Page 24 - Independent Schools Magazine
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New era for High School with co-ed ‘Diamond model’ & boarding
Ipswich High School for Girls, Suffolk, is to become known simply as Ipswich High School, as it moves forward into a new era.
Owned for many years by the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), Ipswich High School is set to transfer
to the ownership of Ipswich Education Ltd, led by London & Oxford Group.
The school will continue to be run by the Head, Ms Oona Carlin, together with her management team. Also remaining in place and helping guide the new era will
be the school’s existing board of governors, chaired by Mr John Pickering.
The new ownership paves the
way for Ipswich High School to reconsider its educational offering. The intention is to move gradually toward a Diamond Model of education, enabling boys to join the school in certain year groups.
At the same time, families will
soon be able to consider a residential option at the school, as the new phase will incorporate the addition of a state-of-the-art boarding facility.
Head, Ms Oona Carlin, is committed to extending the co- educational element to families in the region, and to have boarding become a further asset for pupils at Ipswich High School.
“The school’s leadership team, together with the board of governors and myself, are extremely con dent about
the proposed new era we are announcing, and are very excited by what it represents for existing and future pupils,” she said.
Ms Carlin emphasised that all changes will be incorporated gradually, sympathetically, and with a great deal of consultation and consideration.
She added: “I recognise that this news has come as a surprise to
parents, pupils, and our wider community, so we are absolutely committed to ensuring that we move forward gradually and with sensitivity.
“Our absolute priority is continuity for our existing girls. We are, therefore, doing everything possible to introduce this next chapter with a dedication to continuity and with strong communication between ourselves and those who are currently committed to the school.
“The diamond model is much acclaimed and we feel very strongly that this is a great opportunity for our pupils, for their learning and development, and for the potential it grants us in terms of ongoing investment in our teaching, our facilities, and our wider learning and social environment.”
The diamond model proposed will be phased in over the coming years, with boys being introduced
in 2018 for some years including Woodland Pre-Prep, through to Year 6 and then in Year 12.
Exploration into boarding facilities, and other required developments at the School’s site, will be carried out in the coming months.
Cheryl Giovannoni, Chief Executive of the GDST, said: “The decision to transfer Ipswich High School to Ipswich Education has been taken in the long-term best interests of the school and students. We have undertaken a rigorous process
in making this decision and are con dent Ipswich Education will continue to provide a seamless  rst-class education experience for girls already studying at Ipswich High School, and that their approach will build on the school’s traditions and values. The GDST will do everything possible to support the transition to Ipswich Education.”
stand them in great stead for the rest of their education. They are learning valuable skills such as critical thinking, public speaking, researching, essay-writing, project working and, perhaps most importantly, linking what they have learnt in one subject with what they are working on in others – and all before they reach Year 9.”
Some of the Extended Project subjects have included:
• How does migration affect a child’s life?
• How did the Reformation change church theology?
• How can small actions make a big difference when raising money for animal charities?
• How will jelly sh change the oceans in the future?
First 13-year-old graduates
The Year 8 pupils at Benenden School, Kent, have become the  rst year group to graduate with the School’s new Diploma.
In the  nal week of last term, the girls in the Upper Fourth, all aged 12 and 13, collected their certi cates in front of friends, family and staff at the inaugural Diploma Ceremony in the School Hall.
It was the culmination of two years’ work, which included all their timetabled lessons as well as trips, special projects and Enquiry Weeks, when traditional lessons are replaced by a focus on exploring a particular topic.
In order to pass the Diploma, girls had to submit a portfolio of their best work across all subjects, in
relation to the particular termly themes. They also had to produce an Extended Project - a mini- dissertation or a practical project – and were assessed throughout the two years of lessons.
To celebrate their graduation from the Diploma and their journey to the Middle School in September, the School threw a party for the girls in the days before the formal ceremony.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: “Congratulations to our Upper Fourths, who have made history by becoming the  rst graduates of our Benenden Diploma.
Lesley Tyler, Benenden’s Deputy Head Academic, was responsible for designing the Diploma. She said: “This unique new Diploma ensures that girls are making full use of those  rst two years at School, and working towards something tangible that will
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