Beyond The Curriculum

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Berkhamsted Girls offers pupils an education which provides them with the core academic skills and qualifications they will need to meet their future aspirations, together with the opportunity to gain the life skills and experiences that will lead to a successful future.

At Berkhamsted, we develop remarkable people. We teach our pupils to do their best in their exams, yet we also encourage them to discover interests outside of their core academic subjects with our extensive co-curricular activities.

We believe our pupils’ development comes through the struggle to achieve good results, whether in the classroom, on the stage or on the sports pitch.

Teaching with passion and commitment, our teachers encourage their pupils to stretch themselves, motivating and inspiring them to challenge their own expectations and enabling them to grow into the best possible versions of themselves as adults.

We do not shield our pupils from difficulties, rather we believe they develop by taking on challenges that are sometimes too great, learning to fail as well as to succeed.

A Berkhamsted education prepares young people exceptionally well for academic success, yet the skills and experience they gain during their time with us also ensures they leave us as well-rounded, resilient and ambitious young adults who have a sense of purpose and the motivation to succeed in the next stage of their lives.

Co-curricular subjects at Berkhamsted Girls

Art and Design

The Art and Design department at Berkhamsted Girls is highly successful, maintaining a 100% pass rate at all levels.

Art and Design is highly respected at Berkhamsted Girls – we recognise its importance in British cultural heritage and we can see the the tangible benefits for our students, many of whom have found a correlation between art and academic achievement.

We are proud that many of our pupils at Berkhamsted Girls go on to study Art at university or prestigious art colleges as the subject is advantageous for a wide variety of careers including architecture, graphic design, media, museums and galleries, the film industry or publishing.

Areas of Art and Design available to study at Berkhamsted Girls include:

  • Sculpture
  • History of Art
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Ceramics
  • Painting

Art and Design helps our students to develop a sense of innovation that will play an important part in their adult life. These subjects will also develop the girls’ independent thinking and cultural literacy.

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education at Berkhamsted Girls begins on the first week of Year 7, when every student will take part in an outdoor Bushcraft experience.

In their House groups, girls begin their outdoor education by learning how to light a fire from a spark, linking science theory with practical reality. They then cook lunch using the hot embers from the fire. We believe this is an ideal way to start at a new school, as the experience helps to develop friendships between students from the very beginning of their time with us.

Students at Berkhamsted Girls may take part in a variety of outdoor activities throughout their senior school years and into Sixth Form. Our Outdoor Education opportunities range from alternative games options to inter-house team-building events.

All Outdoor Education activities at Berkhamsted Girls are delivered by our ‘in-house’ Outdoor Education Department, supported on expeditions by other members of staff drawn from within the Berkhamsted family of schools.

At Berkhamsted Girls, we are able to offer our students alternatives to the traditional PE and games options, with activities intended to motivate and engage them. These activities are designed to spark the girls’ sense of adventure, including mountain biking, orienteering, climbing or scaling our own high ropes climbing tower.

Performing Arts

Studying Performing Arts at Berkhamsted Girls can benefit your daughter in many ways – from building her confidence and self-esteem to developing her empathy and compassion.

Every student at at Berkhamsted Girls has the opportunity to be involved in the Performing Arts – whether that is as a performer or to support their peers as a member of the audience. Every girl has the opportunity to perform at the House Music and House Drama competitions and many music and drama productions take place throughout the year.

At Berkhamsted Girls, our students have access to use a range of venues and facilities. Our fully equipped state-of-the-art Centenary Theatre seats 500, whilst venues such as our studio theatres and School Chapels are ideal for smaller-scale productions.

Our Dean’s Hall has vaulted ceilings, excellent acoustics and a spectacular stained glass window and there is a special ambience to our historical Old Hall.

Wherever your daughter performs and however large the venue, there will be a kind and encouraging atmosphere at Berkhamsted Girls.

Drama

At Berkhamsted Girls all students study Drama in Years 7, 8 and 9, with those who show an aptitude for the subject able to progress to GCSE and beyond.

We have an excellent Drama department with well-equipped facilities, offering an ongoing programme of drama productions both large and small.

We also have a large number of students who take extra drama and public speaking lessons leading to LAMDA and English Speaking Board (ESB) examinations, which are taught by several peripatetic teachers.

These are accredited examinations and the higher grades count toward points on students’ UCAS applications. There are examination sessions booked each term, often followed by a Speech and Drama Evening providing an opportunity for pupils to perform their examination work to an audience.

In Sixth Form, students regularly perform at or visit the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Berkhamsted Girls performs under the company name of Greene Shoots Theatre and has received many complimentary and favourable reviews from professional critics who have awarded productions with both four and five stars.

All the venues for Drama productions at Berkhamsted Girls have their own lighting and sound equipment and productions are enhanced by an ever-growing wardrobe, props and scenery store. Our full-time Theatre Technician ensures all productions run smoothly and is able to provide expert training to pupils who are interested in the technical and design side of drama.

Music

Berkhamsted Girls has a strong tradition in music, with flourishing choirs and orchestras. All pupils are taught Music in Years 7, 8 and 9 and many girls choose to study Music at GCSE level and beyond.
Our staff teach singing and a wide variety of instruments and we also have visiting specialist tutors.

The choirs and orchestras perform regularly throughout the year at services, concerts, informal community recitals and as part of large-scale drama productions, most of which are joint productions between senior girls and boys. The orchestras include junior and senior orchestras, various ensembles and the popular ‘Big Band’.

Berkhamsted Girls’ most talented musicians are given the opportunity to compete for the title of Young Berkhamsted Musician of the Year, which is decided by an external adjudicator each spring.

Sport

At Berkhamsted Girls we understand that physical exercise is good for the mind, body and spirit. The numerous benefits of Sport at Berkhamsted Girls include:

  • Building confidence
  • Developing character and resilience
  • Encouraging sport as a way of life, for lifelong participation
  • Reducing stress and pressure
  • Encouraging determination, goal-setting and motivation

Sport also requires memorisation, repetition and learning – all of which benefit our students academically.

The Berkhamsted Girls PE Department consists of 10 specialist teachers. We provide expert teaching and coaching, before, during and after school. To assist this programme the school employs a number of external coaches to support our major and minor sport programmes.

Impressive numbers of pupils represent the school each week in various sports and all are encouraged to be involved in competitive sport at the appropriate level.

More details on our Sports fixtures and results can be found below:

SPORT.BERKHAMSTED.COM

Trips and Outings

At Berkhamsted Girls we believe that well-designed trips and outings can achieve higher levels of academic study in every subject. When the girls get back to the classroom they are more motivated to study a subject in more depth, having had real-world experience.

Educational trips and outings can stimulate learning beyond textbooks or videos, allowing the students to practice social skills and critical thinking outside the classroom.

Our students will also gain new perspectives of the world and different cultures – especially when taking trips abroad. This encourages the students to be more ambitious while remaining compassionate about others and the world around them.

Examples of stimulating trips and outings undertaken at Berkhamsted Girls include:

  • Outings to the theatre from Year 9 to enhance a text being studied. These trips range from the West End to fringe theatres, digital theatre productions in cinemas and local theatre
  • Geography field trips – from the Olympic Park in Year 7 to river fieldwork in Year 11.
  • A visit Hampton Court in Year 8
  • A trip to London to watch a live concert performed by a professional symphony orchestra
  • A mosque visit in Year 9 to facilitate a knowledge of Islam in the modern world
  • A Year 7 trip to St Albans to visit the Abbey and a synagogue to further understand the history of religions

Residential trips are always age-appropriate and are designed to be enjoyable for our students.

Trips at Berkhamsted Girls include:

  • A Year 7 trip to Italy to Rome and the Bay of Naples to widen understanding of ancient Rome
  • A Year 9 French trip to Maison Claire Fontaine, a language and activity centre in Burgundy
  • The annual Year 10 History trip to Berlin to enhance studies on Nazi Germany and the Cold War
  • A trip to Paris in Years 10 and 11 to boost French study
  • A Year 10 and 11 Geography trip to the Azores in Portugal to study the dramatic volcanic landscape
  • The JACT Latin Summer Camp – a residential summer school held each year at Wells Cathedral School with a focus on Latin language, literature and culture
  • A Classics trip to Greece in Year 11 for a week to see the main archaeological sites
  • A trip China organised by the MFL department in 2018 to learn about Chinese history and culture and practice Mandarin speaking skills!

These trips offer a valuable learning experience both academically and socially, developing the girls’ sense of curiosity and innovation.