PGHS Hits the Mark!

Penwortham Girls’ High School was delighted to receive official recognition from the Lancashire Careers Hub for recently achieving all eight of the Gatsby Benchmarks. The benchmarks recognise the work of schools in providing effective careers guidance to their students and form part of the Ofsted criteria for inspecting schools. ‘Hitting all eight benchmarks has required a real team effort’, said John Ramsdale, Senior Assistant Headteacher and Careers Leader at the school. ‘I get fantastic support from my Enterprise Coordinator and we are building exciting partnerships with local employers including DXC Technology.’

The school also employs a Careers Adviser who provides one-to-one guidance and support with college and apprenticeship applications. Despite the current restrictions, ambitious plans are already in place to keep improving Careers provision, including mock Zoom interviews and virtual work experience.


Mr Ramsdale

Senior Assistant Headteacher

Macmillan Cake Sale

We held our annual Macmillan Coffee Morning on Thursday 24th September for KS3 and Friday the 25th September for KS4. The kitchen staff in school made some amazing cupcakes, which went down a treat! Thank you to all the kitchen staff involved with this! 

The event was an immense triumph and we would like to thank everyone who purchased one or donated for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Watch this space for the final amount raised!


Geography News September 2020

What a pleasure and a relief it is to be back at school and teaching face-to-face Geography lessons once again. Things are certainly different with Geography having to scale back our group tasks and practical work but on the bright side, Years 7 and 8 have an extra half hour of Geography each week – silver linings!

Year 7 start the year with a unit on what Geography is and some of the key skills required to be a good Geographer. There have been some excellent early homework tasks and students have been engaged and knowledgeable in lessons.

Year 8 has begun with a unit on river landscapes. This starts with the geographical processes and landforms, before moving onto flooding and river management. The level of detail being included in work and the standard of vocabulary have been impressive.

Year 9 is a year when we start to blend in some GCSE content and to raise the complexity of work. These students are investigating the spatial distribution of biomes around the world and how these are created by the shape and orbit of the planet. We will soon be looking more closely at tropical rainforests.

The GCSE students face a real challenge to maintain our usual high standards but great credit goes to both year groups for the work they have put in so far and the independent approach many are taking to their studies.

Something I always mention at this time of year is The Year 7 ‘Moving On Up’ work that many students completed over the summer holidays – this year the Great British Staycation saw more postcards and travel logs than ever! In total, there were 57 postcards from a wide range of locations; I really enjoyed receiving these! Thank you to everyone who took the time to write and send a postcard, and a particular mention for Mariella and Jessica, (both in 7S) who produced great travel logs for their trips to Anglesey and the canals of North Wales respectively.


Supporting Reading at Home

One of the most common requests the English Department receive at Parents’ Evening is for advice on ways to encourage students to read at home.  Sadly, students who were once avid readers become more engaged with new technologies once they reach high school and seem more interested in their mobile phones than their favourite authors!  I’m not advocating removing the use of social media – it is a vital way of staying connected during the current situation – many authors have their own websites with games and further reading (JK Rowling’s ‘Pottermore’ website is just one example).

However, research has proven time and time again that reading does not just support English, it also develops the skills of decoding that are vital for success in Science and Maths.  This helpful chart provides a few ideas for simple ways parents can support their children.

In addition, the English Department provide reading recommendations each term.  We have chosen these as they run alongside and support the term’s scheme of work and key theme.   These will be inside your daughter’s English book.


Virtual Visitors

In English, we love welcoming authors, actors and performers into school.  Sadly, we’ve not been able to allow this for several months.  However, we are determined that the current situation will not stop us sharing our love of books and all things literary.

Next week, we are beginning our programme of “Virtual Visitors”.  We are embracing new technologies so that we can meet local authors and even have question and answer sessions with them.  Two Year 7 forms will be the first to sample this new approach when they get chance to meet Eve Hainsworth, a talented author who is showcased by UCLAN publishing (who also look after the New York Times bestselling author, AJ Hartley – a previous visitor whose novels are set in Preston).

Eve’s books will be available to buy via Parentpay and we will arrange for signed copies to be collected in school.  There are a range of different novels from this author, some of which are particularly suited to students with dyslexia, those who prefer shorter reads, and some novels for more confident readers with mature themes – we will indicate all this on Parentpay. 

This is just the start!  We are hoping to bring more virtual visitors into school for all year groups.  Our plans include more author “visits”, “performances” and “workshops” and it is our intention that all students in every year group will be given these opportunities.

Mrs Woodhouse
Curriculum Leader for English

Governors News Summer Term 2020

Dear Staff, Students and Parents,

The governing board would like to extend a massive thank you to all of you for how you have worked hard to counter all the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and what it has meant to our school community. During this term, governors have continued to meet, albeit virtually, to continue our work in supporting the excellent standards that we have all fought hard to maintain. I do not believe it has been easy for any one of us! It has been evident to us though, that staff have worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes to provide as much continuity as possible; we have seen, through meetings and via the newsletter, how hard staff and students have worked during these past weeks in the most challenging of circumstances. We obviously cannot forget the efforts that parents and carers have put into the education of their daughters – a task they never expected to be theirs! Some students have been in school throughout and their efforts and dedication have been noted also. We must never forget, of course, the role of the key workers without whom we would not have got thus far and we send grateful thanks to you also.

It has been a strange time for all of us and we, the governing board, are in awe of what has been achieved by the school and its community. Whilst we realise that things will not exactly be ‘back to normal’ in September, they will be moving, hopefully, in that direction. There are some elements that have been lost, which is sad, such as the way Year 11 students have not experienced the usual fulfilment of their time at school but we hope they feel their results are a true reflection of what they would have achieved through the examination process and their planned ‘end of term’ will take place in some form in the autumn.

Looking ahead, we have as a governing board, said a big thank you and good bye to two governors: Mr J Roy and Mrs S Midjek-Conway who have both served nearly two terms of office (a term of office is 4 years) with the school and we have now welcomed two new parent governors and a new community governor who start with us in September. Although the role of governor is not often evident, the work governors do both to support and challenge the school is a key one and I thank all of my governors for their efforts this year.

I wish all of you, staff, students, governors, and parents & carers, a restful and safe summer and hope we are able to start next year on a more even keel!

Ms Lorimer Russell-Hayes, Chair of Governors

Governors News Autumn 2019

This term has been, as usual, busy and long! Governors have met for training, as well as three times in committee meetings.

We have jointly reviewed the summer’s exam results which we were extremely pleased with; they show continued outstanding progress for all groups of students. They are testament to the positive working relationship between staff, parents and students; when all work together, the sky’s the limit! The Awards Evening in November was, therefore, a very enjoyable and successful evening. We also held another very successful Open Evening and met many girls eager to join our community!

As a governing board, we have made some changes; we have increased our number to 17 and reorganised our meeting structure to focus on changing national and local priorities. This means we now have vacancies for two parent governors. As it is so difficult to convey what is involved, we will make time available to speak with interested parents before they decide whether to put their names forward.

Look out for mailings early in January! We are excited to include new members from a variety of backgrounds.

As I mentioned last term, governors focussed on parent voice and I gave an overview of the positive results in the summer term newsletter. This term, I chose to focus on staff voice, including staff wellbeing and staff workload. There was too much information to include in the newsletter so I hope you read the additional news item I sent out. As part of our role as governors, we need to reassure ourselves that, as well as being an outstanding school on paper, our staff, parents and students are happy with our provision. I was extremely proud to publish such positive results and I trust you were happy to read them also.

As our term comes to a close, on behalf of the governing board, I would like to wish
all our friends and families, staff and students a very restful holiday period!

Ms Lorimer Russell-Hayes, Chair of Governors

Governor Report Summer 2019

There is an air of change in the governing board this term – an excitement to look forward to the new school year!

Sometimes, a change in Ofsted’s focus brings an air of doom but the new framework that starts in September 2019 has made us all review current practice. Of course, with our current outstanding status, we are still exempt from routine inspections but that does not stop us from taking on board some of Ofsted’s recommendations which are rooted in much research. We are never complacent and we never want to stand still. As a governing board, we have each had a chance to air our views on how we currently manage our meetings and how we organise our work. We will begin the new year with a newly organised meeting structure and revised focus areas.

We have this term undertaken a group training session, as well as the training each of us undertakes each year. We are keen to welcome new governors who will start with us in September but will also thank those who are leaving us this term; one member of staff we, as a governing board, wish to thank especially, is our clerk Catherine Arrowsmith who has kept us organised and prepared in all elements of our work for a number of years now – we will miss you Catherine and we wish you well in your future working life.

Each year, each of us focuses on an aspect of school improvement. We try to become experts in our own areas and to meet with relevant members of staff as required. One area I have been reviewing this term is that of Parent Voice. You will be aware that we ask your views via Parent Forum and the Kirkland Rowell Parental Survey on a regular basis but we also employ internal short questionnaires to gauge your views when you attend parents’ evenings.

Obviously, we have parent governors who sit on the governing board but these questionnaires give us more information to add to student views and staff views that we also collect and analyse.

Our internal questionnaires appear very positive. Over 5 parents’ evenings this academic year, we asked you for your views on the eight statements below.


Agree or
strongly agree

Disagree or
strongly disagree

My daughter enjoys school



I am pleased with my daughter’s progress



Teaching is good at this school



The school meets my daughter’s individual needs



The school deals effectively with unacceptable



The school keeps my daughter safe



The school is effectively led and managed



The school is meeting my expectations



Our externally validated and analysed report appears to confirm much of the same but gives greater detail. Some notable findings of the most recent report, which is based on the year September 2018 to March 2019, are outlined below:

• 93% of Year 7 parents said they would recommend this school to other parents. The overall rating in this area has remained high for the last 4 years.
• 84% of parents would rate the school as good or very good at ensuring new students settle in well.
• Over 70% of all parents who responded said that this school develops potential in students, that teachers are caring and that parents’ evenings give valuable information.
• 75% of parents said that the school gives the right amount of homework, 73% said this includes the right amount of challenge and 77% said the marking of work is regular and effective.
• In terms of what the school does well, parents rated most highly the discipline and security, the development of moral values, the control of bullying, school facilities and social health education.
• In terms of what parents felt the school needed to develop, was the area of the celebration and achievement of rewards; you will be aware that this is an area the school – and particularly Mr Ward and Mr Ramsdale – have been developing this year and have improved further for September.

Obviously, these questionnaires are only reliable if they contain findings from most parents; as a school, we are lucky to have involved and engaged parents so please continue to give your views in this way. During the course of next year, as many governors as possible will continue to attend events at which you are present so that we can continue to hear your views informally also.

As we near the end of this academic year, can I thank you, on behalf of the governing board, for your continued support and challenge and wish you an enjoyable summer break.
Lorimer Russell-Hayes (Chair of Governors)

Feature Artist: Irving Penn

To celebrate the launch of our Photography course, our ‘Feature Artist’ this term, is internationally renowned photographer Irving Penn. Irving Penn was one of the twentieth century’s great photographers, known for his arresting images and his masterful coverage of multiple genres.  

At a time when photography was primarily understood as a means of communication, he approached it with an artist’s eye and expanded the creative potential of the medium, both in his professional and personal work.  

(Image on left ‘Coffee Pot’, New York, 2007)
The Irving Penn Foundation houses the largest repository of Irving Penn’s work and was established to promote the knowledge and understanding of the artistic legacy of Irving Penn, including the diversity of techniques, mediums and subject matter that the artist explored.  Visit for more information.

  • Artsmark Platinum Award - Awards by Arts Council England
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • International School Award
  • Artsmark Platinum Award - Awards by Arts Council England
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • International School Award