Tiffin Girls' School

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The Tiffin Girls' School
Motto Latin: Sapere Aude
("Dare to be Wise")
Established 1880
Type Grammar Academy
Head Teacher Vanessa Ward
Chair of Governors Ron Percival
Founders Thomas & John Tiffin
Location Richmond Road
Kingston upon Thames
England Coordinates: 51°25′30″N 0°18′11″W / 51.425°N 0.303°W / 51.425; -0.303
DfE number 314/4010
DfE URN 136615 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 55
Students approx. 1000
Gender Girls
Ages 11–18
Houses Bebbington, Flavell, Schofield and Watson.
Colours red, yellow, blue and green are the four house colours and the uniform colours are blue and white
Former pupils Tiffin Old Girls' / Old Tiffinians
Website Official site

The Tiffin Girls' School is an all-girls grammar school located in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, England. The school moved from voluntary aided status to became an academy school on 1 April 2011. The school lies in over nine acres on the east side of Richmond Road.


Tiffin Girls' School old building

The Tiffin name is borrowed from Thomas and John Tiffin, prosperous brewers in the early seventeenth century, who left money in their wills for the education of the poor. The money was first used for 'scholarships' for one or two boys to attend an existing private school but, due to wise investment and donations from other local benefactors, nearly 100 children were benefiting from the charitable fund by the 1820s.

By 1869, when the charity schools had closed and the money was no longer needed by the Public Elementary School, the Trustees proposed to dedicate the Tiffin money exclusively to Kingston Grammar School. The row that ensued went on until 1872 when it was ruled that the Grammar School should not receive more than a quarter of the income from charities. In 1874, plans were drawn up for two new schools, a Tiffins' School for boys and one for girls, each to take 150 pupils. The Tiffin Girls' School was originally called The Tiffin's Girls' School but was changed as it caused some problems.

The single building by "The Fairfield" (now recreational cricket ovals), which housed both schools, was completed in 1879 but opened in 1880. Miss Rhoda Ward Fysh was appointed as the girls' school's first headmistress. After fifty years in a previous building in Richmond Road, the school moved to its present site, also in Richmond Road, in 1987.

In 1999 the school benefited from a £500,000 Sport England Lottery Fund Grant. This, combined with fund raising from the school, greatly enhanced the sports facilities for both school and community use. Improvements included a floodlit all-weather astro turf for hockey, floodlit netball/tennis courts and refurbished changing facilities as well as a community sports development programme for after school, weekends and holidays.

On 15th December 2003, a fire caused by a short circuit due to a leak in the roof burned down a huge portion of the main building's wing causing much chaos to the school. Thanks to the Tiffin Fire Appeal, there had been a significant amount of money raised to rebuild it.

The new part of the school was completed in 2006. The new wing was named the Holdsworth Wing after the retired Chair of Governors, Sandra Holdsworth. The construction of a new drama studio, with state-of-the-art equipment, was completed in 2007. The school raised money for a new music studio, which was opened in September 2009.

The school became an academy on 1 April 2011.

Present day[edit]

Holdsworth Wing

There are approximately 1000 pupils aged between 11 and 18, including 280 in the sixth form. They are split into four houses - Bebbington (Red), Flavell (Yellow), Schofield (Blue) and Watson (Green). These are all named after former headmistresses of the school. Before the year 2012 pupils were split into house groups according to their forms (i.e 10W, 11B etc.) until sixth form. However, when five form entry was introduced in 2012 this was no longer possible so there are now pjpils of different houses within each form. Pupils earn points towards the house competition in events such as the school birthday (in February of each year) and sports day.

The house competition used to run throughout one academic year, but in 2008 was changed to run from Easter to Easter in order to allow the current House Officers to enjoy their victory. The house with the most points wins the Belitha trophy (which was donated by Edward Belitha).


Students in years 7-9 study the three sciences, maths, english, R.S., spanish, french, latin, D.T, art, I.T, music, geography, history, and drama. In addition to this they do two hours of P.E each week and have one period of pastoral each week.

In year 10 pupils continue 10 or 11 subjects to GCSE level. English language, english literature, triple science and maths are compulsory. This leaves five options to be chosen, one of these must be a modern language (French or Spanish), and one may be a study period. At this point a fast track maths class is selected to take the GCSE in year 10, then going on to do the AS in year 11.

Girls in year 10 may also have the opportunity to take classical greek as an extracurricular subject, sitting the GCSE in year 12.

Ofsted report[edit]

The Ofsted report in 2009 stated that " the Tiffin Girls’ School continues to provide an outstanding quality of education and students consistently attain exceptionally high results in GCSE and A-Level examinations. The school constantly strives for and achieves excellence." The school was rated ‘outstanding’ in every area except one.

Academic record[edit]

The school has an outstanding level of academic achievement.

The 2011 examination results for the school are:

A-level %A*-B: 100%

GCSE %A*-A: 91.1% (100% at A*)

The 2013 examination results for the school are:

A-level %A*-B: 96%

GCSE %A*-A: 91.4% (68.28 % at A* - the highest percentage to date)


Entry into the school is by academic selection, using both a verbal reasoning test and a non-verbal reasoning test. From 2012 a second round of tests in Mathematics and English were added. From 2015 both rounds of tests were in Mathematics and English. 150 girls are admitted in year 7 each year. Applications to the sixth form are also welcomed.


Each academic year, apart from the normal classroom activity, the school puts on around ten concerts. These include four major orchestral concerts, two in December one in November and one in April. In addition there is a Year 8/9 concert and an A level recital concert. The summer term ends with a vocal concert and a shorter orchestral concert. The first event of the school year is the Year 7 Concert, which is held in early October. There are three choirs for pupils to join (two auditioned and one non-auditioned), and a number of instrumental ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra, the Tiffin Girls’ Sinfonia, the wind band,the Clarinet choir and the Indian Orchestra. The Thames Youth Sinfonia, Tiffin Swing band (who play only at concerts associated with Tiffin school not Tiffin Girls' school)and Thames youth jazz orchestra are also available for students at Tiffin Girls' to join. Students can also audition for the Thames Youth Orchestra which is a joint venture involving performers from both Tiffin schools. Repertoire has included Borodin’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Sibelius’s Karelia Suite and music by Copland, Roy Harris, Resphigi, Schumann and Britten. An annual concert is given in a central London venue.

There is a battle of the bands competition held each year for year 9 pupils. The students compete within split groups for a place in the finals which is held at lunch time. The battle of the bands was won in 2014 by 'The Pretty Damn Hyped'.

A house singing event is also held each year, this is a cross year interhouse event so house points are awarded to those in first second and third place. Although house singing has been relatively low key in previous years, there are plans to make it more important in upcoming years with the introduction of three different categories: senior soloists, unison songs for years 7-9 and part songs for those in years 10 and 11.

Instrumental lessons are available for girls to enroll in. They are taught by peripatetic music teachers and paid for through the school. In years 7-9 these lessons can take place at any point during the school day, including before and after. However; in years 10 and above students are not allowed to miss classes for music lessons so must arrange for their times to be before or after school or during lunchtime.


Drama is popular at the Tiffin Girls’ School, with an annual school production taking place in the autumn term and a lower school production in the summer. Recent productions have included Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Twits, The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe and the Tempest.


Physical education is an integral and busy part of school life. Tiffin girls are encouraged to fully participate in curriculum, interhouse, lunch time and extra curricular sport. The school prides itself on the amount of opportunities that it can provide for its students. This would range from participating in a training session with an expert coach to competing in borough, county and national competitions.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ "Alison Cooper: Women CEOs are not a commodity". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lisa Faulkner Plays Victoria Merrick", Holby.tv
  3. ^ "The Tiffin Girls' School Prize Giving Thursday 21st September 2006"
  4. ^ "Newsletter of the Old Tiffinians’ Association", No. 221, September 2004

External links[edit]