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Our Year 10 Scientists extracted the DNA from strawberries 🍓and kiwis 🥝 today. How exciting to be able to hold the genetic code of fruits in your hands! Fascinating work, Year 10 🧪👏


And here are another two! What the heath lacks in warmth these wintry mornings, it certainly makes up for in beauty.


Such a beautiful sight over the heath this morning - oh, how we love being in Blackheath! A fantastic shot from 📷


Our Sixth Form students have jumped right back into their term-time routine getting active this Friday morning. Whilst the kayaking does look like great fun, we're not envious of those cold waters🥶


Episode 10 of the GDST’s podcast is now live. This episode explores how writing can help ease anxiety with fashion editor and novelist, Harriet Walker . Listen here (or wherever you get your podcasts) 👉


Can you help our students answer their EPQ questions? Year 12 students are beginning work on their extended project qualifications and would love some additional input. View their full list of questions here to see if you can offer any expertise -


Introducing Mr Alaru - our new Deputy Head (Staff and Students) - who has joined us this year. We caught up with him for a 60 second interview to find out more about where he has come from and what he's looking forward to at BHS. Read the interview at👉


Happy New Year one and all! 🎆 As we reflect on 2021, we think of how incredibly proud we are of our students and how hard they worked throughout what was a very challenging year. The resilience of our girls is inspiring, and we can't wait to welcome them back next week!


Shooting for Gold: A New Junior National Ladies Archery Champion 🏆 After a nail-biting final, Year 11 archer, Dotty, secured gold at the Archery Nationals earlier this month, making her the new Junior National Ladies Champion! 🥇 A big congratulations to Dotty! 👏


Instead of their usual Mandarin lesson, our Year 8 students had the opportunity to instead participate in an elegant Chinese dance workshop, featuring classic hand fans and traditional Chinese dance music.  The students had a wonderful time learning the graceful techniques.


During December, parents were invited into their child’s Computer Science lesson to learn how to code. Many parents had never written a word or line of code before, whilst others were already programmers, but everybody learnt something and had great fun!


Our next Classics for Kids session will be taking place on 14 January. In this session, our Music Scholars will be retelling Michael Rosen's story 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' with musical accompaniment. To book your place, visit:


Year 7 donned their wellington boots and made their way to Greenwich Park for our annual charity Welly Walk. Isabella said: "It was very fun, even though we encountered a steep hill, which some decided to try and run up! It was a fun experience for all Year 7 to do together."


Last term, Year 9 went to the Science Museum to experience interactive exhibitions such as 'The Atmosphere' and 'Who Am I?', and finished their day out with a bounce around the trampolining venue at the O2. Read Tilly and Isabella's recount of the day 👉


Wishing Blackheath High School's friends, family and community a very Merry Christmas! 🎄 We hope this festive period is a restful and joyous one for everyone. 🎅


From Lawyers and Barristers 🧑‍⚖️ to Surgeons 🏥 and Psychologists 🧠, we had an incredibly inspiring array of speakers as part of our Wollstonecraft Speaker Series last term. Find out more about the impressive guests we have welcomed here 👉


A big well done to our Junior School girls who came together to raise an impressive £400 for Children in Need last month. Some of the fundraising activities included covering Pudsey Bear with donated coins and decorating Pudsey Bear shaped biscuits - yum! 😋


To reward our French students after a very hard-working term, we could not resist the invitation to a play entirely in French! 🇫🇷 came along to deliver yet another great theatre production for our students: Mon père ne me comprend pas. C'était fantastique!


On our second trips day, Year 8 went to Bore Place Farm where they had a guided tour of a dairy farm and learned about sustainable and organic food. Matilda in Year 8 said: "I absolutely loved the Bore farm trip. There were lots of activities to do, so you were never bored!"


And that's a wrap! To celebrate the end of term we've had quizzes, Christmas lunch, end of term films & music, and even some teacher dodgeball. We'll leave you with this uplifting rendition of Jingle Bells from our Junior Choir, recorded at the Christmas Carol Concert - enjoy!


Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp

Another delicious Christmas lunch from Marcin’s Team Merry Christmas all! 🎄


The festive, yet educational, fun has commenced at our Junior School with our Year 6 Maths Ambassadors. Any guesses (without checking Google) which numbers on an advent calendar are square numbers? 🤔


This is Misha - our Poetry by Heart competition winner. Watch below as she expertly recites the 'The Three Little Pigs' poem by Roald Dahl with complete confidence. We're impressed! We can't even remember what we had for dinner last night...🤔 Great work, Misha! 🏆


Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp

Very proud of ⁦⁩ student Marley’s success 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽




The countdown to the end of term may have begun, but our school trips have not stopped yet! On Monday, our GCSE RS students visited the East London Mosque and St Paul's Cathedral to deepen their understanding of two centres of worship and the place of religion in modern Britain.


Our Junior School girls are doing an absolutely fantastic job of donating to for their Christmas appeal 🛍️ Our Year 6 Sport Prefects gave a great assembly on hygiene poverty, which has clearly inspired many girls to donate their unwanted toiletries!


It's beginning to look a lot like... The festive feeling is very much alive at our Senior School site with the addition of our student-decorated Christmas trees. 🎄 Just one more week until the end of term! We're immensely proud of how hard our girls have worked this year. 👏


Some truly beautiful scenes from our Senior Christmas Concert last night. What a wonderful experience to share the festive spirit with our girls and their families.🎄 Well done to all of the girls that performed and participated, you were all phenomenal! 👏


Our Junior and Senior Christmas Carol Concerts are taking place tonight at this beautiful venue that's right on our doorstep - . We're really looking forward to watching our girls perform the music and readings that they have been rehearsing throughout the term. 🎶


Today, our Year 12 and 13 A-Level Biologists are at the 'Biology in Action' event with , learning about fascinating biology topics such as the wonders of the deep 🐠, gerontology 🧬, bioethics 🧫, and more - all delivered by renowned scientists.


It was a huge pleasure to welcome an audience to a live music event last month. Our first live Teatime Concert for 18-months featured no fewer than 25 performances; from classical violin to French horn, voice to ukulele, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the concert.


Our second trips day is in full effect! Some of our girls are currently offsite taking part in various thrilling activities like Free Jumping, whilst others are enjoying equally exciting workshops onsite delivered by external experts. What a great way to start the weekend! 🌟


Retweeted From BlackheathHigh Sport

One of our talented Year 6’s competed in the National Taekwondo Championships last week, she went home with a gold and silver medal 🥇🥈Amazing effort !




And the winner is... 🥁 Every year hosts 'The Long Notes Competition', where each competitor is asked to play the longest note they possibly can. Lots of students entered this year, but Isla came out on top with an astounding note length of 42 seconds! 👏


Episode 8 of 's podcast is now live! This week, neuroscientist Dr Cathy Rogers is talking creativity and the curriculum: how we can help to nurture creativity and why this is important. Listen here:


"We were able to see the words we’ve been analysing in our English lessons come to life..." 🎭 Year 11 recently visited the Globe to watch Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'. Read Year 11 student Lucy's recount of the day here >


Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating this week, and thank you to Freya for leading assembly this morning 🕎


Over half term, students were given Science projects to deepen their understanding of the topics discussed in lessons. The girls were very creative with their ideas and materials, resulting in some very accurate (and tasty 😋) looking models.

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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