Sherborne Girls School

Logo of Sherborne Girls School

Pupils Info

Gender – Girls' School
Age range – Age 11-18
Number of pupils on roll – 450 Pupils


Girls School
Average Class Size: 20
Boarding School
Oxbridge Entrance Percentage: 5%
Day: £23,310 – Boarding: £32,085
A* to B at A-Level Percentage: 82%

Sherborne Girls might be the answer: a girls’ school perched on a hill, there is easy access to the boys of excellent, Sherborne School in the town, as well as the option of mixed A-level classes. Boarding life is pure Enid Blyton: there are seven houses spread across campus, which house about 50 girls of all ages. The houses, though officially run by a teaching Housemistress, are unofficially governed by the girls: a wise but jolly six-form Head of House setting the tone. The school, founded in 1899 by the famous local Wingfield- Digby family, has a strong Church of England ethic: religious studies is a mandatory GCSE, as is attendance at morning and evening prayers and church on Sunday. Yet there is nothing dour or pious about Sherborne girls (Tara Palmer Tompkinson is an old girl) and the high spirits are infectious.

Background and Reputation

Sherborne Girls is going from strength to strength. The pioneering headmistress, Jenny Dwyer has a vision for the school and little seems to be standing in her way. A science lab to rival NASA has just been opened and there are grand plans afoot for new boarding houses to increase the number of places (there are about 420 at the moment). The school prides itself on being an all-rounder: there is no skew in favour of art, sports or music, each seems to get equally good results, while there is an impressive 100% pass rate in public exams.

Academic and Exit Results

Though Sherborne Girls rarely distinguishes itself in the league tables this is misleading: there is a 100% pass rate for GCSEs and Alevels. In 2012, A Level students achieved the highest percentage of A* grades to date. 23% of papers passed at A* grade, 55% of papers achieved A* or A grade and 86% of papers achieved A/A or B grade. University admission is consequently rarely a problem for Sherborne girls, the average UCAS points per A Level candidate, including the extended project, is 407.4 (very high) The International Baccalaureate has recently been introduced, in 2012 ten girls (taught jointly with Sherborne School) took the IB. The average points score was 33 (the worldwide average is 29.83), with 40% of the girls achieving a Grade A in the Extended Essay. GCSEs seem to be particularly well taught at Sherborne Girls. In 2012, 44% of papers passed at A grade with 71% of papers at A* or A and 91% of papers getting an A*, A or B.

Social and Pastoral

Though only 10% of the school are day girls, many of the students live in the surrounding countryside, so lots go out for the day with friends and family at weekends; although staying away for the weekend outside of exeats is discouraged. Yet there is also a strong flavour of internationalism to the school, 20% of the pupils come from overseas, and there is a massive recruitment drive happening in Hong Kong and China. Up until upper-sixth girls are divided into six mixed age boarding houses, which means that they have friends of all ages. Informal, although uncharacteristically serious, conferences go on when GCSEs and A levels have to be picked, with older girls giving sage advice about the best (or at least easiest) options. The boys school down the road enlivens the weekends, although mid-week socialising on the games pitches is strictly forbidden (which means it happens all the time). There are frequent discos, formals and debates between the school and many of the girls have brothers at the boys school, so they are very heavily integrated.

Sport, Art, Music and Drama

Sport is taken seriously at Sherborne, with compulsory games every afternoon. Though there are squash courts, badminton courts, 27 tennis courts and a floodlit Astro Turf hockey pitch, lacrosse is the school’s real calling card: two girls recently competed in the World Lacrosse Championship. Tension in the school reaches Quidditch-level highs in the finals of the inter-house netball tournament. The Art Department, gloriously plastered with the work of students of all ages, has churned out a number of well-regarded artists, an ex- Sherbornian recently exhibited her work to great acclaim at the Arthur Ackermann gallery. Art students make it a point to go about covered in paint and eat, sleep, breathe the department. DT and Design is another strong point, the Textiles Department is converted into a veritable sweat shop for Leavers Ball dresses at the end of the summer term. The choir at Sherborne, though famously the place for girls that want to nap during morning prayers as the choir loft is tucked away out of sight, is quite a proposition. Booked for gigs well into the next decade, the 40 girl strong choir lift the rafters of Sherborne Abbey whenever they are recruited to sing at the wedding of an alumni (another perk of the school is that old girls are allowed to get married in the Abbey). GCSE and A Level music is no soft option, which explains the brilliant results achieved by the department. The Drama Department has improved dramatically in the past few years. Historically the best plays were staged at Sherborne School, so girls waited to be offered parts there, a new Head of Drama has made it her mission to change this. Their recent production of Wind in the Willows put the boys school to shame.


There is lots to do outside of lessons at Sherborne girls: from the Mah Jong club to Chemistry symposiums, girls are encouraged to get involved and fill their free time creatively. Though many ‘extras’ are charged, the school is very receptive to girls who want to start societies of their own, often offering school funding toward them. Duke of Edinburgh is also popular among the girls, who generally arrive back at school after a DofE trek, exhausted, filthy but happy.

Sherborne Girls School

Head: Jenny Dwyer

Telephone: 01935 812 249

Address: Bradford Road Sherborne Dorset DT9 3QN

See the map
` `