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Head Master's News

Friday 2 July

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your family are well. It has been a very positive week at King’s High as we head towards the final week of the academic year.

Last week I shared with you the excellent news that we had been ranked 13th nationally among girls’ independent schools for sport. Today, I am delighted to let you know that we have been shortlisted for Performing Arts in the Independent Schools of the Year 2021 Awards. This is another major national accolade and reflects so well on the creative endeavours of the students and the staff in our Music and Drama Departments.

It is particularly pleasing to receive this news in the wake of the superb concerts and productions in recent weeks. Last week we enjoyed stunning performances of Fantastic Mr Fox, The Tempest and Macbeth, and this week we were able to showcase our remarkable musical talent at the Summer Concert in Warwick Hall.

We also learned that a talented group of Lower Sixth students, who have been working for several months on a new and original magazine, 410, achieved national recognition from the Shine Media Awards, the national journalism competition for schools. 410, a beautifully designed and brilliantly written publication on the theme of fear, was highly commended in the Best Print and Design award and you can read it hereMaddie was highly commended in the Writer of the Year Award for her piece entitled ‘Morbid Curiosities’, whilst Ruby won the Best Cartoon Award for a powerful image entitled ‘Trump on a Wrecking Ball’. I am incredibly proud of the achievements of this student team and look forward to seeing them support next year’s entry to the competition. 

There has been such a rich programme of events this week. A particular highlight was Sports Day on Thursday which was an uplifting and joyful occasion for the whole community with much fun, laughter and friendly competition. We also witnessed a superb final to our House Debating Competition in which Dench and Hepburn put forward a range of fascinating arguments on the motion that ‘cancel culture’ is damaging to free speech. The standard of the debate was stunning and was witnessed remotely by our whole school community.

It was a huge pleasure to visit our Duke of Edinburgh teams as they camped out on day one of their expeditions. They had had a very good first day with perfect weather for a 20km hike. I wish them all the very best for their remaining hikes as they look to achieve their Silver and Gold Awards.

We are all looking forward enormously to what I am sure will be a positive and celebratory final week of the term.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support of our school.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 25 June

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your families are well. It has been a wonderful week at King’s High with productions of Fantastic Mr Fox, The Tempest and Macbeth, alongside a range of musical concerts including the Upper Sixth Composers’ Concert and the Year 7 Instrumental Programme Concerts for each form group. As part of this celebration of the creative arts, it has been a delight to welcome parents back to school and begin what we all hope will be the resumption of social and cultural life.

There are two outstanding achievements that I wanted to share with you. Firstly, we learned that our school had been ranked 13th nationally among girls’ independent schools for sport. This is testament to the strength and of sport at King’s High, both in terms of elite achievement and breadth and depth of engagement our sporting programme.

Our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) continues to provide students across King’s High and Warwick School with a sense of teamwork, discipline and leadership. It was a great pleasure to see so many of our students in Year 9 achieve promotion and receive their berets this afternoon. Our CCF is one of the largest in the country, now numbering over 300 students, with enormous interest and engagement at King’s High. We are thrilled that, from September, Rachel in Upper Sixth will be Senior Cadet, the first time a King’s High student has achieved this accolade.

Our girls have also enjoyed Wellbeing Week, with a range of activities, events and workshops, and talks from distinguished speakers including Professor Bruce Hood, who gave a fascinating talk on the science of happiness. The celebratory atmosphere of the week was captured by a wonderful Pride Fair in our Quad yesterday lunchtime.

Our Café Scientifique were joined by Professor Erica Golemis, the Co-Chair of Molecular Therapeutics at Temple University, to learn about her work on cancer prevention, whilst our Physicists enjoyed Lab to Life Day in which experts from Oxford University delivered interactive sessions on STEM careers and next-generation solar cells. In addition, I would like to draw your attention to the Summer Anthology from our Inspire Creative Writing Programme which explores ideas of magic and mythology. Please do take a moment to read some of the outstanding writing of our students here. 

Tomorrow we look forward to our King’s Links Event, which will connect out students with the wider community of alumna in universities across the UK and Europe to enable them to hear from former students and ask questions about courses and pathways. I am enormously grateful to our superb KHAPS Committee who have organised our second-hand uniform sale tomorrow morning and to all parents who have donated uniform for this event. It will take place from 10-11am at the entrance of St Nick’s, near to our Art, DT and Food studios. Due to a cricket fixture, please can I ask that you park outside of Warwick Prep School.

I am very grateful to everyone who volunteered to support our Open Evening on 2 July. Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, we have had to cancel that event. We are, however, looking forward greatly to Monday’s Year 11 Composers’ Platform Performance and then, on Tuesday, to our Summer Concert in Warwick Hall.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support of our school.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 18 June

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your families are well. It has been a busy week at King’s High with some significant moments. It was lovely to join Year 11 today for a special celebratory event to mark the end of Key Stage 4 and look back at their journey through school. There was great fun, laughter and joy as we reflected on the spirit of the cohort and their wonderful experiences and achievements. It was a particular pleasure to see this on the day that all schools nationally submitted their Teacher Assessed Grades. We wish all our students in Year 11 and Upper Sixth every success as they await their results in August.

At King’s High we are fortunate to have world-class facilities and our library is a particularly striking and impressive space for scholarship, thought and the sharing of ideas. It was a great privilege to lead our opening ceremony to name our new Cozad Neuger Library in honour of our generous benefactors, Win and Christie Cozad Neuger, who I met back in 2019 at our school’s 140th birthday open weekend. Christie spent a year at King’s High from 1964-65 and, at the ceremony, we unveiled a new plaque to acknowledge their generosity to the school and also ‘the powerful positive impact her attendance at King’s High made on her life’, which is the inscription.

On Monday, we welcomed back another alumna as Dr Anne Whitehouse addressed the Landor Association with a fascinating talk about her career as a scientist and writer. She spoke about her new book, Pull Back Your Power, and offered a range of helpful insights to unlock confidence and enable success.

Our outstanding Young Enterprise Team did us proud in the national finals of the competition on Wednesday as they showcased their new and sustainable product, Wildlife Wanderers. With an innovative and powerful business plan, they impressed the judges and audience with their entrepreneurial spirit and energy.

Our equestrian teams continue to go from strength to strength with a number of girls qualifying for national championships and Isabella in Year 7 about to compete in Paris and Monaco following her selection for Great Britain. Bella in Year 8 is competing for a place in England’s Under 17 Waterpolo team and we were delighted to learn that she has been selected to be part of the England National Waterpolo residential week in the summer.

Meanwhile, over 130 students took music exams earlier in the week, which further demonstrates the outstanding musical talent and culture at King’s High, which will be showcased in our series of concerts next week. We also look forward to our Key Stage 3 productions with Fantastic Mr Fox, The Tempest and Macbeth forming part of a lovely celebration of creative arts as we approach the end of term.

Sadly, the government announcement that Covid restrictions will continue beyond 21 June has inevitably impacted on some of our plans for the end of term, but we will not let this dampen our spirits and we are determined to ensure a joyful and celebratory final three weeks of term.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support of our school.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 11 June 2021

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your families had a happy half term week. It has been lovely to make the most of the glorious sunshine lately. In keeping with the weather, we have had a very positive first week back in school. 

A particular highlight was undoubtedly the Upper Sixth Leavers’ Concert. This is always a very special and important moment in our annual calendar as we come together to celebrate the spirit of the year group and mark the end of their journey at King’s High. We enjoyed mocktails and dinner before being treated to a superb programme of singing and instrumental music. There are lots of further events and activities for our Upper Sixth leavers ahead of Speech Day at the end of term, but it was a huge pleasure to have an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution and leadership of this year group as they look ahead to exciting futures. 

There has been a busy programme of activities throughout the school, with Lower Sixth Psychology students enjoying a fascinating day of neuroscience, including a brain dissection, with leading academic, Dr Guy Sutton. Meanwhile, Year 11 students have started their bespoke programme focusing this week on careers and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). Alongside sessions exploring degree apprenticeships, overseas universities, and careers in STEM and Architecture, they enjoyed a memorable workshop on employment and transferable skills and a presentation on start-up businesses. Today they enjoyed a fun orienteering challenge and will start on their pre-A Level courses on Monday. 

The spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving at King’s High and we are looking forward greatly to next week’s national final of Young Enterprise, at which our very own Team Utopia will feature prominently. My assembly today focused on entrepreneurship and ecopreneurship, before students from Utopia shared their experiences of their own ecopreneurial project. We were thrilled to find out today that we have been awarded Eco-Schools Green Flag Status from Keep Britain Tidy for the outstanding environmental work and commitment of our students. 

Our work from 3-18 across Warwick Prep and King’s High continues to flourish. It was a great pleasure to address the Year 6 students in assembly this week and to have them visit today as part of their induction programme to take part in team and group activities and to learn more about Year 7. 

It has been a huge pleasure to host glorious tri-school athletics fixtures in the sunshine this week and we look forward to our cricket fixtures tomorrow. Today, we have had over 40 students head off on their Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. 

We have a busy calendar of events next week including the Landor Association Lecture from Dr Anne Whitehouse on confidence and aspiration and Lower Sixth Parents Evening on Thursday. 

I wish you all a very happy weekend. Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 28 May 2021

Dear Parents,

The weeks have flown by and here we now are on the final day of the summer half term. There have been so many positives to celebrate over the last five weeks with the gradual lifting of some Covid restrictions, the resumption of sporting fixtures and, in due course, the return of some concerts and performances. We have enjoyed fantastic sport, drama music, and art opportunities and, as ever, our students have worked incredibly hard and shown great energy and commitment.

There is a strong sense of excitement and anticipation as our students prepare for a very well-deserved week’s holiday. As I write, pupils are sitting their final internal summer examinations, which have not taken place in person for two years due to the pandemic. I would like to congratulate every student on their efforts and I wish them a happy and relaxing holiday.

We were thrilled to learn that our Young Enterprise team, Utopia, has made it through to the UK national finals. Their project is a sustainably produced, family board game which educates young children about endangered species from four very different habitats. The innovative game, ‘Wildlife Wanderers’, is handcrafted using sustainably sourced materials. The team is now looking to further develop their product through digital channels as well as selling through retail. We wish them the greatest of luck in the national finals where they will represent the West Midlands region. This is a fantastic achievement and shows how strong the entrepreneurial spirit is at King’s High.

Even with examination week in full swing, it has been very busy on all fronts. I was delighted to see that five King’s High teams from Years 9 and 10 entered Oxford University’s Spotlight on Stereotypes Project (Project SOS). This saw the teams develop a research question, collect and analyse data, and present findings, both in a report and at a conference, whilst being mentored by an Oxford University researcher. In sport this week, two of our Year 7 students have been selected to represent Great Britain in equestrian, and Mollie has been selected for the Wasps Netball U17 squad, whilst Holly in Year 9 has been to Wimbledon as part of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative and Lucia has been battling it out in the final of the Junior Doubles ITF Tournament in Wales.

Our Lower Sixth Psychology students are looking forward to Brain Day on 8 June in which they will learn about neuroplasticity and neurobionics as well as the neuroscience behind criminal behaviour. The day will end with a history of mental illness and an introduction to schizophrenia. They will be joined by our guest lecturer, Dr Guy Sutton, Honorary (Consultant) Assistant Professor in the Division of Psychiatry at University of Nottingham who has held previous academic appointments at Manchester and Cambridge Universities. I am sure that it will be a fascinating day.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and a restful half term week. Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 21 May 2021

Dear Parents,

There has been much to enjoy and celebrate this week at King’s High. This has been accompanied by a strong spirit of scholarship as students prepare for their internal assessments next week ahead of our half term break.

It has been an important week for our Year 11 and Upper Sixth students, who are today completing the last of their assessments for this year’s Teacher Assessed Grades. We are all enormously proud of what they have achieved and how they have worked with such diligence and commitment through uncertain times. I cannot commend them highly enough and I wish them a very well-deserved rest as they have a moment to pause and relax after their hard work and endeavours.

We are making exciting progress in terms of our environmental strategy and our students are doing such valuable work to promote sustainability and environmental action. I was thrilled that we recently achieved the Silver Eco-Schools Award and it is inspiring to hear of the ongoing work to achieve the Green Eco-Schools Award.

Our Environment Action Today Society is thriving and it works closely with our Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability Society on a range of important projects. This has included the planting of a wildflower meadow, reducing plastic waste in school, increasing recycling of plastics, hosting well-attended talks from environmental experts, and promoting newsletters, quizzes and competitions to raise awareness through our whole-school community.

Yesterday was World Bee Day and to celebrate in style we were delighted to open our new apiary and to welcome our new hives of bees to the site. There is great interest in our new Beekeeping Society, with over sixty student members, and it is a delight to see our teams of staff, students and volunteers in their protective kit to welcome our new colonies. It is remarkable to note that a third of the world’s food production depends on bees and we are looking forward to using our new hives to educate students in our Foundation and wider community about the ecological importance of bees.

Later today we have our annual Sports Award Evening to celebrate the remarkable sporting achievements of the year. Sarah Glenn, England cricketer and National League hockey player, is our guest of honour. The event is a highlight of the year, showcasing the breadth and depth of sporting endeavour at King’s High, as well as the outstanding achievements at national and regional level across a diverse range of sports. Many congratulations to our U14 and U16 swimming teams who won the HMC Virtual Gala at the weekend – a superb example of how sport continues to thrive, despite our Covid-19 restrictions.

I would also like to draw your attention to some forthcoming events. On 9 June we are hosting Medical Mavericks Interactive Workshops for students in Years 9, 11 and Lower Sixth who are interested in medical and related careers. An online sign up sheet has been sent to students. On 14 June at 7pm we welcome King’s High alumna, Dr Anne Whitehouse, for our remote Landor Association Lecture. Dr Whitehouse will talk about her latest book, Pull Back Your Power, which explores the importance of building confidence and a sense of aspiration. On 21 and 24 June we have two excellent Pastoral Forum meetings (both remote): on 21 June the RAP Project will talk to parents on the topic, ‘Digital Natives and Social Skills for Life’, and on 24 June Simon Leigh will talk to parents about drug education. Both talks begin at 7pm and links will be sent nearer the time.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 14 May 2021

Dear Parents,

We have enjoyed a very positive week at King’s High, filled with much fun and success. Upper Sixth have been entertaining us all with their magnificent Rag Week outfits, whilst enjoying a range of fun activities and events, including their leavers’ assembly.

As we prepare to say goodbye to our departing Upper Sixth cohort, we have also been preparing our Lower Sixth students to step up to lead the school next academic year. As part of our Leadership Programme we have appointed our new School Ambassadors, Prefects and Heads of Houses and we are excited by the contributions that they will make. I am delighted to introduce our new Head Girl Team: Pirasha (Head Girl), Jemma (Deputy Head Girl), and Jenny (Senior Prefect).

There have been some superb individual and collective achievements this week. The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving at King’s High and we were thrilled to celebrate the success of our Young Enterprise teams. In the Warwickshire and Worcestershire district, Team Amare won Best Sustainability Award whilst Team Utopia have progressed to the regional finals, winning accolades for Best Presentation and Best Branding on the way. We were delighted that Olivia, in Year 7, has been selected to represent the Great British in show jumping against the Netherlands. Finally, Edith in Upper Sixth was chosen from sixth formers across the county to win the prestigious Mary Dormer Harris Memorial Award, which she will use during her Gap Year to progress her studies in Russian.

Our Inspire Programme continues to flourish and this week Dr Julia Wates gave a fascinating remote talk from Chicago to our Café Scientifique group about creativity in the sciences and her work as an Industrial Chemist to solve real-world problems. We also enjoyed an evening of Shakespeare with a showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of our very popular ‘Watch and Chat’ series.

The wider community work of our students has featured in the local press recently and our partnership with the Stratford-based charity, Kissing It Better, has supported patients in our local care homes and hospitals. This week our Year 7 students sent cards to nurses at Warwick Hospital to show their appreciation and to mark International Nurses Day.

We look ahead next week to the final round of assessments for our Year 11 and Upper Sixth students as part of this year’s Teacher Assessed Grades. We wish them every success and congratulate them on their hard work and scholarship.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 7 May 2021

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your families are well and have had a positive week. The atmosphere this week in school has been calm and productive as Year 11 and Upper Sixth have settled into the routine of their assessments in preparation for this year’s Teacher Assessed Grades. It has been impressive to see the scholarship and commitment to study that has gone into the girls’ revision and preparations and we are all very proud of their hard work and diligence.

It has been a great pleasure to see the continued development of sporting engagement and achievement throughout the school as we emerge gradually from national Covid restrictions. There is such an impressive breadth of sporting opportunity from cricket, tennis and swimming to athletics, rugby and football. We were thrilled to learn of the success of our Under 18s tennis team, who progressed further in the National Cup with a superb win over Leicester Grammar.

Rehearsals are now underway for our three Key Stage 3 productions and students are making the most of the opportunities to perform once again. We are very much looking forward to The Fantastic Mr Fox (Year 7), The Tempest (Year 8) and Macbeth (Year 9). Our musicians were as busy as ever taking part in our Friday Live performances, whilst Year 10 students recorded their GCSE performances earlier in the week.

We also enjoyed an excellent talk from Matthew Glover on web and brand designs in addition to further drama masterclasses from the actress, Ronay Poole. I was delighted to visit our Lower Sixth team today who have worked for several months on a new magazine to enter for the Shine Media Awards, the national journalism competition for schools. Their new magazine, ‘410’, is superb and this year the associated charitable project supports Women’s Aid UK. I look forward to sharing this with you shortly.

There has been fascinating discussion in form time this week as students have explored and nominated the changemakers who inspire them as part of this term’s Big Changemaker Conversation. We were also delighted to launch our Curriculum of the Future Project to parents on Tuesday, which I am sure will lead to a range of exciting developments in the coming months.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 30 April 2021

Dear Parents,

The new Summer Term is progressing swiftly. It has been a delightful week at King’s High with a number of special events. We greatly enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate our school’s 142nd birthday yesterday. To mark the occasion, we had a special assembly, a rousing, open-air rendition of ‘Jerusalem’, live music at lunchtime to accompany a special birthday lunch, and, of course, birthday cake for all.

Our new student-led Art Society has been inspiring us all lately, hosting superb virtual talks from the landscape and portrait painter, Angela Gordon Webb, and then from the acclaimed art expert, Philip Mould, who spoke with great energy and passion about careers in art and his experiences of the art world.

We also welcomed Dr Lynette Shakespeare, who spoke to students about her work as the Deputy Director of Newborn Screening in the NHS. Our Landor Dining Society hosted Anita Dougall, CEO and founder of the tech firm Sagacity. Our Wildlife Conservation and Sustainability Society is thriving and this week they hosted Ben Wood from Warwickshire Mammals who spoke about his work to monitor and track moles, voles, dormice, badgers, squirrels, hedgehogs, and deer. Finally, the actress and King’s High alumna, Ronay Poole, shared her experiences of theatre and television and spoke about the impact that her inspirational teachers had on her early life.

We have had some lovely musical moments this week with outdoor performances and our weekly Friday Live events at lunchtime. I would like to draw your attention to the four Musical Horizon Concerts linked below, recorded through the Spring Term and showcasing the depth of musical talent across piano, woodwind and brass, singing and strings. 

Our students in Year 11 and Upper Sixth have worked hard to prepare for their Assessment Weeks, which are now underway for Year 11 and begin on Tuesday for Upper Sixth. I am very proud of the way they have responded to the vicissitudes of the year and shown such diligence and commitment in their approach to their studies. We wish them every success.

We are delighted to have made a strong start on two exciting projects. Our King’s High Big Changemaker Conversation is now underway with students across the school sharing ideas about people who have forged positive change in society and who inspire them. We have also enjoyed some fascinating discussion as part of our Curriculum of the Future Project, which Dr Seal wrote to parents about earlier in the week. We look forward to sharing more details about this at our online launch event next Tuesday at 5pm.

If you are able to, please take a moment to watch our Founders and Benefactors Service, which is always a very important occasion in our annual calendar. It can be accessed here.

I wish you all a very happy Bank Holiday weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 23 April 2021

Dear Parents,

What a glorious week of sunshine we have had! It has been a real joy to see our students making the most of the good weather at the start of our new Summer Term. Our new House Debating Competition is well underway and, today, as part of our fantastic Friday Afternoon Activity Programme, our students have been outside doing orienteering, golf, clay pigeon shooting, polo and many other activities that have now been able to resume in person following the lifting of some of our Covid restrictions.

In assembly this morning I launched our Big Changemaker Conversation, following on from some excellent discussions with student groups throughout the school. We are all looking forward greatly to the opportunity to reflect on, review and discuss the role models who inspire our students. They will have opportunities to share ideas and nominate the changemakers who they look up to and admire. They will explore the ways in which inspirational figures have successfully forged lasting change and positively affected the lives of others. The first stage of the conversation will be nominations for our new Changemaker Gallery of Portraits and I will update you through the term on this exciting project.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank KHAPS for their generous support of this year’s Personal Achievement Awards. Twenty-one students received awards this year of up to £300 for a range of projects to develop skills, expertise and to make a difference in society.

There are some very exciting events coming up next week. On Monday, the brilliant Scottish painter, Angela Gordon Webb, will talk to our students and you can join the event via the link belowOur King’s High alumna, the actress Ronay Poole, will be sharing her experience of stage and television on Tuesday. Philip Mould, the acclaimed art expert from ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ and ‘Fake or Fortune’, will talk to us on Wednesday about discovering lost masterpieces.

Creative Thinking has been at the very centre of our work at King’s High for some time, with a range of important developments and curriculum innovations. Dr Seal’s new Creative Thinking Blog is launched today and can be accessed here. I hope you will enjoy reading about our work to develop the next generation of creative thinkers.

Finally, we are looking forward to celebrating our school’s 142nd birthday on Thursday with a special assembly, birthday cake, and, we hope, a socially distanced, outdoor rendition of our school song, ‘Jerusalem’.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Burley
Head Master

Friday 26 March 2021

Dear Parents,

I hope that you have had a good week and have recovered from the excitement of the KHAPS family quiz last Friday. What an evening it was - a superb event and great fun for all involved!

There has been much to celebrate this week as we progress briskly towards the end of term. I was delighted that we were awarded Gold status from the Anti-Bullying Alliance this week. This is the result of the excellent work of our pastoral teams and student ambassadors to ensure that each and every member of our community feels safe and supported at King’s High.

Many congratulations, too, must go to all our LAMDA students who achieved outstanding results following the latest exams, and to everyone who took part in the recent Chemistry Olympiad, which resulted in a record number of certificates awarded.

We have enjoyed a number of excellent events this week. We hosted our first ever Drama Masterclass, with actress and alumna, Nadia Parkes, talking about her life in the acting and film industry, and sharing tips and ideas with our students. The Landor Association Law Careers Evening was another highlight, with talks from a law lecturer, legal publisher, judge, barrister and IP specialist. I am enormously grateful to our Old Girl community for sharing their expertise and experiences with our current students, which greatly enriches their experiences at school.

In my assembly this morning, I praised the students for the positive and constructive ways in which they have engaged in challenging social, political, and cultural issues about race, gender, equality and the environment. This has connected with our wider discussions about the moral responsibility to forge positive change in our community and the wider world, and to be an upstander to challenge injustice and discrimination in any form. I am very proud of the commitment of our students to these principles and the ways they have embraced the importance of changemaking and upstanding.

In assembly, we also heard a superb presentation from our Model United Nations team, who spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and how important it is that we work hard to discuss and explore solutions to pressing global issues. The MUN team offered us a very important reminder of our global connections and responsibilities. Similarly, the Hobbs Society has made excellent progress this term in raising awareness and understanding of disability and ableism. As a result, we have benefited greatly from a range of excellent talks and discussion.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely, 

Dr Burley

Head Master 

Friday 19 March 2021

Dear Parents,

It is remarkable to think that we are fast approaching the Easter holidays. The time has flown by since we returned to school in person and our reunion and reconnection has been a cause for celebration and optimism.

The tragic death of Sarah Everard has brought into very sharp focus for us all the issue of the safety of girls and women, and the wider issues of discrimination and prejudice. Across our schools we have spent time reflecting and discussing how we and society at large can work to create positive and lasting change. 

In our addresses and assemblies, we have emphasised the Choose to Challenge message that has been the theme of International Women’s Day, whilst encouraging our students to share their ideas and experiences so that we can work together to confront discrimination and inequality.

Our exciting programme of co-curricular events continues unabated. In addition, every student in the school took part on our Mindful Mile Reflective Trail around the campus, with seven reflection points to promote wellbeing and reflection.

Café Philo, our ethical and philosophical discussion group, debated theories of free will in their meeting; our remote RSC Shadowing Programme enjoyed a showing of Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1; wildlife artist, Mark Adlington, spoke to our new Art and Design Society and led a virtual tour of his studio; our Landor Association Law Evening was superb with talks from a barrister, law lecturer, legal publisher and IP specialist; and our King’s Links Higher Education Event connected our students with recent leavers from 25 universities around the UK and Europe.

We continue to work hard to strengthen our national reputation as a centre of educational innovation. Our recent work and discussions on the future of education formed the basis of a feature article that was published in Independent Education Today. The full article can be read here.

I am very much looking forward to our KHAPS Family Quiz this evening, which should be great fun. On Monday we are excited to welcome (remotely) our former student, the actress Nadia Parkes, to share her expertise and experiences in the first of our new Drama Masterclass Series.

This afternoon we have celebrated two important achievements. Charlotte in Year 8 competed in the finals of the CyberFirst Girls Competition and was placed second overall. We were also delighted that Miss Sonia Brown, in our Catering Department, was awarded a Coventry and Warwickshire Unsung Hero Certificate by the High Sheriff of Warwick today. We are very proud of the achievements of Charlotte and Sonia.

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely, 

Dr Burley

Head Master

Friday 12 March 2021

Dear Parents, 

It has been such a pleasure to welcome our students back this week and to see the joy and laughter that has filled our school again. It has given the whole community a huge boost as we set out on the first steps to what we all feel will be a more hopeful and optimistic period. 

Our students captured this sense of hope and optimism brilliantly as form groups worked together to create a huge message to the community, beaming out across the Banbury Road from the windows of King’s High, ‘Hope Springs Eternal’. This was the theme of my whole-school assembly on Monday, when I encouraged our students to be proactive in forging hope and, by doing so, creating a better world. 

In addition to the excitement of reconnecting our community in person, we have also enjoyed a busy week of events and activities. We are in the midst of celebrating an extended British Science Week, with students enjoying a fantastic range of specialist talks from distinguished visiting speakers. 

Yesterday, students enjoyed a fascinating talk from Edward Lockhart of DeepMind who spoke about the ways in which Artificial Intelligence is being used to diagnose eye diseases. Shivanshi, in Lower Sixth, presented to Café Scientifique on non-Euclidian Geometry and Astrophysics. The Hobbs Society welcomed Alex Barker, who spoke about his experiences of Moebius Syndrome, a paralysis of multiple cranial nerves that prevents smiling. This is part of the Society’s focus on ableism this term. 

Last week, I sent a link to our recent article in The Times Educational Supplement on the school’s work to promote creative thinking. This week, we were the focus of a feature article in Muddy Stilettos to mark International Women’s Day, which can be read here.  

I am excited about our King’s Links event tomorrow, in which over 80 students have signed up to hear from recent leavers now studying at over 25 leading universities in the UK and overseas. It promises to be a fascinating event. 

Today is the final day of our lateral-flow testing programme in school as we move on to the home testing programme for students. Thank you again for your ongoing support of these important measures to keep our community as safe as possible. 

I hope that you are all looking forward to our online KHAPS family quiz on Friday 19 March. A letter has been sent out with more details on how to sign up and take part in this social event. 

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 5 March 2021

Dear Parents, 

It has been a tremendously positive week at King’s High as we look forward to the return of our students on Monday. In our assembly this morning, I congratulated the school on the creativity, community spirit, resilience and commitment that has characterised life during lockdown. We marked the final day of online learning by celebrating the way in which the whole community has come together and reached out to one another in kindness and support.  

A notable example of this has been the volunteer help for our lateral-flow testing programme, which has been very successful so far. I am very grateful to the parents and staff who are supporting with this important endeavour. It has been a delight to be able to meet and talk to more students as they come in for their tests.  

As part of this superb community endeavour, our KHAPS Committee has been making exciting plans to bring us all together for an online fun family quiz. I hope that you will be able to join us all for this on Friday 19 March at 7pm. We will send more details next week via a letter to parents – there will be a £10 entry fee per household and I will send out the link to the remote event in my Friday mailing on 19 March. I hope that as many of you as possible will join us then.  

We were delighted to have our pioneering work on creative thinking showcased in the Times Educational Supplement this week, and to feature on their educational podcast. Dr Seal and I discussed our Certificate in Creating Thinking and engaged in the debate about whether creativity can be taught. At King’s High we see that it most certainly can and we also see how powerful this can be. This is part of our wider body of work to establish our school as a national flagship centre for creative thinking. The article can be read in full here. 

We celebrated World Book Day in style yesterday with a fantastic assembly, reading challenges, house competitions, literary baking tasks, and the excitement of recreating famous literary moments. This worked in tandem with our Wellbeing Programme, which has been a great success, as students had dedicated time to read for pleasure and to take part in the challenges.  

We are very much looking forward to British Science Week from 8 March. We have a fantastic programme of events from ‘Smashing Stereotypes in Space’ to expert visiting speakers, including Dr Andrew Bassett from The Wellcome Sanger Institute to talk about genetic diseases and Dr Bethan Grist from Coventry University to talk about sustainability and science. The full programme for this festival can be accessed here.  

Some quick dates for the diary: on Thursday 11 March at 5:30pm we have a Futures Talk about veterinary science, with advice on university applications and insights into the profession from experts; on 18 March at 7pm we have our Landor Association Law Careers Evening. This is quickly followed by the KHAPS Family Quiz on 19 March and the first event in our Drama Masterclass Series with a talk from actress Nadia Parkes on 22 March at 7pm.  

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support. We are all looking forward very much to welcoming your daughters back to school next week. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 26 February 2021

Dear Parents, 

It has been such a busy and exciting first week of the half term. The government announcement of the return of schools from Monday 8 March has given us all a great boost as we look forward to the school coming together once again in person. I am looking forward greatly to seeing all our students and to welcoming them back to King’s High after our national lockdown. With the onset of Spring, the continued success of the vaccine rollout, and the return of schools in a little over a week’s time, there are many things to inspire a sense of hope and optimism.  

We have also enjoyed a fantastic array of talks and events this week. The Paralympic 100m medallist and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, Karé Adenegan, inspired us all with a superb assembly to encourage us to pursue our dreams; our World Literature Reading Group continued its discussions of the work of Count Miklós Bánffy; The History Society hosted the writer Nicholas Milton, who spoke about his recent book, Neville Chamberlain’s Legacy; the choral specialists, Ex Cathedra, joined us remotely to inspire us into song; and The Hobbs Society, as part of its focus on ableism, welcomed Nicola Enoch, who spoke about her experiences of bringing up a child with Down’s Syndrome.  

Our new Wellbeing Programme has been a huge success. Students across the school benefited greatly from dedicated time away from screens to do craftwork, art, writing, reading, nature walks, cooking, photography and much more besides. Today is ‘Feel Good Friday’ in which we focus on the importance of doing things for others and the impact that this can have on our own wellbeing, as well as that of others. Our excellent Sports Department has launched an exciting Lockdown 3.0 Challenge packed full of activities, to support Mind, a charity dedicated to mental health support – details can be found here.  

I would like to draw your attention to two exciting forthcoming events: on Saturday 13 March we have our Virtual King’s Links event in which students have an opportunity to talk to over twenty-five recent King’s High leavers studying at a range of universities across the UK and overseas. We also look ahead to our Landor Association Law Careers Evening on the evening of Thursday 18 March, at which we have an array of distinguished legal experts speaking to our students and wider community. 

Thank you again for your continued support and I wish you all a very happy weekend. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 12 February 2021

Dear Parents, 

I hope that you and your daughters are safe and well. We have now arrived at the end of what has been an exceptional half term in so many ways. As I emphasised in my assembly this morning, I feel an enormous sense of pride in what the students and staff have achieved. Despite challenging circumstances, the whole school community has come together and worked incredibly hard to ensure that the spirit of the school is strong and that every student is supported, engaged and inspired. 

Our focus on wellbeing is central to all that we do. Following the recent launch of our Foundation Wellbeing Hub, our Wellbeing Prefects addressed school in assembly to talk more about our programme to promote positive mental and physical health after half term. The outline of this exciting new programme can be accessed here and further details will be shared with students. The aim is to encourage a positive impact on student wellbeing by spending time away from screens each week, engaged in a range of exciting practical, creative and physical activities. 

We have celebrated some excellent achievements this week: Lucy in Upper Sixth secured a very prestigious degree apprenticeship at The Dyson Institute for Engineering and Technology, one of several students in recent years to opt for this exciting new post-A Level pathway. Flo in Upper Sixth secured offers at top conservatoires across the country, opting to take up a place at the Royal College of Music in London. Grace, also in Upper Sixth, has achieved a prestigious Distinction in her Diploma for the ABRSM on the flute. This qualification is highly regarded, and her achievement is outstanding. There has been much to celebrate in terms of the cultural and creative endeavours of our students. Below you will find a link to watch the second of our Musical Horizons Concerts, featuring wind and brass players, alongside a theatrical treat from our LAMDA students to showcase their excellent recent work. 

We greatly look forward to the return of our students to school in person. We expect a government update on this on 22 February and, in the same week, we expect to have the outcome from OfQual’s consultation on GCSEs and A Levels. It was a pleasure for us to run our Parent Information Events this week for Year 11 and Upper Sixth, with updates on the current landscape for exam years. 

I would like to draw your attention to two dates for the diary with a focus on the creative arts. You are warmly invited to attend a talk on 22 March at 7pm from Old Girl Nadia Parkes, an acclaimed actress who will talk about her career in film and TV. You are also invited to a talk on 27 April at 7pm from another alumna, Ronay Poole, a theatre and film actress. Both speakers will give specialist masterclasses to students following their talks and sign up details will be sent out nearer the time. 

Thank you again for all you have done to support your daughters and the school.  

I wish you all a very happy half term week and thank you for your continued support. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 5 February 2021

Dear Parents, 

We are at the end of another busy week at King’s High, with only one more week to go before we break up for the half term holiday.  

It has been an important week in so many respects. I am delighted to extend a very warm welcome to The Kingsley School who, as you will know, has joined our Foundation family of schools.  

This week our focus has been on mental health and wellbeing to promote Children’s Mental Health Week. As part of this, we launched our new Foundation Wellbeing Hub with some fantastic resources for students and parents, whilst also engaging in a range of related activities during form and House meetings. Self-expression was the theme for the week and, in my assembly this morning, I encouraged students to take opportunities to express their true selves and to encourage others in this also. Next week, we will launch an exciting wellbeing lockdown programme to encourage students to try something different and to spend time away from their screens. I hope that parents also will join in and make the most of the activities we advertised in last week’s newsletter, ranging from music to dance-fitness and cook-along to book club.  

There have been other exciting developments this week. Our new Art and Design Society hosted Minty Sainsbury, a London based artist specialising in architectural pencil drawings, and over fifty students were treated to a superb and inspiring talk; our RSC Shadowing Programme had record numbers for the mid-week showing of The Globe’s Macbeth; and a large number of talented linguists took part in the UK Linguistics Olympiad. This afternoon, we were delighted to welcome our prospective Year 6 students to a virtual tea with lots of fun and activities.  

Next week, we look ahead to the Landor Association Programme for Living and Learning in Lockdown, with virtual tours, a range of talks, a coffee morning and the launch of our new book club. We also look ahead to our evening updates on Wednesday and Thursday for Year 11 and Upper Sixth parents on the current situation with GCSEs and A Levels.  

Thank you for your support of your daughters and the wider school community – this is greatly appreciated by us all. I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support.  

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 29 January 2021

Dear Parents, 

I hope that you and your daughters have had a good week. We were excited to start our week under a light blanket of snow and with our King’s High quad looking particularly beautiful, basked in sunlight, snow and ice. This inspired an impromptu house challenge for the best snowmen and snowscape pictures. I was delighted with the responses from both students and staff and have shared some of these images with you below.  

We are mindful of the different circumstances of home life during the lockdown period and are planning to offer a number of weekly opportunities for you to try something different! These sessions will run from the week of 8 February through to the week of 8 March in the first instance, with a week off for the half-term break. In order to help with planning, please complete this form if you are interested in taking part. Links to the sessions will be sent at the start of each week.  

As term continues briskly, we have enjoyed some special highlights this week. Felicity Bee’s Landor Association Lecture was uplifting and inspiring and, for anyone who missed the event on Tuesday, I encourage you to watch via the link here. Felicity offered such positivity, confidence and hope – she is a tremendous role model for our students.  

Last night, we enjoyed a superb Higher Education Evening to launch our Lower Sixth students on an exciting journey to explore future pathways and options. Following specialist talks from our expert staff on UCAS, Oxbridge, Degree Apprenticeships, and Overseas Universities, we then moved on to virtual break-out rooms for more detailed presentations in key areas. 

This morning’s whole-school assembly marked Climate in Action Day, with a lovely presentation from Rachel in Lower Sixth, filled with practical ideas, tips and challenges on how to help conservation efforts and safeguard the environment. I followed this with a short talk about important environmental changemakers from Rachel Carson, marine biologist and author of Silent Spring, to Greta Thunberg and her more recent work to protect the planet.  

We marked Holocaust Memorial Day on Thursday with a powerful assembly by Judith Hayman, second generation holocaust survivor, who spoke about her family experiences and urged us to remember the collective effort needed from us all to provide the light and be the light to others.  

Another notable moment this week was the inaugural meeting of our Foundation Working Party. Students from King's High and Warwick met to discuss inclusivity and representation in the school curriculum. Following their focus on racism last term, the group is now starting to consider equality in a broader sense. Conversations touched on each of the protected characteristics and the importance of promoting acceptance, empathy and understanding. 

I have been delighted to close our whole-school assemblies with student musical performances: today, Jenna played Delibes’ The Flower Duet from Lakme on the oboe and last week Ema played Dreaming, from Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood. I sign off now with a further treat: the link to issue two of Prism, with some stunning new writing from our students.  

I wish you all a very happy weekend and thank you for your continued support. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 22 January 2021

Dear Parents, 

I hope that you and your daughters have had a positive week as we progress through our Spring Term. Life at King’s High continues to be as full and busy as ever with a fantastic range of opportunities both inside and outside the virtual classroom.  

We have continued with our changemaker theme this week, encouraging our students to consider ways in which they can make a positive difference to the lives of others. In my assembly this morning, I reflected on the achievements of Kamala Harris, the new Vice President, whilst also celebrating the remarkable poetry of the young American laureate, Amanda Gorman.  

This was followed by the launch of the KHAPS Personal Achievement Awards. Students across the school are strongly encouraged to apply for a financial award to support a personal or community project that they are passionate about. This is a perfect opportunity to support the girls’ changemaker aspirations and we look forward very much to reviewing the submissions.  

I am enormously proud of the literary and creative achievements of our students. We recently celebrated the launch of a new poetry collection, A Growing World, part of a project led by Poet in Residence, Professor Gregory Leadbetter. The collection can be accessed here

This week has seen the launch of the second issue of Prism, our exciting and cutting-edge creative writing magazine, led by a superb group of students. It includes some remarkable poetry and prose of the very highest standard and we will send a link to access this shortly. 

Our focus remains very much on supporting the ambitious future aspirations of our students. We have continued with our GCSE Options programme, with a parent event on Wednesday. Next week we look forward to Higher Education Evening on Thursday, with remote speakers from a range of universities and organisations. Further details can be see here.  

As ever, our Futures Department have been busy offering excellent support and guidance – the Your Future e-Newsletter is filled with links to university and apprenticeship fairs, virtual work experience, and other events and resources. It can be accessed here

Thank you for your ongoing support during these challenging times. I wish you all a very restful weekend and hope to see many of you, remotely, for our Landor Association Lecture on Tuesday evening when we welcome the return of Felicity Bee. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 15 January 2021

Dear Parents, 

At the end of our first full week of term, I am able to reflect with great pride on the achievements and 

endeavours of our students. It has been an important week for our Year 9 students as they embark on their GCSE choices: Dr Seal’s assembly on Monday, followed by our parent talk on Wednesday, began a series of events to encourage the girls to look ahead and consider future aspirations, whilst reflecting on academic strengths and interests. Our new GCSE Options booklet is linked below and also available to view here.  

There has been a very pleasing burst of activity on many fronts this week. Our rich co-curricular programme is in full swing: today alone, aside from our Friday Activity Programme, there are fifteen groups and activities running from Challenge Sport and Environment Action to Universal Justice, Creative Writing and Wellbeing Book Club. I was also delighted to see the launch of a new reading group across King’s High and Warwick School to explore and celebrate the fiction of Miklos Bánffy (1873 – 1950), the Hungarian polymath and writer. This is a unique opportunity for our students to encounter some of the great works of European literature in translation.  

Wednesday’s Inspire Assembly focused on the value of creative thinking and intellectual curiosity, celebrating the achievements of those who entered the Three Minute Environmental Speech Challenge. This term’s challenge centres on the theme of social responsibility and the task is to design a campaign of the student’s choice to make the world a better place.  

As part of our work to promote a strong sense of social responsibility at King’s High, I explored the idea of changemakers and changemaking in our whole-school assembly this morning, discussing the achievements of Marcus Rashford, Greta Thunberg, and Alexandria Ocasia-Ortez, the youngest woman to serve in the US Congress. I encouraged all our students to reflect and consider what they can do to take proactive and creative steps to solve the social problems of our times. To read more on changemaking, do look at my latest blog.  

A quick date for the diary: our Landor Lecture is at 7pm on Tuesday 26 January and we are delighted to welcome our distinguished speaker, King’s High Old Girl Felicity Bee, who, whilst completing her studies to become a doctor, is also training for the British Olympic Bobsleigh Squad, hoping to attend the winter Olympics in Beijing 2022 and Milan 2026. Please register here

Thank you for your ongoing support of your daughters and the school in these challenging times and I hope you all have a very good weekend. 

Yours sincerely,  

Dr Burley 

Head Master 

Friday 8 January 2021

Dear Parents, 

What a remarkable week it has been! From the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening, the start of another national lockdown, and then the events in Washington DC, it’s hard to conceive of an equivalent moment in recent times. 

I know all too well that such uncertainty can place great pressure on individuals, families and communities and my message to students in our first assembly of 2021 was to care for one another, to support one another, and to reach out to connect with others. Our Wellbeing Ambassadors followed this with a superb presentation on the 5Cs of mental and emotional wellbeing, the slides from which have been uploaded to News

I am enormously proud of the whole school community for the way we have been able to adapt so swiftly to a rapidly changing situation. Despite the challenges of Covid, it has been an incredibly positive start to term. Our remote school is thriving and, as I write, students are engaged in a fantastic range of Friday afternoon activities from Greek or Mandarin to CCF and the Ivy House Leadership Award. 

I have selected highlights below to give you a flavour of some of the things happening inside and outside the remote classroom. Our new and exciting Inspire Programme for the Spring Term is linked below and you can access our superb Beyond the Classroom booklet on the portal

The spirit of the school remains incredibly strong and students, staff, parents, and governors have done a tremendous job to enable such a smooth start to term. I have felt great pride in our students, who have handled the uncertainty and change with great spirit and resilience. I was delighted to learn about new, student-led and student-inspired societies: the Art and Design Society and the Interfaith Council. Amidst the restrictions, the students are seizing opportunities and taking the initiative. 

There are, of course, questions about GCSEs and A Levels and we will update parents as soon as we have more information. Our absolute priority is our students and we will ensure that they have the very best support throughout this process. 

I wish you all the very best for the New Year and hope that you can have a happy and restful weekend. 

Your sincerely, 

Dr Burley 

Head Master