“Pioneering and trailblazing”: how an independent girls sixth form is breaking the educational mould
PUBLISHED: 09:32 08 December 2020
Described as one of the most innovative and influential schools in the UK, headteacher, Angharad Holloway says, ‘Talbot Heath is truly something special’.
Angharad shares how the school’s unique approach to education is preparing sixth formers for the future:
Q: Tell me about Talbot Heath School.
A: We are a leading independent boarding and day school in Bournemouth for girls aged three to 18. Our main aim is to develop intellectual curiosity in our students, and get them ready to take on the world. We have a history of exam success – 84pc of sixth formers achieved A* to B at A-level this year. But, we’re most renowned for our radical approach to learning. Focusing on the future, students learn coding, computer animation, material science, 3D printing and skills that take the curriculum far beyond the specifications of exams. Not only does this prepare students for the modern world, it gives them that spark and an excitement for learning. There’s always a real buzz around the school – students are happy and invested in their studies and it shows.
Q: How do you prepare sixth formers for higher education?
A: Talbot Heath was one of the first sixth forms for girls in the UK. Back then, the students were preparing for exams they weren’t allowed to take, but for girls to be in further education at all was ground-breaking, and that progressive approach hasn’t changed.
Universities love our students, because they haven’t been taught to simply jump through hoops – they learn to problem solve and think creatively. As a small school, we’re able to facilitate their ideas and fuel their ambition.
We work closely with Bournemouth University and Southampton University, with lecturers regularly delivering talks about different topics and admissions experts visiting to give their advice.
We’ve also partnered with the Darwin200 project, which raises awareness of the importance of conservation. We’re launching the global initiative and livestreaming to 10,000 schools around the world. This is just one example of the out-of-the-box experiences Talbot Heath is involved in.
Q: Does your new STEAM Hub enhance education for sixth formers?
A: Absolutely. Sixth formers have a designated space within the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) Hub, which has a real ‘Uni feel’, with a café, breakout spaces and a lecture hall. This allows us to facilitate interactive teaching and learning; A-level chemists will soon be able to plot chemical molecules, and then ‘walk inside them’ using CAD technology; Psychology students can look at nerve pathways, and explore inside the brain (VR technology is temporarily paused due to Covid). Students learn in a way that’s really impactful, and proven to help them retain information for a lot longer.
Talbot Heath School, Rothesay Rd, Talbot Woods, Bournemouth BH4 9NJ.