Beyond The Curriculum

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At Berkhamsted Girls we encourage every pupil to be academically adventurous and ambitious, secure in the knowledge that she has the skills, ability, talent and support to achieve anything she sets her mind to.

Alongside studying for core academic qualifications, we offer pupils the opportunity to develop and hone a wide range of life skills to prepare them to flourish in their future.

We believe our pupils’ development comes through perseverance 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.

It is important for pupils to encounter challenge as part of the learning experience and therefore, we do not shield our pupils from difficulties. Instead, we encourage them to be adventurous in all that they do so that they build resilience and a ‘can-do’ attitude.

A Berkhamsted education prepares young people exceptionally well for academic success, yet the skills and experience the girls 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

Exploring creative minds and independent thinking 

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

Many girls at Berkhamsted enjoy pursuing their artistic talents beyond the curriculum and we believe in the importance of facilitating opportunities to explore their creative minds. Art and Design helps our students to develop a sense of innovation that will play an important part in their adult life, as well as enabling them to expand their cultural literacy and advance their independent thinking.

 

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The CCF helps our students to reach their full potential through the activities and by encouraging youth leadership.
Although membership of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is voluntary, it is hugely popular with large numbers of Senior pupils each year – due to the fun, adventurous and challenging activities on offer.

All three Armed Forces provide the instruction, equipment and accommodation for the CCF programme.

Cadets also have the opportunity to go on annual visits and camps which have previously included Cyprus, Germany, Pirbright and Sennybridge.

The cadets can also study exciting courses such as powerboat training, gaining a private pilot’s licence, survival or leadership.

The opportunity for adventure that the CCF provides gives the cadets life-long skills and strategies that they can apply to their lives.

CCF membership requires commitment and effort from our students and teaches them resilience and responsibility – whether they are receiving instruction or as a cadet instructor.

Outdoor Education

Sparking a sense of adventure and developing long-lasting friendships 

Our Outdoor Education programme plays a crucial role in the all-round development of the girls. It 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 cook lunch using the hot embers from the fire. The experience helps to develop friendships between pupils from the very beginning of their time with us.

Collaboration is a key part of outdoor education at Berkhamsted from the first Bushcraft experience through to Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Pupils at Berkhamsted Girls have the opportunity to take part in a variety of outdoor activities throughout their senior school years and into the 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 Physical Education 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

Every pupil at Berkhamsted has the opportunity to develop into a confident performer 

Becoming involved in the 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. Girls perform at the House Music and House Drama competitions and many opt to take part in numerous music and drama productions which 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.

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

Drama

Confidently performing on stage and developing technical and design skills 

At Berkhamsted Girls all students study Drama in Years 7, 8 and 9, and those who show an aptitude for the subject can opt to study the subject at GCSE and A Level.

We have an excellent Drama department with well-equipped facilities, offering an ongoing programme of drama productions both large and small. Other events such as the annual Berkhamsted Actor of the Year competition enable pupils to showcase their talents.

A large number of students take extra drama and public speaking lessons leading to the 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,s under the company name of Greene Shoots Theatre and regularly receive four and five reviews from professional critics.

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

Promotes craftsmanship and intellectual curosity while building confidence

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 musical groups include junior and senior orchestras, various ensembles and the popular ‘Big Band’.

The annual week-long music festival is the highlight of the year providing the pupils with the opportunity to take part in workshops, performances and showcases. Berkhamsted Girls’ most talented musicians are also given the chance to compete for the title of Young Berkhamsted Musician of the Year.

Sport

Developing character and resilience – good for the mind, body and spirit 

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 specialist teachers who provide expert teaching and coaching, before, during and after school. In addition, we employ a number of external coaches to support our sport programmes.

Impressive numbers of pupils represent the school each week in various sports and all pupils 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

Stimulating learning beyond the classroom and gain new perspectives of the world 

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 day 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 and may include:

  • A Year 7 trip to Italy including 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 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 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.