE

22/05/20

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

Very moved to receive this lovely gift from parents thanking us for provision. Our honour ❤️ https://t.co/jCQM8B7oU0

22/05/20

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

A Half Term Bingo challenge to keep the community in high spirits over the break. Keep active and enjoy! https://t.co/u04JDbPTAo

22/05/20

We can’t wait for the , the most anticipated music event of 2020, broadcasting live to girls around the country from 10am today! https://t.co/DeTFlfto0T

21/05/20

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

Hands up if you need to engage your core muscles more 🙋‍♀️ sitting at the computer all day can lead to poor posture, a strong core can improve this - This challenge will only take a few minutes! https://t.co/VRGon8Gb0C

21/05/20

Hands up if you need to engage your core muscles more! Sitting at the computer all day can lead to poor posture, a strong core can improve this – today’s Fitness Forward challenge will only take a few minutes! https://t.co/nmEMdCO3WV

21/05/20

This is extremely fascinating to us as, unfortunately, records of the history of this part of our school (which we moved our Senior School & Sixth Form to in 1994, after it had been home to The Church Army since 1965) are limited. Please keep us updated on any discoveries!

21/05/20

Retweeted From Inspiring Change Makers

We hope you are all ready! Here's the link for easy access: https://t.co/zA5cLL7c6j https://t.co/enwoSLtnnc

20/05/20

Our students are excited to be some of the 20,000 young women taking part in the Inspiring Change Makers Summit tomorrow! You can download resources and watch videos ahead of the summit here: https://t.co/Od2hDhpfv2 https://t.co/2qrucJNAoW

20/05/20

It's and we are feeling especially grateful for our supportive community who remind us that we are appreciated throughout the year 🥰 https://t.co/vVwqwHwLT4

19/05/20

Only an hour to go until Mrs Gunton's melodic Kitchen Samba session! Follow the link below and make some music 🎶🎶 https://t.co/u1ouHCSPO7

19/05/20

Ella in Year 6 has created a bug hotel using an old wine box. Not only embracing the ‘reuse’ initiative, but also considering some of our smallest creatures that deserve a nice place to live too. Well done, Ella! https://t.co/zo4g63hM2U

19/05/20

Mrs Rosado has been using leftover tiles from the garage to make her rainbow in support of the NHS – it looks fab Mrs Rosado! https://t.co/CUXpZiPqPT

19/05/20

Some fabulous entries to the House Compettion have come in this week. Here, Betty in Year 6 has made this excellent message reminding us to ‘reuse’. Great work Betty! https://t.co/qUUgeOJbgT

18/05/20

Play your cards right! Another creative way to from https://t.co/eVWHAZn0xC

15/05/20

Retweeted From Sarah Skevington

Mrs W’s guided home learning task exceeding safe cuteness levels ! Next best thing to a hug ❤️ https://t.co/495oKkahDk

15/05/20

Get ready to tune in on the 22 May for the musical event of the summer! The first GDST Song Contest will be broadcast live to GDST girls around the country during the school day, so get your votes ready for Blackheath High! https://t.co/7V5hdSN4uo

15/05/20

Retweeted From GirlsDaySchoolTrust

"I never doubted whether I was good enough or qualified enough, I just believed I was capable enough, and definitely taught me that" — Victoria Barnett's story. https://t.co/0YzSMee0Kv

15/05/20

Stay mindful and take care of yourselves over the weekend. https://t.co/FxIM24Cp0V

15/05/20

Incredible work is still coming in for the House Competition. Resha, Yr 6 reused a Pringles pack, old jeans and buttons to make a pen holder, Really useful! https://t.co/F3Y11lIbg0

15/05/20

At Blackheath High we encourage our girls to positively leave their mark on the world. Next Thursday students will be joining the brilliant Change Makers conference to see firsthand how other inspiring women are making a difference https://t.co/XptkvmKVbI

14/05/20

Sharing the love of reading in our virtual book club, well done girls! https://t.co/UGkDNRLQOL

14/05/20

Good luck everyone! Let us know what level you get to. https://t.co/iZlpCZ09PX

13/05/20

Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

Mrs Brooks’ GCSE class turned into a come dine with me cooking class today! Learning about nutrition whilst making a lunch live on teams. I think all of the PE department will be logging into this lesson from now on!!! https://t.co/JqCyKnUDLG

13/05/20

A fascinating GDST enrichment course starts today for our YR 11 & YR 13 students. They will be applying design-thinking to our real world problems as we embrace our 'new norm' during ー19 - good luck to everyone taking part https://t.co/9p1uMLZ0Rj

13/05/20

Even in lockdown, our girls are finding their inspiration and being creative. Beatrix in Year 9 has shown this beautifully in her poem, ‘Behind Closed Doors’. https://t.co/bAhztFTDWA https://t.co/jzfQ5xlonm

13/05/20

Great to see students, teachers and now dogs staying active together at Fitness Club this morning.🐕🦮🐩 Next up, Dance Club starts 1.10pm https://t.co/XjdlEw8iz1

13/05/20

Great to see so many girls connecting through music rehearsals - well done Sinfonia https://t.co/3uLylXarjx

13/05/20

and our wellbeing partner, have produced a series of webinars for parents to help 'manage minds' during this current situation. Find out more now on Firefly. https://t.co/AhDbkdms0f

12/05/20

Not long to go until our 'Kitchen Samba' music lesson kicks off live on Youtube...4pm. https://t.co/ySZJ1TKWuX

12/05/20

Retweeted From GDST Alumnae Network

First Steps to Starting a Business - online course opens today! https://t.co/RvtHWTE3da Everything you need to know, delivered by , start-up expert, lecturer and columnist alumna https://t.co/t41TdEFMXW

12/05/20

Well done for keeping up the excellent guided home learning work girls – here’s a snapshot of a YR 8 Mandarin lesson, learning about countries and nationalities (and embracing new whiteboard tech for ) https://t.co/18TBbsVEe7

12/05/20

You can do it girls (and parents)! https://t.co/XBcXefyo7b

11/05/20

Our Director of Music, Emily Gunton, is teaching a ‘Kitchen Samba’ class, live on Youtube at 4pm tomorrow. Bring your pots and pans, explore different rhythms and take part in a Samba influenced piece. Click link to join - all welcome https://t.co/TzaqmiLlKt https://t.co/UxDqGBRPHF

11/05/20

A beautiful response to the Getty Museum Challenge by one of our Year 7 Students. Giulia is Frida Kahlo  #stayhome #covidart #year7 #ks3art #fridakahlo. Do head over to our Art Dept. Instagram for some incredible entries by students https://t.co/5rWicGHdBJ https://t.co/6JyZF22n5Q

11/05/20

Good luck to all our YR11 and YR13 students who are starting our new Excelerate 2020 summer curriculum today. Both programmes help to prepare our students for the next step in their educational journey. Here’s more on our YR 13 Programme https://t.co/iRfrhVPLSU

December 13

League tables and the illusion of Parent Power

It is argued that the aim of the annual publication of the 'Parent Power' league tables in the Sunday Times is to provide parents with an informed choice. Armed with a rank order based on percentages of A*-A, SATs scores, choices can be made for secondary and primary school based on cold hard evidence. Well, this is partially true. League tables have utility, they tell you the grades achieved by students in a school in a certain year in public examinations. Sometimes, they even refer to the previous year’s results so that you can gauge year-on-year progress. It is a great celebration of a really impressive achievement of many students and the hard work of teachers in schools.

Unfortunately, that is about all you can tell from League Tables. Suggesting that this limited array of information puts ‘power’ in the hands of parents is a little misleading as it is really just presenting some of the information as if it were all of the information. This is a classic case of ‘valuing what we can measure’ as opposed to measuring what we value.

Speaking to most parents, all the qualities they really truly value in a school are not visible in these kind of league tables. As a teacher, I have taught in schools at the very top of the league tables, but also those not at the top. All these schools were, and are, great schools. A more sophisticated judgement is needed.

Absolute measures, such as percentages of A*, do not demonstrate the progress made by students as they have moved through school. A highly selective school may have a predominance of students whose baselining testing indicates that they are already highly likely to achieve A*s when they arrive in Year 7. It is extremely hard for any school to ‘add value’ in this situation, although of course, students still have to be well taught to reach their predicted A*. In a school with a wider range of abilities, however, a student may arrive in Year 7 with a baseline prediction of a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ but eventually achieve an ‘A’. This grade is not as seemingly impressive as the A*, but the rate of progress and ‘value-added’ is extremely impressive. Great schools work to help every student flourish and aim high, but unfortunately that cannot be reflected in a league table such as ‘Parent Power’. Arguably, you learn more about the selectivity of the admissions process than the effectiveness of the school when only considering outcomes without context. Recently St Olave’s Grammar in Kent came under fire for its policy to ask ‘failing’ Year 12 students to leave the school mid-way through their A-levels in the interests of preserving league table dominance. If a league table place can only be preserved by ruthless exclusion, not inspiration and great teaching, something is going seriously wrong; the student is no longer at the heart of the school. To quote Margaret Attwood: “context is all.”

The plethora and complexity of different testing regimes has also muddied the waters. If a Junior School, such as my own, chooses not to subject 11 year-olds to SAT tests, they simply do not appear in the Primary tables at all, even though the education they are offering is absolutely superb. The impossibility of comparison within a jungle of qualifications (IGCSE, GCSE, Grade 9 with A*, A-level with IB) exacerbates this muddiness no end.

This is only to focus on public examinations, but a great education is about so much more. Sending students out into the world with a clutch of exam certificates and nothing else, is not a great education; they will falter at the first real hurdle. Students need to be confident networking and speaking to people from all different walks of life; they need to present publicly; they need to be resilient to life’s challenges; they need to be creative problem solvers and team-players, they need confidence. All this comes from a genuinely balanced and engaging curriculum and co-curriculum. These are not visible in league tables.

Lastly, the least measurable quality of a great school, but probably the most important, is its values and ethos. Is it a place that a student can genuinely discover their own personal qualities, feel valued and build positive and genuine relationships with peers and adults? Can they be happy and develop their appreciation of non-material aspects of life? It is totally impossible to measure these qualities of a school, but they can make or break a student’s experience. This can only be appreciated in person, through absorbing the atmosphere and sense of community in a school, not through the centre pages of a weekend supplement.

So keep the tables in their place: a tiny part of a very big story.

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