Grace Stewart

Head Student 23-24

Head Student Team Grace image1As I enter my final year of school, it is beginning to dawn on me how much Blackheath High has meant to me over the past 12 years and the fact that I will never again be in an environment quite like this one. Blackheath High has been more than just a school to me: it is part of me. I owe all my successes not only to the support from my teachers and friends, but also to the personality of the school which has allowed me to thrive.

I particularly like the bond we have with other GDST schools. I’ve had the opportunity to take part in so many Trust-wide events, from public speaking competitions to performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. Recently, I took part in a GDST-wide school council with nearly every school in the Trust – I heard about initiatives at other schools, discovered what works and how I can adopt some of their ideas into Blackheath.

As Head Student, I want to make sure I leave my mark on the school. Even though our team of five have been in our roles for less than a term, we have already been very busy, beginning with allocating roles that represent our different passions and now have representatives for wellbeing, charity, diversity and sustainability and collaborative working.

Most recently, we have been focusing our efforts on celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride month. We have organised charity events throughout the final half term, from ‘sponge the teacher’ to a Row-a-thon, a day-long event where students pay 50p to row for 10 minutes. I am looking forward to this one; rowing in the sunshine, cheered on by friends, listening to music and being rewarded with a burger afterwards! Other fundraising events include an own-clothes day, movie night, a lemonade stall and a Pride badge/ laces sale. All proceeds are going towards London-based charity Mosaic LGBT+ Young Person’s Trust, which focuses on supporting queer youth to provide them with empowering resources and programmes. These events will not only raise money for Mosaic and awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community, but will strengthen the bonds of staff and students and finish the school year off with a bang!

We have also been making plans for the next academic year. We are creating a diversity and inclusion calendar to ensure that we are representative of our community and getting people talking and learning about groups different to themselves. Since putting up the Pride decorations, conversations with students and staff about the flags and their meanings have been non-stop! There have been countless discussions with people expanding their knowledge about the LGBTQIA+ community. A gesture as simple as bunting can spark a dialogue that promotes and encourages inclusion. Therefore, going forward we want to reach out to have external speakers coming to give talks, form time activities and student led assemblies.

I am so eager to bring everything I can to this role. Blackheath has done so much for me over the years so I am going to bring everything I can to give back to the school. The Head Student team and I are really looking forward to activating our plans next year and seeing what other possibilities we can explore.

But for now we are going to enjoy the atmosphere: Students are itching with enthusiasm now most of our exams are done, relaxing in the sun at break and lunchtimes, excitedly chatting with their friends. End of term festivities are quickly approaching and everyone is looking forward to a long break over the summer after such a sensational, busy year.