We spent a productive day on Monday 31st October at our annual Trust Inset day on a range of professional development activities linked to our school improvement plans. It was fantastic to see all the Coombe and Knollmead staff together enjoying a range of cross phase and generic training sessions sharing expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm!
We were particularly pleased to welcome Mrs Charis Penfold, Director of Education Services, to lead the first session of the day to talk about the priorities for the Local Authority across Kingston & Richmond. We believe that partnership working with the Local Authority is essential to ensuring that we provide the best education we can for all of our students.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting and helping to promote Coombe Girls’ and Coombe Boys’ at this year’s Prospective Parents’ Evenings. They were once again highly successful evenings and we look forward to welcoming our future Coombe girls and boys in the years to come.
We have been very pleased to welcome our Coombe students back this week and hope that they have had a productive and enjoyable first week.
You will have seen from the local press this summer, that our former Year 11, 12 and 13 students achieved exceptionally well in their examinations. We were particularly proud that 88% of our Year 11 girls achieved the threshold of 5 A*-C with English and maths, the school’s highest ever results and at both AS and A2 Level, the results have also broken all records enabling the Year 12 students to continue into Year 13 with a very positive foundation and for the former Year 13 enabled them to easily access the next stage in their lives.
There has been so much to celebrate as a school with the students, staff and parents this summer and I would like to be able to formally acknowledge the hard work that goes into achieving such incredible outcomes on the part of all members of the Coombe community – thank you to you all!
I would particularly like to welcome our new Year 7 girls many of whom joined us last week for a very enjoyable summer school and hope that they have settled in well this week. We are always very pleased to welcome students to the school in other year groups too and in particular our former Year 11 as they begin their post 16 studies in the Coombe Sixth Form.
One of the very many special ingredients of Coombe’s success is the dedication of the staff to ensuring that they all do all that they can to support your daughter/son in achieving her/his potential. We have also welcomed a number of new staff this week who will introduce themselves to you over the coming term and we wish them the very best of luck as they start their new posts.
We have, for this year, made a few adjustments to the leadership structure of the school. I will continue in my post as Executive Headteacher of Coombe Boys’ School and Knollmead Primary School and will continue to be based at Coombe Girls’ School. In order to enable me to build upon the recent successes of the Coombe Secondary Schools Academy Trust and to ensure that we continue to move forward as a Trust in this period of national change, the governors have agreed that Mr Platt will take on the role of Acting Headteacher of Coombe Girls’ School for this academic year and I will focus on my role as Executive Headteacher.
I have worked very closely with Mr Platt for the last 5 years and it will be a privilege to continue doing so in this role; we both share a passion for ensuring that the students at Coombe Girls’ enjoy the very best educational experience we can provide. Mr Platt will be very ably assisted by an outstanding leadership team headed up by Acting Deputy Headteachers, Ms Barns and Mrs Knight, and Senior Assistant Headteacher, Mr Power. The wider leadership team and their responsibilities are listed on the website for your information.
We wish all our students a wonderful term and look forward to meeting their parents/carers at parents’ evenings or other events during the term.
As our school community are aware, we wished Ms Buchanan all the very best in her retirement at the end of last term and it was wonderful to reflect back over her time at Coombe; her tireless support for the students in the many and varied roles she has held over the last 24 years and to truly celebrate the legacy she will leave here at the school. We look forward to her joining us over the coming year for celebratory events.
We are very pleased that Mr Platt has been appointed as Head of Centre at Coombe Girls’ School to succeed Ms Buchanan. He will be responsible for the day to day management of the school as my role as Executive Headteacher means that I do continue to spend part of the week at Knollmead Primary School.
Further changes to the leadership team have also been introduced this week: Mrs Knight, Mr Power and Ms Barns have been appointed as Senior Assistant Headteachers with respective responsibility for pastoral care, teaching school & training and the sixth form. We are also additionally assisted by a team of Assistant Headteachers: Mr Pounds, Mrs Corkhill, Miss Jackson, Mr Jones, Miss Mitchell and Mrs Pellett. Their key responsibilities are listed in the Leadership Team Chart on the school website.
I returned after the Easter break to a letter from the Secondary Schools Academies Trust congratulating Coombe Girls’ on its exceptional attainment and progress in the 2015 GCSE examinations. We have been recognised for two educational awards: Coombe Girls’ is in the top 10% of non-selective schools nationally for attainment and progress based upon our girls’ best 8 average point scores at Key Stage 4. We are very proud of our students’ achievements over the years and look forward to celebrating many more in the future.
I would also like to thank the staff and students who participated during the Easter holidays in the federated ski trip and the Sixth Form trip to New York & Washington; both trips were highly successful and greatly enjoyed by all.
We all wish our Year 10 – 13 students the very best of luck in their forthcoming examinations and the next few weeks will be filled with the final preparations for them. I look forward to seeing parents and friends of Coombe at events later on this term.
It’s been a wonderful start to the new academic year and as always Coombe has been a hive of activity and opportunity. We were very pleased to welcome all our students back to school in September and were particularly proud of how smart the girls in the main school looked in their uniform. We have made a few small adjustments to the uniform expectations and it was lovely to see the girls embracing these from the very first day of term.
We started the year off celebrating excellent examination results and are now already in full swing with preparation for the next set of grades. All of our students in Key Stage 4 and 5 are working extremely hard and we look forward to also celebrating their successes next summer. The vast majority of Year 13s UCAS applications are now complete and ready for submitting reflecting the start of the next stage in their educational journey.
There have already been many curricular changes at each Key Stage this year and we are very grateful to the staff for their conscientious approach to ensuring that the teaching and learning taking place reflects all the changes. Thank you to the parents who attended the curriculum evenings at the start of the year and we will continue to keep you all updated via the parent consultation evenings throughout the year. We are currently reviewing our Post 16 offer and provision in line with other local Sixth Form providers to ensure that we are offering the very best programme of study to our prospective sixth form students.
The extra-curricular opportunities continue to thrive, many of which are featured in this newsletter and we look forward to enjoying many more in the half term to come. I would continue to encourage all of our students to take advantage of all of these opportunities which not only offer the chance to make new friendships but also develop confidence and resilience. I was delighted to meet a former Coombe girl shortly before half term who commented on just how: ‘Coombe had made her the person she is today, given her life-long friendships and taught her that there were no limits to what she could achieve if she worked for it’. What a fantastic accolade for both her personally and the school community as a whole!
Life long learning for all is a principle we aim to ensure permeates every aspect of our work and the opportunities for learning for the staff at the school and in our alliance schools continues to grow. As part of our National Teaching School action plan, we have introduced this term the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership and are delighted to have received a grant from the National College as part of a Diversity and Equality project to lead a targeted professional development programme for Women Leaders across both Kingston and Richmond Local Authorities.
Finally, thank you to all of our community for their continued support for the school and we look forward to seeing you at future performances, events and parents’ evenings between now and Christmas.
It’s been lovely to welcome our students and staff back to Coombe Girls’ this week and to be able to start on such a positive note. The summer’s examination results were once again a superb testament to the incredibly hard work and dedication of both the students and staff.
Our former Year 13 students matched the excellent performance of their predecessors and are now starting on the next very exciting phase of their lives at university, apprenticeships or work placements. We wish them all the very best of luck and are incredibly proud of all of their achievements.
At GCSE, the former Year 11 achieved the highest results in the school’s history and we were very pleased to welcome them as well as our Coombe boys and external entrants to the Coombe Sixth Form last week for their induction.
The new academic year brings many new faces to the school and we have welcomed new staff as well as new girls, most particularly our new Year 7 cohort. The months of waiting are over and they are now fully fledged Coombe girls, we hope that they will be very happy with us and we look forward to getting to know them.
I am incredibly proud to be the Headteacher of such a wonderful school and look forward to another very busy and successful term.
As our summer term draws to a close, it is marvellous to reflect upon the many achievements of the past year. This year started once again with an impressive performance from out GCSE students who equalled our highest ever percentage of students achieving 5 A*- C with English and maths with 40% of those results at either A* or A, a stunning accomplishment. The Coombe Sixth Form once again bucked the national trend of a decline in the top grades and we were absolutely delighted that 27% of entries at Advanced Level were awarded A/A* representing an increase on previous years and staggeringly 10% of the cohort achieved a clean sweep of A/A* grades. We were particularly pleased that our GCSE girls’ high attainment was recognised by an outstanding educational outcomes award for which we were recognised as being in the top 10% of schools nationally for exceptional attainment and progress.
We are very pleased to be able to celebrate these top grades and high attainment but above all, we are proud of the achievements of all of our students irrespective of their ability, future pathway and final educational outcomes. This year has also seen the consolidation of the Ad Astra programme designed to inform our Y10-Y13 students about exciting and inspirational pathways, careers and university courses, all of which focus on complementing their academic studies and the launch of our apprenticeship preparation programme for those interested in following this new and exciting pathway in the future. We watch the development of this as an alternative to higher education with interest and look forward to reporting back in the future on some of our students’ successes in this field via our newly formed alumni network.
A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to see so many Year 10 girls and their parents at our Sixth Form Opportunities Evening; we are prioritising places for our internal students and with post 16 places becoming increasingly competitive, we look forward to receiving their applications before the end of term so that they can be processed at the very start of next academic year. We were also very pleased to welcome our ‘soon to be Year 7’ Coombe girls and their parents last week and very much look forward to seeing them at summer school and in September.
It is now a year since we were awarded National Teaching School status and this inaugural year has been an exciting one! The Kingston Teaching School Alliance (KTSA) has gone from strength to strength and we were very proud to be designated Specialist Partners in Initial Teacher Education and Research & Development with UCL/Institute of Education. A key priority for us all is to ensure that any strategic decisions we make over the coming years are firmly rooted in research and it is wonderful to be involved in a number of high profile national research projects all focusing on providing outstanding educational provision. We are particularly fortunate to be involved in a national project at the moment focusing on how schools can use best practice to embed a restorative justice approach with the overall aim of enhancing community cohesion and resilience. I have been so impressed to see how our students’ positivity, sense of well-being and empathy has really come to the fore as the research project has developed over the last year and we look forward to sharing the outcomes with you next year.
I would like to thank all our staff and students for another amazing year, wish you and your families a restful summer break and look forward to welcoming all members of the Coombe community back in September.