Academic Curriculum

Encouraging adventurous, innovative and confident learners

At Berkhamsted Girls we encourage our girls to be adventurous, innovative and confident in their academic studies, empowering them to aim high with integrity – both academically and personally.

We do this by combining exceptionally high-quality teaching and state-of-the-art facilities with a personalised education encompassing a deep understanding of the girls and their individual needs.

The nurturing and aspirational environment that we cultivate at Berkhamsted Girls aims to inspire the girls to follow their passions and whet their appetite for learning.

“Pupils’ achievements are excellent, both academic and otherwise, due to the school ensuring that there are opportunities for pupils of all abilities to participate, and for the most able to excel.”

—ISI Report

 

Our aim is to nurture our pupils into becoming outstanding young people by creating a life-balance between academic work and extra-curricular activities. Our close links with schools in our community and further afield enables Berkhamsted pupils to develop an awareness and understanding of the wider world.

Sixth Formers introduce celebrating excellence in 2022

Orlando and Rebecca

Head Boy and Head Girl 2021-2022

A learning-powered school

At Berkhamsted Girls the pupils adopt a “Building Learning Power” BLP approach to learning.

Children need time and space to develop critical thinking skills and BLP creates a learning friendly classroom culture, encouraging pupils to be innovative, confident, curious and independent learners.

Our staff create a classroom environment that will enable your daughter to become a lifelong learner, facing any future difficulty calmly and creatively.

At Berkhamsted Girls we see the positive impact of BLP on our girls on a daily basis. Our pupils:

  • Understand the different roles that need to be deployed when working together as a team in the classroom. We work to identify and utilise the girls’ complementary strengths to resolve any conflict within the team
  • Can explain how different topics and subjects are related and rely on each other
  • Know how to improve their communication using active listening and to respond with empathy, understanding and compassion – even when they disagree
  • Are able to spot patterns and identify the big picture as well as the fine detail
  • Develop strength and resilience by learning how to implement strategies so that they can view any failure as a valuable learning opportunity
  • Learn how to use questioning as a powerful way of learning by asking probing and insightful questions to mature their understanding and encourage innovative thinking
  • Understand the importance of planning ahead and reviewing progress regularly

These skills equip your daughter with the learning habits and skills she will need to thrive in the 21st century. They also provide the ability for your daughter to take control of her own learning, identifying learning habits and areas where she has made progress and also where she needs to improve.

Our focus on developing independent learning can be seen in many aspects of school life such as Learning Consultations and regular pupil self-reviews.

Why do we offer Building Learning Power?

If you would like to know more about BLP, talk to our girls when you visit our School. We believe they provide the best example of the benefits of Building Learning Power.

Why do we offer Building Learning Power?

Estimates now suggest that two-thirds of current school pupils will end up working in roles that don’t yet exist. Teenagers today are expected to have had between 10-15 different jobs by the time they are 40.

Where focus exists concurrently, progress will be made. In addition, establishing the concept of ‘learnable intelligence’ will stimulate independent learning, which in turn will allow pupils to develop their resilience and flexibility when confronted with difficulty.

We believe these core skills will benefit our pupils as they move through the school and beyond, onto university or an apprenticeship then into the workplace.

Our chosen BLP dispositions

We have chosen dispositions which, between them, represent four areas of development:

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Strategic

Our chosen dispositions are:

Persevere
Explore
Notice
Plan
Question
Review
Link
Collaborate
Reason
Listen
Each disposition is then further subdivided to provide our teachers with opportunities to provide targeted interventions to help each pupil develop their ability to become reflective, independent and interdependent learners.

GCSE Choices

At Berkhamsted Girls the curriculum provides a broad and balanced education. From September 2021 Berkhamsted is making some innovative changes to the Key Stage 4 Curriculum. As part of these changes, pupils will now take three core GCSE subjects (English Literature, English Language and Maths) and alongside this have the option to choose six further subjects (one of which must be a Science). In order to keep breadth in their academic portfolio, pupils are encouraged to choose at least one language, one humanity subject and one creative subject as part of their option choices.

For some pupils there will, in addition, be the opportunity to join an Ad Science group that will undertake all three Sciences but only use two GCSE option choices. Furthermore, the most able Mathematicians will be invited to take Ad Maths GCSE. These additional options mean that some pupils will take up to 11 GCSE option choices.

Alongside their GCSE subjects, pupils will take part in the Learning Pathway Programme – an in-house curriculum designed to allow pupils to develop key skills in preparation for A level study and beyond. Some pupils will also be invited to complete an HPQ project (equivalent of ½ a GCSE).

To hear more about this change to the curriculum please watch the video below from our Vice Principal, Mr Andy Ford, who explains why Berkhamsted has introduced this new way of learning.

Further details of the pathways and the subject choices can be found in the GCSE Information Booklet. 

We fully support and encourage every pupil throughout the exam process, making sure that the girls’ wellbeing is a priority.

The girls are taught how to be resilient – to prepare for their exams mentally as well as academically. Our staff are always on hand to discuss any worries or concerns your daughter may have.

We are proud that our pupils achieve excellent exam results with the School’s full support and encouragement.

One of the Schools’ values is to ‘aim high’ and this approach promotes a growth mindset. We seek to equip pupils with the ability to understand their own capacity for success if they work hard. In this way, our girls are motivated to take an extra step academically, challenging themselves to exceed their own expectations.

Pupils at Berkhamsted Girls are also taught to see that hard work together with a positive mindset can achieve exceptional results both inside and outside the classroom, whether on the sports pitch, the stage or in co-curricular subjects. This well-rounded approach to education sets our pupils apart in an Oxbridge interview.

During the GCSE years, we encourage our pupils to continue to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities as these additional achievements and commitments not only provide an all-round education, but they also help to minimise GCSE exam stress and promote good mental health.

 

Learning Leaders

Watch the video below to find out what our current Sixth Formers have said about the new Learning Pathway programme and how they feel it will benefit the pupils entering Year 10.

Pupils show pronounced and highly effective study skills, appropriate to their age. Strong research skills are evident in many examples of project work, and older pupils, in particular, show excellent ability to assimilate and analyse a wide range of sources.

—ISI Report

Digital Device Provision

Our core mission is to prepare young people for the world in which they will live, study and work. Educational research shows that putting students at the heart of their own learning helps develop strong metacognition, and digital tools enhance enquiry, collaboration, organisation and self-direction. Students value the opportunity to develop these skills, and will benefit in their future lives from a strong blend of digital and analogue literacies.

At Berkhamsted, we believe that digital devices have an important part to play in creating engaging lessons in the classroom. We also aim for students’ learning beyond the physical classroom to be as rich and intellectually stimulating as possible; capitalising on the interactivity and immediacy of our suite of tools. Pupil devices allow for a seamless learning experience between School and home, and the best possible resilience against disruption to education.

Watch the video to see the students experiencing the change to learning Microsoft devices have provided in the classroom.

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Friday 23 September
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Ambitious go-getters who are always looking for ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd, and want to get the absolute utmost from the education and opportunities available to them.

Strong research skills are evident in many examples of project work, and older pupils, in particular, show excellent ability to assimilate and analyse a wide range of sources.

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