What it’s like
Founded in 1901, it moved to its present site in 1949. The main building is a
huge and magnificent country house built in 1758 in 65 acres of splendid
parkland. A C of E foundation, its pupils come from a wide geographic
background. It has many of the advantages of a small school, with friendly,
happy, well-motivated girls. New facilities include an indoor swimming pool,
chapel and theatre. There is a good staff:pupil ratio of 1:8. It is strong
academically and examination results are very good. There is a full-time special
needs department. A notable feature is the big parental involvement in many
areas of school life (eg organisation, cultural, work experience etc). It is
strong in music, drama and art. There is a wide range of sports, games in which
high standards are achieved. It has a good record in the Duke of Edinburgh’s
Award Scheme and Young Enterprise. There are stables for 25 horses on campus and
some girls bring their own ponies.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11–18; 369 girls (27 day, 342 boarding).
Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 12, 13 and 16. Own entrance exam used. For
sixth-form entry, 8 GCSEs at grade C, of which at least 3 should be at grade B
including sixth-form subjects. No special skills or religious requirements.
Feeder schools include Bramcote, Malsis, Brackenfield, Terrington, Mowden Hall,
Cargilfield, Belhaven, Queen Mary’s schools.
Scholarships & bursaries Approx 10 pa scholarships, value approx
£750–50% fees: 6 academic, 1 art, 3 music (including 3 at 11, 2 at 13, 2 at 16).
Parents 10+% live within 30 miles, up to 10% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Dr Geoffrey A H Chapman, appointed in 1992. Educated at St
Bartholomew’s Grammar, Newbury, and Oxford University (classics). Previously
Head of Classics at Christ’s Hospital and Professor of Classics at University of
Natal. Also FRSA. Publications: Several articles in international classics
Teaching staff: 46 full time, 22 part time. Annual turnover 7%. Average
GCSE: In 2003, 57 in fifth: 98% gained grade C or above in 9+ subjects;
2% in 5–8 subjects. Average GCSE score 66 (64 over 5 years).
A-levels: 57 in upper sixth: 9% passed in 4 subjects; 91% in 3 subjects.
Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 330.
University & college entrance All 2003 sixth-form leavers went on to
a degree course (40% after a gap year), 6% to Oxbridge. 6% took courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 11% in science & engineering, 4% in
law, 47% in humanities & social sciences, 6% in art & design, 20% in other
vocational subjects eg education, nursing, accountancy, estate management.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 25 AS/A-level subjects.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level;
in addition, all take a course in key skills.
Vocational: Work experience available; also City and Guilds cookery
course and RSA stages 1 and 2 in typing.
Special provision: Full-time special needs department.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered at GCSE and
A-level. Over 60% take GCSE in more than 1 language. Regular exchanges (France).
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (1 lesson a week in Years 7–9) and
across the curriculum (eg graphs and charts in maths, spreadsheets for science
and economics). 65 computers for pupil use (15 hours a day), majority networked
and with email and internet access. Most pupils take Clait.
Music: Over 60% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams
can be taken. Some 16+ musical groups including 3 orchestras, 3 bands, vocal,
choral groups, rock band etc. Members of National Children’s Orchestra.
Drama & dance: Both offered. GCSE and A-level drama may be taken.
Majority of pupils are involved in school and other productions.
Art & design: On average, 25 take GCSE, 12 A-level. Design, pottery,
textiles offered. Recently, 2 pupils accepted at Chelsea Art College; exhibition
York Art Gallery, Ashmolean Oxford.
Sport & activities
Sport: Lacrosse, hockey, netball, swimming, tennis, athletics, gym,
rounders compulsory. Optional: squash, badminton, golf, tennis, fencing, riding,
canoeing. Sixth form only: aerobics. BAGA, BHS, RLSS exams may be taken.
International, regional and county representatives at lacrosse, hockey, netball
Activities: Pupils take bronze and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Community service. Up to 15 clubs, eg chess, modern studies, choral, bridge,
Uniform: School uniform worn except in sixth form.
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head girl and heads of
houses – appointed by the Headmaster. School Committee.
Religion: Compulsory worship; all denominations welcome.
Social: Mission work locally, charities, debates, social events, musical
events (to which local village invited). Organised trips abroad – skiing and to
eg Florence, Himalayas. Pupils allowed to bring own bike/horse to school. Meals
self-service. School shop. No tobacco or alcohol allowed. Zero tolerance drugs
Discipline Pupils failing to produce homework once may expect a
verbal reprimand; any pupil caught smoking cannabis on school premises could
expect expulsion. Few petty rules but clear restrictions on smoking, drinking
Boarding Upper sixth have own study bedroom, lower sixth share with
one other. Vertical houses of approx 60, but girls live in year groups. Resident
qualified medical staff. Central dining room. 1–2 weekend and one half-term
exeat each term. Visits to local town allowed from 13 upwards.
Alumni association is run by Mrs Judith Cooke, Old House Farm, Stubbs
Walden, Doncaster DN6 9BU.
Former pupils Winifred Holtby; Joan Hall (MP); Ann Jellicoe (writer);
Dorothy Hutton (RA); Elizabeth Poston (musician).