GCSE and A Level Heroes: Our school community shines as we look forward to a new term of opportunities
Our GCSE and A Level heroes are just some examples of the amazing determination on display at Blackheath High School over the past school year. As results are announced this year, we celebrate the achievements of all our students and teachers across the school and all they have achieved in what has been a challenging year for everyone. We are so proud of this year’s GCSE and A level students. Our GCSE students achieved outstanding success across subjects ranging from Physics, Chemistry and Biology to Art, Drama, Greek, Latin, Astronomy, French, Spanish and History – to name but a few!
At A Level, over 90% of our students receiving their first place university choice. Our students are going on to study a range of subjects, including Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Natural Sciences, Criminology, Korean Studies, Sports Science, Film and Drama, History and Midwifery.
Reflecting on the school’s achievements, Head Carol Chandler-Thompson said, “I feel nothing but pride for our school community when I reflect on the past year. The resilience and determination on display proved that our school has a special spark, with nothing stopping the girls from working towards their dreams.
With the help of digital technologies, such as Firefly and Microsoft Teams, we were able to keep our school community alive when schools were closed. When we re-opened, our teachers and support staff worked tirelessly to create a safe and welcoming environment for our students.
I want to thank every member of the Blackheath High community for embodying the school’s ethos - showing courage, resilience and bravery. Every one of us has learned lessons from the past year, and it’s in our DNA to see these lessons as opportunities for the future. A huge congratulations to our students and staff for all their incredible achievements this year.”
Rachel achieved 11 GCSEs, including 10 subjects graded 9 and 8. She will be studying English Literature, RE, Biology and an EPQ. She hopes to study law at university.
Rachel joined Blackheath High School in Year 7 from All Saints’ Primary. After visiting our Open Day and seeing the resources on offer coupled with the approachable teachers, she knew she wanted to continue her educational journey with us.
Since then, she has taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh, achieving her bronze and silver awards, and has been both form captain and a member of the school council and debating teams. The Classics scholar said that she enjoyed her GCSE teaching so much that she struggled to decide on her A level choices. She eventually settled on English Literature, RE and Biology and will be writing an EPQ on the role of the UN in the constitutionalisation of international law and foreign policy. Rachel hopes to go on to study law at university.
Rachel said, “Form time conversations and activities” and “the strong relationships between friends” have stood out during her time at Blackheath High School, where a strong sense of community is fostered amongst the girls. Rachel praised the diverse curriculum taught by her teachers and said that she “developed confidence through public speaking and debating in front of a supportive audience”. Other opportunities offered by the school which she believes have shaped her include the ability to study extra subjects such as classical Greek and Astronomy.
In looking ahead to A level, Rachel lauds the encouraged independence and the sixth form sessions that allow the girls to discuss worries and ask questions. She also enjoyed the lesson taster sessions designed to set the girls up for success.
Rachel also had the opportunity to undertake the Yale Young Global Scholars programme, enrolling in the law, politics and economics course. She applied to the programme after seeing it on Unifrog, a platform used by the school that educates pupils on career pathways.
Heaven achieved eight GCSEs at grade 7-9 across across subjects as diverse as Art, Drama, Spanish, Religious Studies and Sciences. She has chosen to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics and an EPQ at A-Level. She hopes to study medicine at university.
Heaven joined Blackheath High in Year 9 from St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls. She knew several girls already at the school who encouraged her to move, praising their experiences.
Since joining, Heaven has become a maths mentor, school ambassador and form captain. She also loves sport and plays netball, basketball and badminton.
Heaven has chosen to study Biology, Chemistry and Physics and will be undertaking an EPQ on “To what extent can I create the perfect murder?” inspired by attending a CSI day put on for the girls in Year 11. She said “after Blackheath High, I hope to go to Kings College to study medicine. I’m not sure what speciality I want to go into but I’m considering becoming a neurosurgeon or a psychiatrist”.
Heaven also acknowledges the kind advice she received from teaches who helped her write her CV for a nursery job alongside writing a reference to do work experience at Birmingham hospital.
Heaven praises the schools’ inclusivity and comments that she had apprehensions joining as a BAME student on a scholarship. Coming to the school she felt like she would not have a lot in common with the other students but realised that she always felt included and part of the Blackheath High community. She says the school taught her confidence from this experience, and that she has used this to learn to use her initiative, asking teachers for help when needed. She now feels prepared to take these key skills with her into her future.
Ms Tsikkinis, Head of Physics
Ms Tsikkinis joined our school community as Head of Physics at the start of the 2019 - 2020 school year, bringing with her over a decade of experience teaching in the field. Having previously held pastoral positions, by stepping into the role she was eager for an opportunity to guide a department, providing outstanding teaching and learning practices to inspire the minds of our curious students.
“I aim to engage students and instil a genuine interest and love for Physics. I am very passionate about my subject and enjoy finding ways to promote my students’ curiosity about the world around them whilst equipping them with the confidence they need to pursue this beautiful subject at a higher level.”
Next term the department will be welcoming 14 girls into A-Level Physics, a record achievement for the subject.
On her love of physics, Ms Tsikkinis says “I have always been passionate about Physics and learning about the laws that govern the natural world; from the large, unfathomable vastness of our Universe down to the minuscule, mystifying quantum scale. I enjoy showing students how we can model and study natural phenomena in the laboratory using just simple equipment, and keeping them engaged through hands on activities.”
Blackheath High places importance on being able to offer the girls both engaging classroom study and practical activities that bring their learning to life and test their critical thinking.
“My favourite moments in class are when the students and I discuss the latest developments in the field. I’m often impressed by the level of debate a YouTube video or a New Scientist article can spark, and I love to see them develop their interest in the subject beyond the curriculum.”
This year, over 80% of students achieved an 8/9 in physics (A* equivalent), and 30% of our students have chosen to study Physics A Level.
Dilmi has achieved her first place university offer, and will be joining Queen Mary University to study medicine.
Dilmi joined Blackheath High School in Year 2, following a relocation from Northamptonshire to London. Having loved her time at the Junior School, she continued her educational journey with us, praising the “warm and friendly atmosphere as well as the amazing opportunities that are available”.
For her A levels Dilmi chose to study Biology, Chemistry, and Maths. She also undertook an EPQ titled ‘Should Huntington’s Disease be treated be neurologically or psychiatrically?’, choosing the topic due to her interest in medicine and her desire to explore both the scientific and ethical aspects of deciding on treatment for an individual. Prior to this the bright student took an extra GCSE, studying Classical Greek due to her interest in Latin and desire to take on the challenge of learning a second ancient language. From this she was awarded the Kings Classics Scholarship. She achieved a magnificent grade tally of two A*s and one A, enabling her to pursue her medical dreams from next year.
Dilmi played sport throughout her time at Blackheath High, making the netball, rounders, and dance teams. She says of her sporting experience here “my favourite memories are mostly those from sporting events and tournaments”. She also enthuses about a PE trip she attended to Cornwall where the students got the opportunity to rock climb the Cornish coast, “it was an incredible weekend and one I will remember for a long time.”
The proactive student co-ran the biomedical society in sixth form, enjoying the opportunity to share her interest in medical ethics and biomedical science with younger students. In an effort to step out of her comfort zone she took her LAMDA exams, achieving her Silver Medal in Year 11. She adds to this her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver awards.
Not stopping there Dilmi became Deputy Head Girl and was a maths mentor, further highlighting her commitment to helping younger students and her school community. This year these leadership teams played a special role in the school when faced with the pandemic and needing to offer their peers additional support. She reflects “This year, working with younger students was much harder than usual due to the pandemic. However I, along with the rest of the head girl team, came up with new and innovative ideas on how to engage the rest of the school in engaging and important matters.”
Dilmi remembers lectures at school by a family medicine doctor that set her on track to thinking about her future in medicine. The students are also given opportunities to develop their leadership skills and take part in volunteering opportunities;
“I was able to volunteer at a Dementia Care Home in Year 10 and that definitely impacted my decision to go on to study medicine. The opportunity to have leadership roles and getting to play sports or run societies with girls from all years has definitely developed my confidence and teamwork skills.”
Reflecting on her time at Blackheath High, Dilmi believes that the school “has taught us about being independent young women and I have learnt how important it is to work hard for what you aspire. But also;
“I believe Blackheath High has taught me the importance of teamwork and community which I believe are equally important for life beyond school”.
Ms Day, Head of Futures
The role of Head of Futures is to prepare the girls for life beyond Blackheath High. We want to ensure that our girls are aware of the myriad of career options so they can find something that suits their unique personalities and interests. Cath Day is always on hand to support the girls. Programmes such as our career tutorials help facilitate open-mindedness and independent learning.
The Futures Programme offers a bespoke approach to careers guidance. Ms Day says, ‘We believe in encouraging the girls to consider worlds outside their own experience to develop their empathetic and communication skills.’ This includes activities from life skills like dementia training, to providing work experience for students who show a keen interest in particular careers.
Cath Day says, “We pride ourselves on academic excellence but know that a good education doesn’t focus solely on grades.” Our Sixth Form students run the popular Societies Programme where the girls can explore a variety of interests, work collaboratively, and organise time effectively. At Blackheath High we set the girls up with skills that challenge the way they think and act in the world.
“Above all, we teach them to strive for excellence in everything they do, which means preparing them for whatever challenges and opportunities they may face when they leave school.”
Mrs Beecham, Head of Year 13 and UCAS
The role of Head of Year 13 is to provide pastoral support to the students as they come to the end of their time with us at Blackheath High School and their schooling career. While it can be an extremely exciting time, full of thoughts of the future, it can also be very challenging for students. Ms Beecham says, “I really enjoy guiding them”, as they ponder the many decisions they make about their future.
“Year 13 is an important year for students, and we make sure they all receive 1:1 support as they traverse their UCAS journey. We want to give our girls the greatest springboard towards whatever their chosen path may be. They get the opportunity to hear a range of speakers and can attend webinars and even get to complete an Open University course on finance.”
With the past year rocked by school closures, it was a particular challenge for Year 13 students as the closures came at pivotal point in their educational journeys. We ensured that students were supported virtually throughout their UCAS journeys and tried our very best to communicate on a regular basis with news and updates. Ms Beecham regularly checked in with students, ensuring they were coping with their studies throughout the period, making sure they didn’t feel isolated, and checking they felt they had enough support from the school.
Ms Beecham joined Blackheath High School in the summer of 2014 as an English teacher. She got into teaching after recognising her passion for English and her desire to work with young people. While studying she spent time teaching in summer schools, fuelling her desire to continue working with teenagers, recognising a love for working with young adults at such a pivotal stage in their development.
Of the past year Ms Beecham reflects “We continued to try to run things as normal, but in an online capacity. I have been very proud of the efforts the sixth formers have made to keep up with their studies, despite the challenges of the pandemic.”