There was a rich and varied schedule for the week including a mix of formal lessons, wellbeing activities, enrichment workshops, lectures from external speakers, a trip to Bristol University, social events including a Mexican-themed Jumble Party and a Public Speaking competition.
The girls had the opportunity to have taster lessons in their chosen A Level subjects and met all their new teachers as well as experiencing the ‘Developing University Skills’ element of their Lower Sixth programme. These lessons will provide a superb foundation for their Sixth Form studies and allow girls to embrace the relevant reading over the summer. Teaching life skills is a fundamental part of the Sixth Form provision to ensure that girls are prepared for life beyond Downe House and so, the girls experienced a sample of the opportunities on offer with a talk from a nutritionist, a workshop on breathing techniques to reduce stress levels and of course, the much-loved Gong Bath.
The Academic Enrichment programme is at the heart of what we do in the Sixth Form and the girls thoroughly enjoyed a lecture by Dame Helena Morrissey on her book entitled A Good Time to Be a Girl. She spoke about her own personal journey, the progress of women who are making further inroads onto the boards of top companies and how her initiative, the 30% Club has made huge strides forward in improving the gender balance on FTSE100 boards.
This was followed by a confidence-building workshop from Standing Tall, which benefitted all the girls as they prepared for the Upper Fifth Public Speaking Competition – their preparation and performance was very impressive.
A highlight of the week is the Student Conference and tour of Bristol University which gives the opportunity to research subject areas they might be interested in studying after school and gain firsthand experience of what a top Russell Group university is looking for in an application. All the girls were inspired by the enthusiasm and depth of knowledge which the two lecturers demonstrated for their subjects, which were Aeronautical Engineering and Medieval Literature respectively.
Head of Sixth Form, Ms Stimson said, “We have had a fantastic week and it has been wonderful to see how well the girls have responded to the busy and stimulating programme with enthusiasm and focus. During the week, the girls have learned about the many opportunities on offer in the Sixth Form and had the opportunity to start to get to know their new boarding house and to meet Housestaff and Tutors. We are sure that this will enable them to make the best possible start in the Sixth Form at Downe House and look forward to welcoming them all back in September.”
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