Westside School was built in 1980 on the West Side of the rock (hence it’s name). This is the only school of secondary education for girls in Gibraltar and has a student population of 900. The boy’s school is called Bayside. Gibraltarian girls attend this school from year 8 onwards, they are normally between the ages of 12 and 18. However they can leave school at 15.
The Uniform: Yes they still do exist. The uniform consists of a maroon kilt,which can reach to just below the knee if you are tall and can be almost ankle length for the really short girls. There is no way of altering the skirts’ length with out it looking horrendous, not that it looks good anyway. The skirts have four buttons on the top going down vertically from the waste and thus allowing no room to roll your skirt up. The tops were white polo shirts with the school logo on them, which had to be tucked into your skirt at all times. The year twelve’s and thirteen’s where allowed to wear navy blue polo shirts. No make-up was allowed and high heels were also banned as well as trainers.
The subjects taught are your usual curriculum subjects plus a few extra ones. English, Maths, Science and Spanish are all compulsory as well as Religious Studies, which is compulsory for all years. They also teach History, Geography, Economics, Business Studies, Art, Drama, Music, French, Home Economics and Physical Education, some of these are compulsory for years 8 and 9.
The education system in Gibraltar is pretty much the same as in the UK. The pupils choose their GCSE options in year 9. However in the girls school they are only allowed to sit a maximum of 9 GCSE’s. Again, 2 years later, the girls are only allowed to do 3 A levels thus making it harder for them to get accepted by a good university. If they want to do extra A levels they must do them privately.
Previously comprehensive secondary schooling for girls existed as a multi-site school. The different sites were: Loreto High School, St Joseph’s Secondary Modern School, St Margaret’s Modern School and St David’s Commercial School. These schools were based around different parts of the rock. The girls had to walk to and from them for their different lessons. However they soon realised that this was a waste of time and decided to build Westside School which was big enough to house all four schools at one site.