We provide a wide range of educational visits for every year group including Drama and social visits to Theatre productions, Science events at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, student events at local Universities, Art students to Galleries, Business students to local companies and Graphics students to the Didcot Railway Centre. To view details of this year's visits please click here
Here is a highlight of our trips over recent years. For futher details click on the visit name and it will take you to more information:
|Visit Name||Curriculum Link||Where||Year Group|
|Further Mathematics Event||Maths||Royal Hollaway University of London||Year 12|
|Public Speaking||English||Blenheim Palace||Year 7 & 8|
|Galleries of Justice||History||Nottingham||Year 10|
|Stock Market Challenge||Maths||Luton||Year 10|
|RPO with Alexander Shelley and John Williams||Music||Reading||Year 7-9|
|French Château 2014||MFL||Rue, France||Year 7|
|Brasenose College and Natural History Museum||Able, Gifted & Talented||Oxford||Year 8|
|Girls in Maths Conference||Maths||Oxford||Year 9|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Drama||London||Yars 9 &10|
|Zimbardo Conference||Psychology||London||Year 12 & 13|
|Particle Physics Show||Science||Oxford University||Year 9|
|Big Bang Science Fair||Science||Birmingham NEC||Year 8|
|RPO with John Lill||Music||Reading Hexagon||Years 7-10|
|RE Day||RE||Oxford & Reading||Year 10|
|Russell Group visit Brasenose||Education progression||Oxford||Year 12|
|Oxford Courts||Citizenship||Oxford||Year 10|
|Woman in Black||Drama||London||Year 10 & 11|
|Chemistry & Art Workshop||Science||Oxford||Year 9|
|Houses of Parliament||Citizenship||London||Year 11|
|Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake||Dance||London||Year 12 & 13|
|The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe||English||Oxford||Year 7|
|Top of The Bench||Science||Oxford||Year 9 & 10|
|Can Machines Think?||Science||Oxford||Year 9|
|Maths Alive!||Maths||London||Years 9 & 10|
|Maths Inspiration||Maths||Reading||Years 11 & 12|
|Choir perform at Civic Hall||Music||Didcot||Years 7 & 8|
|Sweeney Todd||Music||Oxford||Years 9 -12|
|Remembrance Sunday||Citizenship||Didcot||Year 11|
|China Visit 2013||MFL||Beijing and Xi'an||Years 10, 11, 13|
|Ulysses Group||Pedagogy||Didcot||Year 10|
|Houses of Parliament||Citizenship||London||Year 10|
|Computing Museum Visit||ICT/Computing||London||Year 12 & 13|
|Yenworthy Art visit||Art||Devon||Year 11, 12 & 13|
|Field trip to south coast||GCSE Geography||Studland Bay and Swanage||Year 10|
|Galleries of Justice||GCSE History||Nottingham||Year 10|
|Salters' Festival of Chemistry||Science||Oxford||Years 7 & 8|
|Salamanca||MFL||Spain||Years 9 and 10|
|PGL Osmington Bay||ICT||Weymouth||Year 8|
|Moroccan Magic!||Enrichment||Morocco||Year 11|
|KS3 Science Day at RAL||Science||Harwell||Year 7|
|Matilda the Musical||Enrichment||London||Year 11|
|Partnership with Germany||MFL||Oxford||Year 9|
|Changsha and Beijing||MFL||China||Year 9 & 10|
|Ghost Trail||Enrichment||Oxford||Year 10 & 11|
|Rambert Dance||Dance||London||Years 9 - 13|
|Blood Brothers||Drama||Milton Keynes||Year 10|
|Complex Numbers||Maths||Oxford||Year 12|
|Paralympics||PE||London||Years 8 - 12|
|Festival of Chemistry||Science||Oxford||Year 8|
|PGL Residential||ICT||Osmington Bay||Year 8|
|French Chateau||MFL||Northern France||Year 7|
|Women in Computer Science||ICT||Oxford||Year 10|
|Munga Debate||Enrichment||Didcot||Year 12|
|The Crowstarver||Drama||Oxford||Years 9-13|
|German Christmas Markets||MFL||Munich||Year 8-11|
|Paris Homestay||MFL||Paris||Years 8, 9 & 10|
|National Science Fair||Science||London||Year 8|
|Rapunzel by Creation Theatre||English||Oxford||Year 7|
|Houses of Parliament||Citizenship||London||Year 11|
|Rhythm Force||Music||Kneller Hall||Mixed|
|GCSE Fieldwork||Geography||Swanage and Studland||Year 9 & 11|
|Summer Concert||Music||Cornerstone, Didcot||Mixed|
|Black Country Museum||History||Dudley||Year 7|
|PGL Residential||ICT||Lancashire||Year 8|
|Madrid||Languages & Art||Spain||Year 8|
|Galleries of Justice||History||Nottingham||Year 9 & 10|
|Beijing||Languages||China||Years 8 & 12|
Exploring Maths Event
On Monday 30th June the Year 12 Further Mathematicians had to get up at a ridiculous time of the morning to get to Royal Holloway University for an Exploring Maths day. We caught the 07:48 to Reading and then took a train on to Egham. Once there Mr Finlay took us around the scenic route to get to the campus but we eventually arrived where we were supposed to be.
Once at the university we were given some leaflets on degree level maths and a prospectus, but more excitingly a jute bag with the university logo on it! The first lecture we were given involved a quiz, correct answers were rewarded with chocolate; amazingly, using our Binomial Distribution skills we won some prizes. The more chocolate we consumed the better our answers became! A juggler then got up to talk us about the maths behind his trade; this was very entertaining and interesting.
The first lesson we attended was on “Prime, Perfect and Amicable numbers”, which I will not explain because it is incredibly complicated and you will require an ego boost afterwards. Lunch was then eaten; this consisted mainly of sugar, although Chris did have an apple. We then had a look around the university campus and found the most important places; the bar, vending machines and maths department. Our second lesson was on “The mathematical constant pi”, this again got complicated very quickly, but some of us managed to get a selfie with the lecturer, thus the entire thing was deemed to be a great success.
The final lectures were about “Mathematics at University” and the ‘Shape of Space’. Unfortunately on the way back to the station disaster struck and we almost drowned in a torrential rain storm. Only one of us had thought to pack an umbrella and no-one had a raincoat. The train home was ever so slightly delayed so Sir suggested we jumped upon a goods train, we gave him a stare of discontent that only a Mathematician can achieve.
To conclude a lot of Maths was learnt, even more selfies were taken, and many, many grams of chocolate were eaten.
Public Speaking Competition at Blenheim Palace
On Tuesday 24th June we took two teams to compete in the Sir Winston Churchill Public Speaking Competition at Blenheim Palace. Our competitors were Hannah Kellington, Daisy Norton and Charlotte Matthews from Year 8 and Milly Norman, Amy Jones and Jasmine Heelas from Year 7. It was such an incredible day; the sun was shining and when we arrived at the Palace we were shown into the Orangery - which looked like a very exclusive wedding venue (the girls were thrilled with this).
We heard an address by His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, which started the day and set the tone for what would be an amazing experience for all our girls. We were then shown to the Marlborough room, and our girls could finally see the venue they would be delivering their speeches. This was the culmination of many months of work - after visiting Blenheim just before Christmas to see the Winston Churchill exhibition. We were also lucky enough to receive support from the education officer at Blenheim who visited the girls in school prior to the competition.
We had to choose two quotes from the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill and deliver a discussion on how we feel these quotes could be applied today. Our topics were:
'Harsh laws are at times better than no laws at all.' Would you agree that this view should be applied to all schools? WC 1906
'There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained' WC 1948 In our 'broken society', does this sentiment still hold true today?
The girls were superb and delivered articulate, engaging and thought provoking speeches.
After a well deserved lunch and a wonder around the grounds we assembled for the results, and heard Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill give a short presentation.
Although we did not win our category we were thrilled to be a part of such an exciting day. There were 12 teams, and only 1 prize, but the girls rose to this challenge, and received some wonderful feedback that was full of praise.
The only task left was to receive our certificates of participation, along with a wonderful book on the life, times and speeches of Winston Churchill. We also spent some time with one of the judges - actor Robert Hardy, who has played Winston Churchill many times, but the girls probably know him best for his role as 'Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic'. He was able to sign some of their Harry Potter memorabilia, and pose for a photo!
The girls were thrilled to be a part of this day, and are already looking forward to returning next year. A huge well done to the competitors and a big thanks to the supporters from the Public Speaking club,
Miss Lee and Miss Tilling
Y10 History trip to the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham.
On Wednesday 18th June, an enthusiastic group of Year 10 historians set off for Nottingham to investigate how policing and punishment have changed over time. Our first activity involved a mock trial in a real Victorian courtroom. Fourteen girls played various roles from the judge to the barristers and even the accused ‘criminals’. The rest of us were either in the jury or represented the general public who came to watch. The case involved three Suffragettes who had been arrested for vandalising public property and causing an obstruction. Needless to say our jury of 12 DGS students found the women not guilty!! However, we did learn that, at the time of their arrest, they would have faced an all-male courtroom and their chances of being let off would have been far slimmer. We also learnt that, for many Suffragettes, they would have wanted to go to prison as this gained them greater publicity for their cause. The Year 10s participated brilliantly in the mock trial and there are definitely some budding actresses and a couple of future High Court barristers in our History groups!
In the afternoon, the girls took part in an object handling activity where they were allowed to study and handle objects from the museum’s collections and were asked a serious of questions about what the items were and how they would have been used. The oldest item was an 18th century tipstaff (if you don’t know what that is – ask a Year 10 historian!) and there were also prison and police uniforms, truncheons, a scold’s bridle (used as a punishment for women who gossiped or swore) and a rather battered wooden head used for keeping a judge’s wig in shape!
The final activity was a tour of the prison cells beneath the court rooms which show how prisons have changed from the 18th century to the 20th century. We saw a variety of prison cells, the exercise yard (where we read the graffiti scratched in the walls by prisoners who were about to be transported or even executed) and laundry rooms where female prisoners would have done the washing and ironing for the entire prison. Some students experienced the inside of the cells and others had their “mugshots” taken in prison uniform – this seemed a surprisingly popular activity!
We were extremely proud of the excellent behaviour of the students on this trip. They were enthusiastic, mature and thoughtful throughout. We’re now looking forward to using the new knowledge gained on this trip when the girls move up into Year 11.
Miss Street and Mr Lawton
Stock Market Challenge at the University of Bedfordshire
On Tuesday 17th June 2014, ten year 10 students went to Bedford University to take part in an inter-school stock market challenge. Our school was able to take two teams of five students to compete against the other schools. In our teams we each took on an individual role of either Finance Manager, Media analyst, investment analyst and Floor traders (buyer and seller). The aim of the challenge was to buy and sell shares for different companies to get a large amount of profit by the end of the game. We had to listen out for news reports, radio broadcasts and read newspaper articles at the beginning of each day to decide how well the company was doing financially and whether it was worthwhile to buy shares. The idea was to buy shares when the stocks were low and sell them when the stocks were high to give us the most amount of profit. However, it was often hard to judge how well the company would do so we had to analyse all of the information to ensure we bought shares that would make a profit. It was a really fun day and we got an insight into the stock marketing world and the careers involved with it. We improved our analytical skills and team working skills as well as putting maths skills onto a real life context whilst working under pressure. Both DGS teams finished in a great position. One team came 5th out of 17 teams and the other in 8th place. It was a great day and a really interesting experience of the economic world.
By Georgie Fisher 10HXP
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Visit at the Reading Hexagon
On Friday the 6th of June, I, along with other students of Didcot Girls School, travelled to Reading for a classical music concert.
We caught a train to Reading at half-past six, smiles of anticipation on all our faces. Once at the station, we walked to the Hexagon Theatre and stood in the foyer next to all of the other eager, classical music lovers. We then filed into our seats on the right of the theatre, all pleased with our clear view of the orchestra, and waited for the musicians to start playing.
The audience was transfixed from the moment the conductor appeared on stage. He was greeted with a round of applause, and then began the first movement of the composition ‘In the South (Alassio) Op. 50, by Elgar’. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played with skill and verve, their instruments in total harmony. Each musician, though utterly concentrating on their own notes and the conductor, was perfectly synchronised in their movements and created a beautiful sound that reverberated throughout the whole theatre. The next composition was ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’, by Rodrigo. This composition received the most amount of applause, as playing the main guitar solo was Jon Williams. Jon Williams is considered by many to be the most skilled guitar player in the world. His hands moved up and down the guitar at a high speed, producing a complex melody and enamouring the audience in one stroke of his fingers. His musical ability was extraordinary, and this was shown in his glowing solos within the composition. Williams also engaged the audience with his charismatic smile and warm grins.
In addition, the orchestra was conducted by a talented musical artist, Andrew Shelley. Born in 1979, Shelley was awarded first prize at the 2005 Leeds Conductors Competition, and was described having an ‘immaculate conducting technique.’ He added style and energy to the composition and kept the orchestra in beat throughout.
We listened to two more compositions – ‘Guitar Concerto’, Goss, and ‘An American in Paris’, Gershwin. Each movement remained at the high standard of the last, and the final movement of ‘An American In Paris’ was finished with triumph and vigour.
I am sure that each student who attended this concert enjoyed it thoroughly, and the excitement of the night did not end until we said our final goodnights. The opportunity to watch classical music such as this was amazing, and I am really glad I came to watch it. I was inspired by the pure skill of each member of the orchestra, and now am eager to continue playing piano and perhaps another instrument.
Milly Norman 7LMT
French Château Visit – May 2014
Over the first May Bank Holiday weekend, 106 students in Year 7 enjoyed a taste of what life in France is really like! They threw themselves fully into the experience of a different culture as they were very curious (quite understandably) about the farming of snails and the making of goat cheese. They were all happy to sample different cheeses and most could not resist the famous French delicacies of snails and frog legs…some even had seconds!! Miam miam!
The girls also made the most of their visits to put their knowledge of the language into practice and they were delighted to see how fluent they have become over the past 4 terms. The waitresses at the café in Rue complimented them when they ordered an ice-cream or a hot chocolate, and our very welcoming hosts at the farms and the bakery were extremely pleased with the girls’ responses to their presentations, which were mostly in French.
The visit to the battlefields and memorials of the Great War offered the opportunity for reflection and remembrance. The girls showed maturity and empathy as they discovered facts and pictures of the battle of the Somme and life in the trenches. They were thoughtful as they read the names of the “Missing of the Somme” and their silent walk around Thiepval conveyed their respect and emotion, as some looked for relatives on the graves or columns of the monument.
To the memories of trying new food, speaking French to real French people, discovering and accepting different customs, remembering a moving period of our history, the girls will undoubtedly add those of unique moments shared with friends – from the hilarious challenges of the Château Olympics and the unforgettable moves of the disco to the tension of the room inspections!
Finally the girls were such fantastic ambassadors of the school and their families that we would love to take them away again… Where should take them next year, Miss Pearl?
Bravo les filles! Vous êtes vraiment géniales!
The French Château team 2014
and from the girls......
“I had a fantastic time in France and would definitely love to go again! The highlight of my trip was going round the market with the tour of Rue. It let me explore and find out more about France and its history.” Megan Thomas, 7PLP
“The Year 7 residential trip to France was amazing. On the journey everyone was buzzing with excitement. All of the activities were creative, active and very fun! The best part was on the last night at the disco when Miss Pearl got very excited and energetic! I would definitely recommend this exciting trip to anyone who is up for an adventure!” Milen Linsley, 7 ASO
“I loved every part of the French trip as I had the time of my life! The highlight was probably eating snails and fog legs. I wasn’t a fan of the snail however I loved the frog legs!” Jessica Bransby-Meehan, 7 PLP
“The French trip was an amazing opportunity that I would advise others to take it is a holiday you will never forget! Each day was interesting, full of joy and learning. Not only did we learn so much about Rue and France but also about one another and the teachers. I spoke to so many people that I had never met before. My favourite day was the market where I hung around with my friends, got some real bargains and ordered a delicious ice-cream in French!” Ellie Richmond, 7 ASO
Brasenose College Oxford
On 7th May a group of Able, Gifted and Talented girls from year 8 went on a trip to Brasenose College and the Natural History Museum in Oxford. We were all really enthusiastic about going on the trip but we weren’t sure what to expect.
First we visited the Natural History Museum. The museum looked very grand; there were pillars all around the museum made of different types of rock. This was because when the museum first opened people wanted to show off what they knew about geology.
To start with we were shown lots of different artefacts including an elephant tooth which came from Heathrow airport (someone had tried to smuggle it through customs). It was also really interesting to see the preserved animals, some were stuffed and some were pickled. We learnt a lot about what they could be used for and what we can learn from them. There were also live animals in the collection because scientists at the museum can study their behaviour and way of life. As part of their collection the museum had some live cockroaches which many of us held. It was definitely an interesting, if somewhat, scary experience.
Once we had explored around the museum by ourselves we went to Brasenose College. In small groups we were given a tour around the College by some undergraduates. We were shown some of the undergraduates’ rooms as well as the Chapel, the Hall and the Junior Common Room.
We had lots of opportunities to ask questions about college life. One of the more interesting questions was, “How do you decide what to wear every day?” We also found out what the daily routine for them is like and what they do in their spare time.
Overall we had a really good time on the trip. It was inspirational to see where we could be in a few years time! Thank you to Mr Finlay and Miss Tilling for taking us on this great trip.
Ceri Jones 8KAP
Girls in Maths Conference
On Friday the 25th of April, a group of Year 9’s accompanied by Mrs Irwin and Mr Finley visited the Institute of Mathematics at Oxford University for an afternoon of different Mathematical activities. We got to master how to win games of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ and ‘Monopoly’ as well as learn how maths is vitally essential in everyday life. We really enjoyed our afternoon and got to meet people in other schools who are also interested in Maths. It was a welcoming venue and we were glad we got the opportunity to go.
By Ruth Hall 9SMR and Michaela Murphy 9 SJG
And Mrs Irwin adds:
It was a very entertaining day. My favourite parts were:
- Watching Michaela Murphy take on the Coke v Pepsi challenge and correctly identify all 8 cups by taste!
- Discovering that there are statistical ways to increase your chances of winning “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “Monopoly”, and
- One of our groups being the only group to get the correct answer to the Amelia problem! (a challenge using various pieces of information and carrying out calculations to solve a logistics problem)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 3rd April 2014
Going to the theatre to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was a great experience. The actors were very professional and performed their lines with extreme energy. Considering most of the cast were young children, they did a marvellous job. The set was also so realistic and clever.
I would definitely go and see it again and would highly recommend anyone considering a trip to the theatre to see this production. There is something for everyone with all sorts of catchy music, fun, action and adventure. The songs were amazing, fresh, new and a whole lot of fun.
Thank you, Mrs Parkington, for taking us to see such an incredible West End Production.
Grace Hayward 10LKM
Zimbardo Conference – 25th March 2014
On March 25th a group of current AS and A2 level students went to the Emmanuel Centre in London to experience a conference between several colleges and a number of famous psychologists; including the ‘legendary teacher’ Dr Zimbardo. The trip started with a very early start at 7.30 am before reaching Emmanuel Centre at 10.30 am.
The conference began with a talk from Phil Banyard, the former Chief Examiner with OCR. He entertained the audience with a clever insight into his chosen topic of ‘Who am I?’ by combining his knowledge on the subject with comedic commentary. The conference continued with a talk from the host, a widely published author of A level Psychology books, Clara Flanagan, who spoke about Ecological Validity and how she has looked at the idea in-depth. This proved to be very beneficial to all the students as validity is a major factor within our studies and this gave us an expert’s opinion on how validity should be studied. An excellent talk on ’saving face through murder’ was then given from Professor David Wilson. He involved all of the students by passing round microphones and letting them give an answer to any questions he would throw at us about his chosen topic, resulting in a fascinating and intellectual discussion between him and the audience.
After a short break we then received the much anticipated talk from the brilliant Dr Zimbardo. He spoke about his experience within the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment as well as touching on Milgram’s research into obedience. Zimbardo’s discussion was interesting and intellectual while also being charming and funny as he struggled with the technology and wore a t-shirt with his face on the front! Dr Zimbardo then introduced his wife, Professor Christina Maslach, who spoke about her experience into heroism within the Stanford Prison Experiment and also her own research into ‘burn out’. The trip ended with Zimbardo introducing us to his new scheme, the ‘Heroic Imagination Project’ and giving each school a signed picture of himself (ours will be framed very soon).
The trip was very beneficial in understanding details within the studies and also entertaining to see famous psychologists speak about something they are so passionate about. This inspired us, as students, to continue in our studies to one day reach the level these Psychologists are working at.
Amy Ballantyne 12JMP
On Thursday 20th March, 31 Triple Science students made their way to Didcot train station to catch the 8:55am train to Oxford, to visit Oxford University's Department of Physics...
"As we arrived at the Department of Physics, we were shown the way to our seats in the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, on the way passing some impressive scientific apparatus. As we walked in to the lecture theatre, music was playing and the students performing the show were just setting up the last few pieces of equipment. We had time to take a few 'selfies' before - Show Time! Throughout the show, special effects and fantastic scientific models led us through the 'whys' 'whats' and 'hows' of the fundamental particles of life. We learnt about the structure of the atom, the charges on different particles and how all these were discovered. The show was comical, full of science and really engaging. After the finale (which involved a human model of particles in an accelerator and the formation of a Higg's Boson particle), we gave a huge round of applause, thanked the students for a great show and made our way back to the train station ready for our last lessons of the day!"
The students were impeccably behaved and learnt a great deal of fundamental science. As staff, we were proud to have them representing Didcot Girls' School.
The Big Bang Science Fair 2014
Eighty-five very excited Year 8 students travelled to the NEC Birmingham on March 14th to experience the biggest single celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the UK: the Big Bang Science Fair. The girls made the most of the vast range of activities, shows and exhibits on offer, from the Science of Dr Who to studying optical illusions; Gastronaut Extreme to engineering with white chocolate; how fireworks are made to making your own slime.
As well as enjoying "all the fun of the fair" the girls learned of the wealth of exciting opportunities available to young people through STEM subjects, both in education and beyond into the world of work. Perhaps some will be inspired to become the scientists and engineers we need to address the challenges of the future.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – 18th March 2014
On March 18th a group of current and future GCSE Music students met up at Didcot train station to go to the Hexagon in Reading to hear a concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).
After taking the train to Reading and then a short walk we arrived at the Hexagon. Our seats were right above the orchestra in the Balcony. The performance, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, began with Brahms’ Tragic Overture, which was a large orchestral piece that we all loved. The next piece was Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3; a piece that is known to be extremely difficult to play. This Concerto was played by John Lill. The speed and accuracy of his playing mesmerised us especially since he had no music in front of him and it was a very long piece. Even more amazing is that John Lill is 70 this year!
After the interval, a pot of ice cream and a tragic spider incident the performance continued. The final piece that was played by the whole Orchestra was Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, with its many tricky solos from the flute and piano. This piece is incredibly difficult but sounded effortless. After the amazing performance and yet another even more tragic spider incident we left for the train station to make our way home at 11pm. Although we came into school like zombies the next day due to the late night, we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening and would love to do it all again but maybe without the spider joining us!
The next trip will be on the 6th June to hear the RPO performing with the guitarist John Williams. It is well worth attending a live performance.
Laurel Platt 9SJG
Year 10 RE Day January 2014
Year 10 spent a memorable day as 'Religious Detectives' accomplishing numerous missions as they visited different places of religious worship in Oxford and Reading on Thursday 30th January. The theme for the day was on World Religions where our pupils immersed themselves in the religious life of the 6 'big' religions for a morning. Each one of the 6 groups visited a different place of worship for a tour and talk, this included a Mosque, Vihara, Gurdwara, Cathedral, Temple and a Synagogue. In the afternoon it was back to base to produce an exhibition of their learning. A great day for Year 10 who did themselves proud and fedback that it was: 'Awesome', 'Inspiring', Interesting' and that 'I had fun and learnt a lot'
Russell Group go to Brasenose College
On the 22nd of January this year 35 of the Russell group students had a trip to visit the Oxford University College of Brasenose to have a preview of what life in Oxford would have in store for them should they choose to apply to this University. I think that it will prove to be a very useful experience when we will potentially be making a hard decision of what university to chose and aided us in possibly swaying our indecision over weather Oxford would be the place for us or not.
The trip was primarily useful due to the fact that it disproved many deterring misconceptions about Oxford University as a place where people live in dusty libraries mulling over large Shakespearian texts all in robes and the main thought of it being an institution for elitists only. The truth of it is that actually the general idea they are advised to follow is “8 hours work, eight hours sleep and eight hours play… not weekend inclusive” this can go to show how Oxford is actually a more relaxed environment with good work ethic but also with a high standard of relaxing and taking part in extra curricular activities. Another surprising statistic that we learned was the fact that 70% of Oxford students are actually from state school and so therefore outnumber the people from private school backgrounds by over double.
Oxford Courts – January 2014
Citizenship pupils saw the Criminal Justice System close up and in action recently during a visit which took in both the Magistrates and Crown Court. We spent a fascinating morning sitting in on actual court cases and observing Magistrates, Judges, Jurys and Lawyers going about their daily basis. It was fascinating to watch the workings of a court and of course to discover the misdemeanour (or 'alleged' misdemeanours) that some people had been getting up to. It was also very thought provoking to realise how much damage drink and drugs do in our society and in relationships, as many cases were linked to them. All in all though, it was a memorable day.
A Thrilling Treat at the Theatre
A group of 48 GCSE Drama pupils enjoyed being frightened, on Tuesday 28th January at a matinee performance of ‘The Woman in Black’ at London’s Fortune Theatre. The girls loved this super-scary show, which is an exercise in pure gothic creepiness that saw them all hanging onto the edge of their seats and jumping at the slightest sound, which was made in the small venue.
‘The Woman in Black’ combines the power and intensity of live theatre with a cinematic quality inspired by the world of film noir. It gives audiences an unremitting drama as they are transported into a terrifying and ghostly world.
‘The Woman in Black’ is now celebrating 25 years in the West End. Over 7 million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most exciting, gripping and successful theatre events ever staged.
Many thanks to Mrs. Luke and Mrs. Hardiman for their support on another successful and enjoyable drama experience.
Chemistry & Art Workshop: 14th January 2014
On 14th January seven students from year 9 experienced an interdisciplinary day at Oxford University, learning about the insoluble coloured substances used to make paints: pigments.
The day began at the Ashmolean Museum where the girls examined some Renaissance paintings and learned about the various natural substances that were used to make paints at that time. Next the girls went to the Ruskin School of Art, to try preparing their own egg tempera paints using the same techniques as the Renaissance painters, but starting with both natural and synthetic pigments.
The group sampled lunch at Balliol College, in a dining hall which reminded some of Hogwarts. In the afternoon they headed to the Chemistry department where they used chemical reactions to make two different coloured pigments and then used these to prepare samples of paint.
Everyone enjoyed their day in Oxford, learning about chemistry, history, art and the connections between them as well as finding out more about Oxford University. Perhaps some of the group might study there themselves in the future.
A Day at Houses of Parliament – January 2014
Hot on the heels of the recent Yr 10 trip, our Yr 11 Citizenship pupils did us proud at the Houses of Parliament. Participating on a tour and in a workshop we got to see a busy day in Parliament as our trip was on a Wednesday, which is Prime Minister's Questions Day. Ed Miliband walked past us and we found ourselves next to Eric Pickles, Andy Durnham and Sir Menzies Campbell at different points in our tour. Sitting later in the Houses of Lords public gallery to observe a debate we even saw Baroness Floella Benjamin who some of you older readers may remember from your childhood, presenting children television shows. We also spent time in the historic Westminster Hall hearing about trials of the past involving William Wallace and Guy Faulkes. It was another memorable and fascinating day at the heart of our democracy which we saw very much in action.
Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” – January 2014
Last Tuesday evening the AS and A2 dance students went to London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre to watch Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan lake’, a contemporary dance adaptation of the classic ballet. Some students were surprised to see a chorus of male dancers in feathered hareem pants performing quirky bird like movements, in contrast to the traditional graceful female ballerinas. Hopefully this experience will give students insight into viewing the piece live when they come to write about it for their theory paper. Despite a late return all students were good company as ever and back in school dancing away in full force the next day!
Year 7 watch “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”
It’s been winter in Narnia for ever so long. Always winter and never Christmas, can you imagine?
On Wednesday 18th December 2014, nearly all of year 7 entered the magical land of Narnia for Creation Theatre Company’s production of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. We travelled by coach to the North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford and filled the auditorium with our very excited year 7s. The magic of Narnia was felt by all and Aslan’s arrival wowed the audience. In particular, the girls enjoyed the live music and impressive set design.
Miss Roberts would like to congratulate the year group for representing the school in such an impressive manner.
Top of the Bench
Well done to the team of four students who represented DGS in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Top of the Bench Competition, held on December 12thin the Physical Chemistry Laboratory of Oxford University. The teams were challenged to design a device that would act as a timer to turn on a light after at least a five-minute delay, using only a strip of magnesium, a bulb, some wire, batteries and a selection of items that could be found in a supermarket, including vinegar and lemons. The DGS team of Ellie McRitchie, Robyn O’Neill, Chloe Tucker and Hannah Young built an ingenious device using the principle of electrolysis. Their timer had a consistent 20 minute delay, but unfortunately they were not able to start it until 10 minutes before judging, which meant that their light came on 10 minutes after the appointed time.
However, most teams were unable to complete the challenge by producing a working delay-switch and so the team were delighted to be awarded third place in a very tough competition. Well done girls!
Can Machines Think?
Nineteen triple science students from year 9 went to Oxford University on 11th December to find out more about this thought provoking question. They enjoyed a fascinating lecture from Professor Peter Millican which explored what we mean by intelligence, the philosophy of computer science and included Lin Zimba up on stage in front of hundreds of students asking questions to three mystery individuals to see if they were human.
The girls then took part in hands-on workshops in either the physics or computing science departments, where they had the opportunity to try some amazing activities with binary code, liquid nitrogen and magnetic levitation.
All the students who took part were enthusiastic participants throughout and were commended on their excellent attitude and behaviour by Professor Millican.
Dr Nickerson and Mrs Norton
Friday 6th December – Maths Alive
On Friday 6th 25 students from Yr 9 and 10 travelled to the Institute of Education in London for a day of talks about Maths. We began with a talk from Simon Singh, author of “Fermat’s Last Theorem” and “The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets”. Did you know the writers of the Simpsons are brilliant Mathematicians? They regularly sneak bits of brilliant Maths and amazing numbers into the episodes of the Simpsons and Fututrama. This was followed by Paul Sloane who encouraged us to think laterally to solve problems and caught a few of us out! Then Dr Emma McCoy showed us some amazing patterns in Pascal’s Triangle and how it is regularly used to solve problems with probability. Dr James Grime talked about code breaking, how it was used during the second world war with an enigma machine and how it we all use it now when sending a text or buying things online. Finally Dr Calvin Smith explained the maths of life and death, ending with a particularly worrying prediction of what would happen during a zombie apocalypse! A very enjoyable day was had by all.
Tuesday 3rd December – Maths Inspiration
On Tuesday 3rd 12 students from Yr 11 and 12 travelled to Reading to listen to speakers talk about the wider ranges and sometimes unexpected uses of Maths. For example, did you know a wheel doesn’t need to be circular for you to travel comfortably without bumping up and down in your car? Or that at the correct frequency a pendulum could stand vertically upwards unaided? Challenging topics can be proved with pizza? Or that musical chords and melodies are all mathematical sequences?! This is a fantastic trip every year which sparks the imagination of all present. Ever wondered about the creation of society? Have a look at John Conway’s Game of Life, an entertaining computer game which makes you wonder… who set the rules we live by?!
On Saturday 30th November we were invited to sing at Gift-Fest a craft fair in Didcot Civic Hall raising money for various charities. Members of the Year 7 and 8 choirs gave up their Saturday morning to perform festive tunes from O Little Town of Bethlehem to Frosty the Snowman as well as a new song written by our Head of Music, Mr Blyth.
The performance was very encouraging, for some of them the first time they had performed in public and the girls did themselves proud. A positive start as we go into a busy period for the choir. Everyone is invited to our annual Christmas Concert on 17th December at 7pm in Cockcroft Hall.
Sweeney Todd Visit
On the 14th November a group of girls from Years 9-12 attended Oxford Playhouse to see an amazing version of ‘Sweeney Todd’. It was a fabulous production with fantastic singing from the thirty five strong chorus and soloists: Oxford Operatic Society tackled the Sondheim score with professionalism and musical skill.
Sweeney Todd is a tale of a murderous barber and his accomplice, Mrs Lovett the pie maker. Heart broken Mr Todd returns to London having been in exile in Australia. Hoping to rejoin his family Todd is told that his wife has committed suicide and his daughter has been adopted by the judge who caused him so much pain. Feeling desolate, he meets Mrs Lovett, who returns his barber’s razor, takes him in and fuels his desire for revenge. After being blackmailed, Todd kills his blackmailer and Mrs Lovett puts the body in her pies. This leads to him evaluating and killing customers before murdering Judge Turpin and accidentally killing the Bird Lady - who turns out to be his wife.
The journey home on the train was also a highlight of the evening with much singing of various show tunes - which Mr Blyth joined in with as well!
Sophie Curtis and Robyn Darby
Lest We Forget
Remembrance Sunday, the second Sunday in November, is the day assigned every year to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. Since the end of World War 1 people right across the Commonwealth take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by all of our brave Service men and women.
It was very humbling to see so many people from the Didcot Girls' School community paying their respects and giving thanks to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, in giving their lives, so that we can enjoy ours. Victoria Birch, Elinor Jones, Sarah Paley, Abbie Nosworthy, Amy Hollister, Ciara Westhead, Becci Humphries and Ella Walker accompanied Mr Botwe and Mr Fahey to lay a wreath in remembrance at the local Didcot service. It was a poignant and moving parade and one we value being able to take part in annually, representing the wider school community of Didcot Girls School.
DGS in China!
This October fourteen Didcot Girls’ School Mandarin GCSE and A Level students were able to take part in a trip of a lifetime to China. As Mandarin is increasing in popularity as a GCSE option at Didcot Girls’ School, more and more students are also able to take this chance to experience the culture of the country and interact with Chinese people in their own language.
The girls travelled first to Beijing, the heart and capital of China, in which they were able to experience the rich culture the city possesses. Diving deep into the country’s past, we visited cultural and historical landmarks such as the Forbidden City, where we were able to appreciate the elegant, regal designs of Chinese architecture along with the beautiful Imperial Gardens. The girls’ primary aim during the trip was to practise their Chinese; not a problem however, as opportunities to mix with the local population occurred very frequently due to the numerous amounts of people who stopped to ask for photos! The girls also visited sites such as Jin Shang Park, along with the infamous Tiananmen Square, where they had the privilege of watching the raising of the flag at dawn over the populous square. People congregated in crowds to proudly watch the nation’s flag being raised; however, by the end of the ceremony the flag had very little attention as the girls, yet again became a focus of interest to the Chinese people, thus leading to more pictures being taken! The girls also had the opportunity to appreciate some of the modern architecture that China offers, as they visited the site of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube, in which China invested the equivalent of $423million.
The diversity and contrast of old and new in Beijing was made apparent as the girls could take a step right out of their hostel and be welcomed into the modern life of China’s capital city, or take a step left in which they would be plunged into the depths of Chinese history. In moments, they were in the Hu Tong alleyways, which offered traditional shops, houses and food (which the girls didn’t hesitate to try, causing them to consume some odd things, including scorpions!) However, the way in which to experience China’s past and present simultaneously is to visit the Great Wall of China, something the girls were lucky enough to experience. Leaving the hustle of the city, we travelled to a secluded, privately owned area of the Wall which only Dragon Trip groups can visit. This sheltered, untouched area of the wall allowed the girls to appreciate China’s history, culture and its landscape; we visited the Wall at sunset and then at sunrise the following morning, an unforgettable experience.
We also experienced a day in the life of a Chinese student at Beijing’s Number 14 Middle School. This was fascinating due to the contrast in school life between English and Chinese students; the girls were able to sit in a couple of classes and also interact with the other students at break and lunch time. Not only was this an opportunity to see how lessons were different in China, but the girls also were able to practise their Chinese with students their age.
Next, we visited the old, traditional city of Xi’an. Once in Xi’an we took part in many activities such as riding tandem bikes along the City Walls, this begun as a very wobbly experience but after we found our balance we were able to enjoy the beautiful city view. We were also able to visit the historic Terracotta Warriors, it was extremely interesting to see such a well known attraction in the flesh and learn a little about Chinese history. After Xi’an we caught the night train back to Beijing in order to, sadly, fly back home. All of the girls enjoyed the night train, even if it was scary sleeping in the top bunk with two others below you! All in all the trip was ahuge success, the students were able to submerge themselves into a culture almost completely new, converse with native Chinese speakers and have an experience of a life time!
Miss Marsh, Mrs Dong and the DGS Chinese group
Year 10 Ulysses Group: News Engagement Project
Friday 8th November marked the start of an exciting project for 22 members of the year 10 Ulysses Group. After school, Bhaveet Radia and Marinella Capriati from Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford joined us to run a challenging project based around exploring the news and media in modern society. Having been charged with thinking about the very purpose of education, the girls worked creatively in groups to come up with story ideas for ‘The Daily Didcot’ newspaper. They were left with cameras to help them explore their stories in depth before the next session. Over the next three sessions, the girls will be working collaboratively before the project concludes with a presentation at Lady Margaret Hall itself. A challenging and prestigious project, we look forward to seeing what they come up with before Christmas!
Mrs. Ashton, Leader of Pedagogy
Our Next Generation of Leaders?
Citizenship pupils got a taste of power and democracy in action in November. 30 pupils visited the Houses of Parliament to learn more about how our country is run. Pupils had a fascinating tour of the home of our democracy visiting both the House of Commons and Lords, where they got to meet current Lords and MPs. The tour was followed by an interactive workshop on ‘Making Laws’, then, after lunch in the famous, but drafty, Westminster Hall we witnessed the Speakers procession with John Bercow MP (this signals the opening of a parliamentary session for the day). Before leaving we had time for a quick visit to the Public Gallery to sit in on an interesting debate led by Schools Minister David Laws on the controversial proposal for free school meals for all Key Stage 1 pupils. A short walk back to the coach took us past the amiable Lembit Opik who agreed to a quick photo with our group (you may know him for being a high profile ex-MP or for being in ‘I’m a Celebrity!’) and then before we knew it we were heading back to Didcot after a fascinating and unforgettable day.
On 16 October 2013, the Computing and ICT Department took twelve upper and lower sixth form students to the London Science Museum. We went with a focus on the importance of Alan Turing and how his advanced computational thinking has affected the development of today's computers.
This was a hardy group of technologists, who were not fazed by the hustle and bustle of rush hour London and we arrived at the Museum with wide-eyed expectation. The Turing exhibition provided information on the life and times of Alan Turing, including an aircraft bombing mechanical computer and even his autopsy report.
Whilst examining the exhibits, students were able to appreciate the advancement of technology since the 1940s and were amazed at how Turing’s ideas are still relevant today.
After a hearty lunch at KFC (student choice!) and a good look around the M&M store in Piccadilly, we headed back to the Museum to investigate the Computer exhibition where we saw how immense early computers were, allowing us to compare them with today's technology processing power.
We then had time to investigate other areas of interest such as medicine and yet technology still raised its digital head! We came to the conclusion that, like it or not, technology has made a large impact on our lives! So thank you Mr Turing, it is sad that he died so young (aged 41) and did not live to see how special he actually was.
We arrived back at Didcot at 7.30pm and although we were weary, we were a happy band of technologists who did D6 proud! Hopefully we have the next Turing in our midst - who knows?
Year 11, 12 and 13 Art students took advantage of excellent weather to draw and take part in adventure activities in Devon when they visited Yenworthy Lodge. Find out more about their visit by clicking here.
Year 10 GCSE Geography students combined fieldwork with eating ice creams when they visited the south coast in July. Read more by clicking here.
GCSE History students entered into the spirit of this visit with great enthusiasm when we visited the Galleries of Justice to find out more about the ways crime and punishment used to be handled. For more information please click here.
Salters' Festival of Chemistry - June 2013
Four girls represented DGS at the Salters' Festival of Chemistry in Oxford by participating in challenges and experiments related to chemistry. For further information please click here.
Salamanca - May 2013
A group of year 9 and 10 students spent their half term holiday in sunny Salamanca. The girls stayed with host families and spent their days with DGS staff studying Spanish, visiting local places of interest, learning flamenco dancing and having a go at Spanish cookery. To find out more about their visit please click here.
A group of 80 girls from year 8 enjoyed a weekend on the south coast near Weymouth in glorious sunshine. Adventure activities included "The Big Swing" and Zip Wire. The girls also worked on their IT skills including films and editing. To find out more please follow this link.
In February half term 20 girls from year 11 went on a fantastic trip to Morocco where they learnt about the different culture, sampled traditional food, rode camels, shopped in local markets and much more. To fin out more please click here http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/242/magical-morocco
Girls from Year 7 represented the school at this event working in teams and enjoying a day full of activities. For more information please click here.
Year 11 watch "Matilda the Musical" December 2012
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical captured the imagination of our Year 10 and 11 students yesterday evening during a packed performance at London’s Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden. For more information please follow this link to our news page:
International Links with Germany December 2012
Ten girls from year 9 hosted our German visitors around Oxford on a tour of the Caslte and Harry Potter tour of the city. For more information please follow the link below to our news page: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/220/international-links-strengthened
Changsha and Beijing October & November 2012
At the end of October Miss Marsh and 10 students from Yr 9 and 10 spent two weeks in China. They visited Changsha and Beijing whilst experiencing a variety of linguistic and cultural activities. It was an immensely rewarding adventure for all.
Betsy Brind 9SPP writes.......On Monday 22nd October we left for a trip of a lifetime…China! We were very excited and not the least bit tired even though we woke up at 2:15am. After a long journey to Changsha our first reaction was “ Wow! This is a very different scenery to the UK!” But while we were there it just got better and better. By the end of the trip we did not want to go home. We think the best bit of the trip was being able to get a feel for how other people live. I would most definitely recommend this trip.
Ghost Trail in Oxford October 2012
Intrepid year 10s and 11s went on a ghost trail in Oxford to learn about the city's history...... for more information please follow this link to our news page: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/208/ghost-trail-terrifies-our-teens
Rambert Dance in London October 2012
On Thursday 18th October, Dance students from Years 9-13 visited London to see Rambert, the national company for contemporary dance, renowned as being one of the most distinctive and the most creative companies working in Britain today.
Founded by Marie Rambert in 1926, the Company has sustained her pioneering commitment to choreography and developing dancers as artists, leading the way for over 85 years. The vision of this energetic Polish woman ensured that dance as an artform took root and blossomed in this country, and Rambert’s influence now extends across the world.
Bold, risk-taking, agile and beautiful, the dancers combined rigorous technique and artistry with an extraordinary ability to challenge and entertain – a real inspiration to our dancers, who picked up lots of tips for their own techniques and choreography. The Company is also renowned for its use of live music and it is the only UK-based contemporary dance company always to tour with an orchestra.
Blood Brothers in Milton Keynes October 2012
Year 10 GCSE Drama students went to Milton Keyens for a brilliant production of one of their set texts "Blood Brothers". To read more please follow the link below: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/202/blood-brothers-musical-visit
Complex Numbers Maths Visit September 2012
On Friday 21st September nine Yr 12 Further Maths students visited Oxford Spires Academy to take part in an afternoon of Complex Numbers. During the afternoon, students were taught about the imaginary number i (or j if you are an engineer) where it arises and how to use it. We were all able to take part in challenges using the new skills we had acquired. Our students are now able to solve any kind of quadratic equation, particularly equations that were previously unsolvable, plot imaginary numbers on Argand diagrams and find the argument of z. We had a lovely, if rather mind blowing, afternoon and some very nice doughnuts!
Paralympics September 2012
In September four groups from DGS visited the Paralympics in London - a once in a lifetime opportunity for many - read Jessica Cooke's account of her visit at: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/195/dgs-visits-the-paralympics
Festival of Chemistry June 2012
Year 8 ICT residential to PGL Centre at Osmington Bay June 2012
On Friday 1st June, 52 Year 8 pupils started their half term holiday by setting off on their annual residential visit to Osmington Bay, near Weymouth, to learn how technology and physical education can go hand in hand! Find out more at: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/169/year-8-ictpe-residential-osmington-bay
French Chateau April 2012
On Friday 26th April 2012 81 year 7s travelled to France, destination the small French town of Rue to stay in a beutiful converted French Chateau. The sun shone on the white cliffs of Dover as we left England and on the Normandy beaches as we arrived in France. The weekend's programme included making croissant and pain au chocolat, visiting a snail farm where we learnt all about looking after these delightful creatures. Many girls were brave and let a snail nestle in their hand. before tasting delicacies such as snail jam and snail pâté. We then visited a goat farm and learnt all about making goat's cheese and had the chance to try some.One morning was spent in the Battlefields on the Somme brigning to life the hash reality of WW1, followed by a visit to a cave system used from Medieval times. Evening activities included treasure hunts and team games. A wonderful time was had by all!
Women in Computer Science March 2012
Tracking badgers, making autonomous helicopters, the philosophy of robots, improving language translation and hiding secret informatio in pictures were some of the fascinating topics covered at the Women in Computer Science Day on Wednesday 21st March. Read more at: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/145/women-in-computer-science
Didcot Sixth Form students experience "MUNGA"! March 2012
The Crowstarver February 2012
Tuesday 28th February 2012 saw Miss Robertson, Miss Davis and Miss Woods take pupils from years 9-13 to visit the Oxford Playhouse to watch the gripping and moving story, The Crowstarver, set in a close-knit rural community in the early days of the Second World War. Read more at: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/134/the-crowstarver-conjures-up-compassion-for-students
German Christmas Markets December 2011
Twenty nine Didcot girls from Years 8-11 had a busy four days making new friends with pupils from our Partner School Feodor-Lynen-Gymnasium in Planegg. Frau Gabi Munz, Head of English at FLG, and all the pupils and teachers made us feel very welcome at the school.
For more information please follow this link to our News Page: http://www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/112/munich-christmas-market-trip-1st-to-4th-december-2011
Paris Homestay 6th-11th March 2011
GCSE Geography Field Trip to Studland Bay and Swanage - September 2010
Black Country Museum – Year 7 - July 2010
ICT Residential @ PGL – June 2010
- to inspire students and build their independence in the use of ICT
- to give students the chance to link practical activities back to ICT work in the classroom
- to prepare students for OCR Nationals course in year 9
- to enable pupils to build good working relationships and develop friendships
Madrid - June 2010
Year 9 History to the Galleries of Justice - March 2010