Putney High

Logo of Putney High

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls School
Age range – Age 4-18
Number of pupils on roll – 871 Pupils


Average Class Size: 20
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 8%
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 96%

Putney High School is a competitive place. The girls fight tooth and nail to get in (admission is famously tough with only the smartest of primary school girls advised to apply) and the momentum doesn’t ease when you’re in. Results, whether in the classroom, lacrosse pitch or Art department are expected and achieved. The school, set on Putney Hill, is bosky and spacious, and the amazing stretches of pitches facilitate some top-notch sports playing. Putney girls seem to do well, not just at school but also in life. The rigorous teaching (you get sent out of class for day-dreaming), and competitive atmosphere, ensures that the students that the school churns out, are a force to be reckoned with.

Background and Reputation

There is no doubt that Putney High is not for everyone, but for those it does suit, few places would do them better. The teaching is some of the best to be found in London, if not the country; the school’s Head Mistress, Dr Denise Lodge PhD, has spearheaded a movement to ensure that the girl’s results are not simply reliant on spoon-feeding but also the product of independent inquiry. This, in the hugely competitive community of London girls’ school who often opt for guaranteed league table places above creativity, gives Putney a degree of distinction. One of the other great strengths of Putney High is that although the school at 900 students, is large enough to be diverse and stimulating, it is particularly good at monitoring each individual girl, both through the small class sizes (22 and 10 in Sixth Form) and by the strong form system.

Academic and Exit Results

Putney High gets some serious results out of its girls, and stays at the very top of the League Tables. In 2012 Putney High’s A Level results were exemplary, 15.2% of grades for A, 64.5% were A to A and 92.9% from A-B. The school’s 2012 GCSE results were no less formidable with only 2.3% of grades below a B. 40.9% of grades were A, 83.0% were A* to A and 97.7% A* to B. The excellent results achieved by the girls, as well as their reputation for creativity and diligence, mean that they can generally walk in to the university, art of musical academy of their choice, and around 17% go on to Oxbridge.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Sport like everything at Putney High is competitive. The school produces more county and regional level athletes than perhaps anywhere else in London. The major sports are, lacrosse, netball and gymnastics but there are lots of others to choose from too. Rowing is a surprisingly popular choice and the school has strong affiliations with the Thames rowing club. The Sports Department is greatly aided by Putney’s amazing facilities, both on site and at nearby Dover House Road. Art education at Putney High is a rigorous business. Girls are expected not just to be creative in their output, but to have a strong historical grounding in the discipline too. This is achieved by a cleverly structured course of art education. Years 7 to 9 have one period of compulsory art education, relatively unusually this is take seriously from the very start. Unlike most other schools, where the department waits for their subject to be selected for GCSE before exerting pressure on their students to create their own sketch books and develop their own styles, at Putney this is expected from the start. This means that not only are the girls good and confident artists by the very beginning of the GCSE course, they have also got the hang of compiling their course work independently. This standard of teaching extends into the A Level course too, where weekly Life Classes are compulsory and cutting edge installation projects are encouraged. You would be hard put to find a better school Art department. The Music Department is revered within the school (and out of it too). Set on four stories, it is not only the biggest department, but also arguably the most successful. It works on both a grand scale, more than half the school sing in choirs, both selective and unselective, as well as singularly. A gifted musician at Putney High will be given all the attention and focus that she could wish for. Things like a Year 9 Opera and annual Music Festival, which gets 450 entries,mark Putney’s music department apart as something special. This is paid out in the results it sees, the GCSE and A Level grades are some of the best attained by any department and the school regularly turns out professional musicians, one student recently played in an orchestra with Lang Lang. Drama is a popular option at Putney High, the department has a refreshingly relaxed atmosphere. Girls are allowed to go and work on pieces of their own creation in the studios and direct plays themselves. The department is also inclusive, everyone is encouraged to take part whether on stage or behind it. The facilities also contribute to the standard of Drama education at the school; there is a large very well equipped hall, lots of studio and practice space, and recently girls put on an acclaimed production of Macbeth at the Unicorn Theatre on London Bridge.

Social and Pastoral

Putney High girls are known for their confidence. The school fosters a system in which each girl has to contribute to school life, as a result few find participation in anything, whether it is debating, organizing a charity event or directing a school skit, too much of a challenge. The House system (the school is divided into Bronte, Austen and Eliot) as well as the mentoring scheme (year 12 look after younger girls) mean that pupils get to know girls of different ages. While the way in which the large year size is divided into small forms, which change every year, results in girls carrying on making new friends as they go up the school and come into close contact with different people.

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