We are committed to excelling in all that we do and expect our girls to share and exhibit those same high standards for themselves. We aim for and achieve outstanding academic results but are equally concerned to foster creativity, to encourage courtesy and sensitivity towards others and to develop self-discipline, self-motivation and self-confidence. This stems from our belief that qualifications are what our girls get; they do not define who they are and will play only a part in shaping who they become.
Our academic curriculum, therefore, is only a part of what we do. We also encourage all our girls to explore other interests and to take part in the wider life of the school through our many co-curricular opportunities – be that debating society, music, dance, drama, sports, Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh award, Combined Cadet Force (CCF)…..the list goes on.
We believe this is in an incredibly important part of education. Being part of a club, a team, a cast or orchestra requires teamwork and commitment. It develops self-confidence and, simply, can allow us all to grow and flourish in other arenas. This belief in the power of co-curricular activities drives our thinking. Girls therefore do not complete an excessive amount of qualifications. Typically, students sit 10 x GCSE and a further 3 A-levels. This allows time to focus efforts on achieving the very highest grades within these but also time to participate in other activities and interests – both at school and at home. Additionally, and importantly, there is also time to spend with friends and family. We feel a sensible balance - with girls able to excel and explore in the classroom but also on the stage, the sports field, the concert hall......Time, too, to just be a child/teenager.
So, over and above a traditional, rigorous, academic curriculum all girls will take part in a personal challenge. It could be rock climbing on our climbing wall, mountain biking on our bike trail or taking part in the big school production. We call it the FSGBacc and it is at the very heart of what we do because our job is not to prepare our girls for exams; it is to prepare them for life.
A 2008 report published by Ofsted, on ‘Learning outside of the classroom’ acknowledged that ‘learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils personal, social and emotional development’ and that ‘memorable activities lead to memorable learning’.
It concludes that ‘the most effectively led, managed and confident schools included ‘Learning outside of the Classroom’ as an integrated part of a well-planned effective curriculum’
Our international outlook is equally vital to our ethos and values. We have links with schools in France, Spain, Cuba, Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Lebanon. We want our girls to know that as human beings there is much more that unites us than divides us. Our work and success in this area over the past year in particular has only made us hungry to do even more. We have reflected upon and refocused our views so that our curriculum should not just interest and inspire the girls, not just reflect and respond and be relevant to the world we live in but that we need to be much more ambitious; that the curriculum we teach should help to shape the world for the better;
We encourage our girls to aspire, to find out who they are, what kind of person they want to be and to develop their strengths across a broad spectrum of activities. Our aim is to provide an outstanding academic curriculum, outstanding teaching and outstanding opportunities and experiences to ensure our girls leave as well-qualified and well-rounded young women. They will have a strong academic portfolio of qualifications, highly-developed interpersonal skills, a broad range of interests and are well prepared to pursue varied and fulfilling careers and to take on the world!
We are demonstrably successful in achieving our aims with Ofsted ‘outstanding’ status, performance tables and other awards and accolades for student achievement a clear indication of our successes. Yet we are no examination factory. We remain a happy, relaxed, positive, kind and caring school. There is also one word, hitherto unmentioned, which is at the centre of everything in our school. It is a word which appears on every page of our prospectus and which many schools, in the United Kingdom certainly, seem to have lost sight of. That word is FUN. We want school to be fun. We want the girls to have fun. They are after all still children and so when we built our mountain bike trail and our climbing wall, our radio station, our indoor archery space, when we invested in our Combined Cadet Force contingent or in Young Enterprise or Duke of Edinburgh – as much as these were to develop interests and hobbies and soft skills like teamwork, leadership, communication they were also about fun. About developing a healthy balance between working hard and playing hard; about making new friends, trying new things, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and flourishing in another arena beyond solely the academic. They are also just fun!
Our school website provides additional information about our vision for a truly outstanding education. I refer you in particular to the curriculum section which details our rationale for what we do and why we think it’s so important and to the links which stem from this section. Here you will find information booklets for every year group. These cover not only what is covered in each subject over the year but also key information about each year group – such as who’s who, key dates and even suggested reading lists – as identified by our very own staff! I also refer you to the FSGBacc booklet which lists all the enrichment/development opportunities provided and why we believe personal development and character education are so vital. I suggest too a visit to our ‘international outlook’ section.
Our website provides only a glimpse of what makes our school so special. A real appreciation of our school and our ethos can only come through visiting us and seeing us in action - preparing our girls today for a world full of possibilities tomorrow
Our ambition for our school is to be the best in the world; nothing less. To be world leading and world changing. To know the whole child/every child. To have a curriculum which develops and affects the whole child/every child.
Our ambition for our girls, your daughters, is that they leave us after seven years well qualified and well rounded; intellect and character. They will feel ten feet tall, be bold and spectacular. They will have the knowledge, the skills, the drive, the courage, the wisdom, the optimism and the values to change the world for the better.
We are a school that focuses on intellect and character. This is who we are. This is what we do. We are extremely proud of it.