‘..consideration must be given to the question, what constitutes education and what is the proper way to be educated? At present there are differences of opinion as to the proper tasks to be set; for all peoples do not agree as to the things that the young ought to learn, either with a view to virtue or with a view to the best life, nor is it clear whether their studies should be regulated more with regard to intellect or with regard to character’
The Folkestone School for Girls has a long established and enviable reputation of delivering outstanding academic results. However, in response to the questions posed by Aristotle all those years ago, we believe that education must maintain a balance between intellect and character. An outstanding education is not either/or. It is both.
Students therefore do not complete an inordinate amount of qualifications as a matter of course. We subscribe to a ‘quality, not quantity’ rationale. Instead students at FSG complete what we believe to be a sensible number of qualifications. This allows students time to focus efforts on achieving the very best grades within these but also time to participate in extra-curricular activities and interests – both at school and at home, and additionally, time to spend with friends and family. A justifiable balance between intellect and character
And after 7 years, happy, well-qualified and well-rounded young women prepared for varied and fulfilling careers and ready to take on the world!
We are demonstrably successful in this endeavour. Our ‘average’ girl leaves The Folkestone School for Girls having achieved
and ready to continue onto higher education, or for a minority, directly into the world of work.
Our curriculum naturally focuses on traditional, rigorous academic subjects with the importance of these subjects reflected in the time allocated to their study. Commonly referred to as the ‘Ebacc’ – these traditional academic qualifications remain central. Mathematical proficiency, the highest standards of spoken and written English and general academic knowledge/competence are, and always will be, crucial.
However, we are also a caring community where girls’ ‘other’ achievements are viewed as equal to academic attainment. Creativity, sporting prowess, community involvement and empathy for others are all key goals. We are also committed to ensuring that girls understand and accept key British values such as a respect for the rule of law, democracy and a tolerance of difference. With our commitment to caring for girls as individuals and our strong moral base the school has a zero tolerance of sexism, homophobia, racism and other prejudicial attitudes. We encourage students to aspire, to find out who they are and to develop their strengths across a broad spectrum of activities; our curriculum reflects this in the subjects offered and the additional opportunities presented.
We also aim to provide students with memorable experiences and rich opportunities to frame and focus their academic learning, inspire further work and/or to develop personally. Not just narrowing gaps or closing gaps but filling gaps with experiences and memories – cultural capital. Our annual ‘Listening Project’ in History is an obvious example. Our academic curriculum reflects our school context with study of the Suffragette movement in History and a year 9 English focus on ‘women writing’ notable reflections on this. Moreover we endeavour to reflect local, national and global challenges and contexts. We are developing links with Nepal through the British Council and the Gurkha regiment which are feeding further curriculum change and tackling the rise of far right extremism in this country and more locally, and exciting developments in robotics and problem solving in the pipeline. Geographers tackle environment vs development through local study of Prince’s Parade and Otterpool developments. Careers education ranges from workplace visits in year 8, through mock job interviews to work experience and internships post 16. Student feedback too shapes the curriculum with the addition of financial education to the Mathematics curriculum for Year 9. We have a vast array of educational visits with over 140 taking place in the last academic year alone, covering all year groups - students have visited sites from Kent to London, France, Belgium, Iceland, Washington DC and are due to visit Namibia & Cuba in Summer 2020; there have been visits to museums, galleries, theatres, festivals, movie studios, concerts and areas of scientific and geographic interest exploring sports, the arts, the sciences and political & social history. This enriching and enlivening curriculum is crucial to the ethos of the school and to the outcomes achieved for our girls
Arguably the most important aim of education is personal empowerment – enabling our students to take control of their own lives and to shape their own futures. Education is, though, also about passing on ‘the best of what has been thought and is known in the world’ from one generation to the next. We also must prepare our girls to become good people; good friends and good neighbours, good colleagues, good parents. Good Citizens. Education is also inextricably linked to economic prosperity and preparing students for the world of work too must be carefully considered.
Our aim therefore is to provide an outstanding academic curriculum and outstanding teaching to ensure our girls leave as well-qualified and well-rounded young women. They will have a strong academic portfolio of qualifications, highly-developed interpersonal skills, a broad range of interests and are well prepared to pursue varied and fulfilling careers.
Our ambition is that after 7 years at The Folkestone School for Girls our students:
All students follow a KS3 curriculum over years 7 and 8 studying the traditional spectrum of academic subjects: Maths, English, Science, Geography, History and Modern Foreign Languages. For breadth and balance they also study Music, Art & Design, Drama, Computing, Religious Education, PSHCE and Physical Education.
Year 9 represents a transition year with girls commencing their GCSE options but with time, first, for background study and skill acquisition before the outset of the actual GCSE subject content. A chance to broaden their background knowledge and to hone skills. All girls study English Language, English Literature, Mathematics and Sciences. They also sit GCSE Philosophy & Ethics and have time each week for PE.
All students also choose 2 further options from the Ebacc suite of subjects; History, Geography or a modern foreign language (French). Together with 2 x English, Mathematics and Science GCSEs these subjects combine to form the broad and balanced academic package that our girls will need for the future. With GCSE Religious Education compulsory too, all girls therefore study at least 8 traditional academic qualifications to GCSE.
Whilst languages are chosen by many girls, our traditional academic curriculum does not currently compel girls to study a Modern Foreign Language and instead we prefer to offer girls a greater degree of choice within their academic curriculum.
Students then choose two further subjects which allow them to personalise their curriculum to reflect their own interests, strengths and aspirations. Students choose from;
Our curriculum model aims to:
The Folkestone School for Girls provides access to a wealth of additional opportunities within school. There are opportunities in to take part in a host of different sports clubs and competitions, to participate in our many Dance and Drama productions or indeed to sing or play in one of our many choirs, ensembles or musical evenings. Students in years 9, 10 and beyond can access the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. We also have Debating Societies, Young Magistrates and many other clubs and activities throughout the year.
We believe this is in an incredibly important part of education. Being part of a club or organisation requires teamwork and commitment. It develops self-confidence and simply can allow us all to grow and flourish in other arenas. Employers too are looking for these attributes. A broad and strong portfolio of academic qualifications is important but equally so is the chance to demonstrate what else you have done and can do! What will you talk about at a job or university interview? What would be your talking point?
Complementing our traditional, rigorous and academic curriculum, then, all students will take part in a personal challenge to develop attributes such as resilience, self-confidence, determination, teamwork and leadership. We call this the FSGBacc.
Every student will have a broad portfolio of strong academic qualifications – and a sensible amount of them! Typically 10 x GCSE & 3 x A level.
Not too few so as to limit options and limit the opportunity to reflect individual strengths, interests and aspirations but also not too many…..
Not too many because nobody needs 14, 15 or 16 GCSEs and fewer qualifications means more time to broaden and deepen knowledge to achieve the very highest grades within these
Not too many so as to leave time and scope for other interests (in or out of school)
Not too many so as to leave time and scope to just relax, to be a child, a teenager, to spend time with friends and family.
But over and above grades and qualifications, all students will take part in a personal challenge –
Rock climbing on our new wall, or Mountain biking on our new trail or being in the cast or crew of the big school production - that challenge might be different for everyone. For some it might be scaling a rock face and overcoming that fear of heights, for some it might be standing up in public and performing. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
We believe then - A sensible balance and a focus on developing INTELLECT & CHARACTER
For full details on what we offer visit the FSGBacc page on our school website
With Personal Development and Character Education still in mind our school website also lists other opportunities locally. There are a broad range of clubs and activities that might be of interest and that girls may consider joining. Many are free. Some do have a small fee. All allow our girls a further opportunity to do something they may not otherwise have the chance to do and to grow, develop and enjoy an interest away from school.
The overwhelming majority of students continue into Sixth Form. Most students complete 3 A levels but some do 4 and exceptionally some study 5. We have an extensive offer post 16 curriculum (some 30 subjects) focused mainly on A level but covering all disciplines. From the Mathematical and scientific disciplines students can choose from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Further mathematics, ICT and Computer Science. In the Arts: Art, Dance, Drama and Music. Humanities subjects offered include History, Geography, Government and Politics, Sociology, French, Spanish & English Literature. We also offer Business Studies, Health & Social Care and Psychology.
In 2017, around 85% of students either continued onto university or planned to do so after a gap year. The remainder went into directly into employment.