In May 2019, Blackheath High School opened the doors of its multi-million redevelopment. For the grand opening evening they welcomed parents, teachers, alumnae, students and a star-studded line-up of speakers.
Among those invited to address the school community was Caroline Criado-Perez, prominent women’s rights campaigner and writer. Criado-Perez, who led the campaign to put Jane Austen on the £10 note, praised the school for ignoring gender stereotypes.
“With girls here doing ballet, football, science and art – they are taught that the glass ceiling may exist but it is there to be smashed.”
Joining Caroline and Carol was the GDST’s chief executive Cheryl Giovannoni.
“Blackheath High’s ethos of inspiring individuality and championing equality is made more real, more concrete in these incredible school buildings.”
Cheryl officially opened the new school by illuminating ‘Take Flight’ – an art installation, created by the students and the school’s Artist in Residence and Art Teacher, Imogen Gilbert. The symbol of a bird was chosen as one of freedom and possibilities, working both individually and as a collective. The flock of birds represents the students launching out into the world and flying high.
The finale of the grand opening ceremony saw the performance of the ‘Datchelor Fanfare’, a piece of music composed and performed by the students, especially for the occasion.
The speeches, which were all centred around the evening’s ‘pioneers and rebels’ theme, chimed with Blackheath High’s long history of empowering and inspiring girls to smash glass ceilings.
As guests arrived, they were welcomed to the school by a string quartet before taking in a fashion show performed by the students. Those in attendance then congregated in the courtyard which features a “Mini-Louvre” for the keynote speeches.
From “Pop Cabaret”, to Romeo and Juliet, and Beat It Band, everywhere you looked, students were putting on highly entertaining musical and dramatic performances showcasing the school’s creative talent.
It truly was a night that had something for everyone and showed off just some of the potential of the brand-new school.
Amongst the new facilities unveiled were a brand-new library and resources centre; specialist teaching environments for Art, Design & Technology and Music; cutting-edge Mac suite; the wellbeing sedum roof garden for girls to relax and enjoy; and ‘The Pod’, a contemplation space for meditation and idea generation.
Blackheath High has also boosted its sports offer by adding a brand-new top of the range fitness suite and outdoor games court to complement their existing multi acre Sports Campus.
Plus a brand new Sixth Form Centre has been created to inspire a mature, pre-university atmosphere.
Carol Chandler-Thompson, Head at Blackheath High School, delivered the closing remarks:
“These amazing new facilities are going to provide our girls with the very best learning environment for them to grow and become leaders of the future. It was only fitting that an unstoppable woman like Caroline was here to deliver a keynote speech that will inspire our girls to really make the most of these wonderful new surroundings.”
The event was a fitting conclusion to the years of planning and hard work that went into completing the school redevelopment. But in many ways it was more of an introduction – to the new facilities, to the new opportunities and to the all-new Blackheath High School.