An enthusiastic first half term for our Juniors!

We’re often asked what a typical Withington girl is like but there really is no one type – our girls may be extrovert, reserved, sporty, musical, creative or analytical. This diversity of our pupil body is an asset and benefit to the whole community. What is a characteristic of all our pupils is their enjoyment of learning, an ethos upon which Withington Girls’ School was founded in 1890. Our pupils aspire to be the best that they can be and play a full part in their learning and this extends beyond the classroom to their engagement in extra-curricular activities too.

In our Junior School, there has been an unquestionably enthusiastic take-up of academic, sporting, and creative clubs amongst Junior pupils during the first half term of this academic year. For many who have started at Withington over the last two years since the start of the pandemic, this has provided their first experience of the full wealth of activities on offer at Withington.

Withington Juniors are fortunate to benefit from specialist Senior School teachers and make full use of the facilities available including the science laboratories. This term has seen the launch of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Club for Lower and Upper II (Years 5 and 6). The club has had a phenomenal start with close to 40 pupils attending the first session and has now been split into year groups to accommodate the huge volume of interest. Lower II attended during this first half-term and Upper II will attend following the October break. The Junior girls are exploring topics beyond the typical primary curriculum and have been introduced to concepts such as chromatography, invisibility and levitation.

Coding also continues to be of particular interest for girls across the Junior School. The after-school club, run by Senior School teacher, Mr Eccles, sees growing attendance week on week. Using the programming language, Scratch, pupils have been coding games and most recently learnt about cloning and its use in games such as Pac-Man. For those interested in coding as they progress through school, there are many opportunities to harness these skills. Several of our Senior School pupils have excelled in regional and national competitions.

Sport is enjoyed throughout the School and, in addition to the Junior girls’ daily PE lessons, many take part in additional sporting activity, playing for school teams and making the most of clubs. ‘Ballet for fun’ has been a new addition to the extra-curricular roster for Juniors, introducing pupils to this classic form of dance in an informal and relaxed environment. Coached table tennis is another new club. Withington recently received a generous donation to provide table tennis equipment and coaching for our pupils who are loving using the tables during PE lessons and before and after school. A huge thank you to our kind donors for helping to make this happen.

Yoga is another activity that is a highlight of the week, especially when it’s time to drink imaginary laughing juice, which Mrs Birch affirms evokes positivity and happiness and helps the girls destress from any worries they may have, before they end the session by making ‘mat burritos’. Trampolining has been a favourite for Upper II, who have made great progress during the first half of the Autumn Term. All year groups will enjoy five-week blocks of trampolining lessons over the remainder of this term and next. Fencing, netball and lacrosse all continue to be thoroughly enjoyed by Junior girls.

Arts Award is a treasured activity for pupils in both Junior and Senior School with opportunities to undertake the course up until Year 9. Junior pupils are currently completing their Explore project from last year, ‘The World of Fashion’, which is generating more interest with new girls joining. They are making hand sewn felt flowers to be attached to head bands and brooches. The prospect of making festive wreaths, baubles and much more is leading to great excitement ahead of the Seasonal Decorations club, which launches after half-term. In the new year, the Juniors will be able to join a new Arts Award course, the theme of which will be the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and there will be ceramic plate painting, bunting and floral crown making.

There is so much to look forward to and enjoy in the Junior School. We are all delighted about the return of a full programme of extra-curricular clubs, which is so central to life at Withington and the development of our pupils, allowing girls to enrich their learning, explore new skills and ideas, and socialise with others.