Streatham & Clapham High School GDST

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Streatham & Clapham High School GDST'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 Streatham & Clapham High School GDST 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
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Head Master Dr Millan Sachania
The award-winng new
entrance to the school
Streatham & Clapham High School GDST places creativity
at the heart of its endeavour. From its curriculum through
to its focus on performing arts, the development of critical
thinking and imaginative engagement are ever present. This is
underpinned by the freedom awarded to teachers to venture
far beyond the tramlines of a narrow or prescriptive curriculum,
as demonstrated by its Kinza programme: every Wednesday
teachers stop teaching their normal subjects and focus on
purveying their other enthusiasms to the pupils. The school’s Head
Master, music scholar and concert pianist Dr Millan Sachania tells
The Parliamentary Review
about this emphasis on creativity and
how he and his colleagues strive to prepare their pupils for an
uncertain future.
For me, the creative impulse is at the heart of my educational mission. This derives
from my own background: prior to my career as a schoolmaster and a head, I
completed a doctorate in music history at the University of Cambridge, supervising
music undergraduates and performing as a concert pianist. As with all the arts,
music develops the essential skills of evaluation and interpretation that are required
for appreciating the human condition and living within a reality that is complex and
non-binary. It is for this reason that we place the power of creativity at the heart
of our curriculum, embracing the STEM subjects in this endeavour as much as the
humanities and the physical and artistic disciplines.
»Head Master: Dr Millan Sachania
»Established in 1887
»Based in Streatham, London
»Type: Independent girls’ senior
and prep
»No. of pupils: 760
Streatham & Clapham
High School GDST
Highlighting best practice
We are an independent, academically
selective girls’ school, one of the
earliest schools established by the Girls’
Day School Trust, a collection of 23
independent girls’ schools and two
academies founded in the late 19th
century to provide girls with access
to the same standard of education
as their male counterparts. As one
of the earliest Trust schools, we truly
embody its spirit: to empower girls to
learn without limits. Dame Millicent
Fawcett sent her daughter to our
school and we remain a Suffragist
foundation: our school colours are
those of the Suffrage movement and
we take great pride in being pioneers
in girls’education.
A total focus on creativity
The school’s specialist enrichment
programme, known as “Kinza”, Arabic
for “hidden treasure”, exemplifies our
mission to go beyond the traditional
curriculum. Every Wednesday
afternoon, all teachers leave behind
their normal curricular disciplines and
engage pupils with their other personal
interests and enthusiasms, for instance
animation, mindfulness, cosmology,
Kiwi culture, origami, ceramics and
Japanese stage combat. Through these
weekly Kinza sessions, each pupil has
the opportunity to explore various
types of subject enrichment freely,
with no examination pressure at the
end, all the while enjoying the process
of learning, developing new skills
and collaborating with a variety of
younger and older peers and teachers.
The subjects on offer provide a wide
spectrum of choice, enabling each girl
to discover a new interest or activity,
which in turn develops confidence,
self-belief and self-esteem – pressing
issues for many adolescent girls. On
a personal level, I make a point of
demonstrating to our pupils that they
all can do a myriad of things that I
cannot. For it is surely by modelling our
own fallibility and strengths as teachers
that we can encourage and challenge
our pupils to discover and come to
terms with their own.
Embedding creativity into the
If creative endeavour lies at the heart
of the learning process, then so does
taking risks. Without embracing
risk, creative enterprise is futile and
meaningless; without occasional failure
it is impossible to develop resilience
and the skills required for success. All
composers will write pieces of variable
quality; all professional pianists will give
less-than-satisfactory performances. It
is far better to push the limits of what
can be achieved than not to embark
on an activity for fear of failure. My
mission in education is to free pupils of
such inhibitions, forlife.
Performing arts are embedded deeply
into our offer. We regularly stage
operas, plays and musicals, while
our choirs perform at Southwark
The school production of
in February 2019
I make a
point of
to our pupils
that they can
do a myriad of
things that I
Cathedral. We have also just
instigated the Sadie Crawford Music
Scholarship, named after an inspiring
female jazz pioneer who was born in
nearby Tooting. Sadie was intrepid in
travelling the world, including pre-
revolutionary Russia, South America,
Australia, New Zealand, Europe and
the USA, performing vaudeville and
jazz at a time when such travel was
difficult at the best of times, let alone
for women. Her personality represents
the characteristics that we seek to
develop in all our pupils: a pioneering
spirit, the ambition to reach beyond
convention, impeccably high standards
and an appetite for adventure.
As such, I am delighted that our pupils
enjoy experimenting at the cutting
edge of artistic practice. This includes
their endeavour in media such as iPad
art, which has gained widespread
recognition through David Hockney’s
work. Equally, our theatre students are
now collaborating with the Streatham
Space Project, a community theatre
which hosts both standard and
experimental productions. Crucially, this
creative expression is not just confined
to the arts. Recently, our pupils have
showcased their creativity via science
competitions at institutions such as
Imperial College, for instance through
their design for a water filter, made
from recycled materials, that could be
cheaply and effectively used in some of
the most disadvantaged countries.
Preparing for tomorrow’s world
One of the main challenges we face as
educators is ensuring that we prepare
our students for the future – a world
governed by the tides of disruption,
challenge and volatility. By instilling in
our pupils a strong measure of self-
belief and the ability to evaluate multiple
and competing “truths”, we hope they
may go on not only to respond positively
to the demands of a world in flux but
also to become pioneering forces of
change for the greater good. Essential
to this is the development of their
social, cognitive and meta-cognitive
skills. For, in order to respond effectively
to problems that do not yet exist, it
is essential that our young women
nurture both creativity and their high-
level critical-thinkingfaculties.
We are restless in our quest for new
ways to develop the female voice,
engaging our young women with the
major issues of the day and calibrating
the learning environment to our girls’
needs. Reaching out to as many girls
as possible is for us a moral imperative,
for instance through the extension
of our bursary programme, teaching
Classics to students in maintained
schools and partnering with a local
state school to launch a Combined
Cadet Force. Above all, championing
creativity, innovation, and unfettered
thought are the proud ensigns of our
school. We aspire to raise them even
higher in years to come.
thought are
the proud
ensigns of our
Our senior school all-
weather hockey pitch

This article was sponsored by Streatham & Clapham High School GDST. 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 Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development