"The Inspiring Bright Minds programme encourages Godolphin students to undertake challenges and to embrace an intellectual world beyond the text book: one of exploration and discovery, curiosity and inspiration. Godolphin’s Bright Minds learn the pleasure of knowledge, to think for themselves and have the courage to pursue their interests"
At Godolphin, opportunities abound for students to pursue their academic interests beyond the classroom, to aspire to challenging careers and to take possession of their education. A variety of stimulating clubs exist to inspire students: whether it is to learn Mandarin and Ancient Greek, or to study world cinema. Some choose book groups and chess, learn CAD or how to edit film and the School Gazette, while others may prefer to try their hand at coding with the CyberFirst Girls Competition or code breaking, with the weekly Cipher Challenge run by GCHQ and Southampton University.
In addition to the Annual Godolphin Lecture and termly ‘Inspiring People’ lectures by leaders in their fields, a programme of ‘GO Discover’ sessions takes place weekly to widen students’ focus. Subjects might range from Anglo-Saxon poetry, Astro Physics and Forensics, to ISIS, Climate Change or the Cold War. These are required for scholars, but open to all. Firefly, the VLE, also provides students with links to extension documentaries, talks and MOOCS. Students showing promise in particular subjects in the First to Fourth Year may be invited to take part in an Alpinist (accelerated learning programme) Morning where they will work on an aspect not covered by the curriculum. New from 2017 is the Juniors weekly General Knowledge and the SATIPS Challenge.
Overseas visits bring subjects to life and, in addition to field trips, many departments take students abroad: RS to India, Classics to Rome and Pompeii; Art History to Florence and with History and MFL to Paris; Business and Economics to Prague. Students also attend a variety of School and University conferences as well as taster days in this country.
Those who enjoy a challenge can pit themselves against their peers as teams or individuals. The Debating Society reach the finals of the National Debating Matters Competition and students take part in Maths and Science Challenges and Olympiads; others build and programme robots for the First Lego League Robotics Competition. Geographers enter for the Royal Geographical Society Young Geographer of the Year. In the Humanities, students compete nationally with essays and films as well as presenting their views on art at ARTiculation and reciting poetry in English, Latin and Greek reading competitions, while the First Years take part in the National French Spelling Bee competition. Pro Corda takes place at Godolphin and there are annual internal music and creative writing contests.
Those interested in Science enjoy the annual Godolphin Science week of activities which culminates in the Inter-House Science Quiz. Fourth Years attend the Big Bang IGCSE Live Science Conference and Teen Tech. Older students visit the Physics research departments at Southampton and by taking part in the Engineering Group can work towards Arkwright Engineering Scholarships or Headstart engineering courses. A Science Café keeps Sixth Formers aware of new developments, while those aspiring to be medics, dentists or vets will be able to join the new MedVet+ Society. As well as hearing talks by healthcare professionals, they will have the opportunity to extend their knowledge through projects and practicals. Budding mathematicians visit Warwick University for a Maths and Beyond day. Students in all fields are supported through the university application process by tutors, teachers and the Oxbridge and Careers teams.
Students are encouraged to become informed citizens and take part in a variety of activities from Godolphin’s own ‘Any Questions’ and Peer Mentoring Project on mental health awareness, to the Current Affairs Society, H4H fundraising and the EGA series ‘Human Stories from the Developing World’. Environmental issues are the focus of the Green Group and the biennial Environment Week. Girls have the opportunity to take part in the Model United Nations, where students can research, debate and try to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. All Sixth formers have the opportunity to watch films, opera and drama through the EGA and Culture Club and listen to authors speaking at the biennial Literary Festival. Humanities students can hear the latest thinking on their subjects by attending a number of external conferences and lecture events, such as those at Oxford and Cambridge on Classics; the Association of Art Historians’ ‘Ways of Seeing’ Conference; the Chalke Valley History Festival and Hitler on Trial event, as well as taking part in Godolphin’s own History study days.
Independent study, research and communication are encouraged throughout the school, not just as preparation for Higher Education, but also to instil in students a love of learning for its own sake. From the First and Second year, Scholars complete an ‘In search of...’ group project while Third Year Scholars undertake a project and presentation on a subject of their choice. The Seminar Society allows Lower Sixth students to research and present topics to small groups for discussion. Some chose to develop these into an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which is highly regarded by universities.