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Coombes Girls School

July 2019

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Welcome to my final blog of this academic year. 

In addition to the all-important learning that has taken place over the past year, as always this year has been full with events and activities.  Congratulations to all those students who have grasped the opportunities offered and made the most of their time.  End of year exam results have recently been released and reports have already gone home via edulink.  Many of you try your hardest all the time and there is no more than that, that anyone would ask.  Many of you have shown great resilience and have made the most of each and every day. 

Year 7, have been involved in a wide variety of opportunities; numerous sporting opportunities, The Sound of Music, a day trip to the Opal Coast in France and the Kingston town geography trip. A very recent trip to see ‘The Lion King’ was a huge success, with overwhelming demand for the 90 places available. With the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in Central London, and so many of you concerned about the future of the planet, the Drama Department decided to go eco-friendly and travel by train and on foot to the Lyceum Theatre. This provided an additional highlight as lots of students enjoyed taking photos of the London skyline as they crossed Waterloo Bridge. The show was as spectacular as ever, and we know that lots of our pupils were inspired by the performances, design and creativity of the show. Thank you to all the staff who support the Drama Department on trips; they can only happen because you generously give your time and energy.

4 students in year 7 competed in Roehampton Universities ‘Teen Tech’ Challenge this term where Primary and Secondary school students competed in a design and prototype activity forming proposals for a building of the future.  The girls worked extremely hard and were considerate for how their design would be accessible to all, kind to the environment and sympathetic to the surrounding architecture.  The girls presented their proposal to the panel of judges and left the event having received awards within two categories: best school environment and best environmentally friendly building. Well done to Gabrielle, Monica, Satnam and Esme.  

Year 8, all took part in the STEM day challenge last month. Year 8 ‘Young Mariners’ trip was a great success where students braved wet hair and muddy toes to kayak, climb, build and paddle their own rafts at the Young Mariners watersports centre.

Congratulations to the Y8 students who took part in the finals of the Modern Foreign Languages 'Poetry Live' Competition at St Mary's University. The girls all performed their poems with enthusiasm and  confidence. Especial congratulations go to Amy Allen who came third in the final! Well done to all of you.

I know that Mrs Anderson, Mr Houlston and Mr Pounds are extremely proud of  year 8 in the way that they have worked hard to become more of a team this year.  They have demonstrated they care about their studies showing enthusiasm for the whole class reward trialled this year.  They have really enjoyed the many opportunities over the course of the year and we are all looking forward to their Shakespeare Schools Festival performance next term.  A special well done, to the 5 year 8 girls who worked on the film project with Kingston Police this half term.  They showed how talented, committed and mature they were through the whole process and again there is much excitement about seeing the finished product. 

Year 9 have considered their futures and chosen their option choices, been sporting champions both in and out of school, actors on a professional stage and academic achievers. They developed their sense of community and team on the D of E bronze award expeditions where staff were impressed with their positive approach and their exemplary conduct. 134  students participated in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award this year requiring dedication over the course of the year to complete a number of skills. The students really rose to the challenge. 

10 Year 9 students are now mental health ambassadors and moving school policy forward to remove stigma and offering support. Mrs Jones is really proud of how the year group have got 'stuck in' with every opportunity; this is their real strength.

I would like to give Lydia Walsh a particular mention for her national  level of achievement in ice hockey

It has been another action-packed year in the life of the Drama Department, with a total of 10 theatre trips and workshops in addition to numerous examined performances which have been well attended by Parents and Carers. Venues that Coombe have visited this year include the candle-lit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe Theatre, the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, which is a converted paint factory, and the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which has a very prestigious heritage. We are always proud of the way Coombe Drama students conduct themselves as ambassadors for both the school and the subject at these events.  

Congratulations to Year 10 GCSE Drama students who recently completed their Devised Performances. They were inspired by a range of challenging stimuli including mobile phone addiction, internet safety and human trafficking, and dealt with these themes with maturity and sensitivity. They rehearsed intensively after school during the weeks running up to the exam, and this commitment was evident in the quality of their performances.

In extra-curricular Drama, an amazing company of Coombe actors have been working together with Mrs Keevil on ‘Julius Caesar,’ which will be performed at the Rose Theatre as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival in November. I understand you are already proving to be a really creative and inventive ensemble, and we cannot wait to see what promises to be an exciting and highly entertaining production. 

In June the drama department welcomed back Coombe alumni Billy Cullum, who achieved an A Grade in A Level Drama & Theatre Studies at Coombe Sixth Form and went on to train at the prestigious Arts Ed Drama School in London. Billy has performed in West End productions including Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and is now setting up his own stage school for young performers in Kingston. He taught 40 of our musical theatre students choreography from Matilda and Little Shop in a 2 hour workshop, and was blown away by the brilliance of your work. Having toured other local schools recently, Billy was most impressed by Coombe and the professionalism of our students.

It has been a very busy academic year in the music department with more and more performing opportunities for students involved in extra-curricular music activities. Congratulations to all students who have been involved in the array of performing opportunities in the music department during the summer term. The last seven weeks of term have been particularly busy with the events such as the Lower School Concert, the Summer Concert, the New Malden Rotary Club Concert and Coombe Celebrates. All students who have taken part in these events should be extremely proud of themselves as throughout the term they have shown commitment and professionalism in both rehearsals and the events themselves.

Students involved in the Catalonia Music Tour returned on Wednesday 17th July after an absolutely fantastic trip. 45 students and 5 members of staff performed in three concerts in and around central Barcelona. The highlight of the trip was performing in Barcelona cathedral which was well and truly a wonderful performing venue which will never be forgotten. Students behaved exceptionally well and are a credit to the school.  Thank you to all the students who have put in hours of rehearsals during the summer term. You have all helped to ensure music is a vibrant part of daily school life. 

Finally from me, I would like to present the 3 summer term Jack Petchey awards to the following three students:

Felicia Stavro 7PL continues to make such great efforts to engage with the English language and this means she is making fantastic progress. She volunteers to read challenging texts aloud in class; one of these was an English version of an anonymous 15th century Scottish ballad! She is excellent at taking risks with her learning and demonstrates how rewarding it is to be "brave, not perfect". Felicia's ambitious and resilient attitude to learning is exemplary.

Emily Dykes 8SA has been nominated by her peers for being respectful and kind. Emily cares for her friends and her tutor group to create a positive learning environment.

Singh Gurpreet 7MA for her hard work in English. What Singh does is inspiring to her peers and appreciated by her teachers. One of her friends has said ' she encourages and makes us smile'.

Well done to all the Year 7 girls who played in the borough rounders. You faced some very tough competition but were resilient and strong as a team.

Both year 8 rounders teams put up a great fight against some challenging competition from teams across the borough. Our B team came 6th overall and our A team won all of their matches making it to the final against Tiffin where they played amazingly, but unfortunately they were pipped for the top spot with only half a rounder in it, making them runners up in the borough. Well done to all the year 8 squad players and team captains Charlotte, Ilaria and Lauren.

This year we fielded two very strong teams in Year 9 and they faced tough competition in the borough rounders. Both teams did exceptionally well with the Year 9 A’s winning all their matches and becoming Borough Rounders Champions! Well done to the A team. 

Year 10 A - came runners up in the borough rounders. They beat Holy Cross, Chessington School, Holyfield, Coombe B and only lost to Tiffin Girls’. Captain Daisy was player of the tournament. 

Year 10 B came 4th, They beat Holyfield and CHessington School but sadly  and lost their other matches.  They were Captained by Amel and the Player of the tournament was Falaq. Well done to all the team. 

Massive Congratulations to the year 9/10 Cricket team who are now BOROUGH CHAMPIONS! They played Tiffin Girls’ and won 87-42, Kingston Grammar GS 79-29 and Hollyfield 52-21. Excellent play all round! Player of the matches were Molly / Keela and Millie. Well done to everyone in that team. 

Well done to the Yer 7/8 team who won 2 and lost 2 coming 3rd! Again, great play all round and well done to you all in the Under 13 team!

A great success was had at the Borough Athletics this year where Coombe came away with 11 golds as well as a number of top 3 placings in many events which led to our Intermediate Girls team achieving 2nd place overall and our amazing Junior Girls team were the overall winners of their competition.

Anna Smart and Lydia DuBrett took part in the Mace debate for English Speaking Union. Daisy Whitlie, Maddy-Rose Hill and Georgie Hayley took part in the Rotary Club Youth Speaks Competition and won, going through to the next round.

Many students took part in LAMDA exams from year 10, 11 and 12. Credit should be given to Alia Walsh, Magda Sulak and Amber Field from Year 13 and 10 who gained distinction. 14 girls from year nine took part in the Mock Magistrates showing much commitment and dedication.

Magda Sulak (Year 10) and Mehvish Khan (Year 11) took part in Imperial Debating Competition in March, and Mehvish Khan and Lucy Ferguson took part in the Oxford Schools debating competition.Finally, congratulations to Lucy Ferguson who will be the new debating captain next year.

Finally , a huge thank you and goodbye to: Mr Kim, Ms Luchesse Mrs Haffejee, Mrs Dwyer and Mrs Niemann.  Mrs Dwyer and Mrs Niemann are both retiring with their joint service to Coombe amounts to over 50 years.  A huge commitment and we are very grateful for all of their work over those years.

A personal thank you to those staff but also to all the staff in the school for their outstanding work over the course of the year.  I am sure the students will want to join me in giving everyone of them a huge round of applause.   

Finally, I want to say thank you to each and every student. I hope you have a great holiday, stay safe and have a relaxing summer holiday.