Virtual Open Event FAQs
We have included below some of the questions often asked at our Open Events. If you have a question which is not answered below, please use the Submit a Question Form. We will update this FAQ page as further general questions are received.
How many students join in Year 7?
The Published Admission Number (PAN) is 210. If there are more applications than places, the criteria used to allocate places can be found in the Admission Arrangements for 2023/2024.
Where is the priority area for the school?
The priority area for Hitchin Girls’ School is based on the following towns / parishes / unparished areas: Codicote, Graveley, Hexton, Hitchin, Holwell, Ickleford, King’s Walden, Knebworth, Langley, Letchworth Garden City, Lilley, Offley, Pirton, Preston, St. Ippolyts, St. Pauls Walden, Weston, Wymondley
How do I know whether I live in one of these parishes?
You can find your parish by referring to your Council Tax statement. Alternatively, the Find Your Nearest School Service on the Hertfordshire County Council School admissions section allows you to input your address and the result will show your parish.
NOTE. The website application will show the nearest school as the closest co-educational school. It does not take single-sex schools into account. This does not affect your application.
How many children were allocated places from my parish last year?
Information on allocations is available on the Hertfordshire County Council School Allocation Summary Report
Where can I find out what is taught in each subject?
Information on the curriculum is available in the
Curriculum and Departments sections of our website. Here you will find details about the curriculum, teaching styles, homework and extracurricular activities. Under the Key Stage 3 heading, there is further information regarding topics covered. You will also find a detailed Key Stage 3 curriculum map.
Are students put into ability sets in Year 7?
Year 7 students are taught in predominantly mixed-ability groups, except for in Maths and Science where they are set on entry to the school. In Years 8 and 9 we continue to deliver lessons following a similar structure, with sets introduced for French. However, we can adopt a flexible approach to setting at this stage and, where the need arises, we make adjustments to some mixed-ability groupings to meet the needs of that cohort.
How much homework will I get in Year 7?
In Year 7 you can expect up to one hour per week for English, Maths and Science and up to 30 minutes per week for other subjects. Your teacher will give you advice on how long you should spend on a task. Further information is available on our homework page.
What sports are played in Year 7?
Physical Education lessons in Year 7 will give you the opportunity to develop skills in a number of sports. This will include netball, hockey, badminton, basketball, gymnastics, dance, athletics, tennis, rounders and cross-country. Rugby is added in Year 8, and football and trampolining in Year 9. Clubs exist at all levels and for all years in netball, hockey, football, badminton, basketball, trampoline, athletics, rounders, and tennis. There are also three tiers of gymnastics, plus rhythmic gymnastics clubs and five clubs for dance.
What Careers support and guidance is provided?
A programme of high-quality Careers Education and Guidance is available to students throughout their time at HGS, provided by both school staff and external organisations. Events include our Careers Fair, Careers Days, Take Your Daughter to Work Day (Year 8), Options Talks, Careers Interviews, Apprenticeship Talks and Interview Support. Further information is available on the Careers Guidance and Education page.
What are the average sizes of classes?
At Key Stage 3, most subjects are taught in Tutor Groups and the average size of these is 26/27.
At Key Stage 4, numbers vary slightly more depending on the subject choices made by students. The average is 23/24, with some classes having 15/16 students and a small number having 28/29.
Do students in Year 7 require a Chromebook?
Yes, all students in Years 7 to 11 are required to bring their own Chromebook to school each day to support learning in class and at home. This can be purchased privately or through a scheme offered by the school. These digital devices will not replace the teaching that takes place in our school, but will enhance what we already do well.
Why have you chosen Chromebooks?
There is a wide range of tablet and laptop-style devices available on the market. We conducted extensive research when considering the type of device that would be best suited to students in our school. For the specification and cost this is by far the best one, and as a Google school which has been using Google Classroom for the last 5 years, we consider Chromebooks to be the best devices for us to use.
What support is provided for students with additional needs?
Our Learning Support Department currently has six Learning Support Assistants and along with the SENCO and Assistant SENCO, they provide coordination of needs and some in-class support. There is a range of smaller group interventions which take place to support a variety of learning needs. We provide support through high-quality teaching for all, and individual class teachers are guided by the Learning Support Department to differentiate work as appropriate.
Further information is available on the Learning Support Department webpage.
What support is available for students who have pastoral and emotional needs?
Our pastoral structure includes the Form Tutor who sees students each morning for registration, the Head of Year who has oversight of students in their year group and the non-teaching Pastoral Department. The Pastoral Department coordinates peer-mentoring, counselling and other emotional support interventions. They are available daily if students need time out of lessons and also deliver resilience sessions. The team works closely with local support organisations such as Phase, GRIT and the School Nursing team.
What clubs and societies can students take part in?
Clubs and societies vary from year to year, and reflect the interests of our students. They are often led by members of the Sixth Form. Please visit our Extracurricular webpage for more information on our activities.
Can I start to learn or continue to learn a musical instrument?
Our Music Department is based in Highbury House, which is also the base for the North Herts Music School. Lessons are available for piano, keyboard, recorder, drum kit, guitar, voice and the usual orchestral string, woodwind and brass instruments. Group activities include Senior and Junior Orchestra, Clarinet Group, String Quartets, Recorder Group, Keyband, Flute Group and Guitar Group. All lessons occur during school time and are provided weekly on a rota system so that you don't always miss the same lesson in school.
Whether you have instrument lessons in school or not, there are many opportunities for you to participate in extracurricular ensembles in all instruments. The Junior String Orchestra, Wind Band, Keyband and Junior Choirs are an excellent way for students to develop their ensemble playing and enjoy making music. The Senior Choir, Senior Orchestra and Wind Band are long-established groups that perform regularly in and out of school.
What trips and visits take place?
A variety of trips and visits are arranged throughout the school year. These vary from year to year. Overseas trips have included Classics trips to Italy and Greece, a History trip to Berlin, a Business Studies trip to New York, Spanish trips to Barcelona and Granada, a Design & Technology trip to Paris, a Geography trip to Iceland, and a sports tour to Holland. The Biology department has also arranged expeditions to Tanzania and Malawi via Operation Wallacea. We were the first UK school to be invited to be a member of the highly prestigious Student Global Leadership Institute, which runs two-week summer programmes in Hawaii and India.
In the UK, there are visits to museums, galleries and the theatre in support of the curriculum along with field trips in Geography. Year 8 have a three-day residential visit to PGL Caythorpe each October.
Is there bullying at HGS?
Most of the time our students all get along well but occasionally there are fallouts, and where this happens we work to close down any friendship or bullying issues as quickly as possible. However, we can only do this if we know about it and we encourage everyone in the school to help us be a “telling school”. We urge students to tell us if someone is being treated badly by others or if things are not right for them, and we can then support and intervene at the earliest opportunity with the help of our Tutors, Heads of Year and Pastoral team.
Do you have a rewards system?
We have an extensive reward system in place to recognise and celebrate success in all aspects of school life. Reward points are collected individually that correlate to House points for a student's House. Students receive certificates at our end-of- term Celebration Assemblies, with additional prizes awarded to five students from each year group. Students with zero consequences all school year are eligible for our end-of-year Reward Trips. Achievement and progress are also recognised through weekly notifications, and students will also receive Praise Postcards, Department and Year/House Awards and Headteacher Awards.
We also run a House Cup competition where students can earn House points by participating in a variety of House activities and events (sporting and non-sporting) that take place throughout the year.
Year 6 Transition
Do you run an induction programme for Year 6 joining the school?
Every autumn, in collaboration with Hitchin Boys’ School and The Priory School, we participate in a Year 6 conference to begin the Transition process with all Year 6 students.
From March, when places are allocated, we start regular communication with Year 6 families via our Transition Newsletters. In June we visit every child in their primary school, meeting both them and their teachers/SENCOs to discuss their needs. In July we welcome all those joining us to our New Intake Day, where we announce which House they will belong to and they get the opportunity to meet their Tutor, Head of Year, Head of House and other key staff.
In September when they join us, Year 7 have a full Induction Week programme that aims to support them in every way with getting settled into their new school, making new friends and preparing for their secondary education journey with us. This culminates in a Celebration Evening on the first Friday of term, when families are invited to see a showcase of what their child has done in their first week at HGS.