We are committed to the benefits of single-sex education for girls, knowing that girls think and learn differently from boys. We are experts in recognising the qualities of girls, understanding what makes them tick and how they learn. This knowledge is built up over 130 years of experience of teaching girls.
We know the importance of building resilience and intellectual risk taking in girls and we have a deep understanding of girls’ pastoral needs at every stage in their development. Because we are single sex, girls can be themselves and grow at their own pace. They can concentrate on their learning. They can learn from their mistakes without fear of being put down or dismissed. Without the presence of boys, girls display their intelligence and curiosity regardless of powerful age-determined notions of popularity, attractiveness or negative peer pressure.
In our single sex environment we can affirm and encourage young women in their capacities as individuals, leaders and agents of social change. Our girls do not have to conform to sexist patterns of behaviour. Girls develop confidence in their own abilities as individuals, and do not define themselves by their gender. Girls hold all the senior positions, they are not tokens. All our scientists are girls, all our mathematicians are girls. There is no subject area or activity of the school in which girls do not excel. This leads to our “can-do” philosophy of the school.
Parents of girls and boys will know that girls mature at different rates to boys and because girls learn in different ways we can provide an education geared specifically to their needs. We use specific girl-centred learning strategies such as:
- using relevant real-world applications from girls’ lives
- teaching in collaborative and co-operative ways
- encouraging the girls to be bold and take risks in a safe non judgemental environment
- exploring their mistakes and acknowledging their value
- using writing as a means of learning any subject
- explaining through stories
- calling pupils by their name and waiting for them to reply before moving onto the next pupil
- encouraging discussion
However, the girls are not cloistered. We actively encourage them to engage in extra-curricular co-educational activities beyond the classroom, including opportunities for our girls to work with the boys from Bedford School, another school run by our parent company, The Harpur Trust. Our links with Bedford School are strong and continue to develop. We can provide the best of both worlds: single sex lessons, focussed exclusively on the needs of our girls; as well as a co-educational extra-curricular environment.
Our girls thrive in this environment.