What it's like
Founded in 1889 by the Religious of Christian Education, the school is now an educational trust. It is housed in the impressive former home of the Empress Eugenie of France. A purpose-built school has been added which includes science laboratories, a chapel, indoor swimming pool, sports hall, drama studios and an art and design centre. It is Roman Catholic but girls of other Christian denominations, other faiths or no faith are welcomed if they support the school ethos. The school is committed to the education of the whole person within an environment based on gospel values. Each pupil is valued for herself and helped to develop her gifts in a friendly and happy atmosphere. Examination results are very good and numbers in sixth form are increasing. There are also considerable achievements, which are prized, in creative arts and sports.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11-18; 560 day girls. Entrance: Main entry ages 11 and 16. Own entrance examination, report and interview. For sixth-form entry, 6 GCSEs at least grade B (grade A in sixth-form subjects). No special skills required; preference given to Roman Catholics.
Scholarships & bursaries
20 pa scholarships awarded at 11 and 16 (academic, sport, music, art and design), value up to 33% of fees. Unrestricted number of bursaries, based on financial need, up to 40% fees.
Head & staff
Headmistress: Mrs Sarah Buckle, in post since 2007. Educated at Sacred Heart Grammar School, Hammersmith, and universities of Exeter (psychology) and Reading (PGCE mathematics); also MA educational leadership & management. Previously Deputy Head at Putney High, Assistant Head and Head of Sixth Form at Tiffin Girls’ School. Also member of the GSA/HMC Universities Committee. Teaching staff: 50 full time, 9 part time.
GCSE: 95 pupils in fifth year, gaining at least grade C in an average of 10 subjects. A-levels: 29 in upper sixth, passing in an average of 3 subjects with a final point score of 390.
96% of sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (12% after a gap year), 8% to Oxbridge. 54% take courses in science and engineering, 33% in humanities and social sciences (including languages), 8% in the arts, 4% in other subjects.
GCSE, AS and A-levels. 23 GCSE subjects offered, 26 at AS/A-level. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 or 5 subjects at AS-level, 3+ at A-level; Extended Project Qualification a popular option; general studies is taught but not examined. Vocational: Full-time careers advisor. Work experience available for all Year 11. Special provision: Learning support co-ordinator. Languages: French, German and Spanish offered at GCSE and A-level. Regular exchanges (France, Germany and Spain). ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (available at GCSE, AS and A-level) and widely across the curriculum. Computers for pupil use, all networked and with email and internet access.
Music: Up to 35% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken (also GCSE and A-level music, A-level music technology). Musical groups include orchestra, 4 choirs, swing band, pop group, recorder consort, string group, wind band, baroque group, stomp group, handbell group, saxophone group. Drama and dance: GCSE drama and A-level theatre studies offered. Up to 40% of pupils take extra drama and may do Guildhall exams. Jazz dance option available. Regular school drama productions and strong tradition in public-speaking. Art and design: GCSE, AS-level and A-level art and A-level photography offered. Painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, pottery, textiles and photography available.
Sports & activities
Some 18 sports available including basketball, swimming, football, trampolining, lacrosse and touch rugby. BAGA, ASA, CSLA sports leadership awards may be taken. National representatives in judo, horseriding; county reps in hockey, netball, athletics, tennis, swimming, cross country, cricket and tae kwon-do. 30+ clubs, including art, choir, orchestra, drama, debating, ICT, public-speaking, yoga, eco-schools, mandarin, green fingers, various sports and first aid.
Uniform: School uniform worn, except in the sixth form. Houses and prefects: Houses competitive for sports and inter-house challenges. Prefects, head girl, head of house (house captain) - appointed by the Headmistress after consultation with staff and senior pupils. Religion: Roman Catholic. Pupils attend assembly and school Mass on holy days of obligation; regular opportunities for prayer, Mass and other liturgies which aim to build a Christian community of faith. Social: Debates, discos and theatre trips with other schools; choral concerts with other schools and parents. Regular visits abroad; exchanges with France, Spain, Germany. Pupils allowed to bring own car or bike to school. School meals or sandwiches. School shop.
Respect for others within a caring community is an important element of the school ethos; few sanctions necessary and those imposed depend on misdemeanour. Detentions occasionally given outside school hours. Temporary or permanent exclusion reserved for serious offences.
Association of former pupils
FHOGA is run by joint-Presidents, Miss A Cooke and Miss M O'Connor.
Alex Danson (GB hockey player); Helene Raynsford (GB paralympic rower, gold medallist); Dame Helen Ghosh (Director General, National Trust); Raquel Cassidy, Juliet Aubrey (actresses); Anne Robinson (TV presenter).