The Grey Coat Hospital

Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls

 
 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 14th January 2022

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

 

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 118:5-6) 

 

Our Year 13 students will begin their period of mock examinations next week and we look forward to seeing how far they have come in working towards their summer examinations. The Education Secretary recently affirmed his intention for public examinations to go ahead, with the adjustments previously outlined to reflect the impact of the pandemic on schools, and we are encouraged by this.  

 

We congratulate 27 of our Year 13 students on achieving their Extended Project Qualification. This is an additional qualification, with 50% of a full A Level, which students can undertake. The project allows them to explore a particular area of interest not otherwise taught within their A Level subjects. It helps to develop independent research and extended writing skills so desired by universities. These results were externally moderated, endorsing our professional judgement. The grades also testify to the hard work, dedication and resilience of the cohort and the careful guidance of our staff.  

 

A* = 26% 

A*/A = 70% 

A*-B = 89% 

A*-C = 100% 

 

We have had another successful week of full lessons delivered in school, as staff absence has greatly reduced, and student absence has halved from the previous week. I This is encouraging and suggests that our protective measures of Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air and Testing are having a positive effect.  

 

The second round of Covid-19 vaccinations is scheduled for the 7th of February 2022. Students will receive a letter during form time next week, which needs to be returned by Monday 31st January. On the consent form, it is essential that you provide the NHS number of your child, as this information will allow the vaccination team to verify the child`s vaccination records. Students over the age of 12 are eligible for either a 1st or 2nd dose. 

 

We are grateful, as ever, for your continued support with your child’s learning, and for you supporting our efforts to keep everyone safe and comfortable in school. 

 

With best wishes, 

 

Susanne Staab 

 

 

 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 7th January 2022

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

 

Before Christmas, we enjoyed various fundraising efforts for “Sponsor a Child”. Form group 7R deserves to be praised, as they worked extremely hard to design, manufacture and sell a huge amount of Christmas cards, raising a grand total of £64.27 as a result. Well done, girls! 

 

At the end of last term, we issued tracking reports for all students and hope that parents and carers have had the opportunity to discuss these with their child. We always work closely with home to reinforce what we do in school, and really appreciate your support, which makes a great deal of positive impact. This term, all scheduled parents’ evenings will again be online, to reduce footfall in school, and we will be in touch shortly to inform you of the process.  

 

On Tuesday this week, we saw good attendance at the Church House Conference Centre where a team of our staff supported the whole-school testing effort. We are grateful to everyone who attended or who tested locally, in advance of coming back to school. This exercise helped to make us feel safer and more comfortable in school. Overall, 26 students from different year groups have been accessing lessons remotely this week  

 

Lessons were able to take place in all subjects and all year groups this week, despite some staff absences resulting from Covid-19. It was uplifting to read various nice praise emails from staff, which showed that our students are eager as always to learn and to be in physical school 

 

The Year 11 mock examinations went well, and papers are now being reviewed with students, to analyse their strengths and to make plans for how to improve further. Year 13 mock examinations are scheduled for later this month, when our students can show how far they have come in preparing for their final secondary examinations.

 

Following surveys for students and staff last term, asking about their ability to join learning remotely, we will now proceed to issue 110 further government laptops to those who require them, in strict order of need. This will help to support home learning if required. 

 

We will continue to work together to reduce transmission of the virus, and to keep disruption to our plans and to physical school as low as possible. This term, we will host the NHS vaccination team again to offer first and second doses of the vaccine. Our protective measures will also remain under constant review. Please continue to remember Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air and Testing - these are important measures we can take to keep safe. 

 

With best wishes for the term ahead,

 

Susanne Staab 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 16th December 2021

 

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth,‚Äč and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

As we end the term, our Year 11 students must be congratulated for the way in which they conducted themselves during the two weeks of mock examinations, which were the first significant testing period for them. The strengths and weaknesses that emerge from these exams will be used to shape the remaining months of our teaching, as well as the students’ revision plans.  

We interviewed five excellent candidates for the post of Head Girl 2022 this week. Prior to the panel interview, the Year 12 students who were interested in this important position had to undergo a rigorous selection process, with an application, a short-listing exercise, and a presentation to the whole of the sixth form. All five candidates were very strong indeed and the competition was fierce. I am delighted to congratulate the following girls on their appointments: 

Head Girl - Ayobami Ajetomobi 

Faith Spencer - Deputy to the Head Girl 

Sophia Chrysanthou – Senior Prefect 

Emma Allard – Senior Prefect 

Marina Eden Tirado – Senior Prefect 


Nana Konadu-Asante of Year 13 has been appointed an AQA Student Advisory Member by one of the UK’s major examination boards. This is a professional role which will involve working with AQA’s Board of Trustees. A small number of students from the UK have been selected from across the whole subject range to share their views on proposals for examinations in the future.  Well done, Nana!

Throughout this autumn term students have experienced a wide range of enrichment opportunities alongside their normal lessons. You can read about these in our latest Newsletter at: 

https://www.flipsnack.com/trishandhercam/november-december-2021-uj8wj3nd1j/full-view.html

Despite rising Covid-19 infection rates, attendance has been strong at GCH at around 95%, which is excellent. In comparison, around a third of secondary school pupils have had less than 90% attendance this term due to illness. Students, staff, and parents are to be congratulated for remaining vigilant and for complying with our protective measures in school.  

During the Christmas break, please remember to continue twice-weekly asymptomatic testing to protect others around you, especially when you plan to visit elderly or vulnerable relatives. Take up of the booster jab is considered critical by the government, to protect everyone from serious illness and provide the best defence possible. 12–15-year-olds who have not been vaccinated can book an appointment out of school on the National Booking System, and from 20 December those eligible for second doses will also be able to book.  

School is scheduled to re-commence on 4th January 2022. All secondary schools have been asked to prepare and encourage their pupils to take one COVID-19 test on-site on return in January 2022. We will be in touch again before the start of next term to explain how we will manage this.  

Meanwhile, I thank you for all your hard work and support of the school this autumn term and wish you a peaceful and restorative Christmas break.  

Best wishes and God Bless,

Susanne Staab

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 10th December 2021

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father  

except through me. (John 14:6) 

Our Chamber Choir gave a moving performance of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols at St. Stephen's Church on Monday, to a small and socially distanced audience. This is a demanding piece, and our students must all be commended for their musicality and dedication to practice. This event was the more special as we were advised by Public Health England to cancel all other remaining Carol Services this term, due to rising infection rates. 

Year 11 students have sat a full week of mock examinations and we are impressed with their focus and disciplined approach. There are four more days of examinations to come next week, and we wish our students continued strength and success. Keep going, girls! 

Year 12 Geography students have been participating in The Royal Parks Green Futures Project. In doing this, they were developing their leadership skills and learning about conservation. The same group of sixth form students also helped to lead on our Year 9 Conservation Day last month, which was a great success. In the new year, the group will be doing a “social media takeover” for The Royal Parks. They are currently creating their content with the help of the digital comms team at TRP. We look forward to hearing more! 

This week, we have re-run surveys for students and staff to assess their ability to access remote learning/teaching. It is reasonable to expect that there will be on-going disruption caused by high infection rates throughout January and February. We have received further laptops from the government and will issue these to students in strict order of need. We do not currently expect that schools will be asked to go into lockdown again. 

 

Today, students and staff took advantage of a further in-school session offering Covid-19 vaccinations. You will be aware that booster vaccinations are now widely available as they are another layer of defence against serious illness from Covid-19.  

 

On the very last day of the autumn term, it is a long-standing tradition at The Grey Coat Hospital for all Year 7-11 students to celebrate the coming Christmas. We normally attend St Margaret’s Church together and this is followed by a Pantomime performance and form parties. The sixth form will have ended term the day before. We regret that this tradition will not safely be possible this year, due to rising infections among students and staff.  Having carefully considered current advice and the evolving picture of infection rates in the school, we have decided that along with the sixth form, all other year groups will end the autumn term on Thursday 16th December 2021 after a normal day of lessons. On Friday 17th December, we will make online resources available for Years 7-11 students to engage with remotely if they wish.

 

We are currently planning for the beginning of the spring term and I will update you further next week. 

 

Best wishes and God Bless, 

 

 

Susanne Staab 

 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 6th December 2021

Dear students and staff, parents, and carers, 

Following a meeting with Westminster City Council and Public Health England on Friday of last week, a decision has been made not to go ahead with the planned Carol Service and Christmas Fair on Friday 10th December. 

There is rising concern about transmission of Covid-19, particularly as the new Omicron variant is not yet fully understood. It is a shame that we are unable to go ahead, but this is the right decision as we try to prevent any spreading of covid or the new variant within the School community.

As the GUILD has made a lot of effort in planning for the events on Friday evening of this week, we will still be going ahead with the following:

  • Own clothes day for Years 7 – 10 with a request of a donation of £2 from each student, which will go toward the GUILD's funds. These funds support the educational opportunities of current students at the school. For example, last year, the GUILD donated £25,000 toward the upgrade of our servers, which supports the delivery of remote learning.
  • Giving parents and staff the opportunity to pre-order the Christmas puddings and GCH gift items which students can then bring home on Friday of this week.  

As always, thank you for all your positive support for the GUILD's events.

Best wishes,

Susanne Staab

Message to the Grey Coat community on 3rd December 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

 

Please join me in congratulating Gabby Johnson and Lily Regan for representing Westminster in Cross-Country in the Surrey Youth Games a couple of weeks ago. This was a fiercely competitive event, and our students did exceptionally well to qualify. Gabby achieved a time of 00:09:23 and Lily achieved a time of 00:09:39, with the winning time being 00:07:34. A great effort from both our students – very well done! 

 

A further 14 sixth form students have secured interviews at Oxford or Cambridge, and these will take place over the next two weeks. A wide range of subjects is being represented, including Mathematics, History, HSPS (Human, Social and Political Science), Languages, Theology, Archaeology, East Asian Studies, Classics, Medicine and Law. Places are highly competitive and securing an interview is a great achievement. We wish our students every success!

 

We were delighted to host a visit by multi-award-winning author Ross MacKenzie, who has written the highly acclaimed Nowhere Emporium and Shadowsmith. His fantasy novel The Nowhere Emporium won numerous accolades including the Blue Peter Book Award and the Scottish Children's Book Award. He gave a fascinating talk to our Year 7 and 8 students in the St Andrew’s Great Hall. This was followed by a wonderful creative writing workshop in the library. Thanks go to our Library team who organised this visit and worked with our students and the visiting author on the day.

 

We continue to monitor the number of positive cases of Covid-19 within the school community. These fluctuate but remain relatively low, with 12 students from different year groups working remotely this week. However, there has been an increase in staff testing positive for Covid-19 this half term, despite being double-vaccinated. News reports have highlighted the continued high infection rates and the emergence of a new variant, Omicron. The impact of this new variant is not yet fully understood. We are in the process of reviewing our Covid-19 risk assessments and will let you know shortly if any additional steps need to be taken to make everyone as safe and comfortable as possible, for the remainder of this term.

 

Meanwhile, please continue to be vigilant and to follow our protective measures  Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air, Testing. We must also continue to follow the one-way system in St Andrew’s to manage the flow of people through the narrower corridors we have in this building. Please continue to test yourselves twice weekly, even if you have no symptoms, so that you are protecting others around you. If you have symptoms, please stay at home, and order a PCR test. We will continue to remote students into lessons who are absent due to Covid-19.  

 

Best wishes and God Bless, 

 

Susanne Staab 

 

 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 26th November 2021

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

 

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:28) 

 

We had the first Take the Stage workshops provided by the Donmar Warehouse yesterday. The Year 11 students who participated showed great energy and enthusiasm and worked with focus and sensitivity throughout the two-hour session; director Ebe Bamboye was really impressed with their articulacy and drama talentWe are very excited to see what the students will produce in the next couple of months. Very well done, everyone! 

Furthermore, our Year 13 drama class were praised for their exemplary engagement in a workshop with the Donmar Warehouse on Tuesday, preparing them for their trip to see 'Love and Other Acts of Violence' on Thursday. The practitioner was very impressed by the class and their responses to the work set.  

 

 

Two of our most talented musicians, Aelwen Hamley in Year 10 and Tegan Smith in Year 12 gave a lunchtime recital at The Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks, where they performed the first movement of Bach’s Double Concerto. If you managed to attend our autumn concert a little while ago, you will know that their musicality and performance levels are very impressive. We are very proud of them both! 

 

The GUILD is currently preparing for their Christmas Fayre which will follow the Carol Service on the evening of 10th December 2021. All proceeds will go towards supporting opportunities for our current students.  

 

The GUILD’s adorable “Bear with It” bears make the perfect Christmas gift. These have been made to celebrate the ways in which our amazing community has grown together through this unique lockdown experience, finding new outlets for creativity. You can watch a short video of the Bears at play here: https://video214.com/play/2Dm80QWqXx6gTYe0kPDiPw/s/dark

 

 

 

  

 

If you wish to order one or more of these adorable bears, please make a direct payment of £25.00 to The Grey Coat Hospital Guild account at Lloyds Bank, sort code 30-98-97, account 00191201. Please use your full name as the reference when making payment. The bears must be collected in person at the Christmas Fayre in the St Andrew’s Great Hall, directly after the Carol Service on 10th December. Thank you for your continued support of the GUILD! 

 

We continue to monitor the number of positive cases of Covid-19 within the school community. These fluctuate but remain relatively low, with 17 students from different year groups working remotely this week. Please continue to be vigilant and to follow our protective measures – Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air, Testing. We must also continue to follow the one-way system in St Andrew’s in order to manage the flow of people through the narrower corridors we have in this building. Please continue to test yourselves twice weekly, even if you have no symptoms, so that you are protecting others around you. If you have symptoms, please stay at home, and order a PCR test. We will continue to remote students into lessons who are absent due to Covid-19. 

 

With best wishes, 

 

Susanne Staab 

 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 19th November 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers, 

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18)

Please join me in congratulating the following Year 8 students who took part in the Junior Westminster Indoor Cricket Competition at Lord’s Cricket Ground this week. For some of the team, this was a new experience as Covid restrictions had reduced the number of team sports opportunities until recently. The GCH team beat all the state schools that took part and only lost the whole competition very narrowly to one of the independent schools, by two runs. Praise goes to Millie Rowell, Florence Winklegrund, Kayla Martin Canas, Jessica Grant, Oriana Guerra, Tollu Alouoke-Oladosu, Isabelle Campbell, Hannah Fecht, Esme Moradi and Chloe Glanville who all did the school proud. Well done to all – here's to the next competition! 

A group of Year 11 Science students visited The Francis Crick Institute to see the Outwitting Cancer Exhibition. On the way, they were wonderful ambassadors for the school, having given up their seats for other commuters on the Underground. The students also really engaged with the exhibition, learning about tumor suppressor genes, organoids, and gamma delta T cells. They are such science superstars! 

We held our Sixth Form Market Place Event this week. Our Year 11 students were able to speak with subject teachers and current sixth formers in order to find out more about the A Level subjects available at school, and the wider opportunities students can engage with, and lead on, in the GCH Sixth Form.  

Meanwhile, eight of our current Year 13 students have been invited to interview at Cambridge University, where they have applied to study a range of disciplines including Mathematics, Medicine, Law, East Asian Studies, HSPS and Classics. We are now arranging mock interviews for them to further enhance their chances of success at these highly competitive Cambridge colleges. Shortly, we should hear from Oxford University where several of our students have also applied.  

We continue to do what we can to mitigate disruption caused by the pandemic. As infection rates remain high nationally, the school is seeing high attendance from students and staff, despite some positive cases. These do, however, remain low when compared to many other schools. We have installed CO2 monitors in the smaller teaching spaces at both sites and are pleased that readings remain below the level of concern at St Andrew’s with windows opened regularly; and at St Michael’s where our air management system is set to 100% air exchange. 

Recent studies suggest that that the wearing of face coverings, together with regular hand hygiene and good ventilation, are the most effective in reducing transmission. Please be reminded that all students and staff must wear face coverings in corridors and communal spaces including assemblies, unless they are exempt. Everyone needs to bring their own face covering to school every day; disposable face coverings are available at reception at a cost of 30 pence, which will go to our “Sponsor a Child” charity initiative.

Thank you for your continued efforts with keeping transmission low, which help to keep everyone safer as we approach the winter months. 

Best wishes and God Bless, 

Susanne Staab 


Message to the Grey Coat community on 12th November 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. (1 Chronicles 16:23)

On 11th November 2021, the whole school joined together in marking Armistice Day.  

In morning registration, worship representatives and form tutors led a short Act of Remembrance and a beautifully reflective prayer, written by our Head Girl, Clementine Aagard, was read aloud: 

Almighty Father,
For those who have selflessly sacrificed their lives, displaying courage and service during times of conflict, we give thanks.
We remember the words of the Kohima Epitaph:
When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today
Lord, teach us to use well the freedom given to us by those who have gone before, to protect our planet for those who follow us; to seek to overcome tyranny and to live our lives in the service of others.
We pray for those living in war zones and for those who work tirelessly as peacemakers. We commend to your gracious keeping all those mourning loved ones lost in conflict and allow them to be reassured by your presence. Bring healing and wholeness to people and nations and remind us to play our own part in building your kingdom of justice, compassion and fairness.
We offer these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

During morning break, staff and students assembled to observe two minutes’ silence. At the end of the silent reflection, Rosanna Heffernan of 9C played the Last Post in a moving tribute to those who have given their lives in conflict. 

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Our Deputy Head Girl, Christina Adane, represented the student leadership team at Lower School.

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Our Head Girl, Clementine Aagard, represented the student leadership team at Upper School.

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After a long period of restrictions, we were delighted to host parents for our Autumn Concert on Tuesday and our Year 7 Concert on Thursday. At both events, students impressed us with their passionate and sensitive performances, which were a great testimony to their love of music making, their many hours of practice, and their talent. Our music teachers, led by Ms Ambrose, our Head of Music, are to be congratulated for their perseverance through this time of challenge, and for instilling our students with such a love of music.

The hugely talented Charlie Swann of Year 12 leads the Senior Soul and Funk Band.

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 Our most accomplished ensembles and soloists inspire our youngest students.

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This was a week of many special moments and I hope you can join us again at one of our future events.

Best wishes and God Bless,

Susanne Staab 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 5th November 2021

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith.” (Romans 12:6)

We had our annual celebration of the chemical sciences during Chemistry Week, which featured a range of practical workshops, guidance on careers in medicine and a talk on women in engineering for students in key stages 4 and 5. Our science department offers triple and combined science at GCSE level and Biology, Physics and Chemistry at A Level. We are delighted that many of our students progress to science-based university courses and careers in medicine and other STEM subjects. You can see the range of exciting topics below:

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At the very end of last term, the History Department took thirty-one Year 13 History students to the National Archives for a workshop on the Reign of Elizabeth I. Our students were punctual, polite, and a joy to be with. They were suitably impressed by the original sixteenth-century documents but not so over-awed that they were unwilling to get stuck in and leaf through material that had touched the hands of privy councillors, parliamentarians, noblemen, and Elizabeth herself. A particular favourite was the discovery of a slanderous image of Mary Queen of Scots. 

Most of our students stay with us into the sixth form and the process of applications is now open. If you wish to apply for entry to the Sixth Form for September 2022, please click on the following link which will take you to the Application Form:

https://www.gch.org.uk/admissions/entry-into-year-12

Our Year 11 students have already had a series of presentations from Heads of Department to learn more about the wide range of subjects we offer at A Level. This will shortly be followed by our popular Sixth Form Market Place event on Tuesday 16th November, where students will be able to speak further with subject teachers and student representatives from all A Level subjects. 

Please note that at this time we have made the decision to not have a 'live' Open Evening in order to protect our school community at this time of continued high Covid-19 infection rates.  In the meantime, if you wish to find out more about our Sixth Form and the subjects we offer, please visit the Sixth Form area of our website. The deadline for applications is the end of January to allow you to make more informed decisions following feedback from mock examinations.  

Many of our students have been busy rehearsing for the upcoming Autumn Concert which will take place at 6.30pm on Tuesday 9th November. The evening will feature the School Choir, Chamber Choir, Junior Gospel Choir, Junior Jazz Band, Senior Soul and Funk and, and the School Orchestra. We are excited to welcome parents to this event but have had to limit tickets in line with our protective measures and thank you for your understanding while we continue to keep school as safe and comfortable as possible for everyone. 

With best wishes,

Susanne Staab

Message to the Grey Coat community on 22nd October 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23)

Even in the last week of this half term, we have been celebrating more wonderful achievements by our students. Grace Humphreys of Year 13 spent two incredible days of work experience with Engitix Therapeutics. She says, “My expectations were completely surpassed. I met many incredible scientists from all around the world who were so patient in explaining their experiments to me; and I had lunch with a group of them both days. The lab itself was stunning and so well equipped - they have a special room with four tissue biobank freezers, each insured at £2.5 million! I got to see such a variety of things like "happy" tissue cultures, metastatic cancer cells, decellularised pancreas cubes, and so much more. I even got two lab coats; their colours signify if you are doing general lab work or working with tissue cultures - see photo below.” 

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Rebecca Foster of Year 13 has been invited to take part in the National Theatre’s “Writing for Theatre” course which runs weekly on Wednesdays (after school) from November 2021 through to March 2022, where she will be under the direct supervision of a playwright to write a play, which upon completion will be submitted to the National Theatre “New Views” play-writing competition. It is a very selective process to be invited on this course, and Rebecca was chosen as a result of her previous participation in the Bush Theatre Young Writers course, where she wrote a play “The man on the moon”, which was performed by professional actors at the theatre. Now she is part of the Bush Theatre Young Company group which she attends once a week. Last year she also took part in two BFI Film Academy opportunities for young creatives: the first was a BFI Short Course on Short Film and Animation (for which Rebecca received the Silver Arts award); and the second was a BFI Specialist Course on Documentaries. We are all extremely proud of Rebecca for all these achievements, especially as it was done through her own initiative during lockdown showing resilience, flexibility, strong motivation, organisational skills, and dedication to her theatre study.

Ms Thompson and Father Myles took 28 students on a trip to Magdalen College, Oxford to attend a Taster Day. Everyone had a lovely day – the students conducted themselves impeccably and were inquisitive and engaged throughout. They asked thoughtful questions of the college student ambassadors and took part in an Economics session with one of the lecturers. Despite never having studied the subject, they completely threw themselves into the session and gained a great deal from it. To end the day, the group were stopped on their journey home by a member of the public who commented on how smart our students looked and that they were great ambassadors for the school!

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I hope you will also enjoy reading our first Newsletter of this academic year – we have made an incredible start. You can read about many individual achievements; see wonderful pictures of our Theme Day; and discover the varied and exciting activities that have taken place inside and beyond the classroom!

We have been fortunate to have relatively little disruption from Covid-19 this first half term, as our attendance has stood at around 95% on average. I am grateful for all your help in keeping transmission low within school. However, we are seeing case numbers increase nationally and in London, with many of these affecting young people. We have seen this mirrored in school, as the number of students in self-isolation has risen from around 15 initially to around 70 in the last week of this term. We have also had three staff members fall ill with Covid-19, despite being double-vaccinated. 

With this in mind, we are going to approach next term with caution. In addition to our already existing protective measures, we are installing CO2 monitors in the smaller indoor teaching spaces to monitor ventilation. Furthermore, the following rules will apply from Monday 1st November

  • All students and staff will wear face coverings during assemblies (unless exempt) and there will be no communal singing until further notice. 
  • The Year 10 parents’ evening will be held online. 
  • The two planned concerts will have restricted visitor numbers and face masks will need to be worn throughout. 
  • We hope to have in-person church services as planned, but their house rules will apply, and this may mean restrictions. 
  • All previous protective measures will continue to apply.  
  • Any student or staff member with symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and get a PCR test, informing the school of the result promptly.  
  • Everyone should continue testing with lateral flow devices twice weekly even if they have no symptoms – as about a third of cases continue to be asymptomatic, and as the Delta variant, and the Delta Plus variant, are highly infectious. 

I thank you all for your support in maintaining these measures for the safety and comfort of the school community. I also hope you all find moments to unwind, relax and recharge this half term. 

With best wishes, 

Susanne Staab 

Message to the Grey Coat community on 16th October 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,  

“Take action, for it is your duty, and we are with you; be strong, and do it.” (Ezra 10:4) 

World Mental Health Awareness Day was on 10th October this year. The official theme for this year is Mental Health in an Unequal World’. Mental health is a vital national issue at the best of times, but the need for meaningful support in the community has become even more relevant as we have navigated the challenges of the pandemic. Here at GCH, we marked this day in assemblies and through discussions, and by students and staff wearing yellow as part of the HelloYellow campaign run by the charity Young Minds. We have significantly augmented our PSHCE curriculum to build resilience and increase wellbeing; and continued to work closely with our school counsellor, school nurse, pastoral staff, safeguarding and inclusion teams to support students. 

Our Sixth Form continues to grow and thrive; and there are many exciting enrichment opportunities taking place. Our Monday Speakers’ Assembly, for example, regularly features high-profile visitors. So far this year, we have welcomed Dominic Grieve, former conservative MP, who spoke eloquently about his career as a politician and his roles as the Former Attorney General and the Shadow Home Secretary; and about the changing nature of challenges he has faced - personal, professional and political. We were given a fascinating insight into the role of magistrates by Ms Marsh, former magistrate and now our Head of Psychology, who explained the wide-ranging responsibilities the role encompasses and the challenge of making the service more representative, inclusive and free from political interference in the future. On Monday next week, we will be hearing from Imogen Christodoulou, a Principal Sustainability Consultant at Hoare Lea, who will speak on the topic of “Net Zero Carbon - what is it and how do we get there?” This question will be a key theme at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 26 in November. 

An increasing number of our students are getting involved with the OxNet Outreach Programme and we welcomed one of their representatives this week to speak to Y12 students about the programmes available.  Interest was expressed in a wide range of disciplines ranging from the various STEM subjects to English, Languages to Philosophy. Our students continue to aim high and this is clear from the 31 early applications for highly competitive courses in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry and courses at Oxford and Cambridge which our sixth form team have been processing and submitting this term.  

We have been monitoring the number of students who test positive for Covid-19. This week, we have had around 35 students remoting into lessons as they have been self-isolating at home. This has allowed us to mitigate the disruption that may otherwise have been caused. You will remember that schools are no longer asked to trace close contacts of positive cases and that self-isolation is generally only required when a person develops symptoms of Covid-19. We thank parents and students for continuing to participate in the weekly testing and for supporting our other protective measures, which we will keep under close review.  

With best wishes, 

Susanne Staab


Message to the Grey Coat community on 8th October 2021

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” (Galatians 5:22)

We are proud to report the superb sailing success of Alice Gelosi in Year 11 and her sister Silvia in Year 10. They recently competed in the RYA London and South-East Regional Junior Championships at the Queen Mary Reservoir, just outside of London, racing their FEVA. They came 1st among girls and a very close 2nd overall, gaining the same points as the first boat. This was a great achievement as they were racing against opponents who also competed in the National Championships. Below you can see the winning sisters together – they well and truly beat their closest competitors! 

 

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October is Black History Month, and we are holding a series of events to mark this. Dr Smyth of our History Department worked with several students in Year 12 who prepared and delivered assemblies to Years 7, 8 and 9. Two of our Year 9 students also delivered brilliant speeches based on interviews with their fathers about their immigrant experiences. 

This Thursday was National Poetry Day which focused on the theme of CHOICE. 2021 has been a year of considerable change and more people than ever are turning to poetry. Since March 2020, the number of Instagram posts tagged #poetry have increased by 6 million, to 46 million. The English Department and our Librarian led the school with thought-provoking activities and Charlotte Dennison of Year 11 has written this reflective poem: 

Lockdown
No sense of passing time as days convert to weeks,
our previous years of freedom are forgotten.
Angst slowly rises within us as death tolls peak,
isolation drags on as our hope turns rotten.
Connection with society is quickly lost.
Friends that we once knew, are distant memories.
Members of the household are all that we have crossed,
relationships with others are in jeopardy.
The world is still, quieter than ever before,
yet families be afraid for the unknown future.
Countries in lock down; for our past lives, we
 implore.
The only taste of normality through a computer.
Each day, we pray for the safety of the nation,
for this deadly virus to result in cessation.

Finally, I am very pleased to share our latest promotional video with you, which is aimed at prospective Year 7 parents and which you can also find on our website under “Admissions”. Watching it will uplift you and make you appreciate what wonderful young people our students are. They are the stars of this piece, and it is remarkable that none of what is said on the video by either students or staff is scripted but instead comes straight from the heart. The professional videographer simply asked us all what makes this school so special. 

Best wishes,

Susanne Staab

Message to the Grey Coat community on 1st October 2021

 

Dear students and staff, parents and carers,

“He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Our U16s Football Team gave a fantastic performance against Hayes School last Thursday, which proved a real rollercoaster of emotions. It was the team’s first game in a long while, so they were delighted to get the win. Congratulations go to the whole team comprising Gracie Silva Mendes 8T, Natasha Asemota 9Y, Sienna Mcfarlane-Raveneau 9G, Amber Pachacama Chicaiza 9T, Viola Baron 9G. Amy Booth 10T. Anna Burke 10T, Lily Regan 10G, Tegan Ochola 11G, Elyisa Morton 11T. Poppy Hathway 11T, Abigail Kargbo 11R, Anna Maria Lobefalo 11C, Gulia Caturano 11H and Georgia Assaf 11T. The goal scorers on the day were Natasha Asemota who scored twice; Abigail Kargbo who scored three times; and Georgia Assaf and Anna-Maria with an unbelievable strike each. Super work, congratulations to all!

Last weekend, Flora Perkins of Year 13 continued to excel in competitive cycling at a one-day World Championship event. The Eurosport commentator was heard describing Flora's performance as 'the ride of the day'. The British team won with Zoe Backstedt taking the gold medal, which was in no small part due to the way that Flora and her team rode. They were dominant and controlled the race brilliantly. Below you can see Flora and her team in action and when celebrating victory. Go, Flora!

 

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Earlier this week, several form groups enjoyed a “pizza trip” as their reward for having maintained superb attendance and punctuality last academic year, and for showing consistently outstanding effort. We greatly value these positive attitudes to learning as we know they form a huge part in leading to a growth in confidence and successful outcomes. The winning forms were 8C, 8R, 9T, 9G, 10H, 10T, 11H and 11C. Keep it up, everyone! 

The week ended with a Saint Michael’s Day Service at St Margaret’s Church Westminster, which was attended by Year 10 and several staff.  Our School Chaplain, Father Myles led the service with gusto; there were reflective readings by our students; joyous hymns accompanied by our very own organist,  Mr Burgess, who also performed some wonderful solo pieces; a thought-provoking sermon by The Reverend Graham Buckle; and beautiful renditions by our choir directed by Ms Ambrose. Thank you to everyone for making this a special occasion! 

Although schools are no longer expected to carry out contact tracing, we continue to monitor reported levels of Covid-19 within the school community closely. Since the start of this term, we have had a total of between around 1% to 2% of students positive with Covid-19, on a rolling weekly average. We have not had any news of anyone being seriously ill with the virus, and most students are reported to have very mild or no symptoms. No staff members have been ill with Covid-19, either. We

have therefore had little disruption, which is in large part due to everyone working together to enforce our protective measures of HANDS, FACE, SPACE, FRESH AIR AND TESTING. Thank you to everyone who has helped to achieve this! 

With best wishes,  

Susanne Staab

 

 

 

 

The word “guild” has its origins in Old Norse though it is more often associated with the medieval world, defined by the OED as “an association formed for the mutual aid and protection of its members or for the furtherance of some common purpose”. And so it is with The Grey Coat Guild. We are an association of parents, carers, staff and friends who help organise fun, social events to raise funds to cover items that make your child’s time at The Grey Coat Hospital that bit more special. All parents and carers are automatically members and we are always delighted to see and hear from you.

The Guild is sincerely grateful for the generous support of parents/carers. We are also only too aware that your contributions of time are voluntary and we rely on your goodwill. Further details of our support and fundraising initiatives for the students and school are available on the VLE or you can send an email to: 

thegreycoatguild@gmail.com