Academics

Overview

Peterhouse Girls provides a broad and balanced curriculum designed to meet the needs of girls of different abilities. At the end of the fourth year of secondary education girls take examinations for the International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) in various subjects.

These examinations are set by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), which is part of Cambridge University. Upon achieving satisfactory results in their IGCSE examinations the vast majority of our girls proceed to do courses at Advanced Subsidiary (AS) and Advanced (A) levels.

For each subject, a girl is placed in one of four sets, allowing for smaller classes in which the lowest set (set 4) has the least number of pupils.

Each year group is split into six tutor groups which are then monitored by staff members who are responsible for each group. Members of staff monitor the academic performance of each girl, in addition to helping her to cope with any other problems, issues of concern or challenges she might face. If necessary, girls are referred to one of our two qualified counsellors.

This support from the girl’s tutor, together with a core of well qualified and in most cases highly experienced teaching staff, gives every girl the best opportunity to do well in her subjects.

Academic Structure

D Block (Form 1) – 4 classes (set according to ability in English and Maths) that have a full range of subjects offered. Class sizes are rarely above 24.

C Block (Form 2) – 4 classes (set according to ability in English and Maths).

At the end of the year choices are made for IGCSE (Cambridge International Examinations).
Girls are set to ensure class sizes are kept as small as possible.

B Block (Form 3) – First year of preparation for CIE – IGCSE

A Block (Form 4) – CIE-IGCSE examinations written by all girls

Vth Form – A level subjects studied at Peterhouse Boys

VIth Form – A level subjects studied at Peterhouse Boys

During the first year, all pupils are taught the following subjects; Art, English, Design and Technology, Food and Nutrition, French, Geography, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Music, Christian Education, Science and Shona.

In the second year, pupils choose two subjects from Art, Design and Technology, Music and Food & Nutrition. They will continue to do all the other subjects they studied in the first year.

Accounts, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Design and Technology, English Language, English Literature, Food & Nutrition, French, Geography, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Religious Studies, Travel & Tourism

Accounts, Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Design Technology, English, French, Geography, History, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physics, Travel & Tourism

The Dame Molly Court provides a comfortable environment for girls attending Vth and VIth form classes at Peterhouse Boys while studying at A Level.

We have a large computer room named after Mr Rupert Pennant-Rea, a Petrean who funded the initial computers used, which provides thirty networked computers – girls have access to email and monitored internet facilities.

The library was funded by the Beit Trust and was opened in 2000. It is a modern library, with high ceilings, light and spacious. There are tables and chairs as well as large scatter-cushions for the girls to read comfortably and two Audio-Visual Rooms.

We feel that an all-round education involves more than the learning environment of the classroom, so a number of educational trips are taken either annually or periodically, both inside and outside Zimbabwe.

A Level Geographers and Biologists regularly attend a camp at RIFA in the Zambezi Valley in early August, looking at various aspects of ecology and river landforms and processes.

Our IGCSE and AS level Travel and Tourism classes take advantage of the well developed infrastructure for Tourism in our country, and make a number of visits to resorts both locally and further a field in Zimbabwe.

Art is a very practical and creative subject, and our department takes pupils on frequent trips to art galleries, sculpture gardens and parks.

Our own conservation area of Gosho Park provides plenty of scope for both artistic and scientific field trips, and is close enough to allow short duration trips during lesson times to look at a specific feature of the park.

Over the past few years we have had cultural trips to Europe, a Geography field trip to the UK, a French tour to Paris, and a History tour to Europe.

A Careers Library is open to girls in Vth and VIth Form. An “Occupational Interests” test is done in B Block and in A Block and the girls are made aware of the importance of good grades in a wide range of subjects. In the Upper School the girls are encouraged to find for themselves the most suitable courses in their chosen areas.

Help is given in the completion of Application Forms for Universities and other further education centres. Visiting speakers from different professions are invited to address the girls, particularly during the first term.

Careers should be based on the subjects pupils enjoy studying and fields are narrowed for to the choice of ‘arts’, ‘sciences’ or ‘commerce’.

The modern trend in the universities is they prefer the pupils not to have made rigid career choices while as yet unfamiliar with the areas of specialisation and the job-market trends. Pupils are made aware of specific requirements in particular fields of study:

  1. All medical fields require chemistry and two other sciences
  2. Engineering requires mathematics and physics/chemistry and one other subject
  3. Agriculture prefers biology and chemistry
  4. B Comms usually require some level of post IGCSE mathematics
  5. BA degrees have very few restrictions.

Alpha Programme

The Peterhouse Group provides an all-embracing support system from “start” to “finish”. Springvale House, Peterhouse Girls and Peterhouse Boys all provide well-resourced, modern and comfortable learning centres with highly trained staff to see to your child’s learning needs. Each centre is staffed by NILD therapists with many supplementary qualifications such as RX Reading and RX Maths.

The ALPHA programme is not only about extra-lessons: it is about guidance, mentoring and learning complementary academic skills. Peterhouse welcomes a wide range of learning abilities and keeps a dynamic learning register to ensure systematic intervention, support and progress for each child in our system. Our emphasis – throughout the Group – is on small group, intimate learning lessons where “drop ins” are both welcome and encouraged.

And best of all, it is free…

Early intervention and then systematic structure is the key to our Alpha Centres. Our specifically trained teachers start assisting with pupils in need from the very start with the streaming tests each child sits within days of arriving at Peterhouse Boys and Peterhouse Girls.

Our curriculum is as flexible as possible in acknowledgment of the variety of abilities we actively embrace. Reduced loads at IGCSE and the hybrid AS/IGCSE year allow pupils to develop at their own pace without stigma or censure.

Apart from internal exams, pupils are given aptitude tests in C block (CAT4) to help guide IGCSE subject choices at the end of the year. Again, intervention before complication.

Above all, Alpha Centres are there for support and pupils are actively encouraged to take control of their own learning and seek that support. Exam pupils are given extra tuition at teachers, tutors and parents’ advice. However, it is the “drops ins” that show pupils are confident enough and comfortable enough to ask for help.

Peer-to-peer support groups are in place at both schools where mentoring programs with older pupils often achieve remarkable success.

Pupils and parents are welcome to approach our professional staff for advice to do with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Our staff are trained NILD therapists and work closely with educational psychologists in identifying disorders and then setting up programs to facilitate your child’s academic progress. Our systematic and popular reader/scribe programs for every exam work within Cambridge guidelines and ensure that pupils have the best chance possible of achieving their potential in the classroom.

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