Old Palace School of John
Old Palace Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 1AX Tel: 020 8688 2027 Fax: 020 8680 5877
• GIRLS, 4–18, Day
• Pupils 850, Upper sixth 70
• Termly fees £1708–£2698
• Enquiries/Applications to the Headmistress
What it’s like
Founded in 1889 by the Sisters of the Church, it became an independent day
school in 1974. The school is a member of the Whitgift Foundation (together with
Whitgift and Trinity boys’ schools). The Old Palace, from which the school takes
its name, was a former residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. The chapel,
Great Hall and library, which date back to the 15th century, are used by the
school. The historic buildings are complemented by modern ones, including an
arts and technology block, swimming pool and good facilities for ICT; a
building, adjacent to the school provides sixth-form accommodation, a PE area
and a new dining room. The prep and pre-prep departments are in a new building
on the same site. The school aims to provide a sound education based on
Christian ideas. Academic standards are high and examination results very good.
A wide range of extra-curricular activities are offered, with notable successes
in music and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 4–18; 850 day girls. Senior department
11–18, 545 girls.
Entrance: Main entry ages 11 and 16. Own entrance examination; for
sixth-form entry, 7 GCSEs at least grade B (A in sixth-form subjects). State
school entry, 60% of senior intake, 10% to sixth form.
Scholarships, bursaries & extras 10+ pa academic scholarships, value
up to 50% fees. 30+ Whitgift foundation bursaries (means-tested) on academic
merit. No charge for books or public exams.
Head & staff
Headmistress: Mrs Joy Hancock, appointed in 2000. Educated at Queen’s
College, London, and at universities of Nottingham (history) and Sussex
(education). Previously Headmistress of Bromley High and Deputy Head of Brighton
& Hove High. Publications: Teaching History (1970).
Teaching staff: 66 full time, 19 part time.
GCSE: In 2003, 79 pupils in upper fifth, all gaining at least grade C in
8+ subjects with an average score of 66 (over 5 years).
A-levels: 69 in upper sixth: 12% passed in 4+ subjects (including general
studies); 88% in 3 subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth
University & college entrance All 2003 sixth-form leavers went on to
a degree course (10% after a gap year), 6% to Oxbridge. 26% took courses in
medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry etc, 11% in science & engineering, 18%
in humanities & social sciences, 40% in business, management & computer science,
4% to art foundation courses.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 24 AS/A-level subjects.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level (encouraged to
take 1 contrasting), 3 at A-level; in addition some take AS-level general
studies. 30% take science A-levels; 35% arts/humanities; 35% both.
Languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish offered to GCSE, AS and
A-level; also Russian GCSE. Regular homestays and exchanges to France, Germany,
Spain and Italy.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (2 lessons a week in Years 7–9)
and across the curriculum eg project research and presentation. 145+ computers
for pupil use (8 hours a day), most networked and many with email and internet
access. ECDL, GCSE, AS and A-level offered.
Music: 50+% of pupils learn musical instruments. Musical opportunities
include choirs, orchestras and chamber music ensembles. Many pupils play in
local orchestras. Regular concerts and tours abroad. Drama & debating: Drama
offered and GCSE may be taken. 2 productions a year and regular drama workshops.
Great attention given to public-speaking and debating.
Art & design: On average, 25 take GCSE, 10 A-level. Photography, textile
design, screen printing and jewellery also offered; art department works closely
with technology department in creating design awareness.
Sport & activities
Sport: Netball, hockey, swimming, tennis, dance, fitness, athletics,
volleyball, badminton, fencing. Self-defence for senior pupils. County netball
players, swimmers and athletes.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s
Award. Caritas Society for raising money for charity. Clubs include fencing,
debating, Christian Union, ICT, creative writing, music, drama, chess, Young
Uniform: School uniform worn except in the sixth form.
House & prefects: Competitive houses. Head girl, prefects, head of house
and house prefects, elected by the school and staff.
Social: Debates with local schools. Combined music and drama activities
with Whitgift and Trinity School. Organised visits abroad; World Challenge.
Visits to lectures, concerts, plays. Eminent visiting speakers. Exchanges to
France, Germany, Italy and Spain.