Academic Departments

At Girls’ College, we aim to give students a broad introduction to and grounding in each and every subject the school offers in their first two years with us.  During this period we can assess the strengths and areas for further development in each child and allocate them to classes or sets where they can learn at a manageable pace in order to ensure their every chance of success. 

From Form 3, students will be focused on their chosen IGCSE subjects, and at the end of Form 4 write the Cambridge IGCSE examination.  This is an internationally set and marked examination recognised the world over.

In their final years at Girls’ College, students will further specialise in their chosen subject areas, those following an academic path preparing for the AS and A’ Level Cambridge exams, and those choosing Business Administration studying towards a qualification awarded by UK based City and Guilds, this too is an internationally recognised qualification.

Our staff are all highly qualified and experienced and undergo continual professional development in order to keep abreast of changes and developments in the syllabi they teach, all the while making every effort to supplement classroom and textbook learning with fun and practical experiences, trips and tours.

The following sections give a detailed description of the subjects offered by Girls’ College and a testimony of our consistently high academic results.

Accounts

If money is the language of business, no one speaks it better than accountants!  Every organisation, be it profit-making or not, will require some level of accounting.  It’s an essential skill for the modern woman.

Students studying IGCSE Accounting will have a solid grounding in all aspects of financial accounting, from Profit and Loss Statements to preparing a trial balance.  They will understand issues such as Revenue and Capital Expenditure and will be well equipped to enter the workforce competent in understanding, analysing and evaluating a set of accounts.

AS and A’ Level accounting will prepare the student for a career in Accounting or for any Business Degree.  The syllabus covers topics such as the recording of financial information, accounting principles and control systems, and the preparation of final accounts.  Students will understand cost accounting, cash flow statements and analysis, and standard costing and investment appraisal, among many other topics.

Art

With backgrounds in photography, fine arts, motion picture production design and special effects make up the Art Department Staff inject colour, vibrancy and passion into this practical subject.

Form 1s and 2s will rotate between Fashion and Textiles, Food and Nutrition and Art in their first two years, getting a grounding in each subject before deciding between these subjects at IGCSE.

The IGCSE course encourages girls to work in a range of media, building upon subject matter and recording the development of concepts to produce final exam art work. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own ideas through a structured approach with guidance from teachers. 

At A’ Level, students develop skills and ideas to a more mature level, building on their IGCSE experience. Allocated studio space enables students to develop their work through experimentation, research and recording, all of which are submitted in support of their final exam artwork.

In addition to the Cambridge curricular, the Art Department organises a range of other activities including talks from visiting artists, trips to galleries and exhibitions as well as workshops to enhance their experience.  Studios are open after school to allow students time to develop their work and the Department also runs an afternoon Art Club which is open to all art students.

Business Administration

City and Guilds Business Skills

The Business Skills Diploma is a two year course open to all students who have completed IGCSE, regardless of their results.  The course offers 3 levels of difficulty for each core subject: Essential (Level 1), Intermediate (Level 2) and Advanced (Level 3).  Level 3 Final examinations are written at the end of Upper Six.  The Business Skills subjects offered by Girls’ College do not provide a direct route into a university or varsity college, but do allow entry into the bridging or foundation programmes that some of these institutions run.  Generally, these bridging programmes add another year to tertiary education, a small price to pay towards a degree thereafter.

Core Subjects are as follows:

  • Book Keeping and Accounts
  • Customer Services
  • English for Business Communications
  • Office Procedure Management
  • Spreadsheet Processing Techniques
  • Word Processing Techniques

Supplementary Cambridge Courses.

In addition to the City and Guilds Business Skills Course, Travel & Tourism is a mandatory subject studied by students choosing Business Administration earning students an additional IGCSE Cambridge certificate in Lower Six form and an ‘AS’ Level Cambridge certificate in Upper Six.  The subject looks at the multiplicity of the travel industry from a global perspective and paves the way for a future in the colourful and diverse field of Hospitality.

Students are also offered AS Level English and AS Level Business Studies to supplement their qualifications and can also choose an additional practical subject at IGCSE should they wish.  Whilst studying these subjects, students can re-write any failed IGCSE subjects in either June or November, if needed, in order to help them qualify for entry into their chosen tertiary education institution.

Girls’ College reviews the Business Diploma subjects on a regular basis to suit the current business environment and ensure that our students are equipped for the modern world.

Computer Science

Girls’ College Computer Department is equipped with over 80 up-to-date personal computers in three dedicated computer labs and uses up-to-date software to provide hands-on experience as well as an understanding and perspective of the development of computer technology and systems to suit the technological trends.

At Junior level, International Computer Driving License, ICDL is offered and covering 7 modules that will form a sound foundation in hands-on computing for future application at a higher learning level and eventually the workplace.  Specific modules encompass:- Computer Essentials; Word Processing; Spreadsheets; Databases; Presentation and On-line Essentials.  We are in the process of introducing Web Editing as an additional module to complement Computer Science studies.

At senior level, Computer Science is offered.  Cambridge IGCSE Computer Science is a compulsory subject and is a choice subject at AS & AL Levels.  Generally, learners study the principles and practices of computing and gain confidence in computational thinking and programming. They learn to program by writing computer code and they develop their understanding of the main principles of problem-solving using computers. Learners apply their understanding to develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language. They also develop a range of technical skills, as well as the ability to test effectively and to evaluate computing solutions.

The Cambridge qualification offered helps learners to appreciate current and emerging computing technologies and the benefits of their use. They learn to recognise the ethical issues and potential risks when using computers. Learners also develop the skills needed for their next steps as it is suitable for candidates intending to pursue careers in Computer Science or ICT, or as part of a course of general education.

Computer Science is an ideal foundation for further study and it provides learners with the underpinning knowledge required for many other subjects in science and engineering, and the skills learnt can also be used in everyday life. This encourages learners to be: responsible, confident, engaged and innovative.

English & English Literature

“She was fascinated with words. To her, words were things of beauty, each like a magical powder or potion that could be combined with other words to create powerful spells.”
Dean Koontz

Girls’ College has a vibrant and interesting English department.  We consider ourselves one of the most important departments in the school as good and correct English is essential to every subject studied.

Girls are given a firm grounding in English language and are encouraged to build upon this in order to expand and improve their writing skills.  At IGCSE level, girls are taught to write reports, letters, speeches, diary entries and newspaper articles as well as descriptive and narrative essays.  At AS level, this is expanded to include podcasts, voice overs, brochures and reviews.

The girls are constantly pushed to improve their vocabulary and their knowledge of both literary fiction and the historical context within which it has been produced. We also encourage good oral communication through the annual public speaking contest and through attendance of such clubs as Debating Society, Toastmasters and Drama Club.

Throughout their time at Girls’ College, the pupils are encouraged to develop a love for both English Language and Literature. They are given the opportunity to partake in both the Girls’ College Literary Festival and the Allied Arts Literary Festival (both annual competitions).  The number of Honours entries for both is high and a number of girls have won national prizes for their work. Girls are also given the opportunity to attend events such as the Falcon Cultural Weekend and anything similar which develops their creative writing, acting and speaking skills.

Our staff, which includes two published authors, run the Girls’ College Literary Festival every year.  We have a wealth of experience and continually work to make our department fun and exciting.

Environmental Management

Girls’ College offers this subject to Sixth Form students wishing to do an additional IGCSE and AS Level qualification to expand on their Geography and/or Travel and Tourism studies and pursue a career in either the tourism sector, marine or environmental studies or the management of natural resources.  This research and analysis based subject examines both global and local environmental issues, past and current, natural and manmade hazards and the management strategies used in both developed and developing countries to combat these issues.

Students will practice outdoor fieldwork studies to complete a research project on a current environmental problem of interest as well as taking educational trips to the Matopos National Park, Conservation zones and Agricultural institutions.

The learners are encouraged to join and take an active role in the School’s “Green Committee” to teach their peers and school at large the importance of ‘going Green’ through recycling, reusing and managing waste.

“The climate crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. From not only the warming of the earth with higher global temperatures, but also from strengthening storms and expanding droughts to melting ice and rising seas, the costs of carbon pollution are already being felt by governments, corporations, taxpayers and families around the world. The climate crisis will affect everything that we love and alter the course of our future. Now, more than ever, we must come together to solve this global crisis. We must act decisively, rise to the occasion and solve this monumental challenge.”

Al Gore

French

At Girls’ College, French is a compulsory subject for all form 1 and 2 classes because of all the benefits we believe learning another language can bring: it enhances your memory and listening skills, it opens the mind to a different way of thinking, it can offer a competitive edge in career choices in new and exciting locations, and an individual becomes more receptive to other cultures through the study of another language.  For many students the acquisition of a completely foreign language is fascinating and at the end of Form 2 students have the opportunity to write the DELF Examination, administered by Alliance Francaise, Bulawayo.  This is an internationally recognised exam set by the Ministry of Education in France. 

French is optional from form 3 upwards and can be studied to A’ Level.  It is a popular choice, not least of all because of the annual tour to France which alternates annually every August between rural France and Paris.  After the tour to France, French ceases to be just another subject, “Ca devient une langue vivante”, the language comes alive!

Geography

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living”

Sir David Attenborough, Natural Historian and Broadcaster

Since geography overlaps into so many areas of science and human nature studies, this makes it an important foundation subject in a learner’s life as it empowers them with a firm understanding of the earth and its dynamics.

All students will study geography up to IGCSE level.  Learners are taught the geography of the world, focusing on location, distribution patterns of physical and human phenomena and their interconnectivity.  At AS and A Level, geography offers the necessary background into the natural, social and behavioural science of the subject and the impact of global trade and industrial trends on our planet.  Learners are encouraged to think creatively, scientifically and critically in order to problem solve and to communicate effectively in preparation of tertiary education.   

Learning at Girls’ College is also experiential with local field trips playing an important role in understanding the subject matter through first-hand experience and, from time to time, regional trips to explore some of the southern African continent’s unique physical and human characteristics, and experience the effects of global climate change and weather patterns on the region.

The energy and wealth of experience across the department is translated year after year into great results at ICGSE level, with the subject being a popular choice for students at AS and A’ Level.

Home Economics

The Home Economics department comprises of Fashion and Textiles, Food and Nutrition and Food Studies, all under the supervision of 5 qualified and highly experienced teachers.  Fashion and Textiles and Food and Nutrition and Art are studied by all students in Form One and Two on a rotational basis in order to give the girls a grounding in each area.  In Form 3 students are required to specialise for their IGCSE.  Following Form 4, students can choose Food Studies at A’ Level, or alternatively, they can choose to write another of the practical subjects at IGCSE to supplement their IGCSE results.

The Home Economics department makes enormous effort to link learners to the world of work to demonstrate these practical skills translated into future careers and is frequently awarded Cambridge Awards in both Food and Nutrition and Fashion and Textiles.

Fashion and Textiles

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”

Coco Chanel

Fashion and Textile students studying IGCSE will attend the prestigious SA Fashion Week where they will meet international designers and experience the thrill of garment making at its most exciting!  Teachers in this practical subject combine together to offer students a wealth of experience in pattern design and cutting, needle and machine work and design techniques to equip are young ladies to dress the modern world.

Food and Nutrition

Food and Nutrition and Food Science students take regular field trips to local food processing businesses and have demonstrations from technical chefs and culinary arts experts to inspire them in the development of their own techniques.  By A’ Level, not only will students have a practical love for the preparation of food, but also the science behind it, having carried out detailed research into nutrition in local community institutions, all of which will stand them in good stead as they apply to tertiary institutes.

History

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

George Santayana, Author and Philosopher

The Girls’ College History Department is an enterprising and pro-active entity who firmly believe that what happened then matters now!  It forms a vital cog in the College’s prestige.  The department provides a holistic teaching of History at IGCSE, AS and A’ Level, buttressing the Cambridge syllabus with exciting tours to Europe to enable students to experience first-hand the sights and setting of where History was made. 

Locally, the department makes full use of the History on our door step, with frequent trips to important historical sites and monuments such as Matopos, Great Zimbabwe and Khami.  These tours provide our junior Historians with a sound knowledge of our Zimbabwean heritage and supplement the Ministry of Education curriculum. 

Mathematics

The Maths Department comprises of 6 well qualified and highly experienced teachers.  Pass rates in this department are always excellent, especially when you consider that every girl in the school must write IGCSE Maths.  Average pass rates over the last 5 years have been 84% at IGCSE, 94% at AS and 99% at A’ Level.  The AS and A’ Level classes are well subscribed to with an average of 50 girls taking AS Maths each year, as it is a requirement for many tertiary level courses, and more than half of these girls going on to write A’ Level Mathematics. 

Students from Form 1 to 4 are placed in sets according to their ability, with lower sets having smaller numbers so that students can receive the attention they need in problem areas.  Students who excel in maths and enjoy the subject are given the opportunity to move quickly through the syllabi and to be stretched to achieve the coveted As and A*s.  Students who do not have a strong acumen for Maths are given the option to write Core Mathematics and they are taught this syllabus exclusively from Form 3.  There is no stigma to this, as Students are awarded passes without reference to whether the subject written was Core or Extended Mathematics, allowing students a pass in maths even if it is not a strength.  The department offers free extra lessons in the afternoons on request from students requiring extra attention in a particular area, they are free to request help from any of the teachers in the department in order to help them fully grasp concepts.  The department runs a tight ship and ensures their commitment to maintaining their high academic standards with compassion and empathy for every learner.

Ndebele

Every child in the school is given the opportunity to learn Ndebele and gain an understanding of the culture and tradition of the region.  The subject is studied by all girls up to Form 2 and are taught in sets according to their prior knowledge of the language, from first language speakers to beginners.  At the end of the 2 year course, students will write a proficiency exam, according to their set.  From Form 3 students can opt to study IsiZulu as an IGCSE subject, equipping them to use the language proficiently throughout Southern Africa.

Supplementing their language studies, and further exposing students to the culture, the department has a fascinating collection of Ndebele traditional artefacts: utensils, weapons and dress, girls will taste traditional Ndebele cooking and the entire school takes part in a colourful Ndebele celebration for Africa Day organised by the department.  The department has also organised tours to South Africa, to KwaZuluNatal, from where Ndebele stems from, to further immerse students in the history, tradition and culture of IsiZulu.

Staff in the department are experienced writers, markers and examiners of the subject and the department achieves outstanding results in both the Ministry of Education proficiency examination and at IGCSE.

Physical Education

Physical Education fosters the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will contribute to a student’s balanced and healthy lifestyle.  Physical Education focuses on learning about and through physical activity. Both dimensions help students to develop approaches to learning skills.  Through opportunities of active learning, this course embodies and promotes the holistic nature and understanding of physical well-being. Students also learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others and develop effective collaboration and communication skills. It offers many opportunities to build positive interpersonal relationships that can help students to develop a sense of social responsibility.

The Physical Education course includes:

  • Anatomy and physiology. Anatomy is the study of structure and physiology is the study of functions and includes the skeletal and muscular systems, the circulatory system, the respiratory system as well as energy systems and simple biometrics.
  • Health, fitness and training. This covers aspects of the relationship between health and fitness, diet, test protocols, principles of training as well as various methods of training and their safety considerations.
  • Skill acquisition and psychology. Skill acquisition is an area of sport psychology that is concerned with how athletes learn and retain new skills. Having a good understanding of how the mind works and people learn allows the students to improve on their own performances, especially when learning new techniques.
  • Social, cultural and ethical influences. This final section of the course covers all the various influences on sport – social, cultural and ethical, including media in sport, global sporting events, technology, performance-enhancing drugs as well as injuries and risk assessment.
The Sciences

Science is a diverse and fascinating subject that continues to raise as many questions as it answers.  Broken simply into its three main disciplines:

  • Biology is the study of living organisms, their anatomy and behaviour.
  • Chemistry the study of the substances that make up our world, how they are made up, why they behave as they do and their reaction when combined with other substances.
  • Physics is the understanding of how things work and their movement through space and time.

At Girls’ College students are introduced to Science in its broadest sense in Form 1 and 2 where they are encouraged to be fascinated with, start to question and finally understand some of the seemingly ordinary aspects of the natural world through practical experiments and observation of physical evidence.

In preparation for IGCSE, students will all study Physical Science, which gives a solid grounding in Physics and Chemistry, Biology is studied as a separate subject.  Students wishing to write Physics and Chemistry separately are able to do so.

At AS and A’Level, the three disciplines are all offered as separate subjects allowing girls to specialise in their chosen area.

With a strong and dedicated science department of nine teachers, including a published author and licensed chemist, and two highly experienced laboratory technicians, we produce not only quality results, but also individuals who are confident in applying their knowledge and principles in every-day life.

Travel and Tourism

The wealth of career opportunities available in the travel industry in Zimbabwe and abroad make this a popular subject choice.  This subject offers an in-depth analysis of the multiple facets of the travel industry from a global perspective and paves the way for a future in the colourful and diverse field of Hospitality.  This dynamic subject is perfect for the modern women looking for a career in an ever changing world. 

Travel and tourism is taught at IGCSE, AS and A’ Level with a varied and exciting syllabus comprising of concepts from ticketing, airport security, transportation, legal aspects of tourism, customer service as well as marketing and promotion within the industry. Learners in the IGCSE cohort do a hands on investigation with a report on an attraction of their choice.  Learners who chose AS and A’ Level have an opportunity of planning and managing an event from cocktail parties to conferences and will experience some of the pressures of this fast paced industry. 

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