Devonport High School for Girls has a strong emphasis on developing the whole student and as part of this commitment, we offer a broad range of enriching extra-curricular opportunities. Our extra-curricular programme is delivered within the timetabled curriculum and out of normal school hours. Our staff organises a comprehensive programme of field visits and our specialist status as a Language College provides our students with many opportunities to travel abroad.
As well as offering a broad and enriching curriculum there are themed Enrichment Days over the course of the year. We have no set timetable on these days leaving students free to explore topics and tackle challenges in areas not necessarily covered in our everyday provision. Girls are encouraged to develop transferable skills that they can use across the curriculum. During the summer term, we have a whole school enrichment week in July. The week provides students with a wide range of activities to select from, ranging from day courses in school to international visits.
We recognise that STEM education plays a vital role in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to society and solve tomorrow’s global problems. Nationally women continue to be under-represented in STEM occupations. However, as a school, we are proud of the fact that many of our girls study STEM subjects with us and continue this trend into Higher Education. Our students are provided with many opportunities outside the curriculum to extend their involvement in STEM. We regularly welcome speakers from both academics and those employed in the STEM sector. We draw upon a large network of support from Education and Industry sometimes calling upon parents or alumnae.
We encourage participation in local and national STEM competitions such as ‘The Big Bang Competition’ and run STEM-related activities during lunch and through enrichment days working with, for example, The Engineering Development Trust, The Royal Air Force and Babcock International. Many students take part in projects and work placements with STEM employers run alongside their curriculum or during the holidays.
We are extremely proud of the fact that one of our students won the Broadcom Masters UK STEM Competition in 2017.
There is an extensive sports programme catering for all abilities. Clubs take place during lunch with many of the activities organised by our student sports leaders with staff supervision. To ensure that clubs are available to all students they take place during the hour-long lunch break. A termly school clubs timetable is published and emailed to all students, parents and carers. We are committed to competitive sports and organise many fixtures against Plymouth schools with our students regularly gaining regional and national honours.
The Ten Tors Challenge is an annual weekend hike organised and run in early May for 2,400 young people by the British Army on Dartmoor. There are three different distances that participants can tackle; 35 miles, 45 miles and 55 miles. We enter teams at all 3 distances.
Bude activities week
During the summer term Year 9 students have the opportunity to attend an outdoor education week based at Bude on the north coast of Cornwall. The focus for the week is on challenge, teamwork and fun with girls tackling a range of activities including surfing, canoeing, climbing, abseiling and potholing. The week is always very popular with over 90% of girls from the year group attending. For those who decide not to attend they compete in a school based challenge for the week.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
We are a self-certificating Duke of Edinburgh Centre and run a vibrant unit at DHSG with students completing a personal programme of activities in four sections:
- Volunteering - helping someone, your community or the environment
- Physical - becoming fitter through sport, dance or fitness activities
- Skills - developing existing talents or trying something new
- Expedition - planning, training for and completing an adventurous journey
We have students completing the Award at all three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Enterprise and work related learning
Students have the opportunity to take part in Enterprise Days when local business people visit school to set challenges and judge outcomes. Students gain experience in designing business models, managing budgets and meeting strict deadlines.
Sixth Form students can enter business competitions where they have to set up their own company, design and market a product with the aim of producing a profit.
GCSE students complete a week-long work experience placement at the start of Year 11. This opportunity provides students with a valuable taste of the world of work and helps them make decisions regarding future career paths.
Young Chef Team Challenge
Our Food Technology department prepare teams of Yr9 students to participate in this annual challenge. The event is held at Plymouth City College and is open to schools across Devon and Cornwall. Working in teams of 3 students have to prepare a three-course meal using a set range of ingredients with prizes awarded for the best starter, main course, dessert and overall menu.
Students have the opportunity to have instrumental lessons via one to one tuition with our peripatetic teachers. We run choirs and a school orchestra. School concerts are organised at various points throughout the year with the highlight being our School carol service at St Andrews Church in Plymouth.
There is an annual school production which is open to all students and is very popular.
Field visits and foreign excursions