I joined Portsmouth High School in the Pre-School, so can make no comparisons with any other school. Going to the Prep School felt less like a daily task that had to be fulfilled and more like another day of excitement.
All my memories of the Prep School are of running around the garden with my friends with lots of laughter. When I moved to the Senior School I realised that we had learnt so much during those times, without really being aware of it. All our learning was intertwined with activities that had made it seem less formal and intimidating.
Before starting the Senior School, I was very dubious about it, even though I was already a PHS pupil; the senior building was a lot larger than the prep one and so were the girls. However, before long I was just as comfortable as I had been and even the work didn’t seem as demanding as I thought it would because everything was explained so well.
I think a key strength of the school is that there are no restrictions on the type of subjects you can study or the activities you can be involved in. You are encouraged to try your hardest, do well and improve in all aspects of school life. In assembly and awards evenings there are often people receiving awards for a diverse range of subjects; the same girl could receive a sports award and a music award, being recognised for different levels of achievement in both areas.
My advice to anyone new would be to just be yourself and to try doing everything, even if you don’t think that you’re that good at it because, in my experience, you are often better than you think.