Godolphin & Latymer

Logo of Godolphin & Latymer

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 750 Pupils


Average Class Size: 22
Day School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 22%
Day: £16,635
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 92%

One of the most popular – and oversubscribed of the London girls’ day schools – Godolphin & Latymer occupies six acres of prime real estate close to the river in Hammersmith. It is surprisingly beautiful and serene in feel, given its proximity to bustling Hammersmith roundabout. It is an academic heavy- hitter – just under a quarter head to Oxbridge, and a good percentage to the Ivy League – without as much overt pressure as places like St Paul’s Girls and City. The school prides itself on turning out down-to-earth girls (insofar as is possible at a central London school attended by some of the uber-wealthy, including, recently, one of Roman Abramovich’s daughters.) Appearance is not a priority here: thank goodness, because the school’s trademark grey fleece and red-striped shirt are not exactly glamorous. ‘Dolphins’, as the girls are called, are earnest and studious, and, above all, confident. This is definitely a school for ‘have a go’ sorts, not the shy and retiring.

Background and Reputation

Godolphin & Latymer started out as a boys’ boarding school, in 1861, then became a girls’ day school in 1905, becoming a state school for a while, before becoming independent in 1977, and thus it has remained. A stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Hammersmith, its yellow brick Victorian buildings mingle with purpose-built state-of-the-art blocks that enable girls to have the best of the best facility-wise. This has always been a place for bright sparks, but perhaps those just slightly less hell-bent on academic domination above all else than the girls at St Paul’s Girls School, just down the road. Results are nonetheless very impressive, especially since the recent introduction of the IB and appointment, in 2009, of Head Ruth Mercer, an experienced figure in the London girls’ day school world. Old girls include Nigella Lawson, Davina McCall, Kate Beckinsale and Sophie Ellis-Bextor – quite a list!

Academic and Exit Results

There is no question this is a very academic school. 92% of A-levels were marked A-B last year, while IB results were similarly impressive, with an average score of 39 out of a possible 45. 90% of GCSEs were A-A. Learning support only provided for very mild cases. Staff turnover is low, with upwards of 50% staying for more than ten years. Some parents complain that the lack of a tutor system means there is no one member of staff who really knows your daughter; others also complain that the academics are too rigid, with each girl being set targets and constantly monitored in terms of whether or not she is meeting these. Head Ruth Mercer is definitely pushing the IB as a substitute for A levels, on the grounds that the latter has been dumbed down.

Social and Pastoral

Dolphins are without doubt a happy bunch – and the school clearly does an ace job in selecting those girls who will thrive here (there are about 500 applicants for 110 places each year). Drug incidents are rare and bullying (including cyber bullying) taken very seriously. Sixth formers are allowed into Hammersmith at lunchtime, a privilege which is rarely abused, and the girls can be seen congregating in Hammersmith Starbucks. The Sixth Form lounge, which has a roof terrace and tuck shop, and may explain why girls don’t feel the need to scurry into town and wreak havoc. Parents mostly are quite local (Hammermith, Fulham) and professional and media types, though there are a handful of the super-rich coming in from Chelsea etc., some in chauffeur-driven cars. But this is par for the course in London day schools.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

On-site sports facilities are very impressive, so much so that it can be hard to believe you are actually in central London here. Hockey and Netball squads are particularly strong and selection is competitive. Less sporty girls may find themselves a bit left out – but, thankfully, there are plenty of ‘alternative’ athletic endeavours – Fencing, Yoga, Pilates, to name a few – for those who don’t excel in the competitive realm. Unsurprisingly, given the proximity to the Thames, Rowing is strong, and girls share a boathouse with King’s Wimbledon – a nice way to get a bit of interaction with the opposite sex. They also share a pool with Latymer. Picturesque St John’s Church has been converted into the aptly named ‘Bishop Centre’, housing amazing performing arts facilities as well as the Rudland Music School. Music and the arts is an area in which the girls have always flourished. There are endless theatrical productions throughout the year, and girls are able to produce, direct and act in these. Music facilities are top-of-the-line. There’s a joint orchestra with Latymer, choir and a very popular Jazz band.


Community service is taken very seriously here, with the whole effort led by a Sixth Form ‘Social Services’ team and a different local charity focused on each week. There are also a huge number of school trips (Skiing, Classics, etc) and exchanges with foreign schools, in Europe and further afield.

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