Academic overview

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Academic Overview

At Berkhamsted Girls your daughter will be encouraged to be both ambitious and compassionate, secure in the knowledge that she has the skills, ability, talent and support to achieve anything she sets her mind to.

We empower our girls to be adventurous, innovative and confident in their academic studies with a motivation and drive to lead a fulfilled life. We encourage the girls 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.

We pride ourselves on the warm and welcoming environment that we cultivate at Berkhamsted Girls. We believe that in doing so, we present a good example for the girls to follow and provide female inspiration that encourages success.

The bonds and values formed at Berkhamsted Girls are lifelong. We seek to inspire and fortify the girls to enliven their interests and their appetite for learning.

Our aim is to nurture our students into becoming remarkable people by creating a life-balance between academic work, extra-curricular activities and service to the community.

 

 

 

 

 

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Academic Enrichment

At Berkhamsted Girls, the most important thing for us is that your daughter’s talents and interests are recognised, supported and encouraged.

Our student-centred brochure, HORIZONS, invites pupils at Berkhamsted Girls to explore the range of enrichment activities available inside and outside the school.

We encourage adventurous learners, so your daughter will find a huge range of enjoyable academic enrichment opportunities available to her, from essay competitions, clubs and excursions, to reading recommendations, conundrums and challenges.

GCSE Options

At Berkhamsted Girls, the core GCSE curriculum includes:

English Literature English Language
Mathematics Biology
Chemistry Physics
Religious Studies (short course)

Pupils study four GCSE options from:

 

History Music
Geography Drama
French Art
Spanish Design and Technology
Mandarin Physical Education
Latin / Classics Religious Studies (full course)

 

IGCSEs are undertaken in:

English Mathematics
Modern Foreign Languages The Sciences
History Religious Studies (full course)

 

Please note that the list of courses offered is subject to change at the Principal’s discretion.

At Berkhamsted Girls we fully support and encourage every student throughout the exam process, making sure that the girls’ wellbeing is a priority and stress and anxiety are avoided.

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.

In 2018, 43.5% of all results were graded at A* or 8/9, and 69% passed with Grades 7/A and above.

The values of Berkhamsted Girls are reflected in our value to ‘aim high’ to promote a growth mindset. The effort students put in is praised, leading students 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 can achieve exceptional results outside the classroom, whether on the sports pitch, the stage or in co-curricular subjects. This well-rounded approach to education sets our students apart in an Oxbridge interview.

We also value being adventurous, with many GCSE students completing their Duke of Edinburgh Award during Year 11.

These extra-curricular achievements and commitments not only provide an all-round education, but they also help to minimise GCSE exam stress and promote good mental health.

A-Level Options

Pupils from Berkhamsted Girls move up to Sixth Form, where they choose from 27 core A-Level courses:

Art, Craft and Design Mathematics
Biology Further Mathematics
Business Studies Media Studies
Chemistry Music
Classical Civilisation Philosophy and Ethics
Design and Technology Photography
Drama and Theatre Studies Physical Education
Economics Physics
English Literature Psychology
English Language and Literature Government and Politics
French Sociology
Geography Spanish
German
History
Latin

We encourage students at Berkhamsted Sixth to study three subjects at A-Level, although in some circumstances pupils may study four or more subjects.

In 2018, over 40% of the A-Level grades achieved by our Sixth Form students were A*s and As.

The majority of our students earned a place at their first choice of university, taking up places at the top institutions in the UK including Oxford, Cambridge and the Russell Group universities.

In addition to achieving their best A-Level results we also develop your daughter’s soft skills, which are now highly sought after by universities and employers.

Designed to develop motivation and resilience, the soft skills we teach at Berkhamsted include leadership, problem solving, time management, conflict resolution and the ability to work under pressure.

We also offer our Sixth Form students their option to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or study for a Mini MBA to challenge themselves.

A learning-powered school

At Berkhamsted Girls we offer our students the opportunity to study ‘Building Learning Power’ (BLP).

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

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 students:

  • 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.

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.

Learning Support

At Berkhamsted Girls our Learning Support department maintains a positive learning environment for every pupil, supporting the girls to perform to the best of their ability in their core academic subjects.

At Berkhamsted Girls we are aware that the needs of the girls differ and so we offer an inclusive ‘Whole School Approach’ to meet individual strengths and learning styles.

Our Learning Support department helps the students with their planning and organisation, enabling the girls to become both motivated and independent learners.

Learning support lessons are arranged on a one-to-one basis and may be subject to additional charges.

Libraries

Berkhamsted libraries offer our students a warm and friendly environment in which they can access information and support whilst they develop their knowledge.

Library-led sessions at Berkhamsted Girls are established within the Key Stage Three curriculum and help the girls to develop skills such as how to research, which is vital for their lifelong learning.

Reading

There is a strong connection between reading skills and academic success and we believe it is important that our students see reading as a pleasurable activity. We have a large selection of books within our libraries, ensuring they are able to read about any subject or genre they are passionate about.

As well as providing students’ mental stimulation, expanding vocabulary and improving concentration and focus, reading also reduces stress and anxiety.

Throughout the year our libraries collaborate with our academic departments to organise activities and celebrate events. Our younger girls will also benefit from storyteller and author visits to bring books to life, which will serve to spark their imagination and inspire them with their own creative writing.

Research Skills and Project Work

Our library staff help to develop students’ research skills in Year 7 providing access to a variety of electronic databases containing reliable and scholarly content on a range of topics to support students with project and course work.