Francis Holland NW1

Logo of Francis Holland NW1

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – Pupils: 460

Characteristics

Average Class Size: 20
Day School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 10%
£5,900 per term
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 85.3%

SUMMARY

Francis Holland, Regents Park is a good London day school. At 450 students it is small enough that everyone knows everyone, and the teachers concentrate on getting results out of the girls. Yet school life lacks the intensity of many of the other London day schools, Francis Holland girls are known for being relaxed and confident, and there is a strong sense that school should be fun as well as productive. One of the few drawbacks, is their lack of grounds – girls have to go to Regent’s Park to play sports – yet the space that they do have is put to very good use: the swimming pool can transform into a boardroom and the roof is used as a café. There is a certain formality to the school; the headmistress is very strong on manners as well as what the school, rather quaintly, refers to as ‘altruistic behavior’. The girls that Francis Holland churns out however, are very much of their time; the careers department is inundated with requests for advice about a huge host of careers, and the 100% Higher Education statistic encompasses all manner of different institutions.

Background and Reputation

Francis Holland Regents consistently outperforms it’s sister school in Sloane Square at exam time. Though admission is not as competitive as it is for some of the other girls day schools like Godolphin, Latymer or St Paul’s, Francis Holland is academic once you get there. The school, handily positioned next to Regent’s Park, is always hive of activity. Girls are not made to choose to be arty, brainy or sporty but rather, are encouraged to have as many strings to their bow as possible. There is a cosines to the school too, which some of the larger London schools lack, and girls report feeling as though they are each individually guided through their time at Francis Holland in a different way. The teachers are high end, and the relationships that the girls foster with them, often last long after school is over.

Academic and Exit Results

Francis Holland girls have a strong work ethic; homework that is set gets done and promptly. Revision too, for public exams is taken seriously, the results are impressive. In 2013, at GCSE, 81% of grades were from, A-A, 96.5% from A to B and 99.4% from A* to C. The school’s A Level results were strong too, with 86.7% of the grades from A* to B and 57% from A* to A. This translates into a good record of Higher Education, 100% of the girls go onto study, 10% of these getting into Oxbridge.

Social and Pastoral

Though Francis Holland is in many ways a very traditional institution, girls get into trouble for not holding doors, and in the years before six form, not being smartly dressed; yet the girls themselves are high spirited and savvy. Perhaps the school’s central position has something to do with it, but the girls know how to take care of themselves without too much supervision. Francis Holland girls are also famously sociable and know boys and girls from different schools across London. The net of pastoral care appears to work at this school, perhaps it’s size, relatively small at 450, and limited class size helps, but few girls are allowed o flounder.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Despite not having any onsite facilities (apart from a swimming room in the basement which niftily converts into a boardroom) sport is taken seriously at Francis Holland. Their sports teams – including a fearsome water polo team – tour London taking on other girl’s schools (and often winning). One of the best things however, are the frequent inter-form tournaments, which mean that each girl – whatever her ability – will be used to playing sport competitively. In addition to the mainstream sports, there are plenty of school clubs, offering things like zumba and cheerleading. For such a small school, art is afforded ample space and resources at Francis Holland: there are five full time teachers as well as a specialist technician. Crucially there seems to be no such thing as a “Francis Holland style’, rather the girls are grounded in the basics of draughtsmanship as well as given an understanding of the context of art, and are then allowed the freedom to develop their own style and technique. Another great strength of the department is their eagerness to engage with cultural life outside of London; girls say that they are forever being hustled out of school to take in a new exhibition, or indeed, encouraged to go gallery hoping in the holidays. This external influence shows in the work of the girls, which – exhibited around school – is of an unusually high standard. A massive 60% of Francis Holland girls take private instrument or singing lessons, and this is in addition to the compulsory music lessons given to girls in years 8 to 11. After which a large chunk of girls will carry on to study Music as an academic subject for GCSE and A Level. Many people report that on visiting Francis Holland it was the music of the school that made the most lasting impression: dulcet tones spread through the school from the amazing hexagonal hall and assorted little practice rooms. Greet excitement is caused among the girls by the school’s annual mixed concert with Harrow; feverish practicing goes on before auditions. Unlike many schools who wait until their students have chosen to continue with drama for GCSE before starting to teach the subject seriously, Francis Holland do this from the very beginning. Drama, compulsory for the first three years of school, plays a big part in school life. The lessons are high-energy and examined at the end of term; there is also an inter-form drama competition in which girls are expected to act, adapt and direct a play with minimal supervision. Theatre Studies is a popular subject for public exams, and girls are given great freedom to explore plays and the roles that they find significant, before presenting them as course work.

Extra Curricular

There are lots of clubs at Francis Holland; indeed it is compulsory to be a member of at least 3 clubs when you are in the junior school, 2 when you get to the senior. Happily there are a lot to choose from, around seventy, some run by girls and some by teachers. Each year brings a glut of new ones – some survive the year, others don’t. A great favourite is the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, that most girls do, which takes them on adventures to the country. Many of the clubs are auxiliary to lessons and greatly aid the girls’ understanding and enjoyment of the subject; French club for instance is a popular one, not least because it involves the eating of lots of French food.

Contact

Get in touch via email, phone or visit us.

Francis Holland NW1

Headmaster: Mrs V M Durham

Telephone: 020 7723 0176

www.fhs- nw1.org.uk

Address: Francis Holland NW1 Ivor Place London NW1 6XR

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