Coombe Girls School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Coombe Girls School's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Coombe Girls School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Highlighting best practice
Andy Platt, head teacher
Students become more confident in their abilities
and positively challenge their expectations
Preparing you for a world of opportunity.” This is a
statement that has permeated the very foundations
of Coombe Girls’ School and one that has endured as
hundreds of successful students have graduated and taken their
place in this world of opportunity.
What a year 7 pupil’s future will look like after they arrive through our doors is hard
to tell. The rapid pace of technological change means that many of our students
will be working in jobs we cannot even imagine yet. For pupils at our school who
have been well equipped to prosper in this challenging new world, however, it’s a
wonderfully exciting prospect.
A pillar of the community
Since our establishment in 1955, we have become a well-loved institution,
providing an excellent education for generations of girls. Building on our long
tradition of success and with an ambitious vision of the future, we are locally
renowned and proud to be included among the very best schools in the country.
We are an oversubscribed, single-sex, multi-ethnic and 11 to 19 school with a
mixed sixth form. We are non-selective and inclusive within the Royal Borough
of Kingston upon Thames, which includes two grammar schools. We have eight
forms of entry, have held two specialisms and have been active in a very successful
independent–state school partnership since 2003 with King’s College School
Our sense of togetherness is a precious quality at Coombe. The school is a thriving
community to which we all belong. We have strong links within the community,
»Head teacher: Andy Platt
»Founded in 1956
»Based in Kingston upon
»Type of school:
Comprehensive academy for
students aged 11-18
»No. of students: 1,345
»Ofsted: “Outstanding” in all
Coombe Girls’ School
our keen sense of which has resulted
in the formation of a strong tapestry of
educational links and partnerships that
allow us to share knowledge, expertise
and best practice. It is a collaboration
between students, parents and carers,
universities, other schools, local and
national organisations and a plethora
of partners that help us to constantly
develop and evolve. Partnerships are
reciprocal and model the community in
which our students thrive.
In 2006, we were designated a High
Performing Specialist School; in 2002
then again in 2007, a Modern Foreign
Languages Specialist School and a
Leading Edge School in 2003 then
again in 2007. In addition, we became
a Training School in September 2007
and have retained Investors in People
status for 12 years and Healthy Schools
status for over 10 years.
In May 2013, we received another
successful Ofsted inspection and were
judged to be “outstanding” for the
fourth successive time. The school
submitted an application to become
a National Teaching School; this was
successful and Coombe Girls’ School
was awarded National Teaching School
status in March 2014, effective from
September 2014.
Our school experience
Today, we have a powerful sense of
identity and purpose both at local
and national levels. Our progressive
approach and the continuing
excellence of our academic results
have attracted plenty of attention
from across the UK’s educational
community. Our expertise is welcomed
in local schools with whom we have
a close working partnership. Visitors
comment on our unique atmosphere
as being happy, friendly, united,
successful, international and forward
At the heart of the Coombe experience
is a focus on quality-first teaching.
Staff are proactive, research-engaged,
highly reflective and ambitious for
themselves and the students they
teach. Dynamic and inspiring, they
bring their subjects to life in all kinds
of ways to capture their pupils’
imaginations. They are thoroughly
dedicated individuals who always
go the extra mile to help every pupil
achieve their best. Lessons are student-
centred across a rich and balanced
curriculum and personalised around
student needs.
Ofsted said of the school: “Teaching is
of exceptionally high quality. Teachers
have high ambitions for their students.
Our practitioners build
knowledge with energy,
passion and innovation
to light imagination
are reciprocal
and model the
community in
which our
students thrive
Highlighting best practice
They support them very well to ensure
they succeed in their next stage of
education or employment.”
Teaching the right way
Our consistent delivery of student-
focused teaching creates a learning
environment where young people at
Coombe not only fulfil their academic
potential but also develop the
confidence, independence and love
of learning to help them grasp all the
opportunities that will come their way.
Every pupil is different, with different
strengths and potential. At Coombe,
we value each pupil and identify her
individual skills, needs and interests.
Then we shape our teaching to suit
them. In working closely together with
the individual, we build a personalised
learning timetable that harnesses her
strengths, motivates her and makes it
easier for her to fulfil her potential and
achieve the success she deserves.
Constant tracking helps maintain
standards and our target grade
system lets the girls keep an eye on
their progress. Regular one-to-one
reviews, backed up by academic study
skills support whenever necessary,
all add up to a personal and highly
Curriculum and the future
Our curriculum places additional
weighting on oracy and as a
consequence, Coombe girls are
confident and adept public speakers.
Being brave and learning through
failure as well as success is paramount
to making the young women of
tomorrow resilient and fulfilled. Our
students are risk-takers and enquiring
self-managers who are adaptable
and globally minded. Every single one
of our girls has the opportunity to
succeed. Achievement is woven into
the fabric and ethos of the school,
as can be seen from the continuing
excellence of our results. Our students
consistently achieve in the top 10 per
cent of thecountry.
An outstanding school is never just
about what happens inside the
classroom. Coombe has a rich cultural,
creative and sporting life with a diverse
range of clubs, events and trips that
enrich and extend girls’ learning. We
believe that anyone, child or adult,
thrives best where they feel happy,
supported and encouraged as well as
challenged to achieve their potential,
preparing them for their journey into
the world of opportunity.
Our students
are risk-takers
and enquiring
who are
adaptable and
Our personalised
approach to learning
actively encourages
ambitions to take shape

This article was sponsored by Coombe Girls School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister