Ethos and Student Leadership

Ethos and Student Leadership at Didcot Girls’ School: An Overview from Dr Gohar Khan, Director of Ethos

Ethos and Leadership are integral to student experience at DGS. A powerful culture underpins all academic and non-academic work. The ethos for respect, resilience, ambition, and diversity has been nurtured and cultivated over years. Leadership and the ability to self-lead is taught actively and inclusively. Enrichment is judiciously planned and the provision of cultural capital is reinforced by continual research. We endeavour to make all our events student-led and appoint a robust and diverse student leadership team who are excellent role models for the school community.

As Director of Ethos, my role revolves around promoting a culture in which socially responsible and globally-minded young people are nurtured across the whole of the Ridgeway Education Trust (RET): DGS, St Birinus School (SBS) and Sutton Courtney Primary School. The post sends out a powerful message: we expect our young people to partake in opportunities for leadership and personal growth. At DGS we believe that when it comes to leadership, it’s never too early to start. Last year there were three major aims for the school ethos: to challenge traditional notions of exclusive and elitist leadership; to track the uptake for our Leadership Ladder and student leadership teams to ensure that students across the board benefit from a rich and diverse experience; to establish meaningful links between values-based leadership and Teaching and Learning, with a focus on Growth Mindset.

This year, our aim is to continue to offer an excellent provision for Ethos and Student Leadership, and focus more closely on embedding diversity in a rich and meaningful way into our ethos work; to focus on climate action; to rebuild and develop our community spirit, especially as a result of Covid-19 and its consequences; to track more closely our extra-curricular provision. A lot is encompassed within Ethos at DGS; while responsibilities are becoming increasingly widespread, when we speak of Ethos we mean our values and culture, ‘the DGS way’, the House Championships, our extra-curricular provision, conferences, trips, global awareness days, cultural capital, assemblies, enrichment and student leadership. Our Leadership Ladder, which students embark on in Year 7, allows all our young people to engage in leadership in a meaningful way. Our House system, comprising seven houses named after inspirational women, offers a diverse and competitive programme throughout the year. To sum up, our Ethos is driven by our aim to nurture the next generation of leaders and change-makers, who recognise the power of values-based leadership: resilience, compassion, ambition, empathy, global awareness and the will to make a difference. We regularly ask our students: ‘who is the one person you will always have to lead - and lead well?’. With this in mind, our students embrace the culture for leadership whole-heartedly and strongly believe in the positive impact this experience will have on their futures.

Leadership Ladder

Valued-based leadership is a core aspect of our ethos at Didcot Girls’ School. The Leadership Ladder has become a cherished tradition that enables us to fulfil our mission statement: We are a vibrant school community which empowers girls to become resilient and to fulfil their potential as future leaders. Young leadership is at the heart of our wider school provision, and we are committed to offering our students with every opportunity to grow, thrive and flourish into the change makers of the future. The Leadership Ladder is an entitlement for our Year 7 to Year 10 students and will prepare them for the many leadership roles we offer to our Year 11 students and Didcot Sixth Form. The provision is based on the values we cherish and uphold at DGS and offers a full range of eclectic opportunities for young people to embrace leadership in a way that they enjoy. There are different criteria for each year group, which will result in the following awards: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

How it works

The Leadership Ladder is an entitlement for Year 7 to Year 10 students, and we expect every student to undertake this exciting leadership journey with us. The ladder itself is based on the values we privilege and cherish at DGS – from resilience and courage to creativity, compassion, and teamwork. From these values we create a full range of eclectic opportunities for young people to embrace and enjoy. If you are in Year 7 and 8 you will work towards Lower Bronze, Silver and Gold. At each level, you must complete 6 leadership activities to receive your award, which will be presented in the form of a badge in an assembly at the end of term. Over the years, our students have worn these badges with great pride on their blazers. Your form tutor or the member of staff running the activity can sign the leadership ladder for you. The Platinum is a community-based award, where you contribute to your community for a number of hours; this award can be earned at any stage of your school life and is an excellent way for you to embrace the spirit of ‘giving back’. The Platinum award is very prestigious, and students have always enjoyed getting involved in it. We hope that students will enjoy growing their leadership skills with our exciting provision.

Looking further into the future we are also aware how beneficial the Leadership Ladder can be when it comes to seeking work experience, employment, or places in Further and Higher Education and a great talking point in interviews.  You will also note the link to several ‘Employability tasks’ as options too, several of these are linked to our web-based careers platform.

Student Leadership Opportunities

• Associate Head Girl (Year 11)

• Deputy Associate Head Girl (Year 11) • House Captains (Year 11)

• Deputy House Captains (Year 11)

• Climate Action Leaders (Year 11) • Charity Leaders (Year 11)

• Diversity Leaders (Year 11) • Mentoring Leaders (Year 11) • Deputy House Captains (Year 10)

• Ethos Leaders (Year 10)

• Prefects (Year 11)

• Other roles, as appropriate including: Form Captains, Academic Mentors, Club organisers, Reading Ambassadors, Sports Ambassadors, School Councillors, Community Prefects

Student Leadership Team

House Championships

At DGS, we have seven houses all named after inspirational female role models that provide a focus for friendly competition within school, along with a recognition of the skills and qualities of these role models that our students might aspire to. Throughout the year our students take part in the House Championships on an ongoing basis. Every aspect of life in school is rewarded, directly or indirectly, by the awarding of House Points (HPs) which are tallied 6 times a year to produce termly House Championship winners and an overall ‘2020/2021 House Champion’ crowned at the end of term 6. Last year our students earned over 120,000 HPs between them, even with the lockdown learning! This represents a fantastic effort by our pupils. Housepoints are earned in four ways: i) Housepoints awarded via SatchelOne ii) Postcards home (5HP each) iii) Completion of the leadership ladder (5HP per badge achieved) iv) Awards of Housepoints for both participation AND achievement in House Competitions.

Documents

Thought for the Term Date  
Adie House Captain's Thought for the Term 15th Oct 2021 Download
Dr Khan's Thought for the Term 17th Sep 2021 Download
Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 04th Mar 2022 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 15th Jan 2021 Download
Associate Head Boy's Thought for the Term 24th Sep 2021 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 11th Mar 2022 Download
Dr Comina's Thought for the Term 22nd Jan 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 30th Sep 2021 Download
DGS Associate Head Girls' Thought for the Term 18th Mar 2022 Download
DGS House Captains' Thought for the Term 29th Jan 2021 Download
SBS Spartan House Captain's Thought for the Term 08th Oct 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 05th Feb 2021 Download
Mrs Tottman's Thought for the Term 25th Mar 2022 Download
Dr Khan's Thought for the Term 01st Apr 2022 Download
Mr Tamplin's Thought for the Term 12th Feb 2021 Download
Miss Davies' Thought for the Term 08th Apr 2022 Download
Mrs Ashton's Thought for the Term 04th Mar 2021 Download
Mrs Bowers' Thought for the Term 29th Apr 2022 Download
Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 04th Sep 2020 Download
Miss Roberts' Thought for the Term 06th May 2022 Download
Greenfield House Captain's Thought for the Term 12th Mar 2021 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 11th Sep 2020 Download
Ms Froud-Davis' Thought for the Term 22nd Oct 2021 Download
Miss Froud-Davis' Thought for the Term 26th Mar 2021 Download
Dr Comina's Thought for the Term 18th Sep 2020 Download
Mr Irwin & Dr Khan's Thought for the Term 13th May 2022 Download
House Captains' Thought for the Term 25th Sep 2020 Download
St Birinus (Corinthian) House Captain's Thought for the Term 01st Apr 2021 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 05th Nov 2021 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 23rd Apr 2021 Download
Dr Hawes' Thought for the Term 20th May 2022 Download
Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 30th Apr 2021 Download
Mrs Ashton's Thought for the Term 12th Nov 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 27th May 2022 Download
DGS Diversity Leaders' Thought for the Term 07th May 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 01st Oct 2020 Download
Mrs Tottman's Thought for the Term 19th Nov 2021 Download
Mrs Bower's Thought for the Term 14th May 2021 Download
Miss Froud-Davis' Thought for the Term 21st May 2021 Download
SBS Head of Leadership's Thought for the Term 26th Nov 2021 Download
Associate Head Girls' Thought for the Term 10th Jun 2022 Download
Miss Tottman's Thought for the Term 28th May 2021 Download
Mr Byrne's Thought for the Term 09th Oct 2020 Download
Mrs Bowers' Thought for the Term 03rd Dec 2021 Download
Associate Head Girl and Deputy's Thought for the Term 16th Oct 2020 Download
Mr Tamplin's Thought for the Term 11th Jun 2021 Download
Mrs Tottman's Thought for the Term 17th Jun 2022 Download
Dr Comina's Thought for the Term 18th Jun 2021 Download
Thought for the Term from our Year 10 Ethos Leaders for Kennedy House 10th Dec 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 25th Jun 2021 Download
Mrs Ashton's Thought for the Term 24th Jun 2022 Download
Thought for the Term from our Educational Psychologist 17th Dec 2021 Download
Mr Irwin's Thought for the Term 02nd Jul 2021 Download
Mr Tamplin's Thought for the Term 01st Jul 2022 Download
Mrs Bower's Thought for the Term 06th Nov 2020 Download
DGS House Captains' Thought for the Term 08th Jul 2021 Download
Ms Robert's Thought for the Term 07th Jan 2022 Download
Mr Manning & Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 16th Jul 2021 Download
Ms Hopkins' Thought for the Term 14th Jan 2022 Download
Mrs Ashton's Thought for the Term 13th Nov 2020 Download
Dr Khan's Thought for the Term 21st Jan 2022 Download
Mrs Tottman's Thought for the Term 20th Nov 2020 Download
SBS House Captains' Thought for the Term 27th Nov 2020 Download
Ms Collins' Thought for the Term 28th Jan 2022 Download
Miss Froud-Davis' Thought for the Term 04th Dec 2020 Download
Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 03rd Sep 2021 Download
Miss Davies' Thought for the Term 10th Dec 2020 Download
Dr Hawes' Thought for the Term 04th Feb 2022 Download
Mr Tamplin's Thought for the Term 17th Dec 2020 Download
Mr Irwin's Thought for the Term 11th Feb 2022 Download
Mr Manning's Thought for the Term 10th Sep 2021 Download
Miss Littler's Thought for the Term 07th Jan 2021 Download
Wilson House Captain's Thought for the Term 18th Feb 2022 Download
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