Enthusiasm for all areas of endeavour
St Swithun’s was founded in 1884 with the aim of providing a “sound and thorough” education for girls: a simple aim to which we have subscribed ever since. It embraces not only academic excellence, but also intellectual curiosity, courage, perseverance, compassion, humility, respect and a sense of fun.
Our long-standing reputation for academic rigour is only a part of what we offer. We think of ourselves as ‘appropriately academic’, celebrating every one of a girl’s endeavours throughout her time with us. A St Swithun’s girl learns to seize each school day for what it offers, both in and outside the classroom, while looking for opportunities to contribute to the life of the school. We expect great things from our girls, and we are rarely disappointed.
Exciting and generous teaching
Our teachers are determined to draw the very best out of every girl, inspiring her through their passion for their specialist subject. They relish selecting the best mix of traditional and modern teaching methods in order to boost each girl’s confidence and love of learning, and they give generously of their time, offering individual help when appropriate.
The academic curriculum emphasises flexibility and individual choice so that every girl can study the right balance of subjects for her. We are clear that academic success and happiness are underpinned by open communications with and a close working partnership between staff, parents and girls.
Intellectual curiosity and independent learning
We aim to teach our girls that no matter how glittering the academic prize, the journey matters just as much. Girls are encouraged to have a ‘growth mindset’: they understand that ability is not fixed but can be developed through perseverance and a willingness to try new things. We encourage girls to be daring in their thinking, to take risks, to question and to debate. They appreciate that the best learning often occurs when they make mistakes. In the words of Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” If girls come to school and can do everything with ease we are failing as educators. Our role is to show them a map and direct them towards distant peaks.
Your daughter’s learning journey will nurture her academic wellbeing, her intellectual enthusiasm and her social confidence, giving her an enjoyment of learning that will sustain her through higher education and beyond.