Tell us about Pastoral Care
• The happiness, personal development and wellbeing of our pupils comes before all else and we have been recognised by TES and ‘The Week Independent Schools Guide’ for the high standard of our pastoral care. Experienced Form and Deputy Tutors, Heads of Year and Assistant Heads of Year offer comprehensive, tailored and nurturing support across every year group.
• Excellent communication with parents, and within the staff body, is pivotal so students know there is always someone available to listen to them.
• Pupils see their tutor twice a day. Pupils in Years 8 & 9, 10 & 11 and in Years 12 & 13 usually have the same Form Tutor who is responsible for their care and welfare. They are alert to their different needs and personalities, ensuring every pupil can thrive.
• Girls entering Year 7 are allocated a buddy from a higher year and start off in form groups with peers who live near to each other so that friendships can develop outside school and when travelling to and from school. We also have many events before the pupils join the school so that they will already know many of their form before the first day
• Pupils are encouraged to develop self-confidence and
a sense of self and are valued members of a warm and democratic community.
• Every student has a Progress Mentor – usually their Form or Deputy Form Tutor, who they meet with frequently – to reflect on and plan their overall personal and academic development.
• The Positive Schools Programme forms part of PSHE, teaching the skills and awareness to navigate the teenage years. This includes health, online safety, relationships, sex education and citizenship as well as study skills and careers planning.
Is the school open before and after school?
The Senior School Library is open from 7.30am until 5pm every school day. Some clubs also run before and after school.
What Computing and Coding do you offer?
Computer Science with an emphasis on computational thinking and problem-solving skills is embedded in the KS3 curriculum. Students are encouraged to think creatively about technology and its positive impact on the community through app design and cybersecurity competitions.
At Year 7 they are also introduced to basic programming techniques to acquire problem solving strategies and
practise their logical analysis and critical thinking abilities.
The programming tasks grow in complexity through Year 8 and 9 to ensure that, by the time they choose GCSE optional subjects, the students have sufficient understanding of software development techniques to be equipped for the modern world. All pupils are issued with their own iPads. To aid their research, collaboration and presentation of their learning, we also use 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.
Do you set for any subjects?
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, with plenty of opportunities for extra stretch and challenge.
In Years 8 and 9, girls are set for Mathematics.
How big are class sizes?
In Year 7 girls are in form groups of around 27 split into two pastoral groups. They are taught in smaller classes for subjects including Maths, Science, Art, Modern Foreign Languages, Drama and Thinking Skills.
The average GCSE class size is 16. For the Sixth Form the average class size is 8.
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 GCSE. In Year 9, all students begin the AQA GCSE curriculum in all three separate sciences.
What languages do girls study?
In Year 7 pupils study either French or Spanish AND German or Mandarin – two hours per week in each. Latin is introduced in Year 8 and pupils in Years 9, 10, and 12 may also join a GCSE course in Ancient Greek which runs outside of the timetable.
From Year 9, students continue their two modern foreign languages and choose a third option from Latin, ab initio Italian or ab initio Spanish. For GCSE, students choose at least one Modern Foreign Language they have been studying (although they may choose more). NB. In order to study French, German or Mandarin at GCSE and beyond, you MUST have studied these languages during Years 7, 8 and 9. These languages cannot therefore be started after Year 7, whereas Italian and Spanish can be started in Year 9.
What provision do you have for bilingual girls?
We have a programme for speakers of French, German, Spanish, Italian or Mandarin.
In Years 7, 8 and 9, bilingual pupils do not attend normal lessons in the relevant language, instead receiving tuition from a native speaker within their timetable.
In Year 10 tuition continues outside of the timetable so that this extra GCSE can be sat a year early, at the end of Year 10.
How much homework should girls expect?
In Year 7, girls are given a maximum of four subject homeworks each evening. Each is expected to take around 20 minutes.
What about Music at Putney?
Music is a classroom subject for all girls in Years 7 to 9, with an emphasis on practical music-making. It is a popular GCSE choice and every year students taking Music A Level go on to study at leading universities and conservatoires.
There are three orchestras, a jazz band, a wind band, four large choirs, a host of a cappella groups and many other smaller ensembles. Over 350 instrumental and vocal lessons are taught in school each week, with a visiting specialist staff of over 30. Approximately a dozen students also study at Junior Conservatoires and others are members of regionally and nationally auditioned choirs and orchestras. The Senior Choir embarks on a foreign tour in alternate years, and every year all Year 7 girls are involved in a Freshers’ concert, all Year 9 girls perform a musical, Year 10 GCSE students put on an opera and of course there are also many joint events with the drama department, including a fully staged musical occurring every February. Each term various concerts and recitals, featuring all styles of music, take place both in school and beyond. The Carol Competition in the Autumn term, the Putney Young Musician of the Year Competition in the Spring term and the Arts Festival in the Summer term are notable highlights of the year.
When do girls have Music lessons – do they have to miss other lessons or is it during break times?
Lessons are 40 minutes long and 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 (7:30am to 5.30pm) to ensure that part of the same lesson is never missed frequently. In Years 10–13, Music lessons do not clash with any academic classes. There are special arrangements for students taking two or more sets of lessons.
What sports do girls play?
Girls in Years 7 to 9 have lessons in netball, lacrosse, trampolining, table-tennis, gymnastics, cricket, volleyball, badminton, dance, tennis, football and athletics. These are all supported by co-curricular clubs throughout the year. Girls can join the rowing club in Year 9 when rowing also becomes a curriculum sport.
In Years 10 and 11, PE options include dance fit, self-defence, strength and conditioning, yoga and spinning sessions at Daley Fitness Gym. The Sixth Form Centre has its own Fitness Suite.
The school has achieved particular success in lacrosse, rowing, tennis, gymnastics, cross country and netball. Tennis coaching is available during PE lessons or at lunchtime.
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Do girls have swimming lessons?
Where do girls play sport?
We have a large sports hall with recently installed cricket nets, tennis and netball courts on-site. Lacrosse lessons and matches are off-site at our home ground, Wimbledon Rugby Football Club, which is a ten-minute coach ride away. We also use Roehampton Playing Fields, Wimbledon Athletics Track and Wimbledon Cricket Club. We have our own boathouse on Putney Embankment and the school has membership of the Barn Elms Rowing Club.
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.
At Sixth Form, current pupils are eligible to apply for an additional Academic Travel scholarship in Languages or Science to conduct a university-level research project overseas. For internal and external students at 16+, Academic, Art, Design, Drama, Music and Sports scholarships are available.
We are keen to offer the opportunity of a Putney education to applicants regardless of their family’s financial circumstances and offer a number of means-tested bursaries. An award can be up to 100 per cent of school fees dependent on individual circumstances, with joint household income and assets taken into account.
Do you have a House system?
There are four Houses: Beryl Burton, Kathleen Ferrier, Audrey Hepburn and Freya Stark. We hold regular House assemblies where girls make friendships across year groups through regular House competitions in sport, drama and debating.
Is there a school bus service?
A school bus service for Junior and Senior pupils operates to and from school.
We currently have four bus routes in operation: Kensington via Hammersmith and Fulham; Richmond via Barnes, East Sheen and Mortlake; Raynes Park/Wimbledon via Southfields; and Sloane Square via Chelsea and Fulham. We are also well-served by public transport.
What trips do you offer for Year 7?
Year 7 take part in a team building activity early in the school year, as well as trips to support the subject curriculum. There is a three-day residential activities trip in the summer term and the option of participating in the Year 8 ski trip.
What extension activities do you offer?
Everything from Amnesty Group and Photography Club to Debating Society, Scrabble and Medical Society. There are trips to Iceland, Costa Rica, New York and Berlin, to name a few. The Putney Ideas Exchange (PIE) gives girls the chance to listen to and ask questions of inspirational speakers, from eminent scientists to entrepreneurs and artists.
What Careers and University guidance do you offer?
Our award-winning Careers Programme offers support on subject options, work experience and career paths, as well as helping to develop real-world skills for the future. There is an annual careers week, a biennial Careers Fair and careers talks with alumnae, business experts and leading entrepreneurs. Dedicated Oxbridge and US University specialists work
in-house to guide and support students through their applications. Alumnae lunches link students with current
and recent Putney undergraduates, giving them insight into university life.
What are your students’ most recent destinations?
Last year, after a record-breaking year for A Levels (68% A* and 92% of entries at A* or A grade) students left Putney to study a range of courses. 10% of the year group secured places at Oxbridge on courses including English, Theology, Psychology, French and Spanish, History, and PPE. For Medicine, 13% of our students are now pursuing studies at universities including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter and St Andrews. The four most popular destinations were Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh and Exeter universities.
The three most popular courses were: English, History, and Medicine. Creative arts destinations included Central Saint Martins, Ravensbourne and Royal Academy of Music.
When will the new Science, Music, Drama & Debating Centre be completed?
The new Athena Centre will be fully operational by January 2022, at which point work will begin to dismantle our temporary science accommodation and restore the area to Astro turf. The Athena Centre will provide state-of-the-art teaching, learning and performance spaces including cutting edge science labs, acoustically engineered music rooms, a debating forum and ‘fringe feel’ drama studio.
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.