How many students are in each class?
In Year 7, girls are mainly taught in their form groups which are usually 27 girls, within a four form entry.
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 pupils study either French or Spanish AND German or Mandarin. They will study both languages for two hours per week during Years 7 and 8, when Latin and Ancient Greek will also be introduced.
From Year 9, students will choose THREE languages from French, Spanish, Mandarin, German, beginners’ Italian and Latin. For GCSE, students choose at least one Modern Foreign Language (although of course they may choose more). We also offer an innovative linguistics programme as part of the ‘thinking skills’ course.
What provision do you have for bilingual girls?
We have a programme for students who are speakers of French, German, Spanish or Mandarin. In Years 7, 8 and 9, bilingual pupils do not attend the normal lessons in the relevant language and instead receive tuition from a native speaker teacher. 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. In Year 9, girls organise and perform an opera as part of Activities Week.
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 music teaching day may extend to 5.15pm.
What sports do girls play?
All girls have lessons in netball, lacrosse, gymnastics, dance, tennis, athletics and rounders. Rowing is introduced into the curriculum in Year 9, as well as being a club activity from Year 8.
As girls progress up the school, there are more options such as badminton, aerobics, and volleyball. In Years 10-13 there is an option programme of on-site and off-site activities such as zumba, kickboxing, pilates, blitz fitness, golf and squash. There is also an opportunity for elite teams to practice lacrosse and rowing. The Sixth Form Centre has its own FOPHS Fitness Suite.
The school has achieved particular success in lacrosse, rowing, tennis, gymnastics, cross country, netball and sports acrobatics. In rowing, for example, girls compete at the Head of the River and at the Head of the Charles in the USA – some of the biggest events in the sport. Around one fifth of girls are active rowers. Tennis coaching lessons are available during a PE lesson or at lunchtime. Elite Tennis Coaching takes place before school.
Do girls have swimming lessons?
In Year 7, girls have a six-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. Games afternoons, lacrosse lessons and matches are off-site at our home ground, Wimbledon Rugby Football Club, which is a five-minute coach ride away. The school has membership of the Barn Elms Rowing Club and we have our own Boathouse on Putney Embankment.
What about Computing and ICT?
We prepare students for a technologically advanced world by deeply embedding Computer Science and digital learning across the curriculum. Pupils are introduced to Computer Science in Year 7 and begin coding in Year 8. Creative Computing is timetabled in Year 9 and is abundant in our extra-curricular programme with clubs such as Touch typing, Coding, and Digital Leaders. Computer Science is an option at GCSE and A Level.
All pupils are issued with their own iPads to aid their research, collaboration and presentation of their learning and a forward-thinking approach to education means we continue to push the boundaries, using Apple Pencils and the latest wireless technologies. The school’s secure virtual learning environment means that girls have access to their school email and learning resources across campus and 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 plus, all applicants are automatically considered for an academic scholarship. Music and Sports scholarships are also available.
For students at 16 plus; 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
- Freya Stark
There are regular House assemblies to encourage girls to mix with others outside their year group. Houses raise money for charity and 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.
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.
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 responsible for the planning of Senior School careers guidance lessons and advises on university applications, alternatives to university and graduate employment. She also oversees the Year 11 work experience programme. The Alumnae Liaison Coordinator links students with current and recent Putney undergraduates and organises Alumnae Lunches. A World Class Universities Coordinator leads our innovative World Class Universities Programme. Careers evenings focussing on specific subject areas are held regularly as well as a biennial Careers Fair.
What extension activities do you offer?
Everything from Amnesty Group and Art Club to Debating Society and Zumba. 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.
Do you accept applications from international students?
Whilst we welcome applications from pupils that are overseas at the time of applying, they must have a permanent status in the UK when they join Putney High School. Putney High School is a day school, therefore we are unable to offer boarding arrangements and applicants must have a parent, education guardian or legal guardian living within a reasonable distance of the school with whom they can reside.
In order to cope with the high academic and social demands of the school, applicants must be fluent English speakers (we have a programme to support bilingual students who are speakers of French, German, Spanish or Mandarin). It would help if the applicant is already following the British curriculum, however, this is not a prerequisite.
What does the motto 'fortiter et recte' mean?
It means ‘boldly and rightly’. In the early days of Putney High School, our logo included a violet. However, reluctant to be perceived as ‘shrinking violets’, it was changed to the strong oak tree – encapsulated by this motto.