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Devonport High School for Girls


“Knowledge, indeed, when thus exalted into a scientific form, is also power; not only is it excellent in itself, but whatever such excellence may be, it is something more, it has a result beyond itself.” St John Henry Newman

Our Curriculum Vision: Students at DHSG have access to a challenging and inspiring curriculum that meets the needs of all students including the most able, fosters intellectual curiosity and prepares them for ‘scholarship’ in a global society.
Our curriculum model is not based on Key Stages but on a 7-year plan based on the acquisition of skills, concepts, knowledge and understanding. This is broken down into 3 phases:

  • Lower Years: Knowledge Seekers (Years 7 & 8)
  • Middle Years: Subject Masters (Years 9-11)
  • Upper Years: Critical Scholars (Years 12 & 13)

Progress is gauged on the student’s breadth and depth of understanding in this subject knowledge and by their creativity in communicating their analysis and evaluation of that knowledge.  High expectations of our students enable us to assess progress as they move through the building blocks of the curriculum. Challenge and our well-planned curriculum aid the development of creativity as, “extensive research provides evidence that creativity and innovation are the result of disciplined thinking.” (Top 20 Principles from Psychology – American Psychology Association). Furthermore, TS Eliot said that “anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity,”; nothing of worth comes to pass without self-doubt and struggle.

Instead of trying to remove obstacles and prop up self-esteem, we have created a learning environment that it is OK to find things hard and that the making mistakes is an essential part of the process.  Our plan is to develop exceptional learners in each subject discipline and to fully equip our students to be happy and successful in their next steps. 

Challenge through subject based knowledge

Students are taught discrete subjects by specialists from Year 7. However, DHSG teachers are more than individuals with knowledge specialisms; they are all curriculum designers. Their professional focus is to design learning programmes that nurture enquiry, spark imagination, push creativity, create well-rounded caring citizens and produce high attaining learners. Above all, academic challenge and rigour are ensured by subject leaders giving careful consideration to the knowledge to be delivered enabling the strongest possible progress.

 Challenge through breadth

Students are taught a broad curriculum throughout Years 7-13. Challenge is ensured by students’ experience of a wide range of disciplines and their associated progression models, alongside our aim for 100% participation beyond academic study.

 Challenge through depth

Students are taught linear specialist courses (not blended disciplines) in all academic areas of the curriculum. Challenge is enabled by specialist planning which aims to deepen core knowledge across Years 7-13.