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May I start by wishing each and everyone of you a happy 2019 and I hope the year ahead will bring with it success and happiness.
The Autumn Term was filled with so many different opportunities and successes that it is very difficult to summarise them all in my first blog of the new year.
Firstly can I congratulate all students who have performed in a whole array of musical events throughout the Autumn Term. This has included Year 12 and 13 musicians playing in the Thames Series Concert and the Upper School Concert back in October. Also well done to the students in the choir who performed at a Remembrance Concert with the Canbury Singers and West London Military Wives choir. Finally, thank you also and many congratulations to all the students who were involved in Carols by Candlelight at St James’s Church in New Malden before Christmas. I know that you had been rehearsing tirelessly over the last few months which culminated in a fantastic performance. The level of musicianship and the quality of singing really was superb. I have received countless emails and letters congratulating the school on a really wonderful evening, so thank you once again.
Each year at Coombe we set the Key Stage 3 Coombe Christmas Challenge. At the start of December Mr Jones challenged each tutor group in Year 7, 8 and 9 to create a Christmas hamper of non-perishable food items which was picked up by the Kingston Foodbank on the last day of term and made available to those people in need in the local area through the food gifts you have provided. Thank you to everyone who contributed towards the hampers and considered others this Christmas. The hampers looked quite amazing and you should be very proud about the generosity you have shown.
The Autumn term is always a key time for learning and most of us will have experienced the start of new courses. For Year 11 the most recent focus has been the mock exam period – well done on getting through the exams. Learn from those experiences and I wish you all the best for the year ahead.
We’ve seen a number of trips and visits, both locally and overseas, day and residential this term. Thanks to all of the staff and students involved.
Congratulations to the superb Year 9 cast who performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Rose Theatre as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival last month. The performance was the culmination of months of hard work and creativity by the students, and inspired direction by Mrs Keevil, and really showed off the imagination, flair and incredible ensemble work of our students. We were hugely proud of the way that the students brought a quirky and comic Coombe feel to the production, and of their absolute professionalism in performance, commanding the audience’s attention, using their voices with absolute clarity, and showing real precision in their use of physical skills. The Festival is the largest youth arts event in the world, and our Y9s certainly made their mark.
Thank you also to the Drama students who have represented the school on one of many theatre trips over the last term. We are always hugely proud of the way you talk about the theatre that you have seen, often educating other members of the audience about the forms and techniques in the piece. In October we were lucky enough to host a visiting theatre company with a hard-hitting production about human trafficking, which KS4 and 5 students watched. Ms Burwell, Head of Drama, knew the piece had succeeded in its aims when one of our students asked the director afterwards: ‘What can I do to help?’
Mention must also go to the Partnership of Equals team, who attended some powerful training and a conference in Westminster on the International Day of the Girl, exploring gender equality. The team of students in Years 10-13 represented the school with typical Coombe passion, confidently asking questions to delegates including Grayson Perry and Shami Chakrabarti, and making new friends with students from around the country.
We are fast approaching production week for The Sound of Music, which you will be able to watch in the school hall from 6-8 February. We are really excited to see this much-loved show at Coombe, and look forward to seeing the end result of students’ hard work. Thank you to the cast and production team for your continued commitment and enthusiasm.
I would like to thank Mrs Cannon and the Year 9 historians who toured the WorldWar1 Battlefields in October in this centenary year for how they represented the school in what I know was a really thought provoking visit.
Congratulations to all the students that have been challenging themselves this term to do something extra to develop their knowledge and skills and in particular to those who have attended part of either the Ad Astra or Aspirations programmes.
Year 7 enjoyed their annual federated day at the boys’ school and there are a number of other joint days coming up for everyone to enjoy.
Last term we launched our special resource provision department. I would like Monica, Marwa, Esme, Laura and Gabrielle to be congratulated on their excellent start at CGS. They have shown themselves to be enthusiastic learners who eagerly take on new challenges and arrive at school every day keen to learn. The girls have all actively participated in tasks such as writing book reviews, science experiments to melt ice, local traffic surveys and problem solving in maths. They have shown perseverance and resilience in all that they do and have been flexible when dealing with change. They have made excellent efforts to be part of the whole school and their cheery demeanour is always evident, making them a joy to teach and support.
Congratulations to the public speaking teams under the leadership of Mr Williams, who have taken part in numerous competitions this term.
On Remembrance Sunday in November, Mr Jones and I, along with a number of Coombe Girls took part in the Remembrance Day Parade in New Malden. Students walked alongside students from other Kingston schools and members of the public to the New Malden War Memorial, where poppy wreaths were laid. Thank you to all those students who represented the school on that occasion.
Well done to everybody who has taken part in one of many visits or trips, the extension and challenge activities and for representing Coombe so well.
The D&T Enterprise Project last term saw a fantastic array of creativity, teamwork, and professionalism as members of Year 9 formed groups of 6 people and designed and manufactured a product to sell to members of the school community. The highest performing teams were identified in each specialism: Food, Textiles and Product Design and these teams then prepared and delivered a business plan presentation to myself, Ms Barns and Mrs Jones. As judges we were delighted by all the presentations and found it very difficult to make a final decision. Well done to the top 3 teams, but also all of Year 9 who worked so hard in creating their own businesses. A thank you also to all members of the school community, staff, students, friends and family who came along at break, lunch and the enterprise fair to purchase the products that had been made.
Yet again, students from CGS entered the prestigious national competition, the Senior Maths Challenge. Students are awarded certificates to reward high scores. This year, students in Year 13 achieved 2 silver and 3 bronze certificates with Srishti Das gaining the highest score in her year. Ten Year 12 students achieved 10 bronze certificates with Jacob Timmins and Merle Procter jointly achieving the highest score in their year. Joana Kirilova was the only Yr 11 to enter and she achieved the highest score in the school, gaining a Gold certificate. Joana’s very high score means that Joana has been invited to compete in the next round of the competition, the Senior Kangaroo. Many congratulations to her and all involved.
I continue to be impressed by and delight in sixth form students’ commitment to their studies and the way they embrace so many of the opportunities on offer in our sixth form. Year 12 have made an impressive start to their time in Key Stage 5 and we are excited by the maturity and leadership they have already shown in events such as RAG week and the panto. Year 13 students have been focused this term on making their applications for university courses next year. A record number of strong applicants made applications to Oxford or Cambridge and a reminder that it is achievement to be in the position of being able to apply whatever the outcome. Overall, to date 110 applications have been sent and students have received 315 offers from universities to study with them next year so far. In addition, we have a small group of Year 13s keen on pursuing competitive apprenticeships and this is is a very challenging process and these students are unfailingly motivated and professional and are sure to succeed because of this. To further their studies, many students have attended masterclasses at Cambridge and in London on subjects as wide-ranging as:
Genetics, Particle physics, Engineering, Music, Modern and medieval languages, Arabian epic poetry, The Handmaid's Tale and Global health.
We are delighted that in the Autumn term alone, the PE department have had over 200 students taking part in extracurricular activities across a range of years and sports.
The new addition of the Fulham coached football club has drawn the biggest number of participants at any football club in recent years. Of the 50+ participants, a group of year 7 students were selected to represent Coombe at the Borough Competition. I have heard that spectators were incredibly impressed with the skills they demonstrated during the game, and several staff remarked on Esme Wrights amazing goal-keeping.
Our PE department have hosted a number of exciting events so far this year including the Borough Gymnastics and Borough Badminton competitions in which girls from years 9, 10 and 11 came together to fight against some tough competitors and absolutely smashed it.
At the Borough Cross Country, Gabby Checcherini in year 9 came in at an impressive 2nd place and Lydia De Brett came 5th in the 6th form competition. Coombe Girls’ also placed 2nd in the under 13's Borough Cricket tournament thanks to their commitment, training and cricket-coach Mr Sattaur.
A final congratulations to the Year 11 GCSE PE group who in October sought to scale heights, cling to overhangs and abseil down walls. They all did incredibly well despite some testing weather conditions and thankfully all made it home safely.
A huge thank you to all the staff and to the whole of the student body for all your hard work during what has been an excellent term.