Beyond the classroom

In addition to the huge number of clubs, trips and visits available to our pupils, we supplement our enrichment programme with a host of other opportunities.

The range and quality of extracurricular activities are excellent, with opportunities for further learning in an abundant choice of pursuits.

Isi inspection report 

Our ‘beyond the classroom’ portfolio enables pupils to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, develop resilience and teamwork through the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and broaden their academic spheres of interest through a General Studies programme in the Sixth Form.  We serve the local community and beyond through our Charity committee initiatives.

To read more about the opportunities on offer, click on the headings below.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme is part of the culture of Guildford High School and some 200 pupils set off on expeditions each year, armed with rucksacks and compasses and ready to face the trials ahead. The popularity of DofE means that many progress from hiking on the South Downs to wild camping in Wales, as they work through Bronze and Silver to the Gold Award. DofE expeditions allow pupils to develop resilience to cope with navigational challenges and, at times, inclement weather!

Nearly every pupil will take part in at least one level of the scheme, and the strong community service ethos of the scheme allows them to show remarkable commitment tor charitable causes and to learn about being responsible citizens as pupils acquire new skills.

Throughout the school, GHS encourages pupils to experience and experiment in order to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. Activity days in Years 7 – 9 focus on learning the skills required for team building, giving presentations and project planning. In Year 9 teams enter an app-building competition or take part in competitions run by Dragons Den’s Peter Jones. In the Sixth Form, joining a Young Enterprise company gives students the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and hone their creative, communication, teamwork and negotiating skills.

There are also less obviously business-orientated opportunities that, nonetheless, develop the skills needed in the 21st century workplace. Our Sixth Formers produce the school newspaper, by commissioning, writing and editing articles on a range of topical issues, as well as producing comment columns and humorous observations on areas of interest to the whole school community. The annual Fashion Show is run by the Lower Sixth. It is an exciting and lively charity school event, allowing students to use their talents in a range of sections, including production, choreography, and, most importantly, fundraising.

General Studies is an essential part of our Sixth Form experience. The scheme is run jointly with the Royal Grammar School and allows students to sign up for a range of courses run by staff at both schools. The courses vary from an introduction to western philosophy to ballroom dancing, and from car maintenance to fantasy share dealing.

General Studies also incorporates outside speakers. Recent speakers have included the eminent historian David Olusoga talking on Britain’s Black history and Alex Owumi, a professional basketball player, who spoke about getting caught in the Libyan uprising.

The Charity Committee runs numerous campaigns and major events, such as the GHS Talent Show and the annual Fashion Show staged with the Royal Grammar School, raise significant amounts for nominated charities. There is a school-wide interest in environmental issues with an active ‘Green Team’ which raises awareness of global issues. A recent cross-school initiative driven by our pupils has seen GHS drastically reduce the amount of single-use plastic used on-site. Pupils actively engage with the local community and a significant proportion assist local charities each year.

The ability to speak eloquently and persuasively is continually cited as one of the key skills required in the 21st century. GHS Debating clubs give pupils throughout the school the chance to speak on a range of issues, acquiring the skills to think on their feet, challenge information, organise their thoughts logically, and quickly, and present a point of view concisely and fluently.

In Years 7 and 8, pupils learn and develop their oracy skills through the weekly lunch time It’s Debatable! club, and from Year 9 they join the Senior Debating and Model United Nations (MUN) sessions. There are numerous debating, MUN and public speaking competitions with local schools and beyond and the senior debating team has an outstanding track record. We often progress through to the advanced rounds of the ESU Schools Mace competition and have frequently represented the South East region at the European Youth Parliament national sessions.

Alongside sending delegations of students to around seven MUN conferences each year, allowing the girls to explore a range of political, environmental and social issues from the perspective of different nations, we began running our own annual conference in 2018, giving the girls an opportunity to take ownership of the event and develop their skills as a team. All of the competitions and conferences are an excellent way to encourage taking initiative, effective and clear communication and the development of research skills.

Inspiring girls become inspiring women. Numerous opportunities exist within school for pupils to develop important skills for later in their careers.

The hugely popular school pantomime, which involves a full cast of Year 7, is written, directed and produced by Lower Sixth students. Pupils also control the creation and publication of the school newspaper. Clubs for pupils are run by pupils; for example our Junior Classics club is run by GCSE students and introduces our 9 year olds to the world of `Greek mythology.

In the Upper Sixth, students can take on the role of Senior Prefect, responsible for running a number of activities around the school including regular assemblies. House Captains lead one of the six Houses and ensure that each one has their own House spirit.

Lower down the school, all pupils have the opportunity to be Form Leaders, whilst many take on roles such as Green Team representative, Lower School House Captain or Charity rep, all of which allow them to take responsibility for a key part of school life and practise leadership.