Latymer Upper School Review

A forward-thinking West London co-ed day school that delivers an extended curriculum, a very global education, and exceptional GCSE and A Level results; it also offers one of the most extensive bursary programmes in the UK.
At a glance
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 21,500
Annual fees
GBP 21,459 - 21,459
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1895
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr David Goodhew
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Latymer Upper School
School type
Private
School phase
Secondary
Inspection rating
Excellent
Curricula taught
Availability 2020/21
No data
Availability 2021/22
No data
Annual fee average
GBP 21,500
Annual fees
GBP 21,459 - 21,459
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1895
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Mr David Goodhew
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A forward-thinking West London co-ed day school that delivers an extended curriculum, a very global education, and exceptional GCSE and A Level results; it also offers one of the most extensive bursary programmes in the UK.

Located in Hammersmith, Latymer is a large secondary school for 1,400 girls and boys aged 11 to 18-year-olds (Years 7 to 13). It’s a school with a reputation for being academically rigorous, high achieving, progressive and nurturing, as well as delivering plenty of musical, artistic and sporting opportunities beyond the classroom.

The school still has the strong ethos of social inclusivity that came when it was launched 400 years ago. Today, the school’s ongoing bursary campaign, Inspiring Minds, aims to raise enough funds to offer one in four pupils a means-tested bursary. It describes itself as “first and foremost a ‘learning school” for young people from all backgrounds with a life-changing education, and it has won awards for its independent-state school partnerships (it partners with over 50 local schools, working with 1,000 children every year).

As headteacher David Goodhew, who has been Head of Latymer Upper School since 2012, says, “Ours is not a one size fits all school.” He describes Latymerians as “academic, rounded and grounded”, and the range and breadth of the courses that Latymer students go on to study at university (as well as the rising number choosing to study overseas) is testament to that.

Student wellbeing is supported through a tutor system, peer mentoring scheme, and a bespoke BOUNCE (Brain, Optimism, Unwind, Nutrition, Connect, Exercise) initiative. The school has a diverse school community, and with this comes tolerance and liberalism; there are open discussions about gender and sexuality issues in the school’s student-run LGBT+ Society and Fem Soc, and the school is a member of the Youth Pride network.

The school was rated Excellent in its most recent full ISI inspection held in 2019.

The curriculum

As an independent school, Latymer has the advantage of selecting the “best parts of the British education system” and introducing bespoke programmes that offer students a more global, well-rounded curriculum; ISI inspectors said that these unique courses are a "particular strength of the school curriculum". Innovations include a Global Goals course in Year 9 where students explore the UN’s sustainability goals; an internally assessed World Perspectives course that focuses on geography, politics and economics; and Electives courses at Sixth Form that give students extra breadth and opportunity. It all represents the school’s willingness to try something new and look beyond the status quo to give its students the edge when it comes to university and job applications.

The curriculum enhances core subjects with lessons in computer coding, Latin, Spanish and the separate sciences from Year 7, and all students from Years 7-11 spend one afternoon every week at the school’s sports complex off-campus.

Latymer teaches International GCSEs for most subjects, which offer a more global perspective than the UK GCSE. Options include a wide choice of languages, classic and the arts: biology/chemistry/physics, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Latin, Greek, history, geography, computer science, religious studies, drama, design, art and music.

The majority of students move up from Year 11 to study in the Sixth Form, and there around 30 new students. The A Level programme at Latymer is impressive. All students must work through a common core, elective courses and extracurricular activities to be awarded a Latymer Diploma or Leaver’s Certificate. There is a broad choice of more than twenty A Level options, including newly introduced subjects such as photography, design engineering and politics). Elective courses offer choice for students of all abilities and strengths: they include the Extended Project Qualification, the slightly shorter Latymer Research Report, non-examined Latymer Designed Courses that as diverse as playwriting, setting up a business or sports psychology, or a fourth A Level.

This is clearly a school that prides itself on its specialist teaching, as well as its focus on technology; all students are issued with Chromebooks from Year 7, there’s a STEM Academy taught on Saturday afternoons. It’s also a member of Round Square, an international group of about 170 schools from over 40 countries which offers its students global opportunities and exchange trips.

Sport and the arts

Both sport and the arts are taken seriously at Latymer, and subjects in both fields are offered through to A Level; they are not as popular as traditional subjects such as maths and the sciences but there is no shortage of talent, enthusiasm and support for PE, arts, music, drama and design here.

Latymer has recently invested in the sports with the development of an on-campus sports hall and swimming pool, and boathouse with more than 30 boats. There’s also a dedicated sports complex on nearby Wood Lane with four rugby/football pitches, three cricket squares, Astroturf pitch for hockey, netball, football and tennis, and a pavilion. The key sports offered at Latymer are rugby, football and rowing for the boys and hockey, netball, rounders and rowing for the girls; all students also play cricket and athletics. The extra-curricular programme then gives students further opportunity to try girls’ football, fencing, squash, table tennis, water polo and many others.

With alumni including Sir Michael Boyd, Alan Rickman, Mel Smith, and Hugh Grant, it’s no surprise to discover that Latymer has a passion for the performing arts. Students stage four plays per year, and Sixth Formers take plays to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival every two years. There’s a huge interest in individual music tuition (more than 800 students currently have weekly lessons), and students have formed their own record label – 32 Bit Recording. Facilities include the Latymer Arts Centre with 300-seat theatre, music school and art studios; Performing Arts Centre, with a 100-seat recital hall (complete with a pipe organ) and dance/drama studios; and a three storey art gallery.

Beyond the classroom

Students are challenged through activities such as the DofE Award, they contribute to fundraising activities as innovative as writing and staging a Play in Day, and they perform in venues such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. John’s Smith Square (one of the huge advantages of being a highly-regarded London-based school).

Sixth Formers and Year 10 students can volunteer to help teach lessons at the Saturday School held for Year 6 students from local primary schools; students can sign up for co-curricular clubs and activities as varied as Dungeons and Dragons, knitting, water polo and Japanese puzzles; and all students take part in the hugely popular in Activities Week in the penultimate week of the summer term.

Academic results

Latymer is a high-achieving school. In 2020, when exams were cancelled due to Covid-19, 80% of A Level grades were A*-A and 95% of grades were A* - B. In GCSEs, 59% of results were a Grade 9 and 83% of results were Grade 8 or 9.

Students are well-prepared for university with subject-specific academic extension classes, mock interviews, SAT preparation classes (for US applications).

Last year, 29 students were accepted at Oxford and Cambridge, and 16 students went to leading international universities including Yale, Brown, Georgetown, NYU and Bocconi. Increasingly, the school is seeing its students head off to leading universities worldwide.

Simon Lewis, Latymer’s Head of International University Applications said:

“Over the last few years there has been an upward trend in terms of students applying abroad. This year, 1 in 4 Latymerians applied to an overseas university, an increase of almost 50% on last year.”

Campus and facilities

Located a two minute walk from Ravenscourt Park tube station, the school is easily accessible for its students, many of whom live within a 15 mile radius.

Latymer is a school that is proud of its heritage yet focused on the future. From the red brick 19th century Main Hall to the glass and steel encased Performing Arts Centre, the school feels like a dynamic yet well-established place to learn. As mentioned, before it is well-equipped for sport and the arts, and academic facilities include a wonderful library with a team of very proactive librarians (Blind Date with a Book are among the many events offered to foster a love of reading), and it has everything that London has to offer on its doorstep.

Admission and fees

The main point of entry is Year 7 (11+); around 40 students move up from Latymer Prep and 128 join from with an even split of private and state prep/primary schools. Students also join the Sixth Form at 16+.

Registration for 11+ entry in 2022 opened in May 2021, and Latymer Upper School sets its own entrance exam in English and Mathematics, which is sat in January.

Latymer has a generous bursary programme (in 2020 over 230 pupils in school were awarded a bursary), and bursaries are offered in varying amounts from 25% to 100% off fees. Academic scholarships are offered at 11+, and drama, art and sport scholarships are offered at 16+ only.

Annual tuition fees are £21,459.

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