The school has a long-standing reputation for academic rigour and success. Students are prepared for public examinations and higher education in a stimulating environment in which they develop intellectual curiosity, independence of mind and the ability to take responsibility for their own learning. Girls at St Swithun’s achieve almost one grade higher at GCSE than their already significant baseline ability would suggest, and approximately half a grade higher at A level.
We are an ‘appropriately academic’ school, celebrating intellectual curiosity and the life of the mind, but not to the exclusion of all else. We expect our pupils to develop individual passions and through them to acquire a range of skills and characteristics. These characteristics will include a willingness to take risks, to question and to debate, and to persevere in the face of difficulty. In the words of Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Boarders at St Swithun’s very often say that boarding is their favourite thing about school. They like being with their friends, having time to take part in our extensive co-curricular programme of over 100 weekly and 50 weekend activities, being part of a community and being able to roll out of bed into school via breakfast.
Girls are involved in several clusterevents each term, where boarders from all year groups meet in small groups for meals which they plan, cook and eat together. Friendships with other year groups are a significant feature of boarding here and the support of older and younger girls can mirror some of the dynamics of family life. We ensure that both boarding and day girls work together to create a happy and inclusive school environment and that they take every opportunity to forge supportive relationships with other girls of all ages throughout the school.
With kindness and tolerance at the heart of our community, we provide a civilised and caring environment in which all girls are valued for their individual gifts. By the time a girl leaves she will be courageous, compassionate, committed and self-confident with a love of learning, a moral compass and a sense of humour.
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