St George’s Ascot does right by its girls. The school, which has just 280
pupils, is a cosy place. For the boarders (about 100) especially, it is a bit
like going to school at home: the girls say that they know not only every girl
and teacher in the school, but every member of the maintenance staff and the
names of their children and pets too. Though the school is stronger on the
arts than academia, the small class sizes mean that those who want to excel
are given unparalleled levels of support by dedicated teachers. The other
great thing about the school is its relaxed attitude to rules; boarders, for
instance, are allowed to be as flexible as they like in their boarding and the
girls enjoy close and informal relationships with their teachers.
Background and Reputation
St George’s motto is inclusivism: the admission is not competitive and all
girls are encouraged to get involved in all Departments. The teaching is good,
the classes making up for what they lack in numbers, in noisy participation.
The school itself is beautifully laid out and the grounds comprise of 30 acres
of fields, woods, streams and heathland. St George’s has seen some different
incarnations over the years: it actually started life as a boys prep school,
Winston Churchill was one of the pupils, and was a girls finishing school
between 1904 and 1923, and though it has been a girls boarding school since
then, it has recently entered a new era in its life. A new headmistress,
Rachel Owens, who arrived last year, is intent on putting a bomb under the
school that was used to costing happily in the middle of the League Tables.
Very big things are expected.
Academic and Exit Results
Students are taught well at St George’s, and the uncompetitive admission
policy and nurturing attitude throughout the school, mean that is a good place
for those of all abilities. The less academic are given as much attention as
the more gifted students, which is often not the case in secondary schools.
The small class sizes also mean that each girl is afforded a unique amount of
attention. The school was very pleased with the 2012 A Level results: over 16%
of grades were A, and 42% of all grades at A/A and 82% A-B. While the 2012
GCSE results were the best the school has ever achieved: 71% of all grades
being at A-A, and 43% of the girls receiving at least 10 or 11 A or A
Grades. A record 32% of all grades were at the top A* grade with 94% of grades
at A*-B. 100% of St George’s girls go onto Higher Education (6% Oxbridge), for
quite a chunk of them these will be arts courses, last year 2 girls got into
St Martin’s, while 3 girls opted for American Universities.
Social and Pastoral
Old girls say that it was impossible to get homesick at St George’s; the
school is simply too like home. You treat the staff like parents and the girls
like sisters; you are even allowed to take pets. The food too, has little to
do with generic schoolroom fare: moule mariniers is often on the menu. The
only set back to the school’s small size is perhaps a lack of diversity, the
limited number of boarders, also mean that girls can find themselves pretty
much alone at school over the weekends when lots of the girls head to London.
St George’s is not a closed community; the school is set just off Ascot High
Street and girls are allowed to wander into town. There are also various
nearby schools with which the students have contact and a coach that goes to
London every weekend.
Sport, Art, Music and Drama
Perhaps the best thing about sports at St George’s is the variety of the
extras offered. Girls can chose to take private Zumba classes for instance,
and are given the chance to showcase their skills in the Summer Term cross-
curricular dance show put on with the help of the Music Department. There are
also lots of after school clubs as well as team sports including, Lacrosse,
Netball, Swimming, Tennis, Rounders, Athletics, Squash and even Polo. Art is
one of St George’s strong points; up to 40% of girls take it for sixth form.
The results are always good and the Art Department is a hub, which the most
dedicated artists rarely leave. The art club offered on Saturday morning is
particularly popular too, with daygirls coming in from home to take part.
Textiles and photography are offered in addition, and are equally well taught.
Music at St George’s is inclusive: unlike many other schools where the
musicians are an elite bunch, and the limited number of choirs and orchestras
mean that not everyone that wants to participate can, the St George’s music
department encourages all. To this end, there are lots and lots of different
ways of getting a musical education, from guitar ensembles and woodwind
groups, to ‘The Big Sound’, the school choir that admits everyone.
Like the Music Department, the Drama Department at St George’s encourages
participation from girls outside those taking it as an academic subject. In
fact, every girl in the school is technically expected to take part in a
production, though the shyer girls can opt for behind the scenes work. St
George’s is also well located (only an hour outside of London) for Theatre
trips, which are frequent. Ask a St George’s girl what she has been to see at
the theatre lately, and she will talk you through the West End.