City of London School for Girls

Logo of City of London School for Girls

Pupils Info

Gender – Girl's School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 705 Pupils


Average Class Size
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 30%
Day: £4,803 per term
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 81%

There is no question but that City of London School for Girls is a high-end school. Fiendishly competitive admission (10 girls try for every one place), teamed with challenging teaching and the expectation that girls entirely immerse themselves in their subjects before exam time, produce some pretty startling results. Always in the top-five of the league table, last year the girls excelled themselves, gaining 78% A* grades and 96% A* and A, which set them in good stead for their A Levels (where 40% of girls were awarded A*) and subsequent Oxbridge places (30%). It is not all work and no play at CLSG though, their arts departments and large and creative and sports are played very competitively. Few girls come out the other end unable to take on anything they put their minds to.

Background and Reputation

It is fair to say that in order to come such head and shoulders above the national average at exam time, some things do have to be sacrificed. There is a seriousness and intensity to life at City, which doesn’t suit everyone. That said the vast majority of the girls who pass through City acknowledge that they would have been hard put to have gained a better education anywhere else. The school’s position in the Barbican also ensures that it is not an isolated hot house (like some of the more intense boarding schools can seem), but is very much part of the hustle and bustle of the city. The teachers, perhaps taking their lead from the Head Mistress, Diana Vernon, are on the whole, highly intelligent no nonsense types. However although they certainly don’t suffer fools, and are firm in their intolerance of slackers, many of the girls report to building extremely strong relationships with the staff. Girls at City are afforded a relative freedom, and seem to rise to the challenge by behaving more like university students than schoolgirls. There are few disciplinary problems and the school is, on the whole, a happy and productive place.

Academic and Exit Results

City girls are in the habit of acing their exams. The 2013 exam results were yet another example of this, overall, 40% of the A Level entries were graded A* and 97% were A- B with an 100% pass rate, and 30% of girls going off to Oxbridge. GCSE’s were very strong too, with 78% of A grades and 96% A* and A. Lots of girls getting 11 and 10 A’s, and two attaining 12 A’s.

Social and Pastoral

Each year is divided into forms, with a Form Tutor in charge of the pastoral care of their girls. The school is aware that such an high-achieving environment can cause stress problems with the girls, to that end there is a lot of emphasis on communication, both between the teachers and between the teachers and girls. This generally seems to ensure that academic and personal problems are picked up and tackled quickly. A brilliant thing about CLSG is the large range of different backgrounds that the girls spring from: although the school is technically Christian there is wide ethnic mix, while the bursary program (around 23% of girls receive some form of financial aid) ensure that the school is full of girls from all different walks of life. The school’s frequent collaboration with City of London School for music and drama among other projects, also ensure that the girls grow up knowing lots of boys.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

“Sport for all” is the PE Department’s mission statement, and it is one it manages to achieve pretty efficiently. The best thing about the department, is there is generally something for everyone, and crucially, a lot is left to each individual to decide what form their participation will take: from the high flying first netball team to the more sedate synchronized swimming enthusiasts. The brilliant thing is the sheer range of sports on offer, a great favourite is cheerleading for instance, which is taken deadly seriously: the senior team were recently placed fifth in a cheerleading tournament in Brighton. Despite being in the heart of the Barbican there is no shortage of facilities, onsite they have an all-weather pitch, tennis and netball courts, a swimming pool, gym, climbing wall and fitness room. You need only look around the Art Department – or indeed the rest of the school that is decorated with girls’ art – to appreciate quite what a benefit the school’s central location has on the artistic development of it’s students. City is walking distance from the Barbican Gallery, Curve Gallery, Tate Modern, White Cube, Bloomberg Space, Victoria Miro and Parasol Unit, and the girls are very much encouraged to take full advantage of this proximity. Groups are forever nipping off to some exhibition or other, and such is the girls’ steady work ethic, that these trips are translated into immaculate notes, further research and idea development. The immaculately equipped department, has long been a place of soaring creativity, the really impressive thing about it though is how astutely it keeps pace with changes to the way art is taught and examined: it was one of the first girls day schools to fully get to grips with new media as a way for girls to express themselves and create their coursework. The Music Department at City is considerably strengthened by the school’s generous budget for awarding Music Scholarships. Some of the best musicians from around London end up at City; you need only hear one of their many Orchestras or Choirs to be convinced of how much they contribute to the school. Music teaching, especially as an academic subject, is uniformly exemplary. Girls are taught not just to play their instruments beautifully, but the appreciate the history of music –from around the globe – as well as how to perform and compose. One student also reports how high-tech the department has become in recent years; girls’ often record their compositions and then enhance them with the help of the department’s many cutting edge gadgets. For such a serious and academic school, it is perhaps surprising that Drama plays such an important role in day-to-day life. There are generally around 20 productions staged each year, one of which is the senior musical that reaches astounding heights of professionalism with glorious costumes and set design. Though the girls very often team up with the City of London boys for their plays either at home or at the boys’ school, the most recent venture is an all-female production at the Globe, which the school is putting on with the help of the RSC. All in all the department is efficiently run as well as hugely creative; it has the other great strength of not restricting involvement in productions to the girls taking the subject for GCSE and A Level, but rather, it welcomes all.


For a school populated by such high achieving girls it should perhaps come as no great surprise that there are such high powered Extra Curricular Activities to get involved with. The School Magazine for instance, and the committee that runs it, wouldn’t be out of place in Fleet Street and the speakers that are lured to come and talk, amount to a line-up of the great and the good (think A C Grayling and Baroness Hayman). Perhaps the most prominent activity is debating, whether it is informal debates organized by the girls themselves to thrash out issues that they are interested in, or the school’s debating society taking part and winning the ESU World Schools Style Debating tournament, City girls are educated with a back-ground stream of dialogue to engage in. The really crucial thing to the extra curricular program though, is the school’s location: there are constant trips into the city, to theatres, galleries and museum; whether these trips correlate directly to their academic studies or are of a less specific nature, there is no doubt.

City of London School for Girls

Headmistress: Miss Diana Vernon

Telephone: 020 7847 5500

Address: St Giles’ Terrace Barbican London EC2Y 8BB

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