11 Plus (Frequently Asked Questions)

For details on everything that happens in Year 7, please see below for common questions and answers.

How big are class sizes?

  • In Year 7, girls are mainly taught in their form groups which are usually 28 girls.  
  • We vary between three and four form entry. 
  • Usually for Science, Art, Maths and ICT, girls are taught in smaller groups. For Technology subjects (Textiles/Resistant Materials) girls are taught in half classes – around 14 per group. 
  • The average class size for girls aged 11–16 years is 18. For the Sixth Form, the average class size is 8.


    Do you stream/set girls?

    Girls in Year 7 are not set for any subject so they have an equal opportunity to develop regardless of material covered in their previous school. In Years 8 and 9, girls are set for Mathematics.

     


    Is the school library open before and after school?
    The Senior School Library is open from 7.30am until 5pm (except Friday when it closes at 4pm).
    Do girls study all three sciences or are they combined?

    Science is combined in Year 7. In Year 8, our Natural Sciences tripos enables students to make connections between concepts in Biology, Chemistry and Physics, as well as developing the underpinning practical techniques and problem solving skills necessary for success at iGCSE. In Year 9, all students begin the iGCSE curriculum in all three separate sciences.

     


    What languages do girls study?

    In Year 7, all girls study German and Spanish. In Year 8, they study Chinese (Mandarin) and French. Each of these is for two hours per language per week. In Year 9, girls select their preferred three languages from Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Latin and Spanish. This allows all girls to study all four languages and Latin for a full year before making pre-GCSE choices.  Girls in Years 10 and 11 study core subjects and are set for Mathematics. Girls have a free choice of four additional GCSE subjects which includes a choice of at least one Modern Foreign Language.

        


    What provision do you have for bilingual girls?

    We have a programme for students who are bilingual in French, German, Spanish or Mandarin.  In Years 7 and 8, bilingual pupils do not attend the normal lessons in the relevant language and instead receive tuition from a native speaker teacher.  The lesson takes place at lunchtime during the year in which the relevant language does not feature in the carousel.  In Year 9, bilingual pupils continue to receive tuition each week and opt for their 'bilingual' language as one of the three that they take in the year.  In Year 10, we arrange for tuition to continue so that a GCSE can be sat in the language one year early, at the end of Year 10. 

     


    How much homework should girls expect?
    In Year 7, girls are given homework for a maximum of four subjects each evening. Each piece of work is expected to take around 20 minutes.
    What Music provision do you have?

    In Years 7 to 9, Music is a classroom subject for all girls and in Years 10 and 11 it is a popular GCSE choice. It is also available at A Level and every year girls go on to study Music at the leading universities and conservatoires. Many of our girls learn a musical instrument; a number are very accomplished and study at the Junior Conservatoires and/or are members of regionally and nationally auditioned choirs and orchestras. In the Senior School, there are two orchestras, two large choirs and many smaller instrumental and vocal ensembles. The Senior Choir tours in alternate years. This autumn it will go to Tuscany. In Year 9 girls organise and perform an opera; in 2015 it was Dido and Aeneas.


    When do girls have Music lessons – do they have to miss other lessons or is it during break times?
    Lessons are available for the full range of instruments including drums and voice. In Years 7–9, these are scheduled on a rota basis throughout the day. In Years 10–13, Music lessons do not clash with any academic classes. For all years, there are special arrangements for players of two or more instruments. Music lessons may be taught as early as 8am, and the teaching day may extend to 5.15pm.
    What sports do girls play?

    Girls in Years 7-9 have lessons in Netball, Lacrosse, Gymnastics, Trampolining, Dance, Swimming, Volleyball, Badminton, Tennis, Rounders, Kwik Cricket and Athletics.  Rowing is taught in Year 9 as well as being a vibrant club activity from Year 7.  In Year 7 and Year 8 there is a dedicated games afternoon.  

     


    Do girls have swimming lessons?
    In Year 7 girls have an eight-week block of swimming lessons at Putney Leisure Centre. Many of our girls are keen swimmers, including some who compete at national level.
    Where do girls play sport?
    We have tennis and netball courts on site, as well as an all-weather sports/rounders’ pitch. Lacrosse lessons and practices are sometimes off-site at our sports fields, a five-minute coach ride away. The school has membership of the Barn Elms Rowing Club.
    What ICT provision do you have?

    ICT is integral to the whole curriculum with girls using ICT and digital media across the board.  We aim to provide girls with the ability and skills to access and use digital resources to enhance their learning and operate successfully in this multimedia age.  There are over 350 computers and tablet devices for pupil use, all networked and with high-speed internet access distributed across the campus.  This year we are rolling out iPads to students on a 1-1 basis in the Senior School, initially to students in Years 9 and 12, and from September 2015 to all students in the Senior School. This extends the innovative use of iPads already embedded in the Junior School from Years 4 to 6. We have campus-wide WIFI connectivity and the school’s intranet means that girls access their school email and learning resources from home.

    We have a state-of-the-art Library, Language Lab, music ICT composition room and an up-to-the-minute Design and Technology Centre.


    Do you offer scholarships and/or bursaries?
      • At 11+, all applicants are automatically considered for an academic scholarship. Music and Sports scholarships are also available.
      • For students at 16+, Academic, Art, Design, Drama, Music and Sports scholarships are available. 
      • Internal applicants are also eligible for consideration for an academic travel scholarship in Languages or Science to enable them to conduct a university-level research project overseas.
      • Bursaries are offered, based on parental income and are means tested.

      Do you have a House system?
      There are four Houses – Beryl Burton, Kathleen Ferrier, Audrey Hepburn and Freya Stark.  There are regular House assemblies to encourage girls to mix with others outside their Year group. Houses raise money for charity. There are House competitions such as sport, drama and debating which lead to the presentation of the House Cup to the winning House each year.  House Points are also awarded to individuals for a range of good deeds.
      What about Pastoral Care?
      • Every member of staff has a pastoral responsibility and is attached to a Form. Each Form has a Tutor and a Deputy Tutor. Heads of Year are supported by Assistant Heads of Year. We pride ourselves on excellent communication with parents, and within the staff body. We provide guidance and care on a daily basis to our students and they know that there is always someone available to listen to them. Every member of staff has a pastoral responsibility and is attached to a Form. Each Form has a Tutor and a Deputy Tutor. Heads of Year are supported by Assistant Heads of Year.
      • We pride ourselves on excellent communication with parents, and within the staff body. We provide guidance and care on a daily basis to our students and they know that there is always someone available to listen to them.
      • Students are regularly consulted as part of projects, for example in changes to our school uniform, or even helping design our Cafeteria.
      • Girls entering in Year 7 are allocated a buddy from a higher Year.
      • Girls see their tutor twice a day. The tutor is part of a team with experience of supporting Year 7.
      • Students in Years 8 & 9, 10 & 11 and in Years 12 & 13 have the same Form Tutor who is responsible for their care and welfare. They are alert to their different needs and personalities. Students in Years 10 and 11 have a designated staff mentor who will see them one-to-one on several occasions throughout the GCSE years, to support, encourage and advise.
      • ‘Lifeskills’ is a tutorial programme for all years, to which all staff contribute. It covers themes such as health education, sex and relationships education, citizenship as well as study skills and careers planning.
      • Students are regularly consulted as part of projects, for example in changes to our school uniform, or even helping design our Cafeteria.

      What trips do you offer for Year 7?
      Year 7 takes part in a team building activity early in the school year, as well as trips to support the Geography, History and English curriculum. In Year 8 trips include a residential trip with activities such as abseiling.
      Are girls offered careers guidance?
      Yes. The Head of Careers is assisted by two Assistant Heads of Careers, one with responsibility for work experience and one for gap years and employment. The Alumnae Liaison Coordinator links students with current and recent Putney undergraduates, as well as organising Alumnae Lunches with students and undergraduates. A World Class Universities Coordinator leads our innovative World Class Universities Programme. Careers evenings focussing on specific areas, such as Law, Medicine, Art & Design and Finance are held regularly as well as a biennial Careers Fair. All students at GDST schools are members of the Independent School Careers Organisation which arranges superb courses, work experience and Gap Year fairs.
      What extension activities do you offer?

      Everything from Amnesty Group and Art Club to Debating Society and Zumba. Please look at our co-curriculum handbook. The curriculum is well supported by trips to Iceland, Costa Rica, New York and Berlin, to name but a few.

      The Putney Ideas Exchange (PIE) speaker programme gives girls the chance to listen to and ask questions of inspirational individuals, from eminent scientists and authors to entrepreneurs and artists.


      When can Year 7 girls begin LAMDA Acting lessons?
      Year 7 girls can sign up for a LAMDA Taster lesson in the second half of the Autumn Term, and enrol for either solo or paired lessons beginning in the Spring Term.
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