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Q+A: Godolphin School, UK

Q+A: Godolphin School, UK


Godolphin School has been educating girls for almost three centuries and is proud of its long heritage. Today it is a day and boarding school, providing an English National Curriculum education for girls aged 11 to 18 years. Here the school answers our questions and takes us on a virtual tour...

How old is the school?

Godolphin is one of the oldest girls' schools in the country, dating back to 1726.

Why should I send my child to your school?

Because we inspire girls to be confident, well-informed and independent young women with a sense of adventure and a real zest for life.

How many students do you have?

We have a total of 480 pupils; 102 in the Prep School and 378 Senior and Sixth Form students.

There are 174 full/mid-week/weekly boarders.

What happens when parents visit the school?

Godolphin has introduced the concept of 'Snapshot' visits which have taken the place of the traditional Open Days.

The idea behind the 'GO Snapshot' is to welcome families in small groups to visit the school on a normal working day, to see the school in action as it is – not all buffed up and shiny for an Open Morning.

The number of visitors per Snapshot is kept to a small group, and the morning ends with an informal and informative Question & Answer session with the Head and members of the Senior Management Team in the Sixth Form Centre Cafe.

It is recommended that a Snapshot visit is followed by a more concise, individual visit, where families will have the opportunity to focus on areas of the school which are of specific interest to them.

N.B. Snapshots are limited to 10 families so it is advisable to book as early as possible.

For girls who are interested in boarding, we can also arrange a boarding taster whereby they would stay overnight in one of the boarding houses. This is usually tied in with a School Taster Day, but can be arranged independently as well.

What assessments are required to enrol?

Godolphin has a bespoke Assessment programme for 11+ and 13+ entrance.

The Assessments include written papers in English and Maths, an interview with a member of the Senior Leadership Team and a number of team-building activities.

How have your pupils performed in examinations in recent years?

2016 saw the best A-level results for three years with 81% achieving A*–B (compared to 74% A*–B in 2015).

For GCSE’s, 68% of our students gained A*–A (compared to 61% A*–A in 2015).

How do you support pupils who are struggling?

The Learning Support Department is there to support those girls who have additional needs when accessing their curriculum. The need can be identified by the staff, then taken to the Head of LS for discussion with the parents and then an assessment carried out, or a private assessment can be carried out by an Educational Psychologist, Specialist Teacher, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist or Vision Therapist.

If an assessment is deemed necessary, or it has been carried out, the pupil will often receive one-to-one support. If the pupil requires support but does not have a specific learning difficulty, one of the support staff will take them for this support.

The lessons take place within the school day and the pupil is not removed from the core curriculum. However, where appropriate they will be withdrawn from non-core subjects, before school starts, during lunch times or after school. All of these lessons are co-ordinated in consultation with the girls, parents and teachers.

How do you challenge the more able?

Students in the First to Fourth Year who are showing promise in a particular subject may be invited to take part in an Alpinist (Accelerated Learning Programme) Morning.  Academic departments make their own selection of students and run one Alpinist session during the year for Juniors and another for Seniors, usually jointly with another subject. 

In addition, the Scholars’ Programme encourages students to embrace an intellectual world beyond the textbook: one of exploration and discovery, curiosity and inspiration.

The Programme, which takes place on Fridays at 4pm, has covered subjects as diverse as maths in art, cyber terrorism, drone warfare, fossils, stargazing and the Turin Shroud. As well as encountering new concepts, Scholars are encouraged to explore their own interests, to read, think and talk about their ideas amongst themselves by delivering papers (Upper Sixth) or researching their own projects (Third Year) and taking part in reading groups.

What extra-curricular activities do you offer in the Senior school?

We have over 100 different clubs and activities available in the Senior school, ranging from Debating and English Afternoon Tea Club to Zumba and ICT Tycoon Club. There is also a wide range of sporting and musical opportunities offered through our extra-curricular programme.

Are there any residential trips throughout the year?

Trips have included: Upper Sixth trip to India; Fifth Year trip to Alicante, Spain; Third Year trip to Xanten, Germany; Third Year Trip to the battlefields of France and Belgium; Third Year Student Exchange Programme to Melbourne, Australia; Lower Sixth trip to Keflavik, Iceland; Sixth Form trip to the Czech Republic.

What leisure opportunities are available for children who are boarding?

A wide range of activities and cultural options are available through our extensive and thriving Godolphin Plus programme. 

What performing arts opportunities do students have?

Recent highlights include:

April  Over 300 students from Godolphin School, Godolphin Prep, Leaden Hall and Harrow School came together to create a spectacular performance of 'Carmina Burana' in Winchester Cathedral.

November  Vocal Ensemble at the Royal Albert Hall, to take part in Barnardos Young Supporters Concert as a result of being Barnardos Choir of the Year.

December  'Paradise The Musical', written and produced by Head of Drama, Mr Hallen and Director of Music, Mr Highcock, and brought to life on stage by talented actors and musicians across all year groups.

Throughout the year our Vocal Ensemble has performed at some magnificent venues from Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, to the Royal Albert Hall, St Pauls Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral and Winchester Cathedral. 

Is there a school bus service?

Yes, buses run within a 20-mile radius around Salisbury.

Do you have a wide range of food options?

Chartwells are Godolphin’s specialist caterers. They provide a huge range of food options, from creative soups and traditional roasts with homemade Yorkshires to great cakes, infused waters and seasonal fresh fruits. The emphasis is on health and nutrition, and feedback from the pupils is consistently excellent. Chartwells are very proud of the food served to pupils, staff, parents and visitors, and we welcome comments and observations.

Do you arrange for guest speakers, such as authors and experts to come to the school?

Godolphin runs a highly successful ‘Inspiring People’ programme of lectures, where influential speakers are invited to give lectures to students, parents and the wider community.

Recent guests have included Frank Gardner from the BBC, Dame Carol Black, President of the Royal Society of Physicians and Dr Ronald Hutton from the University of Bristol.

There is also an annual Literary Festival.

All images courtesy of Godolphin School.

You can view the Winter's profile for Godolphin School by going to this link.

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