What it's like
Founded in 1880 by the Girls' Day School Trust, it moved in 1887 to its present site in the centre of Wimbledon. The most recent additions to facilities include a performing arts centre, design and technology centre and a renovated sixth-form house. A swimming pool and sports hall are on site, with playing fields (including an all-weather pitch) nearby on the site of the original All England Tennis Club. Academically selective, students are well motivated and challenged to believe in themselves and grow in confidence. The school aims to promote an adventurous culture that encourages risk-taking in and outside the classroom. Examination results are very good. Girls are encouraged to practise leadership through the school council and sixth-form committee. Music, art and drama are very strong; there is a high level of participation in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and World Challenge. There are close links with local organisations and charities, chosen by the pupils.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 4-18; 900 day girls. Junior school 4-11, 320 girls. Senior school 11-18, 580 girls. Entrance: Main entry ages 4, 11 and 16 (some at 7 and 13). Own entrance exam used at 11+. For sixth-form entry, own entrance tests, interview and at least 7 GCSEs at grade B (grade A in sixth-form subjects). No special skills or religious requirements. Own junior school provides some 50% of senior intake.
Scholarships & bursaries
Limited number of academic scholarships available at 11 and 16, value 5% of fees; also music scholarship at 11 (10% of fees) and for science, music, art and drama at 16. Means-tested bursaries awarded at 11 and 16, up to 100% of fees. Fees include exam fees and textbooks.
Head & staff
Headmistress: Mrs Heather Hanbury, in post since 2008. Educated at Princess Gardens School in Belfast, and universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge (geography). Previously Deputy Head at Latymer Upper School. Teaching staff: 70 full time, 30 part time (with 20 visiting music staff).
GCSE: 81 pupils in Year 11, almost all gaining at least grade C in 10+ subjects (including English, maths, a science, a humanity and a modern language). A-levels: 74 in Year 13, all passing in 3-4 subject, with an average final point score of 370.
Almost all sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (some 20% after a gap year), 12% to Oxbridge, most to Russell Group universities and some to leading US universities..
GCSE/IGCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 subjects (including A-level Latin and Greek, economics, theatre studies, psychology); design technology taught from Years 7-13. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; option in critical thinking; many take the Extended Project Qualification. Vocational: Work experience in Year 11. Special provision: Some support for dyslexic and dyspraxic pupils. Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level. Study visits to Spain, France and Germanyin Year 9. ICT: Integral to all learning; all sixth form take key skills level 3. Many multimedia workstations and pupil laptops, all with email and internet access; also specialist departmental resources.
Music: 80% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Musical groups include orchestras, choirs, jazz, chamber choir, various chamber groups. Several in county orchestras and national and local youth choirs; a number attend London Saturdays conservatoires; each year some go on to study music at university/college. Annual musicals; musicians regularly tour abroad. Drama and dance: Both offered; improvisation classes. Majority of pupils involved in regular productions. Art and design: On average, 25% take GCSE, 13% A-level art.
Sports & activities
Hockey, netball, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, athletics, rounders compulsory. some 10 further sports including yoga, self-defence, squash, trampolining. Annual gym and dance display. Pupils act as ball-girls at Wimbledon. Also bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award; World Challenge. Extra-curricular clubs include Mandarin, science, dissection, photography, astronomy, chess, mah-jong, drama, cryptic crosswords, technology workshops, engineering days.
Uniform: School uniform worn except sixth form and last term of Year 11. Houses and prefects: Houses and house teams led by elected house captains, who are part of School Committee, elected by staff and sixth form; committee led by the head girl team, who also run the school council meetings. Religion: Non-denominational religious assemblies twice a week. Social: Debating society, some drama, choir and orchestral participation with other schools. Trips abroad include hockey and netball tours, language trips; classical and art trips to Italy, Spain, Greece, France; economics trip to US.
Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect verbal warning and/or referral slip; 5 referrals leads to after-school detention. Strong degree of self-discipline expected; imposed discipline is always in collaboration with students and parents.
Association of former pupils
Charlotte Barney, Deveopment Director at the school or via GDST alumnae network..
Margaret Rutherford (actress); Michelle Paver (children's author); Rosie Millard (journalist); Professor Lynne Reid (pathologist).