July 7

Curriculum values

There’s nothing quite like a crisis to challenge our commitment to our fundamental values. When school had to go online this year, one of the first decisions we made was to try to provide as close to our full curriculum and timetable as possible. We succeeded in keeping very nearly everything in our curriculum going in some form.

Drama is a subject which explores interactions and relationships between people in physical space, so sadly it was not possible to keep it going for everyone. It continued for those on GCSE and A-Level courses, but it has been dearly missed by some. Drama will be important in helping students to work through their thoughts and feelings when we are finally back in school together again.

I am proud of what has been achieved by our girls and I was confident from the outset that we had made the right decision about the curriculum during Guided Home Learning. This is because I know that we only include subjects in our curriculum if we believe in them.

As you would expect, we continue to review the curriculum from time to time, to make sure that we have the balance right. However, we do not believe that we should cut down on humanities subjects, for example, or languages, PE, or the Arts just to catch up in the ‘core’ subjects of English, Maths and Science.

In our History lessons, for example, students explore opposing views around the British Empire and its effects; something which of course has been brought starkly into public discourse recently. This is really important and I am proud that our students learn to analyse, think about and question received wisdom. We do not want to take for granted that our opinions are right. We teach that it is important to look for and take account of opposing views, so as teachers we would want to do this too. We might not have everything right yet, and we are ready to think deeply about it.

With our rich curriculum, delivered online in recent months, our students have achieved so much: UK Mathematics Challenges, an award for being amongst the top ten linguists in the country, musical concert performances and so much more. Blackheath High School being shortlisted right now for the Independent Schools of the Year award for Girls’ School of the Year is a tribute to what our students have been able to achieve under the skilled and caring guidance of their teachers.

But most of all, I firmly believe that all of our students have achieved better and made more progress than they would have elsewhere. So many parents have relayed to us the feedback they have heard from families at other schools and I hope that they too have been proud to talk of their Blackheath High School in return.

We believe in what we do. We are completely focused on supporting the success of every single girl in our care, and we always will be, come what may.

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