A popular, kind and caring school on the London girls’ day school scene where girls study GCSEs and A Levels in a very supportive learning environment.
The senior school occupies four houses on Harley Street in central London, and Queen’s has a Prep school for girls aged four to 11 located just around the corner on Portland Place. It’s been educating girls for 175 years and was the first British school to give academic qualifications to women. Class sizes are average for a public school, with up to 22 students, which helps teachers to deliver a high degree of personalised learning.
Queen’s puts student wellbeing front and centre. In 2020 it launched the Thrive programme, which trains students to be anti-bullying ambassadors and peer mentors; Years 7, 8 and 9 are taught how to resolve their own friendship issues; and Thrive lessons on kindness and resilience are bult into the curriculum. There are also termly ‘Thrive’ weeks including one on kindness when students and teachers recorded over 1,000 acts of kindness; and one on Failure where teachers shared their biggest failures “to counter the culture of perfection facing teenagers”. Parents can feel confident that their daughter is learning and growing within a very supportive environment, and they will develop the self-awareness to find their own wellbeing strategies.
There’s quite a relaxed atmosphere here; full school uniform is worn by Years 7, 8 and 9, and Years 10 and 11 wear a uniform jacket and blouse. It’s heath conscious; recent initiatives in the canteen have included ‘The Conscious Canteen’, a carbon reduction alternative menu, and the ‘Root Kitchen’ programme to make root veg exciting again. And it’s quite international; many students are bilingual and the language programme is broad and active (students regularly take part in events such as the Poetry in Translation Competitions, Hispanic and French Theatre Festivals and a Spanish Debating Competition).
Queen’s has a small cohort of around 400 girls from a range of backgrounds and areas of London. The head is described by parents as supportive; he teaches all new arrivals so that he gets to know them and is said to “set the tone” for the school.
Queen’s follows an expanded National Curriculum for England throughout Prep, which includes lessons in computing, French, art, drama, music, PE, games, and swimming, each taught by specialist teachers with a passion and expertise in their subject.
In the Senior school, there’s a fulfilling curriculum that prepares students well for GCSEs and A Levels and introduces them to new subjects and languages. In Year 7, students study Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish for a term; Latin, drama, music, philosophy, games, PE and dance are also part of the curriculum in Years 7-9. At GCSE, students study the core subjects plus at least one language, and options here include Latin, art, drama, music, and dance.
The school opens the door to university with a challenging and broad (and very busy) Sixth Form education. Many Sixth Formers take three A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification; others opt to study for a fourth A Level (in Further Maths or a native language), a Sports Leadership Award or higher qualifications in dance or drama.
There’s no block system here so students have the opportunity to study any conceivable combination of subjects; these include history of art, drama & theatre studies, Latin, politics, psychology, further maths and music. Computer science covers design and graphics skills and is now offered as a GCSE; there’s a separate Science GCSE pathway in Year 9, where girls choose at least two science subjects; and there’s a good take up of art, dance and drama at both GCSE and A Level.
Girls here are offered a huge advantage in university applications and beyond; they attend a regular series of lectures and seminars along with Wetherby (a local boys’ school); and they take part in weekly volunteering or work experience, as well as weekly PE and fitness sessions. As the school says, “Life in Sixth Form here at Queen’s is busy, varied and rewarding”.
The school takes full advantage of its central London location by taking students on a wide variety of trips and visits to the capital’s galleries, museums and exhibitions.
There’s great provision for drama, dance and music here, all of which can be studied right through to A Level. Many students go on to study at prestigious art schools including Leeds, Central St Martins and Kingston University. Dance is particularly strong; every student takes part in the annual Dance Show and in 2021 the school qualified for the National Dance Finals.
As a city centre school with just a courtyard for outdoor space you wouldn’t expect it to attract the sportiest of students. However, Queen’s makes full use of local sports facilities to ensure that it can teach all the traditional sports (including football, tag rugby and cricket) to girls in all year groups. The fairly recent appointment of a female Director of Sports, previously a member of the Rugby World Cup winning England team, has really helped to raise the sports profile of the school.
Sport here is both competitive – the school fields several teams for fixtures with other schools in London – and fun; there are various sports clubs including gymnastics, swimming, rounders, boxing and yoga.
Sports facilities include an on-site gym, and students use facilities at the nearby Paddington Recreation Ground, Finsbury Park and Regent's Park for sports such as netball, football, hockey, tennis, rounders and athletics.
Queen’s offers a very broad co-curricular programme with more than 70 clubs and societies covering the arts, subject enrichment, sport, and special interests. Scan the list of activities and you’ll find zoology, chess, gardening, cheerleading, Lego, poetry, netball, and many more.
In 2021, 32% of A Level students achieved A*, 78.7% were A*-A and 95% were A*-B; 66% of GCSE students scored 9-8 and 87% were graded 9-7. While these grades are higher than previous years, Queen’s does consistently perform well above average. In 2019, the last year that exams were sat, 15.8% of A Level students achieved A*, 46.8% were A*-A and 79% were A*-B; 53% of GCSE students scored 9-8 and 77% were graded 9-7
As a selective school, it is unsurprising to see that Queen’s delivers strong academic results and has a high percentage of high achievers. Leaves destinations include Oxbridge and Russell Group universities including UCL, Bristol, Bath, King’s College London and Durham. You can have high expectations for your child’s tertiary education here. There’s also an increasing number of students choosing to study at US universities.
The main point of entry to Queen's College, London is at 11+. As a member of the London 11+ Consortium, Queens has three stages of assessment which includes an entrance exam, an interview and a reference from the applicant's current school. Applicants come from across London, from a wide range of both independent prep schools and state primaries.
Admission to the Sixth Form is based on an interview with the Head of the Senior College and a good reference (with predicted GCSE grades) from the applicant’s current school.
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