An academically selective London school for high achieving girls, which has a reputation for its impressive GCSE and A Level results and well-rounded single sex education.
CLSG is described by its headteacher Jenny Brown as having an “intellectually edgy, unassuming and unpretentious environment, unshackled by tradition, and imbued with a relaxed excellence”. It is a school that says it doesn’t want to be “boxed in by anything”, and it takes full advantage of its location to use London as an extended classroom.
While CLSG will proudly admit that it is an academic school that delivers high numbers of A grades in GCSE and A Levels year after year, it’s not stuffy or pretentious. The school’s virtual tour (complete with bloopers) is led by smiley and confident (but not arrogant) girls and offers a window into this friendly, relaxed and happy campus.
CLSG is part of the family of City Schools (a nine-strong group of state and independent schools in London); it has the strongest link with its ‘brother’ school City of London School (for boys), which is just 20 minutes away. Students come together for annual musical performance, there are joint extra-curricular activities including music and the Combined Cadet Force, and there plans for more shared opportunities in future years.
Students come from across London, with some overseas students too – and there’s a diverse community of different cultures, faiths and backgrounds. The school makes the effort to settle new students in. In Year 7, students are put into house forms, roughly based on where they live, and they then move into mixed classes from Year 8. Year 7 students also have a Year 8 ‘big sister’, who writes to them before they arrive.
Headteacher Jenny Brown joined the school in 2019 – she was previously head of St Albans High School for Girls – and she says she is “proud as punch” to be at the school.
The school was rated Excellent in its most recent Integrated Inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), which was in 2015.
In the prep school (Years 3 to 6), students are immersed in a hugely varied and enriched curriculum that balances the core subjects with a different language every year (Spanish, French, German, and Chinese), baking, and a range of creative arts. Girls also get to choose one lesson every term, from an exciting list of orchestra, creative arts, iPad, Greek mythology and culture, debating, young curators and ocarina.
This broad curriculum continues from Year 7, with a full range of arts, humanities, languages, sciences and technological subjects; it then narrows as girls move towards A Levels in Year 12. Students learn two Modern Foreign Languages from a choice of French, German, Chinese or Spanish, and Year 7 ends with a week-long independent learning project (ILP).
CLSG offers students plenty of choice as they move up the school, with the option of following an academic, arts or language pathway to university. GCSE options include art, drama, design and technology (product design), Latin, music, PE, computer science, and Classical Greek; in the Sixth Form, students choose from a list of more than 24 different A Level subjects, as well studying for the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification).
Despite being in central London where open space sports facilities are limited, CLSG surprises with its range of sporting facilities, which include an all-weather pitch, tennis and netball courts, dance studio, swimming pool, gym, climbing wall and fitness suite; students also train and compete at the many local facilities on their doorstep such as the Mile End Athletics Stadium.
There’s a sport of for all ethos here with girls in Teams A-E competing in swimming, gymnastics, netball, football, cross country, athletics, fencing and cricket.
“We give every pupil the opportunity to try out and play for a team in the sport they desire no matter what year group they are in.”
Students can study the arts (including art, DT and drama) from Year 7 all the way through to A Level, and the school has art studios, a drama studio and an outdoor amphitheatre. There are workshops on subjects as varied as Chekhovian acting and physical theatre techniques; a large number of orchestras and choirs to join; and a full calendar of drama productions.
Students are kept busy with a wide variety of extra-curricular activities being offered during lunchtimes and after school, some run by senior girls or Sixth Formers. There’s a balance of sporting, cultural and recreational activities, as well as schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, European Youth Parliament and Young Enterprise. It’s diverse and forward-thinking too, with girls having the opportunity to sign up to clubs as varied as feminism and touch rugby.
CLSG takes full advantage of its location: it runs frequent day excursions and visits to libraries, exhibitions, museums and theatres across London, and there’s a weekly speakers programme in the Sixth Form that is attended by London-based journalists, lawyers, scientists and authors.
The school hasn’t released its 2020 results, but in 2019, 83% of GCSEs were graded A* (9-8) and 81% of A Level entries were A*-A.
Described by headteacher Jenny Brown as a “glorious City box”, the CLSG campus is located in the Barbican and has its own dedicated buildings and entrance. There’s a dedicated Prep Wing where the school’s youngest students spend most of their time, although they do get the use of the Senior School facilities and are taught by senior teachers for specialist lessons.
Main entry points are Year 7, Year 10 and Year 12, and the school says it is looking for “the brightest, most curious and enthusiastic pupils from across the Greater London area”. The admissions process involves an assessment and interview, and around 80 new students join the school in Year 7. Around 35% of students come from state schools, and 20% of students receive some level for scholarship or bursary financial support.
Bursaries and scholarships are awarded at 11+ and 16+ entry.
Annual fees are £20,664 for all prep and senior students.
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