The School is exceptionally well resourced with specialist rooms equipped to a high standard and every subject having its own dedicated areas. There is an extensive computer network system providing excellent opportunities for ICT. There are eight dedicated ICT suites and wireless computer access in all departments.
We are continually developing our
- see link above - harnessing the power of technology to make it easier for teachers, students, parents and governors to communicate and give improved access to information and learning materials, via password entry.
Our Library features an impressive collection of books and magazines along with computer terminals with intranet and internet access. It is open throughout the day and after school for private study and class use, as well as being a centre for independent study and recreational reading.
We have listed our individual departments on our website to give you an insight into what each area offers - more detailed information is available to current parents and students on the VLE.
Our Specialisms - Languages, Science, Sport and Music
Modern Foreign Languages and Internationalism are an integral part of Dame Alice Owen’s. The school has been a Language College since 1996 and our specialist status has allowed us to extend the range of foreign languages studied to include Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese and Latin in addition to French, German and Spanish. We also offer an accelerated learning programme for the most enthusiastic linguists that helps them to excel in their first foreign language and allows them to take their GCSE and A-Level exams a year early.
The facilities available to the department are outstanding. All MFL classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and we have also recently installed two state of the art digital language laboratories that are used by our Key Stage 4 and 5 students to enhance their learning experience and their language skills through the use of a wide range of audio and audio-visual resources. All students also benefit from the use of audio-visual equipment, such as FlipCams, which allows them to be creative with their language and to work more independently.
In 2009, we secured the prestigious International School Award for 2009-2012 from the British Council in recognition of the breath of international experience within our school curriculum. In addition to a wide range of cross-curricular activities at Key Stage 3, foreign language assistants are employed every year to develop oral skills in French, German, Spanish and Italian for students in Key Stages 4 and 5. Language and Work Experience Exchanges, foreign study visits and trips are another key feature of the MFL department at Dame Alice Owen’s; recent destinations have included: Franconville, our twin town in France; the amazing city of Venice; the beautiful German city of Cologne and Salamanca, the home of Spain’s oldest university.
In 2009, we were also designated as a High Performing Specialist Science School in recognition of our excellence in this area. We continue to benefit from additional government finance to extend opportunities in all three disciplines.
Academic results in science are outstanding. Significant numbers of students go on to study science at university including medical sciences, dentistry, veterinary science and engineering. The curriculum includes the understanding of basic scientific concepts, plus Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and ‘How Science Works’ - a course designed to enhance the understanding of the impact of science on society and how scientific studies are carried out.
Learning is enhanced by a rich and varied array of extra-curricular activities which include a Science Club, the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry, industrial visits and projects alongside Olympiads and Analysis competitions to stretch the highest flyers. In 2009, twenty students attended a Biology trip to Indonesia where they were involved in a forest mapping project, joining scientists studying herpetofauna, civets, bats, and tarsiers. In 2010, one of our students was selected for the UK team entering the International Physics Olympiad in Croatia.
Sport is a vital and exciting part of life at Dame Alice Owen’s. We believe it is essential in nurturing skills, confidence and a life-long love of sporting activities.
The list of sports is a true compendium: football, rugby, netball, basketball, badminton, dance, table tennis, tennis, hockey, cricket, rounders, orienteering/problem solving, athletics, volleyball, trampolining, cross country, health- related fitness, cheerleading and gymnastics. We also organise an annual gym and dance display.
There are after-school clubs in all of these sports and recently the sports department have arranged a football tour to Holland, a water sports trip to France and netball and hockey tours to Malta and Barcelona respectively.
The facilities, including our sports centre, The F.E. Cleary Centre, are just as impressive and wide-ranging, with gymnasium, all-weather pitch, tennis and netball courts, sports pavilion and extensive playing fields and grounds.
We are proud to say there are spectacular successes at all ages and abilities, with students holding representative honours at district, county and national levels.
The musical life of the school is impressively rich, varied and hugely successful.
The department is well staffed and resourced, with a concert hall, three specialist classrooms, numerous practice rooms, a recital and rehearsal studio and a new recording studio. All students follow a National Curriculum integrated course in Performing, Composing and Appraising with large option groups at GCSE, A level and A level Music Technology.
More than 300 students receive instrumental lessons in school, and extra-curricular activities include four orchestras and bands, five choirs, chamber music and an annual musical production, which in the past has included “Guys and Dolls” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.
Our Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, and Senior Mixed Chamber choir have performed at the Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, The National Festival and the International Eisteddfod with abundant awards received.
Academic performance is excellent too. Many students go on to study music at university, including Oxbridge, The Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music. In recent years two students have reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year. It really is an extremely vibrant and creative musical environment!
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