Newstead Wood School
|Motto||Fortitudine Crescamus ('May We Grow in Strength')|
|Headteacher||Ms Elizabeth Allen|
|DfE URN||136551 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Gender||Girls (Mixed in the sixth form)|
|Houses||Nightingale, Wren , Swift , Falcon , Griffin|
The school specialises in engineering and languages, and has strong links with nearby St Olave's Grammar School. The current head teacher is Elizabeth Allen. The school's motto is Fortitudine Crescamus (Latin for: 'May we grow in strength'). The school has recently begun admitting boys into the sixth form.
It is situated in the Crofton area of Orpington, not far from the A21 and next to Darrick Wood. Darrick Wood School and the Princess Royal University Hospital are the other side of Darrick Wood, to the west. The London Outer Orbital Path passes adjacent to the playing fields. It lies in the parish of St Paul's, Crofton.
It was founded as the Orpington Grammar School for Girls in 1957, when administered by the Kent Education Committee. It became part of Bromley in 1965. There were firm plans for the school to become comprehensive in 1978. Nearby Bullers Wood School went comprehensive in the late 1970s.
In 1997, a survey in the Sunday Times found that the school was the best value in England for each A or B grade achieved at A-level, second to the St Olave's school; Bromley was a low spender (per pupil) comparative to other LEAs. In 2004, a pupil gained the best result at Maths GCSE in England. In 2009 the headteacher told the conference in Harrogate of the Girls' Schools Association  that schools were not concentrating on brighter pupils, instead trying to raise average pupils' grades from D to C, and that girls in mixed-sex schools can have their ambitions crushed and be held back in male-dominated professions (girls from single-sex schools are statistically more successful in science-based professions than from mixed schools). She also criticised a government scheme to give one-to-one tuition to less able pupils, and not more-able students, when considering the lack of women in traditionally-male occupations, and she claimed there was a 'huge reluctance' to concentrate on top students.
On 1 April 2011, the school gained academy status.
- Elizabeth Allen (technically Mrs E Bennett) 2001-Present
- Barbara Gibbs 1994-2001
- Valerie Smith 1980–1994
- Hilda M. Pipe 1957-1980 (The school's first headmistress. Opened the school in temporary quarters, before the move to the Avebury Road site. Former student of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Miss Pipe died in 2006. The Pipe Partridge Building at Lady Margaret Hall was partially funded by her legacy and was named in her honour.)
In 2003 Newstead Wood was described by Ofsted as "an outstandingly successful school". The school has a large catchment area, from which pupils are selected on the basis of tests in verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Around 900 girls sit the entrance tests annually and competition is intense. In 2004 there were eight applicants per place. Amongst leavers in 2005, 25 students gained places at Oxford and Cambridge universities.
It gets the second best A-level results in Bromley, after the St Olave's school - Bromley's parallel selective school for boys - and around the tenth best in Greater London.
In both 2010 and 2011, the school achieved the second best GCSE results in the country.
The school is relatively easy to get to, with Orpington Station situated fifteen minutes' walk away. There are many buses to the two bus stops which are also about 10 – 15 minutes walk away from the school. The school provides coaches for those who prefer not to use public transport. There is parking near to and surrounding the school. Inside the school it is possible to use the Bromley Tennis Centre car park.
Initially the school had no house system but when it was introduced there were only three houses: Nightingale, Wren and Swift. The first letters of each house came from the initials of Newstead Wood School, and the name of the house was both a bird, and a notable historical figure (Florence Nightingale, Christopher Wren and Jonathan Swift). Each year group had three classes, one from each house. As the school expanded, each year group grew to 4 classes, and a fourth house, Griffin, was founded. The school continued to expand, growing to 5 classes in each year, and so the Falcon house was founded. A sixth house is expected to be added in 2016 as the school's expansion continues.
The school now consists of five houses: Nightingale, Wren, Swift, Falcon and Griffin. The house names come from the school's initials NWSFG (Newstead Wood School For Girls). Each house has a captain and a deputy captain drawn from the sixth form; these house representatives are elected by members of the house and lead the house competitions in events such as Sports day and Performing Arts.
There are currently two examinations required to gain a place at the school: verbal and non-verbal reasoning. The school is extremely selective and there are approximately eight applicants per place every year.
Notable former pupils
- Christine Hancock, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing, 1989–2001
- Barbara Harriss-White, Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford
- Emma Johnson, clarinettist, winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year, 1984
- Josie Long, comedian
- Kim Medcalf, actress
- Suzi Brent, blogger and author.
- Gemma Chan, actress
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6590063/Schools-reluctant-to-push-brightest-pupils.html Telegraph November 2009