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Here’s why Dame Allan’s Schools are different from the rest

When it comes to schools in Newcastle, Dame Allan’s Schools stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 09.11.2022

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WHO ARE DAME ALLAN’S SCHOOLS?

Founded in 1705 by Dame Eleanor Allan to provide a ‘proper education’ for children in Newcastle, Dame Allan’s Schools became one of the first independent girls’ schools in the UK.

Now, more than 300 years later, they honour this heritage by building upon their traditions whilst always looking to the future.

Although their commitment to making girls feel safe, valued and constructively challenged remains, Dame Allan’s Schools provides an excellent education to boys and girls from the ages of 3 to 18.

THEIR EXCELLENCE

Bringing together young people from all cultures and backgrounds within a supportive learning environment, the commitment from Dame Allan’s Schools to providing high quality education and pupil development has been highlighted in recent inspections by the ISI – in which the Junior School and Nursery, Senior Schools and Sixth Form were all deemed ’excellent’.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Schools were also shortlisted together for the Senior School of the Year by respected teaching publication tes in their Independent School Awards 2020.

HOW ARE DAME ALLAN’S SCHOOLS DIFFERENT?

Dame Allan’s Schools are the only schools in Newcastle – and indeed the North East – to follow the ‘diamond structure’ of education.

This combines both co-education and single-sex education:

  • Boys and girls are educated together in the Junior School
  • They’re educated separately between the ages of 11 and 16
  • And then they come together again for lessons in the Sixth Form

The diamond structure offers all the benefits of single-sex education combined with the social and cultural merits of a co-educational environment.

GIRLS IN STEM

While a holistic education to all their pupils is always at the forefront of curriculum leaders here, Dame Allan’s Schools have also invested heavily in state-of-the-art science facilities.

The new Jubilee Building is the result of an £8 million development to the schools and features 16 classrooms plus three exceptional science laboratories. Alongside a central art exhibition area, this new space will be incorporated into Dame Allan’s Schools’ Masterclass programme – meaning younger children from local primary schools will also benefit from the advanced facilities.

The result has seen a number of girls opting to study STEM subjects at GCSE and A Level, with many harbouring aspirations of a future career in medicine and science.

And it seems Dame Allan’s Schools are adept at nurturing the scientists and engineers of the future. This summer’s GCSE results day saw many of these girls achieve top Grade 8s and 9s, leading plenty to pursue their subjects at A Level at the beginning of the new school year.

What the Head said:

‘Our Year 11 pupils have done exceptionally well in their GCSEs,’ says Will Scott, Principal of Dame Allan’s Schools. ‘We are delighted to see so many of them, particularly from the Girls’ School, opting to take STEM subjects at A Level.

‘The number of females studying and working in STEM is growing, but there is still a significant gender gap, and it’s our role as a school to help address that. Dame Allan’s has undergone major development to ensure our facilities, coupled with our teaching, inspires pupils and delivers the very best the region has to offer to all budding scientists, medics, engineers and mathematicians.’

MORE THAN ACADEMIA

At Dame Allan’s Schools, learning doesn’t end when pupils leave the classroom.

The students here are encouraged to make the best use of the many, and varied, opportunities on offer – be that karate or choir, creative writing or coding, chess, ukulele, Italian, archery or even The Allanian Adventurer’s Club.

Sport, art, music, technology and further exploration in core subjects are offered in abundance, with the shared aim of developing students’ awareness of their individual strengths and helping them learn how to make full use of them.

The new Jubilee Building in particular has enabled budding artists to hone their talents and express their creativity, with three light-filled rooms dedicated to self-expression and a central art exhibition area where pupils can showcase their work and be inspired by others.

But whatever their interests, all pupils are encouraged to participate in any of the activities offered here to improve their leadership skills and teamwork experience, and to build their confidence, discipline and independence.

Students are also encouraged to undertake charity work and, over recent years, have been responsible for raising thousands of pounds for great causes around the North East and beyond.

In providing such a broad, varied and exciting co-curricular programme, Dame Allan’s Schools are not only looking to establish and maintain high moral standards among their pupils, but also aim to prepare them to flourish beyond the school gates as adults in a rapidly changing world.

What the Head said:

‘Co-curricular activities are not only enjoyable; they help pupils develop key life skills, build confidence, recognise their strengths and weaknesses, form friendships and pledge a commitment to a cause or a team. They’re an invaluable aspect of school life.’

A FOCUS ON WELLBEING

For some students, school can be tough.

Whether it’s clashing deadlines or fall-outs with friends, trouble at home, cyber-bullying or imposter syndrome, at some point or another almost every student can feel stressed out and in need of support.

Which is something Dame Allan’s Schools recognise and understand.

The Schools have always been forward-thinking – they were the first schools in Newcastle to employ a dedicated counsellor over 20 years ago – and today is no different. In response to more pupils across the country requiring access to mental health support, Dame Allan’s Schools decided to invest significantly in their new wellbeing centre: The Snug.

Housing support services which operate outside the curriculum – including psychotherapy, counselling, learning support and the support of special educational needs (SEN) – The Snug comprises of a counselling area, a chaplain’s room and prayer space, a SEN office and a soft-seating area.

The space allows for the four mental health professionals Dame Allan’s Schools currently employ (including one child and adolescent psychotherapist) greater capacity to support their students, as well as a hub for their teachers who are trained in mental health first aid to seek further support and advice.

But the focus on wellbeing at Dame Allan’s Schools comes down to more than their facilities. It’s a compassion which is engrained within their ethos.

The curriculum and co-curriculum here is centred around creating a community in which all members care for each other as in a family. Still emphasising the interdependence of the individual and the community at local, national and international levels, the school is dedicated to encouraging their pupils to always show care, concern and respect for others.

What the Head said:

The Snug reflects how dedicated Dame Allan’s Schools are to the pastoral welfare of all the children in their care. There’s a palpable sense of trust here and we take pride in ensuring that the emotional wellbeing of our pupils is protected.’

 

We couldn’t think of a more supportive environment for our children to grow up in.

To find out more about life at Dame Allan’s Schools and to arrange a visit, go to their website and follow them on Facebook   

Dame Allan’s Junior School and Nursery, Hunter’s Road, Spital Tongues, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4NG

Dame Allan’s Boys’, Girls’ and Sixth Form Schools, Fowberry Crescent, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 9YJ

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