Talbot Heath School
- Credit: Archant
Success continues at Bournemouth’s leading independent school for girls
Talbot Heath is Bournemouth’s leading independent school for girls. The school offers a dynamic and holistic education for girls aged 3-18 with boarding as an option from 11+. The school gives its pupils the opportunity to fulfil their potential in every way and has been at the forefront of education for 128 years. Its unique woodland campus provides a beautiful environment for both learning and play.
There are exciting times at Talbot Heath, a new phase is beginning in the 128 year history of the school: a new sports pavilion has been built, a gym is being installed and a new digital language laboratory created, all of which enhance the experience of the pupils from Pre-Prep to Sixth Form. Perhaps the most significant development, however, is the fact that Talbot Heath will be a digital centre of excellence. A whole school initiative will result in all pupils from Year 3 to Year 13 being provided with an iPad Air as part of their learning tools over a 12 month period. The learning experience of the pupils will be transformed as their ‘digital pencil case’ offers them the latest in educational provision.
‘The school has a reputation for offering the highest possible standard of education to girls from the moment they join us in Kindergarten to the time they head off to university’, says Head teacher Angharad Holloway, ‘and we are committed to being at the cutting edge in terms of educational developments. Our results are outstanding; our Early Years pupils compete with the A Level students in terms of achievement; 100 % of EYFS pupils achieved all 13 Early Learning goals, placing them at the top of league tables regionally, while GCSE and A level grades A*-B in 2013 placed Talbot Heath as the highest performing school for girls in Bournemouth and Poole.’
Superb academic results belie, however, the excellence in sport, music and the performing arts. 2014 has been an outstanding year for achievements in these fields. Jodie Burrage in Year 10 created national headlines by beating Marion Bartoli and competing in Junior Wimbledon, we became Aberdare Cup National Champions and our tennis team have been selected to represent England in the World Schools Tennis tournament in Qatar. Issy Atkinson won the Rotary’s International Vocalist of the Year competition and former pupil Tiffany Hannam–Daniels was cast in the upcoming BBC drama ‘The Buccaneers’. Junior pupils look up to these girls as fantastic role models; they see them realising their dreams and feel inspired to aim high.
Those who visit Talbot Heath are struck by the positive atmosphere that pervades the school. Pupils are happy and confident. They have faith in their teachers who support them every step of the way, creating a nurturing learning environment that allows all to flourish. It is no accident that the school is placed in the highest rankings nationally for Value Added scores. ‘We help them along their journey- encouraging, guiding so that they can develop and realise their dreams’ says Angharad.
What to consider when choosing a school? By Angharad Holloway, Head of Talbot Heath
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Most schools now provide glossy marketing brochures full of superlatives; it can be difficult for prospective parents to look beyond promotional materials and discover what truly lies at the heart of a school. From my experience, it is the pupils themselves who best demonstrate the education that is provided by a school, not just the hand selected prefect or Head girl or boy who may lead guided tours, but those who pass you in the corridor on an open day or are on a trip out in a public place. When touring a school parents should pay attention to the ambience in the classroom in order to establish the learning environment- is it relaxed but purposeful? Do the pupils greet you confidently and welcome you even though you are a visitor? Do they seem engaged in their work? If your son or daughter is touring the school do they become engaged in what is taking place? Do you have the impression that they would love to stay and participate? If you do, then that is a very good sign. Speak with pupils and their parents at first hand. Word of mouth is still the strongest endorsement. A brochure may state that a school offers excellent pastoral care and teaching of a high calibre, but is that what the students and parents at the school actually think? Ask to see the exam results of the school, do not rely on overused terms such as ‘outstanding’ and ‘ excellent’ without asking to see the evidence to back up such claims. When the quality of marketing materials is so high it is essential for prospective parents to focus on substance, looking at the record of achievement of pupils at a school over a prolonged period. 2013 may have been a very strong year for an individual school but how does this compare to the previous ten years. What are the trends in terms of pupil attainment? Would former pupils recommend their school? All of these factors help prospective parents to make an informed choice. The choice of school is a critical one. Essentially all parents are looking for a school that will provide a happy, secure environment which will allow their child to flourish - being able to differentiate between those schools that claim to offer this and those schools that actually do is the key to making the right choice.