HIGHLIGHTS Autumn Term 2011
HAPPY FROM THE START
WHY WE OFFER A LEVELS INSTEAD OF IB. BHS_3_Cover.indd 8
BENEFITS OF AN HOLISTIC APPROACH
GOVERNORS Profiles of three members of the School Governing Board who are also past pupils of the school Josie Delap
After leaving Blackheath High School,
On leaving Blackheath High School, Olivia
Josie studied Arabic and French at Corpus
studied Law with Law Studies in Europe
Christi College, Cambridge. As part of her
at Jesus College, Oxford (including a year
course, she spent a year studying in Cairo.
spent in Paris studying French law). She
Following graduation, she worked for the
then worked in The Hague as a legal intern
Arab International Women’s Forum, an
at the International Criminal Tribunal for
organisation that promotes women’s political, economic and
the former Yugoslavia and as a law clerk in the Office of the
social involvement in the Middle East. Josie went on to do an
Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. She returned
MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies at St Anthony’s College,
to London, where she trained as a solicitor at a leading City
Oxford where she focused on Iran. As part of her studies, she
law firm, spending six months in the Paris office and qualifying
learned Persian and spent several months in Iran. On leaving
into the corporate department. Olivia is currently working as a
Oxford, Josie started work at The Economist, writing daily
judicial assistant in the Court of Appeal.
news and analysis for the website. She is now the online Middle
Olivia explains that she “firmly believes in the benefit of
East and Africa editor and writes regularly for the magazine
all-round education for girls” and was delighted to have the
about the Middle East, Africa and international human rights.
opportunity to give back to Blackheath High. She is particularly
Josie’s says that her “ time at Blackheath High was an
keen to help with developing the alumnae network and says, “I
overwhelmingly positive experience.” She was delighted to be
hope my commercial experience and legal training will be of
invited to act as a governor and make an “ongoing contribution
use to the Governing Board.”
to the life of the school.” While her roots are still in Greenwich, she travels a great deal with work and is therefore “looking forward in particular to assisting the school in its continuing engagement with the local community and the broader world.”
influencing, principled negotiating,
self-awareness, presence, impactful
communication, diversity, inclusion,
to become a school governor” explaining
performance and change management.
that she “has enjoyed finding out more
completed her BA
Before moving into consultancy in
experienced by many women. Lois said she “felt privileged to be invited
about school life, regularly spending days
Hons degree in
2001, Lois had more than 20 years’
at the school, sitting in classes and talking
experience leading and supporting
with pupils and staff.“ She is particularly
Economic History and Politics at Royal
strategic organisational development
impressed with the quality of performance
Holloway College, University of London.
and change, primarily within central
at the many school events she has
government. Lois worked mainly in the
attended, including concerts and plays.
Lois runs her own consultancy, Lois Leeming Ltd, and works mainly as an
Home Office, carrying out both policy
executive coach and facilitator. Her work
and HR related roles. She was seconded
focuses primarily on leadership and team
to Business in the Community, where
development – developing thinking skills,
she advised private, public and voluntary
building confidence, setting and achieving
sector top management on organisational
career and personal goals, powerful
strategies to break the “glass ceiling”
2 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
The Headmystery The moment I walked through the
often with a missive from their teacher, fast and determined,
doors of Blackheath High Junior
proud of their responsibility. The Creative Curriculum has been
School I knew I would fit in and love
exciting and I have enjoyed being part of that excitement in the
this school. Visitors tell me the same
classroom. So what if the girls do not really believe the dragon is
– it just feels right.
real – it does not matter; their teacher does so we will all enjoy
It is something about the way the girls behave in school, not flattened
the invention. I love teaching children with minds of their own; it is
into a particular cloned kind of
fascinating to lead the older girls so far and then watch as they
schoolgirl but with a unifying sense
take an idea and run with it in unexpected directions. I have
of purpose about what they do, and
been made very proud of the girls at the many plays, musical
a natural awareness of the right way
events and sporting competitions, too many to mention but
to behave in any situation. They have an eagerness to learn and a
each one special and wonderful. It is a pleasure to see the girls
confidence which does not overstep the mark into arrogance.
continue to flourish at the Senior School.
Highlights? There are so many. There has not been a day
The staff, each of them, have been a real joy to work with,
when I have regretted instigating the shaking of hands at the
and among these I include some super teachers who for various
gate. To see the girls so happy, often skipping down the ramp,
reasons (generally marriage and babies!) have left us. All the
and so pleased to see their friends each day makes me think
adults work as a team including our amazing teaching assistants,
we are doing something good here, for we all know that happy
office staff, caretakers and catering staff. I am going to miss all
children are able to make the most of their lessons. At this point
of them, including those I work with at the Senior School.
I must thank Peter. He is the one out there when it rains! I have enjoyed spending some time each week in the Nursery.
Last year, when taking a small person home in a taxi after she had missed the bus, she said “I never knew I would be
There is no standing on formality here, their independence and
going home with the headmystery”. I still have not fathomed
easy inclusion of others, even me, into their role play is such fun.
quite what this wonderful job entails but I think this is a pretty
I love to see the Reception and Year 1 girls crossing the hall,
Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 3
Holistic approach to learning
t Blackheath High School we believe that helping a child to achieve her best, isn’t just a result of what happens in the classroom. We not only nurture the girls’ academic progress but also their overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally, to ensure they achieve their very best. We address work related stress and help the girls to find ways to cope with pressure and to meet cheerfully the demands of a broad curriculum and a diverse range of extra-curricular activities. We aim to help the girls’ sense of well-being in several different ways, to equip them with methods of relaxation such as breathing, tai-chi and use visualisations to help relieve stress. We have enhanced their environment through use of therapeutic aromatherapy to uplift and focus them as they move around our school. We also believe that it is important that the food that is served to the girls ensures that they are nourished appropriately to maximise their ability to learn effectively. Installing water fountains to keep girls hydrated was also an important development in the school. These provisions ensure the general well-being of the girls in our care during the school day and that their minds are at an optimum to achieve their personal best in the classroom. Alongside this we want to promote the girls’ ability to be reflective and thoughtful; the assembly has become a time to reflect on our society and world and listen to music that enhances a sense of reflection. “Philosophy” has been introduced to the timetable of Y7, Y8 and Y9 to develop these thinking skills “Tai Chi is a and the minds of the girls further. Alongside martial art and is relaxing, the “Matrix of Knowledge” the education of the girls has been broadened to give time it warms up our joints and helps us on the curriculum to develop stronger enjoy the day ahead. We do different philosophical thought processes and sequences listening carefully to the to be able to tackle those all too tricky instructions and making sure that interview questions which expect a considered and well-structured every move is done properly. I like Tai response. Chi because it helps me concentrate By combining many areas of thought better in school and because I from design, architecture, philosophy and concentrate better, I do better!” complimentary practice we aim to promote the girls learning through a strong sense of Emma Adcock 4EK well-being and confidence.
4 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
ere at Blackheath High School we operate a ‘peer mentoring scheme.’ This project encourages children to be supportive of each other and reinforces the work already being done to provide the pupils with a supportive learning environment. Pupils apply to become a peer mentor and the successful applicants are given training organised by Childline in listening skills and taught about the importance of confidentiality and when information needs to be passed on. The pupils are responsible for getting to know as many younger pupils as possible and being available to them and their peers as a source of support throughout the year. They carry out these duties by being in the Resources Centre before school, at lunch time, and after school. Because the pupils attend regular meetings we are able to spot whole year group issues as they arise. In addition, four of the “I wanted to pupils were nominated as Anti-bullying become a peer mentor ambassadors and are working on a because I like to get to know the cyber-bullying policy for the school. We feel this scheme, which is younger pupils and love to help now well embedded in to school them with their problems and life, is very successful at enabling homework. I enjoy being a peer pupils to have another source of mentor because I care…and when support when they themselves or their friends have a problem. I leave school I want to be
a Doctor.” Jayanee Basil Gnanaraj
Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 5
t has been another extremely busy term in the Music Department at the Junior School! Individual music lessons continue to be very popular with the pupils across the school and we have enjoyed numerous performances during assembly over the term as the girls are so keen to perform their repertoire to an audience. Our team of peripatetic music staff has now expanded to fourteen and we were delighted to welcome this term Miss Louise Parker, who has joined the strong team of violin teachers at BHJS. Before half term, we celebrated Harvest Festival with a wonderful event held in the gym. Every year group performed; either singing or performing poems. I’m sure everyone still remembers fondly the Nursery girls’ Dingle Dangle Scarecrow and Year 4 reciting Tomris Yukeman’s poem! The minister remarked on the wonderful performances given by each year group, and we were grateful to all the parents who so generously contributed the food gifts which were displayed, resembling a colourful mountain, on the stage. Following half term, girls in Year 2 were extremely excited to start their ‘Taster Lessons’ on the violin, viola or cello. Every girl has enrolled and they are
eagerly anticipating their lessons each week! I am very grateful to the parents for their support in helping their daughters practise these new instruments. Learning an instrument combines many different skills and I am sure that your daughters will benefit greatly from this scheme. I would like to, once again, congratulate The Junior Chamber Choir who competed in the Beckenham Festival in November and for the second year in a row and won a first prize with distinction. I am sure all parents who have listened to The Chamber Choir sing, appreciate the exceptionally high standard of every performance and
how their enjoyment shines through. Christmas is always a very busy time in the Music Department and we really enjoyed both the Junior Carol Service and the KS1 and Reception Nativity. The choir from each year group performed at the Carol Service and the music was accompanied by readings telling the story of Christmas. Who could forget the wonderful performance of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with full actions?! The KS1 and Reception Nativity was a delightful afternoon of singing, acting and dancing and I am sure the parents enjoyed this as much as the girls did.
6 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
he Arts are a significant part of the all-round educational experience provided at Blackheath High School and we are extremely proud of the achievements and talents of our musicians. Mr O’Malley, Director of Music, explains why music is such an important part of the overall curriculum: “If you were to be asked what Mozart, Liszt, Bizet and Saint-Saens have in common, you might answer that all are world-renowned musicians. It is perhaps not surprising then that all four also received their first piano lesson before the age of nine. Few of us possess the prodigious talent of these figures, but it raises an important question: were the exceptional successes of these musicians the result of their talent alone? Look closely at the story of any musical achievement, great or small, and you will find that it rarely has a single cause. Opportunity, instruction, encouragement, inspiration, years of hard work and talent are, in various measures, the perfect recipe for musical success. Offering young people the opportunity to perform music on an instrument or with their voice; instructing, encouraging and inspiring them to do it well, and sustaining this over the many years it will take to develop as musicians, are all ingredients which schools can and should offer to students. If we accept that the talent of great musicians of the past may never have been realised without at least some of these
opportunities, who knows what talent might be discovered if they are offered to all.” As detailed in Mr O’Malley’s review in Issue 10 of HIGHlife newsletter , our Senior Autumn Concert was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the wealth of musical talent of our senior students, many of whom are performing at an exceptional level for their age group. The impressive choirs and ensembles enjoyed performing to a full house of appreciative parents and friends, here are some of their thoughts on the experience:
ZOE FULLER “I played the clarinet in The Concert Band, The Chamber Ensemble and also The Wind Band. I love performing and, at Blackheath, we have lots of opportunities to show off our talents and perform what we’ve learnt in our lessons and extra-curricular activities. I’ve been a part of many bands and choirs, including accompanying the Chamber Choir and Senior Choir as well as being part of the Rock Band, being part of a fantastic tour in Paris and having a single made available on iTunes! Our music department is amazing; providing support and so much extra help and inspiration to students. It helps to nurture talent and develop skills and there is
always an opportunity for everybody to take part.” MAY MUNDT-LEACH “I think that our Autumn Term Concert was a great success and it was wonderful that many musicians from all years took part. I am in the Chamber Choir and we sang three songs at the end of the concert: ‘Panis Angelicus’, ‘The Seal Lullaby’ and ‘Sicut Cervus.’ I really liked the fact that so many different types of music were included; from classical to jazz, which gave the concert great variety. ” FELICITY SMITH “The two pieces on which the Concert Band worked in the Autumn term: ‘Sing Sing Sing’ and ‘In The Mood’, were lively and really enjoyable to
play. I think the audience appreciated hearing these classic pieces from a swing band in the concert.” ALICIA BUCKLEY – “Performing pieces from Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt Suite’ was a good challenge, particularly for the woodwind section who played solos during ‘Morning Mood’ and ‘Anitra’s Dance’.” ANNABEL SIM “I thought that it was a good idea and a great challenge for The Chamber Choir to perform their complete programme from memory. Although it took us a little time to learn the pieces, I think that this helped the choir to be more engaging in the concert.”
Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 7
his term has certainly been a busy one with such a wide range of activities going on. There have been new additions to the curriculum, co-curriculum and fixtures. Within the curriculum at KS4, students have had the opportunity to participate in orienteering at our Sports Field. Although a little hesitant at the start, students have developed their communication and map reading skills to undertake a variety of timed and team challenges: collecting the stamps in from the brightly coloured markers with a competitive spirit running very high between teams. During the on-site lessons, we have also been able to offer box exercise type classes run by Kim Cundle who has motivated the girls into action, learning a wide range of skills and having fun in the process. Extra-curricular breadth has also been further developed, with Gary Whelen appointed to introduce fencing to a group of committed students. The girls, who are working towards their Proficiency Award, can now competently ‘parry’ and ‘block’ and are improving with each class. We’ve seen further opportunities for students to sail Toppers and Bahir’s at Danson Lake, making the most of the beautiful sunshine at the end of October practising their racing skills. After forging a new link with Mount Mascal Stables in Bexley, we now have two groups of students enjoying horse riding lessons on a weekly basis at the stables. We plan to develop this link further to offer opportunities for the Junior girls in the new year. We continue to work our school teams through their paces, concentrating on developing their individual skills and transferring these into game situations. You will see a number of new schools on our fixture list this academic year as we look for new challenges. We have enjoyed developing new links with the students and have had a number of successes, in U12 and U14 age ranges. The U12s participated in a netball festival over half term, with some very good performances from the squad. Some of our older students have also represented BHS and the Borough of Greenwich in the recent London Youth Games Cross Country event held at Parliament Hill, with many gaining new personal bests. These are extremely busy times for the PE department as we endeavour to get all students involved in sport.
8 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
uch like the Senior School, this term has been a very busy one for the Juniors with some weeks including 4 fixtures a week across years 4, 5 and 6! The standard of Netball played in lessons is very high with all girls developing tactical awareness, knowledge of rules and positional play. Year 4, 5 and 6 have also enjoyed some healthy competition in Cross Country with each class regularly running a 1 mile course in their lesson time, competing to secure the fastest individual time overall as well as trying to get everyone in a whole class to finish quicker than the other classes. This has really made the girls pull together and work as a team as well as developing their cardiovascular fitness. We have also taken large teams to several cross country events with some excellent individual and team successes. This term fixtures have gone really well for the junior teams. The success started back in
September where the U/11 Netball teams gave a fantastic performance in the U/11 Netball tournament where the A and B team were placed 2nd and 3rd overall. The year 6 A Team is also in a league with up to 10 local schools and to date have only lost 1 match, with only a few matches left to play. The year 4 and 5 Netball teams have been following in the footsteps of the year 6s and are showing real potential for the future. New additions this year are the year 6/7 Netball Festivals and Tournaments and these events have continued to highlight the high standards across the whole school. The Junior School has also continued to provide a wide and varied extra-curricular programme of sport including year 5 and 6 Netball, Football, Running, Hockey, Ballet, Tap, Yoga, Off Ice Skating and Gymnastics. All of these activities are available at the Junior School over a range of year groups and they continue to be a big part of the girlsâ€™ life in school and that of the supporting parents! Summer 2011 Blackheath High School 9
SENIOR SCHOOL TRANSITION
Smoothing the transition into Senior School
e realise how important it is for our pupils to feel confident and secure when starting the new phase of their school career at Year 7. We endeavour to ensure that all new pupils are given time to meet and build friendships with each other, particularly during the first term of Y7. Within the first six weeks of their new school life, our Year 7s are very happy, busy and stimulated with a range of new experiences and events that are especially designed to promote self awareness, confidence, and resilience. These are all aspects that help to develop the ‘whole’ child. These focused and planned events are a fusing together of both academic and personal experiences, that are designed to be inclusive for all girls in Y7 and help to foster a sense of team work and comradeship amongst the pupils. We begin this exciting time with our fantastic Summer School Programme in the last week of August that allows our new Year 7s to engage in a variety of fun and exciting Art, Craft and Design activities that are taught by our Art teachers in the Art studio. Throughout this special week pupils will also cook together and play various sports. Girls also enjoy a picnic in Greenwich Park which culminates in a whole group trip to the cinema. The Year 7 Pastoral team of 3 Form Tutors, led by a Head of Section, also plan and create a special “Induction” day to enable the girls to familiarise themselves with the school
buildings and, most importantly, to get to know their Form Tutor and fellow classmates. This is an exciting day which includes a range of fun team-building games and activities, with many opportunities to make themselves feel comfortable and familiar with their new surroundings and with the expectations of secondary school life. Once our new Y7 pupils have become accustomed to the rudiments of the school day, and have met all of their new teachers and classmates, they then embark on a ‘school trip’ as a whole year group. This is usually an Art trip and recently pupils have visited both the Saatchi Gallery and National Portrait Gallery as part of their induction into working as a year group but also to develop research skills in a particular curriculum area. Then, as the pupils approach half term, all of Year 7 take part in a residential weekend trip to the Dorset Coast and the much celebrated Osmington Bay Residential! Girls conquer their fears and try out a range of multi sport activities run by fully qualified instructors that help them to overcome any self-consciousness and promote a sense of team work, and the determination to achieve. The girls also enjoy the social evening activities and build friendships that are consolidated through these shared team experiences. In October the girls plan their own “Tea Party celebration” event for their parents and their Year 6 Teachers. Our Year 7 pupils perform to their guests and give talks that celebrate their achievements within their first half term at Blackheath High.
10 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
Joining Nursery – happy from the start
tarting Nursery is one of life’s major milestones for child and parent alike. For some children it will be the first real experience of separation from mummy or daddy. Even for those used to a day care situation, a school environment presents new challenges. Our Early Years team know how important it is to make every child and parent secure and happy from the beginning. For us, that work starts long before the first day of term. In the year before starting Nursery, parents and the girls on our waiting list, are invited to Nursery for a ‘Play date’. Small groups of two year olds enjoy a session in the classroom, mixing with girls who may well be in their class when they join us. Parents have the chance to chat informally to staff and have a taste of what is to come by seeing some of our existing Nursery girls in action! Short informal interviews take place in January. Parents are present throughout and the process is gentle and play-based. Once a place has been accepted, the Nursery staff arrange to visit the girls in their existing setting, if they attend preschool, or at home. Either the Nursery teacher or Nursery Nurse will spend time making that important point of contact, developing an understanding of the child’s experiences to date and showing them our ‘Nursery Book’ with pictures of the people they will meet at school and the rooms they will be in. Thanks to our clever girls at Seniors, we now have many translations of the book including Russian and Japanese! At the same time, the girls are invited back again, this time in their class groups to play
together and meet their teacher. Parents are able to talk to the Head of EYFS and to Mrs Coles about the curriculum and the day to day details. A member of the BHSA, our parent association, is on hand to give information and advice from a parent’s perspective. All of this takes place with a cup of tea in a relaxed atmosphere. Parents leave with a Curriculum Handbook and a starting date. Every child is allocated a Key Worker who keeps a special eye on that child particularly during those crucial first days. We have a staggered intake, taking two or three new girls in on consecutive days to ensure we can introduce them to their new class gently. Occasionally settling in can be tricky. Our experienced staff work closely with parents to make sure the transition works and always find a way that suits each individual child. We tell parents how their girls are settling, whether during a short chat at the Nursery door or in the contact book for those who do not come in to school. Our Parent Teacher interview in the first half term is specifically designed to reassure any anxieties and to give parents the chance to tell us anything they feel we should know about their daughters. We know that successful communication is essential. Above all, we want our girls to be happy and secure, ready to learn and thrive. Our experience shows that what we do makes our Nursery a very happy place to be for our girls and their parents. Mrs Skevington
Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 11
Junior Drama KEY STAGE 2 The highlight of the drama activities for KS2 this term was the Gadesden, our InterHouse Drama Competiton. Girls in each year group, from Year 3 to Year 6, were put into groups of between 2 to 4 from the same house to write and perform their own plays, which had to be no more than three minutes long. Each year group was given a different scenario from which to develop a script, for example ‘The Old Suitcase’ for Year 3 and ‘Stuck in a lift’ for Year 6. At the end of a week spent developing, writing, and learning their scripts, children from each year group got together to show each other their plays. Each group was awarded a mark from ‘Pass’ to ‘Distinction’, and winners were chosen from each house to perform at the finals the following week. The girls had a fantastic time producing their plays, and some brought in costumes,
props and even sound effects to enhance their performances! Jess Tyrrell from the Senior School Drama Department kindly gave up an afternoon to judge the competition, and pronounced the standard of acts very high, giving very thoughtful feedback on each performance.
The overall winners were a group of year 6 pupils from Morden House, who were judged to have produced a play with fine acting (super ‘old lady’ voices as well!), an excellent script, and a great story with an unexpected twist at the end. Well done to them!
12 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
oseph was an absolute triumph! I was a little cautious approaching such a popular West End Musical but I think the girls really did rise to the challenge. The show was entirely sung from beginning to end and the girls had to work hard vocally but the overall show was tremendous indeed. The marvellous music and acting combined to create an unmissable show that many of the audience agreed was a really super night out! Mrs Tyrell
RECEPTION & KEY STAGE 1
The drama highlight of the Autumn term for our girls in EYFS and Key Stage 1 was performing in their Nativity plays. They told the story of the Nativity through drama and song. The Year 2 girls enacted the story with their usual enthusiasm with all girls playing an important role in the play. They spoke clearly and loudly enabling the audience to hear every word. Year 1 performed two songs during the performance, “ Little Donkey” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” which they sang beautifully. As usual, the Reception girls stole the show with their traditional ‘angel’ dance. They looked every bit the part, wearing white dresses with tinsel sparkling in the spotlights. The singing was fantastic! The girls loved the songs and were clearly enjoying every moment as they added their actions to the words. There was excellent accompaniment from the group of percussion instrumentalists.
Likewise, the Nursery Nativity, a joint performance from the three nursery classes, was a great success! The girls told the story of Christmas through song and each class performed a delightful dance. The girls sang beautifully and music was provided by Mrs Maloney on her guitar. In addition to traditional Christmas songs, the girls performed to some stirring,
emotive music. NPM dressed as angels and danced to Mike Oldfield’s ‘In Dulce Jubilo’; NFT were our ‘stars’ and performed to Fredrika Stahl’s version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’; and NAM performed to ‘Rockin’ Robins’ by the Jackson Five! Each and every girl performed confidently in front of a packed audience and many parents (and some teachers) had a tear in their eye as they watched.
Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 13
ur students take their social responsibilities very seriously and have a real appreciation of the importance of community spirit. They are generous, not only in terms of raising funds but in terms of the way that they donate their time. This fits in with our ethos of educating our students to participate in society in the fullest sense – education is about lifelong learning and about being good citizens and positive role models. Blackheath High girls are talented and enthusiastic and will undoubtedly be the leaders of the future judging by the way they organise the charity events that occur throughout the year. At both our Senior and Junior schools we have had another busy term raising money and making donations towards a variety of worthy causes. October 2011 saw the Junior school’s traditional, generous donations of food items for the Salvation Army which ensures that people in need can be catered for over the winter months. In addition, we raised money for Jeans for Genes and Cancer Research UK wearing pink tops with our jeans. We all dressed in mufti to raise money for Minerva and Junior girls cycled miles in order to raise £1,700 for Demelza House. Children in Need in November provided a great deal of fun and entertainment at both schools whilst raising a substantial amount of money for the children of Great Britain. Ellie Hillier in Year 6 organised an army of year six helpers to bake and sell cakes at break and lunch times whilst her sister Katie did the same at Seniors.
This was appreciated by all and raised a significant sum of money. We sold poppies in aid of the Royal British Legion as we remembered, through special assemblies, those who have died for our country in times of war. Our very generous Junior school parents also raised a super total of £223.39 in the world’s biggest coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support. More recently, Juniors held an NSPCC ‘Number Day’, sponsored by local businesses and they organised a Christmas appeal for new and nearly new books to be donated to Barnados to be distributed as gifts to those children less fortunate than ours. During the festive period at Seniors we raised money for ‘Crisis at Christmas’ and our aim was to raise enough to feed 10 homeless people for Christmas Dinner (£234). We were delighted to exceed our target by raising a fantastic sum of £660! All girls put tremendous effort into fundraising activities, 9KJ held a ‘beauty salon,’ musical girls ‘busked’ and 9DL presented a film show. Well done everyone!
Fund raising this term included: Children In Need Jeans for Genes Poppy Day Minerva Cancer Research Demelza House Macmillan Cancer Support Crisis at Christmas
£1260.63 £573.17 £253.42 £426.00 £390.59 £1700 £223.39 £660.00
14 Blackheath High School Autumn 2011
Junior Creative Curriculum
ollowing the success of the Creative Curriculum in Year 1 it was extended to Year 2 in September. The first topic,‘Tales of the Riverbank’, was initiated by those wonderful characters, Ratty and Mole from “The Wind in the Willows.” The girls have enjoyed two exciting trips which have supported the topic. The first was to the Thames foreshore at Greenwich where they learnt about The Thames in Victorian times. The highlight of the trip was learning about mudlarkers and collecting items that had been washed up on the beach by the last tide. The second visit was to the London Canal Museum, a great introduction to the world of narrow boats and the people who used them in the past to earn a living. The girls had a very informative walk along the tow path of the Regent’s Canal as well as exploring the interior of a narrow boat in the museum. Year 1 has been immersed in the world of Turrets and Tiaras which began with the discovery of a mysterious key in a box. They enjoyed an exciting visit to Leeds Castle where they tried the key in cupboards and doors until finally they discovered a nest. To everyone’s delight, a dragon arrived at school and stayed a while in the nest before disappearing again. Unfortunately, it was found that the dragon had kidnapped a princess and Miss Girvan was called to the Tower of London to sort it out! Following an exciting drama workshop, the girls learnt about knights and castles. Their topic finale was a day at ‘knight school’ from which they all graduated with honours! The Creative Curriculum continues to provide the girls with the opportunity to learn in a meaningful and exciting way. They are inspired to question and find out for themselves as this approach to learning stimulates their natural curiosity. Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 15
Why A Levels and not the Ib?
here has been much debate in recent years about the differences between, and value of, the traditional A level examinations for Sixth Form students and the relative newcomer to the U.K. - the International Baccalaureate. There is perhaps a tendency in life to think that newer is more “up to date” and therefore “better”. However, this is not always the case. We have made the decision at Blackheath High School to stay with the A level curriculum after considering the the pros and cons of each course. We believe that the A level curriculum best meets the requirements of our students. So, what are the differences between the IB and A levels? A levels are an established commodity, with individual subjects being studied in a combination that suits individual students. (It is important to note here that, at Blackheath, we try very hard to build the timetable around the option choices of the students, so that most get the combination that they want). The IB is divided into six groups: Experimental Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, Language, Second Language and the Arts. In addition, students complete an Extended Essay, follow a Theory of Knowledge Course and participate in the CAS program. The main drawbacks of the IB are: • The breadth of subjects would not suit most of our Sixth Formers as, at this stage, they prefer to specialise.
• The fact that all six subjects have to be studied means that the weaker subject can pull down the overall IB score. This is backed by the data showing the success rates of students gaining their first or second choice university: For A level applicants there is an 81% success rate, but for the IB it is only 69% • Studying the IB takes up a great deal of time. This can detract from time spent participating in sport, extra-curricular activities or gaining important work experience. Therefore, instead of the IB being a “broadening” curriculum, it can actually close down some important developmental experiences. • There is evidence to show that students who go on to study academically specific courses at university do less well if they come from an IB experience in the Sixth Form. For example, first year medical students, who took the IB route, are more likely to struggle due to the fact that they have not studied the sciences in as much detail as is required. The advantages of A levels are many and the changes in the A level curricula have proved to be positive. • The majority of British Sixth Formers sit A levels and university admissions tutors and employers understand the system as this is what they took. • A levels allow students to specialise in subject areas that are relevant to chosen Higher Education courses. They can also drop the subjects that they are weaker at. Year on year, the vast majority of our students at Blackheath High choose options that
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are specific and related, not general. • There is more breadth at A level than there used to be; students take a fourth or fifth AS level which can complement and broaden their main A level choices. • There is more stretch and challenge; the new A* grade is harder to achieve than the top IB mark. • The A level courses examine subjects in more detail, which is a definite advantage prior to studying specialist academic subjects at university. However, we have decided to embrace one part of the IB; the Theory of Knowledge course. This is because we think that it will help to develop critical awareness through questioning “knowledge” and “truth”. Being able to consider facts in a philosophical manner is an important life skill and also helps to develop analytical skills. In addition, Sixth Formers at Blackheath High are able to take the highly valued Extended Project Qualification. This is an independent research project which can take a number of forms. It is an AS qualification, and because of the independent nature of the project, it is seen in a very positive light by admissions tutors, who are looking for undergraduates who can work alone. In short, we have taken what we believe to be the best of the examination courses available, and have created our own specific combination, to work to the best advantage for our girls.
“Having survived the ﬁrst year of Sixth Form I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this, as the difference between study in year 12 compared to the GCSE years is considerable and felt by everyone. It is also due to the fact that the staff here have a passion for their work, which is evident from the positive support that we receive.” Chinedu Agwu, Headgirl “The EPQ course culminated in having to present my ﬁndings to a large audience which was initially daunting but an exhilarating new learning experience. It is a valuable extra qualiﬁcation which I know will add value to my UCAS application – I am applying for a place at Oxford.” Lauren Benson (who has since been offered a place to read English at Oxford) Autumn 2011 Blackheath High School 17
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Forthcoming Events SPRING TERM SENIOR MUSIC CONCERT Thursday 8th March, 7:30pm, Theatre A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Greenwich Theatre Tuesday 20th March, 7:30pm Tickets available from Greenwich Theatre: in person, by phone on 020 8858 7755 and online www. greenwichtheatre.org.uk £10:00 Adults and £5:00 pupils and concessions YEAR 10 INFORMATION EVENING IN PREPARATION FOR YEAR 11 Monday 26th March YEAR 3 AND 4 PRODUCTION Wednesday 28th March
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Blackheath High School Magazine - Autumn 2011