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December 18th 2023

Blackheath High School GDST boosts senior leadership with new academic hires

Blackheath High School GDST is delighted to announce the appointment of three members of staff to key senior leadership roles, as it continues to grow its reputation as a leader in academic excellence. 

Kristina Lewis will take up the position of Deputy Head, Academic at Blackheath High Senior School in January 2024, assuming responsibility for leading the academic work of the school to ensure that every student receives a stimulating, rich and ambitious education. She joins from Francis Holland School Regent’s Park, bringing a wealth of experience in girls’ education, saying, “I am committed to girls’ education, to creating an ambitious learning environment where every student is encouraged to take risks to learn and grow, and to fostering girls' voices so that they can navigate the world with courage, empathy and competence.” 

Commenting on her new role, Kristina says: “The commitment to celebrating every individual for her own talents and achievements is what first drew my attention to Blackheath High School. ‘Where Girls Boldly Go’ is such an inspiring motto – to develop courage, especially when faced with setbacks, is a crucial part of the learning process and I’m excited to be part of a school where this is encouraged and celebrated.” 

Blackheath High Junior School also welcomes a new Deputy Head, Academic - Monica Patel is tasked with ensuring the curriculum is innovative, ambitious, relevant and supports cognitive challenge. She will also drive the school’s innovative Mighty Girls Challenge, a skills-based programme designed to foster the skills the World Economic Forum predicts will be pivotal to the future workforce, including complex problem-solving, critical thinking, resilience and creativity. 

Monica began her career in the creative arts, and has been teaching for more than 15 years. “The girls-only education at Blackheath High sets it apart from other schools. It is clear that the leadership team is passionate about taking care of the whole child: their academic potential as well as their emotional wellbeing. There is also a focus on ensuring that the curriculum and our teaching and learning are of the highest standard and ensure excellent outcomes for all: both need to reflect the ever-changing world, support the needs of girls today and offer opportunities for creativity and innovation.” 

Blackheath High School Sixth Form is also expanding, with the recruitment of Frederique Cheyns as Assistant Head (Head of Sixth Form). Frederique was most recently Assistant Headteacher and Head of Sixth Form at Townley Grammar, and will take responsibility for the strategic direction and operations of the Sixth Form. Her primary focus will be on providing exceptional academic guidance to students, with the goal of preparing them for their post-18 journey. Frederique says that she was drawn to Blackheath High School by the “uniquely individualised approach, fostered by small class sizes and seminar-style teaching, which means that the teachers can get to know every student and support them to reach their own goals and ambitions. To be welcomed into such a close, warm community is a huge privilege.” 

Blackheath High School Head teacher Natalie Argile comments, “We are delighted to welcome Kristina, Monica and Frederique to our community of inspirational teachers and leaders: their exceptional academic and pastoral talents will enable Blackheath High School to continue to flourish and grow, and building on our excellent public examination results that continue on an upward trajectory. 

These are strategic appointments – each brings a wealth of experience and reputation in her field, particularly within the context of girls’ education. It is our mission to support our students to take intellectual risks, adopt leadership roles and find their voices in an unequal world - that is what sets Blackheath High School apart. Kristina, Monica and Frederique will contribute immeasurably to this ambition.” 

Image from left to right: Frederique Cheyns, Monica Patel, Kristina Lewis


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