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 run French, German and Spanish very successfully up to A-level. Language students have also had excellent success with their applications to Oxbridge and other universities, where they have continued their language studies.
The department uses a wide range of facilities. All MFL classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and we have 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. Our students also benefit from the use of audio-visual equipment and tablets, which allow them to be really 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 and Spanish 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: Vannes; St. Omer; the beautiful German city of Cologne and Viernheim; Barcelona and Valladolid; with a trip to 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.
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 July 2017 fifteen of our students will be going to Honduras as part of an Operation Wallacea expedition. They will be working with an international team of biodiversity scientists for a week in Cusuco National Park, helping to survey one of the world’s rarest and most endangered forest types. Students will have a busy week completing jungle survival skills training and gaining experience invertebrate sampling, using mist nets and live trapping for birds and mammals in addition to spotlighting for amphibians and reptiles. A second week will be spent based on a coral island where the students will have the opportunity to gain their PADI open water level certificate and gain experience of marine survey techniques. Our students’ hard work will help scientists to assess temporal patterns of ecosystem change and to address key conservation concerns in the region.
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.
There is a wide range of sports that are on offer at school including football, hockey, rugby, netball, basketball, cricket, cross country and athletics. Pupils will take part in after–school and weekend fixtures in all these sports, alongside training at lunchtime and afterschool. We also run other activities such as tennis, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, trampolining and cheerleading. Gym and dance is also very popular with over 100 pupils taking part in our annual display.
The sports department regularly organise sports tours and are due to take our football, hockey and rugby teams to South America. Our netball teams recently took part in a tournament in Paris.
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. Our alumni include footballer Paul Robinson (Millwall and AFC Wimbledon), rugby players Matt Symons (Wasps) and Andy Symons (Gloucester). Jodie Williams also competed for Great Britain over 200m at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
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 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 400 students receive instrumental lessons in school, and extra-curricular activities include four orchestras and bands, four choirs, chamber music and an annual musical production, which in the past has included The Threepenny Opera and High Society.
Our Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, and Senior 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 also excellent. 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!