We are a vibrant school community which empowers girls to become resilient and to fulfil their potential as future leaders.
Consultation with students, staff, parents and governors has led to an agreement of the core values which underpin our aims for our school community. We share a commitment to the core values which make us strive always to be:
- A school where everyone is included, at the heart of the community.
- A school with high expectations which provides quality learning experiences for all.
- A safe and happy school which creates a sense of pride and promotes respectful relationships for all.
We want our school to be a rich learning community at all levels. We hold the following views about how we will achieve this:
- Single sex education allows us to challenge the girls to have the highest possible expectations of themselves.
- Learning is not something you have done to you but is a journey all take an active part in.
- Learning should be enjoyable, relevant to our lives and applicable to our futures.
- Learning is not just about passing examinations, it is also about developing emotional well-being and strong social skills.
- Our learning community should be a safe, secure, happy and just place in which to work and learn.
- The learning we engage in should challenge us, widen our horizons and deepen our understanding of ourselves, our community and the wider world.
We believe that intelligence is not fixed but can be developed throughout life and we adopt a growth mindset approach to all that we do
We acknowledge that everybody needs a voice in deciding how things are done in our community.
At Didcot Girls' School we recognise our moral, ethical and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of students. We are fully committed to ensuring that consistent and effective safeguarding procedures are in place to support families, young people and staff at school.
The school's full Safeguarding Policy is available from the school website here.
Welcome to Didcot Girls’ School. As the only all girls’comprehensive school in Oxfordshire we are proud of the opportunities we offer to all of our girls to develop in an environment which fosters resilience, promotes leadership and a ‘can-do’ ethos. Our co-educational Sixth Form, shared with St Birinus School, offers excellent progression for our girls to study in a vibrant and thriving Sixth Form community. Our school is grounded in the strength of relationships between staff, students and parents. We work in partnership with our students who actively contribute to the running and decision-making of the school through a powerful School Council, the vibrant House system and a strong leadership programme which operates throughout the whole school. Our core values of mutual respect, inclusivity and high expectation underpin the developments that we work towards together as a learning community which is truly ‘committed to excellence’.
Didcot Girls’ School was designated as a Language College in 1997. We pride ourselves on the international dimension of our work which involves so many opportunities for students to travel abroad, learn about other cultures and to apply their language learning in real contexts. We value learning in all its forms and offer a curriculum personalised to meet the different and changing needs of our girls as they prepare for Higher and Further Education, the world of work, and adult life.
Standards of achievement are high and we are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the school’s drive for excellence by awarding us the highest possible Ofsted grading of 'Outstanding' in November 2015. Teaching is creative and stimulating and our extra-curricular provision outstanding. The school has converted to academy status and we are excited about the opportunities this creates for the future. The school is on a rapid trajectory of outstanding development: we hope that you will join us on this journey.
I am extremely proud to be the Headteacher of such a positive and aspirational school community. I encourage you to make a visit to see us in action; we all very much look forward to welcoming you to our school.
Pastoral support systems in the school are excellent and ensure that each girl is quickly known as an individual and feels part of the school community.
Tutor groups meet for 30 minutes each morning and consist of students in the same year belonging to the same House. Sixth form students and Year 11 Prefects are involved in assisting tutors and running mentoring programmes for younger students during tutor time.
Heads of Year overview the progress and well-being of their year group, working alongside an expert team of tutors. Alongside year groups, we run an active House system with seven Houses: (Kate) Adie, (Darcy) Bussell, (Jessica) Ennis, (Susan) Greenfield, (Helena) Kennedy, (Ellen) MacArthur, and (Jacqui) Wilson. The House system encourages both competition and the family feel of the school which is much commented on and praised by visitors.
We hold Year Assemblies once each week and House Assemblies once each term. We encourage the development of thinking skills and reflection through active participation in these morning sessions. A highlight of each term is the Whole School Assembly, where students share their achievements and successes and we celebrate the strong sense of community that makes our school a supportive and stimulating place to grow.
Each year group is led either by a non-teaching Head of Year or a teaching Head of Year supported by a Student Manager who does not teach and is skilled at working alongside young people. These staff form the main contacts with parents and will work alongside families and students where further support is needed.
We want our students to be challenged by all that they do, so that there is a vibrant and creative atmosphere which inspires us all.
To achieve this, we have developed an innovative curriculum that allows every girl to thrive. In Years 7 and 8, all girls study a wide range of subjects which additionally secure the literacy, numeracy and ICT skills essential for lifelong success. In Year 9 girls begin GCSE courses: all students follow an agreed core but are able to choose additional subjects from a variety of academic and vocational qualifications. Students and parents are guided towards the most appropriate learning pathway, depending on individual interest, future aspirations and ability.
We are particularly proud of the excellent links we have developed with the Smallpeice Trust and the Institute of Civil Engineers to provide access to first class experiences in engineering for all of our students.
The Study Café is open to our older students after school for additional revision sessions and our younger students benefit from a daily homework club.
The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) manage a team of Teaching Assistants who support girls, in and out of lessons, in different ways to ensure that we meet the needs of every individual student.
The Advanced Learners Co-ordinator monitors the progress of our most able students and oversees a sixth form mentoring programme providing additional challenge for these students.
We recognise that although qualifications are very important, school is about much more than examinations. Our students benefit from a wide range of creative, sporting and cultural activities. We offer many clubs and societies which operate at lunch times and after school.
Our students enter competitions at county and national levels in debating, public speaking, sport, science, creative writing, maths challenges, news reporting – the list goes on. We are national football champions and county champions in netball, cricket, rounders and football. We benefit hugely from our links with the world-class science community within the local area and from our excellent partnerships with Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University.
Girls join the Duke of Edinburgh’s group at bronze or silver levels, play cricket, football, basketball, try horse riding, fencing and sailing. They can join clubs in Science, Drama, Maths, Dance, Computing, Art, Languages or, indeed, start a new club of their own. Highlights of the school year include the joint drama production with St Birinus School, the Music and Dance Concerts and the Art Exhibitions which take place at the Cornerstone Arts Centre – all of which receive wonderful reviews.
As an International Award School we take our overseas visits very seriously, believing that they enrich our community, offering opportunities for girls to experience different cultures and ways of life.
We run a large number of trips abroad, to China, Sweden, France, Poland and Spain, to name only a few. We have school exchanges to Germany and China and all of Year 7 travel to France for a long weekend each year. World Challenge groups explore Ecuador, Borneo and Tanzania. Travel in Britain is also encouraged and there are regular visits to museums, galleries, castles and coastal areas to make our curriculum come alive.
As a Language College, we use our specialism to create a wide range of opportunities for our students to welcome visitors from abroad, and to engage in real learning opportunities in the community which highlight the importance of languages in the world of work.
We encourage everybody to take part in visits during their school life. There is a special fund available for those who have financial difficulties.
Read about the latest educational visits our students have taken part in on our Educational Visits page.
Each girl is encouraged to develop independent learning skills. This prepares our students well for entry to our Sixth Form which is a joint venture with St Birinus Boys’ School.
Our long association with St Birinus School has created a large and very successful sixth form, the Didcot Sixth Form College, which offers a wide range of academic and vocational courses. Students are able to study A Level courses, BTECs, or Level 2 Programmes. Students are closely monitored and supported so that they can develop the independent learning skills they need to succeed at university, further education and in apprenticeships. We offer each student access to high quality advice and guidance to lead them to the courses which most suits their needs, including a specific programme of support for students applying to Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities. Results at Sixth Form level are high and rising year on year.
Within a stimulating and supportive environment, we promote leadership skills and encourage resilience and confidence. We take every opportunity to celebrate our students’ successes.
The Head of Ethos drives our distinctive leadership culture across the school. Students are encouraged to take a wide range of leadership roles in the school from acting as guides on Open Evening, and participating in peer mentoring programmes, to sitting on the School Council, leading assemblies and acting as House Captains, Sports Captains, Prefects and Student Ambassadors. We use the Leadership Ladder to recognise leadership actions and to reward students for these. All students from Year 7 to the Sixth Form are included in the Leadership Ladder which aims to involve every young person in leadership participation.
We have a highly regarded Rewards System, devised by the School Council, which operates across the school. In addition to this, we celebrate students’ achievements with termly Celebration Breakfasts hosted by the Headteacher and Heads of Year. Each year we host Awards Evenings for Lower School, Upper School, Sixth Form and a Sports Awards Evening. Students’ achievements are celebrated in Panorama, our termly newsletter, and via our excellent website.
We value our partnership with parents and work hard to keep everybody fully informed of their daughter’s progress and successes. We work within the set of values, agreed by our students and promoted throughout the school, which are shared with you in the opening page of this prospectus. We are ‘committed to excellence’ in all that we do.