Godolphin and Latymer School is an independent day school for 800 girls in Hammersmith, West London. It is a modern, innovative and forward-thinking school where quality teaching inspires the brightest of girls and ‘fosters independent thought and learning’.
In 1861, the Godolphin School was set up as a boys’ boarding school and the main buildings date from this time. This school did not flourish and in 1905 a new independent day school for girls was created on the same site. Support from the Latymer Foundation resulted in a new name, the Godolphin and Latymer School.
Dame Joyce Bishop (Head from 1935 to 1963) took the decision that Godolphin and Latymer should become a state grammar school offering places to bright girls totally regardless of their parents’ background or income. Dame Joyce’s vision resonates strongly with the school today. Its grammar school status was taken away in 1977 by the government of the time and it reverted to the independent sector.
Head Dr Frances Ramsay, (MA DPhil Oxford) says, “There’s no getting away from the fact this is a pretty serious academic school, so we are highly selective at entry; girls need to excel in the entrance test”. However, she also states that it tries to be incredibly “human” about the process so, for instance, every girl gets an interview. This means that girls are not dismissed if they have had an “off” examination day, but that the school really does take time to meet all its potential pupils.
It takes a holistic approach, and the ideal Godolphin girl is someone who, whilst being “strongly academic, will thrive with all the other opportunities on offer as well’. Whilst being a large historic site, it offers modern, fantastic facilities all interlinked by peaceful gardens and pretty courtyards.
Every girl has an iPad because Godolphin and Latymer believes that technology can “amplify great teaching” but not replace it, therefore not everything taught in lessons uses the device. The core subjects consist of English language, English literature, mathematics, triple award science (physics, chemistry and biology), and a modern foreign language, Mandarin (studied by all in Year 7), French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Years 7 & 8 study computing as an extra. In Year 9, students may either study 'Gratin' (Greek with Latin), Latin or classical civilisation. There are several other GCSE subjects to choose from such as design & technology, food nutrition, the arts, music and more.
Both A Levels and the IB Diploma Programme are offered (the latter since 2004) and many students undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). There are more than twenty subjects offered at A Level.
The school's recently opened on-site sports centre includes a large sports hall which is equipped and marked out for cricket, football, fencing, badminton, basketball, netball, volleyball and hockey – plus a full-height climbing wall and it has a professional sound system. There is a dance studio, a separate fully-equipped fitness studio, and a dual-aspect viewing gallery overlooking the sports hall and the outside AstroTurf pitches.
The Performing Arts Centre is housed in an on-site converted church, which has a large, light glass atrium and this connects to a modern, purpose-built music school. There is a well-equipped art studio which has 3D printers, potters’ wheels and a kiln.
Godolphin and Latymer is an incredibly busy school with an outstanding choice of clubs and societies. Its motto is “Join it, run it, start it!”
There is anime, gastronomy, gay-straight Alliance, dissection club, horticultural society, sustainable development lectures, Spanish cinema club and plenty more. Debating is huge and all year groups have the opportunity to participate in outside competitions, for which they have weekly training sessions. Nothing is done by halves here and the school runs the London Junior Debating League, the London Middle School Debating Competition and the London Sixth Form Debating Competition. Both independent and state schools take part.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme is well attended, and most of Year 9 achieve their Bronze award. Music is also taken seriously here and there are several ensemble concerts as well as full orchestral and choir performances; most recently they performed the Mozart Requiem. Alongside classical music, there are jazz bands, swing ensembles and several different societies and clubs.
The school has six houses, and there are house singing competitions, debating, bake-offs and inter-house sports, as well as house breakfasts, fundraising events and house drama.
Godolphin and Latymer arranges over 100 trips per year. As well as several trips abroad for sports, geography, history and languages, there are many day trips within easy reach of the school, such as to Oxford, Cambridge, Fishbourne Palace and more. Being in London there are masses of trips to the theatre, museums and even London Zoo.
Godolphin and Latymer’s results are impressive. For A Level, 10 out of 10 taking fine art achieved A*, over half the students in every subject also achieved A*, and most of the remaining students achieved A grades. Only 25 out of 232 students got a B at A level.
2023 IB results: More than 75% of students scored 40 points or more (from a total of 45) with an impressive average point score of 40.7.
Students go on to a long list of excellent universities such as Imperial College London, UCL, LSE, Chicago, Dartmouth, Duke, Edinburgh and more.
As mentioned before, the school has state of the art sport, arts and academic facilities – and the combination of modern facilities and historic buildings makes this a very pleasant learning environment. Located in a quiet, tree-lined area of Hammersmith, the school is well connected for London, airports and other transport links.
Applicants sit the ISEB Common Pre-test. This is a computer-based test with sections covering verbal and non-verbal reasoning, English and mathematics, and it takes two and a half hours to complete. Students are also able to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test at their own junior schools, at other senior schools, or at Godolphin and Latymer, again to provide flexibility. Students who achieved the highest results are asked for a reference from their current Head and invited for an interview to “Assess whether Godolphin and Latymer is the right school for them”.
For Sixth Form students joining from other schools, the first stage of the selection process is to sit a cognitive abilities test; candidates who meet the required level in the assessment are invited for a series of structured subject interviews. These interviews are conducted by subject specialists, and it enables the candidates to demonstrate specific skills appropriate to their chosen subjects.
Fees are £23,085 per year for all year groups.
Outstanding hothouse education
IB and A levels
A high achieving student
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