An overview of enrichment at St Swithun’s
St Swithun’s is a highly regarded girls’ day and boarding school in Winchester in the south of England. Its pupils benefit from a broad curriculum that promotes individual choice, so they can fulfil their intellectual, physical and creative potential. In addition, right from the off, girls are taught to examine social, cultural and moral issues, so they can make informed decisions about their own way of living while respecting the values of others.
For academic enrichment, girls in Years 7-9 follow a compulsory programme of activities such as astronomy, thinking skills, experimental art, learning how to code and an introduction to Arabic, while older girls have a choice of courses such as ethics and science, Socratic discussion and UK political issues.
Learning support is available for individuals experiencing difficulties in any aspect of their studies, while girls for whom English is not their first language have second-language (EAL) lessons, either individually or in small groups, to enhance their skills in written and spoken English.
All girls follow a PSHE programme, to introduce habits conducive to lifelong mental and physical health, and to instil confidence in themselves so they don’t feel they have to conform to society’s expectations. In games lessons, and as recreational activities, the emphasis is on personal enjoyment of sport and the development of a healthy, active life, with all pupils receiving expert coaching, and the most talented individuals and teams entering county, regional and national competitions.
For those who need rigorous academic challenges and stimulation there is the Academic Enrichment Programme, which helps girls to engage with concepts of knowledge and truth. Students are encouraged to develop a rigorous and synoptic approach to learning, where they study varying topics and make coherent links between them. The aim is to develop the motivation to promote scholarly interest and understanding in others.
Each academic department supports this enrichment by running their own journal clubs, reading groups and/or literary societies. Departmental offices are busy with teachers talking to the girls about their subject, recommending further reading, podcasts, magazines and work experience.
Teachers are also encouraged to develop, enrich and refine their craft. Their commitment to ongoing and reflective professional development creates a rich, innovative and inspiring environment for all members of the school community.
St Swithun’s uses baseline predictive tests to inform its teaching and to measure its impact on a pupil’s results in public examinations. These tests predict the most likely grade outcomes for students in each subject based on past performance of other students nationally with similar academic profiles. They also provide ‘value-added’ data for students’ results. On average, girls at St Swithun’s achieve 0.8 of a grade higher than predicted at GCSE across all subjects, while at A Level they achieve approximately half a grade higher than their baseline ability across all subjects. Over half of A Level grades are one or more grades above those predicted by baseline testing.
In February 2017 the School’s endeavours were recognised as ‘excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. The quality of pupils’ academic achievement and personal development were awarded the highest rating, inspectors having noted that pupils had exceptional communications skills and the ability to analyse complex problems; considerable positive commitment to others, both within and beyond the school, and a strong sense of moral responsibility as features of pupils’ personal development.
St Swithun’s strives for its pupils to leave with the best possible exam results, as well as the skills and characteristics to make a success of their life – confident women who thrive on challenge and relish exceeding expectations.
If you think your daughter would benefit from a St Swithun’s education, please contact us, so we can help you decide it if it could be the right British boarding school for her.