What it’s like
Founded in 1898, it is situated in the city centre,
overlooking the university botanic garden and within easy walking distance of
museums, theatres and colleges. It is a Catholic school but it welcomes pupils
of other denominations. There is a calm and purposeful working atmosphere, and a
broad-based curriculum designed to develop individual skills and talents.
Academic standards are high and examination results very good. Music and drama
are strong. Sports and PE are extremely well provided for and high standards are
achieved. There is a wide range of extra-curricular activities including very
successful Young Enterprise and thriving Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11–18; 485 girls (435 day, 50 boarding).
Entrance: Main entry ages 11–14 and 16. Own entrance exam used; for
sixth-form entry, 5 GCSEs at least grade C (grade B in sixth-form subjects).
Catholic school but all denominations welcomed. State school entry, 45% at 11
and 16. Feeder schools include King's College School, St Catherine's Preparatory
School, St John's College School, all in Cambridge.
Scholarships, bursaries & extras 11 pa scholarships, awarded at 11,
13 and 16: 7 academic, 4 all-rounder, value £500–50% of tuition fees. Also 3
music scholarships (at 11 and 13) value up to 10%. Parents not expected to buy
textbooks; no compulsory extras.
Head & staff
Headmistress: Mrs Jayne Triffitt, appointed 2001. Educated at Truro High
and Oxford University (chemistry). Previously Head of Sixth at St Mary’s, Ascot,
and Head of Science at La Sainte Union, London.
Teaching staff: 65 full time, 11 part time plus music and drama staff.
Average age 44.
GCSE: In 2003, 75 students in Year 11: 98% gained at least grade C in 9+
subjects. Average GCSE score 68 (66 over 5 years).
A-levels: 24 in upper sixth: 17% passed in 4+ subjects; 75% in 3; 8% in 2
subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 356.
University & college entrance All sixth-form leavers go on to a
degree course (20% after a gap year), 10% to Oxbridge. 15% take courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 14% in science & engineering, 24% in
humanities & social sciences, 47% in arts and vocational subjects eg business
studies, human resource management.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 GCSE subjects, 25–25 AS/A-level.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level;
AS-level general studies an additional option. IT taught as a discrete subject;
other key skills integrated into activities.
Vocational: Work experience available (Years 11–13).
Special provision: School copes with mild dyslexia.
Languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish offered to GCSE, AS and
A-level. Regular exchanges.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (2 lessons/week in Years 7–11) and
across the curriculum. 140 computers for pupil use (9 hours a day), all
networked and with e-mail and internet access. Years 10 & 11 take ECDL modules.
Music: Many pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be
taken. Some 11 musical groups including string quartet, jazz, brass, wind band,
guitar group, choirs, string orchestra, recorder, chamber music group.
Drama: Drama taught as a discrete subject from Year 7. GCSE and A-level
theatre studies, LAMDA, Guildhall exams may be taken.
Art & design: Art taught from Year 7 to A-level; includes textiles,
ceramics, computer-aided design.
Sport & activities
Sport: Aerobics, athletics, badminton, dance, gymnastics, hockey,
netball, rounders, swimming, table tennis, tennis, trampolining, volleyball.
Additional sixth-form options include archery, basketball, climbing, kickboxing,
multi-gym, rowing, self-defence, squash, yoga. Many girls are selected to play
at national, regional, county and district level.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s
Award. Community service optional; sixth form involved in Young Enterprise.
Girls help with Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and raise some £15,000 per year
for charity. Range of clubs covering science, arts, music, sport, languages.
Uniform: School uniform worn until Year 11.
Houses & prefects: Prefect duties shared by upper sixth. Head girl and
group of deputies – elected by staff and sixth form. School Council chaired by
Religion: Daily form prayers or assembly. Christmas carol service, Mass
and other services. RE curriculum followed by all pupils.
Social: Debating, theatrical productions with other schools. Regular
trips to France; Spanish, German, Italian exchanges; other excursions abroad.
Discipline No penal code; students are expected to work hard and to
respect the aims of the school. Parents would be consulted in serious cases, and
decisions would depend on circumstances.
Boarding Students in Year 10+ have own study bedroom, younger share
(2–4 per room). Central dining room. Visits to local town allowed, according to
age. Various activities during the evenings and weekends. New boarding
accommodation offering 37 single study bedrooms.
Alumni association is run by Mrs Shirley Charters, c/o the school.