Here at Nottingham High School we are delighted to be welcoming girls in to the school, after the many years of planning it has been extremely rewarding and exciting to finally make the move to becoming a co-educational school.
I am often asked how Nottingham High School will differ with the admission of girls. In many ways little will alter; the fundamentals will remain. The move to co-education is, essentially, about extending the opportunities and excellence already in existence to girls.
The new boys and girls joining the school will be joining a diverse, down-to-earth and academic community where their intellectual curiosity will be encouraged and they will be championed as individuals. They will be treated with warmth and kindness, make lifelong friends and, ultimately, leave us, like previous generations, as well-rounded, confident and grounded young people.
For us welcoming girls is a natural step, and one that has been some time in the making. Much research, thought and careful planning has gone into the decision to become co-educational, a move which will enable us to:
- Open up the opportunities: of a Nottingham High education to a wider audience
- Enhance academic standard: the fresh perspective and moral compass each gender brings to an English or ethics of Science discussion, for example, can only add depth to the study of a subject
- Prepare pupils better for life: for the pupils will work alongside members of the opposite sex at university and in their workplaces in the future
- Further enhance our staffing and facilities: the accompanying virtuous circle created of better resources and staff will only enhance what we can offer pupils and their families
- Enrich the pastoral system the sense of extended family that our house and unique tutor system gives pupils will be stronger still by including girls, ultimately aiding the mutual respect and understanding required for relationships throughout life
- Build on our position of strength excellent schools are excellent precisely because they grow and develop rather than rest on their laurels
We have taken great care in the planning process to ensure that the girls joining us will thrive academically and pastorally from the outset.
We have visited and consulted a number of schools that have made this same transition, and the ensuing learning has proved invaluable in shaping our preparations, both in terms of best practice to replicate and pitfalls to avoid.
We have also sought advice from a variety of professionals to establish sound practice from day one; thanks to our meetings with a leading child psychologist, for example, we will be fully attuned to girls’ potential mental health issues.
Our pupils benefit from an even balance of male and female teachers for 45% of our teaching staff are female. The majority taught in a co-ed or girls’ school prior to Nottingham High. There has also been a series of additional training events and supplementary mentoring for teachers.
The diverse community here works precisely because of mutual respect between pupils and an appreciation of the right attitudes towards race and sexuality.
The same will be true of gender; we have laid strong foundations, through assemblies and the General Education Programme (our PSHE programme), to ensure that the school culture is as welcoming of both genders as it is of all races.
As an academically selective school it’s a given that pupils will achieve their potential, but the love and care children receive here are what will make the adventure a happy one.
We have developed an additional Reception class with a beautiful outside space for outdoor learning. Infant and Junior playgrounds now feature more seating areas and the range of toys and books in classrooms have also been extended.
We have a wide range of sports and activities, designed to help boys and girls play, support and compete with each other. There are plans for the Junior School to be extended, both in terms of new classrooms and extra play space for relaxing and letting off steam.
By the time your child joins Year 7, or indeed Years 8, 9 and 10, in September 2016 almost all year groups will have a cohort of girls and the Upper Sixth girls, in their second year, will be on hand to provide positive female role models, just as girls lower down the School will, in turn, look up to them.
Your child will be welcomed into a house community and a smaller tutor set within that, each comprising boys and girls of all ages. In many ways little will change; your child will be challenged, motivated and supported by their teachers as countless pupils before them have been. The curriculum and activities programmes have also been extended.
In terms of sports provision and facilities, girls will play hockey in the Autumn Term, netball in the Spring Term and tennis, cricket, rounders and athletics in the summer. The tennis courts have been resurfaced and remarked to ensure a quality netball provision; new girls changing facilities are available in the Sports Hall and at our off-site Valley Road pavilion; and an AstroTurf pitch has been built to secure excellent amenities for hockey coaching and fixtures.
We were delighted to welcome our first co-educational cohort in September 2015 with 42 new girls and 8 new boys joining our Year 12’s in the Sixth Form. These numbers far exceeded our conservative estimates and are a fantastic indicator of the support of Nottingham High School’s move to co-education.
All of those who come will have achieved a minimum of 5 Grade As at GCSE but many of them will have achieved far higher than this. What unites them all is that they have been to see what we are offering and are excited by the opportunities which lie ahead.
The Sixth Form has a strong and vibrant identity which provides leadership in the School.
Before they join us, we encourage new starters to attend events in school, invite them to spend a day attending Sixth Form classes in the subjects they’re interested in studying, and introduce them to their teachers and fellow pupils. By the time they have taken part in the annual team scavenger hunt at the start of the Lower Sixth, they will already be feeling part of the community.
Your child’s home within the School will be the Sixth Form centre, where the dedicated Sixth Form staff team is also based. There they’ll study, relax with friends and enjoy hot and cold food from the Brasserie; we’ve reviewed the menu to ensure that it continues to appeal to both the boys and girls.
The subjects offered at A Level have been extended so there are newer options for the boys and girls joining us in addition to the existing rage that was on offer.
Although there is no Sixth Form uniform, we have a dress code to ensure students maintain high standards of dress and appearance. Girls in the Sixth Form will wear smart business dress in line with our expectation that Sixth Form boys wear suits.