Watford Grammar School for Girls
("Go forward with preparation")
|Established||1704 and 1884|
|Type||Partially selective academy|
|Headmistress||Dame Helen Hyde DBE|
|Chairman of Governors||Mr Percy McCloskey|
|DfE URN||136289 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Colours||Navy blue and yellow|
Watford Grammar School for Girls (commonly abbreviated WGGS) is an academy for girls in Watford in Hertfordshire, UK. Despite its name, the school accepts girls of all abilities, although a proportion are selected for academic or musical aptitude. Its GCSE results were the highest achieved by non-grammar state schools in England in 2007.
The Girls' school and its brother school, Watford Grammar School for Boys, descend from a Free School founded as a charity school for boys and girls by Elizabeth Fuller in 1704 and refounded as a secondary school in 1884.
The school site is divided in two by a public footpath, with a footbridge spanning the path to connect the two parts. The northern part includes a former private house, Lady's Close now used as the English block. Also in the northern part is the PE block and Fuller Life Gym (with a swimming pool), open to members of the public in non-school hours. A new building, Hyde House, is also situated in the northern part. Except during the First World War, when it was taken over by the Red Cross as an auxiliary hospital, the building served as the school's preparatory department until that department was closed in 1944. Since then it has served as the home of the entry form to the school.
The school today
Watford Girls has been partially selective since 1995, though the proportion of selection has been reduced over this period. The school also gives priority to sisters of current pupils at the school. Prior to 2008 it also gave extra consideration during the selection process to sisters of pupils of Watford Grammar School for Boys. Its admission area reaches out about 5 miles (8 km), including some northern parts of the London boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon. In comparison with the national average, its intake has significantly higher academic attainment, greater ethnic diversity and fewer children receiving free school meals.
An inspection in 2007 by the Office for Standards in Education rated the school as outstanding in all categories. It has long been near the top of performance tables for comprehensive schools, but when the key measure at GCSE was changed in 2007 to include English and mathematics the school moved to the top position. The headmistress, Helen Hyde, attributes part of their success to De Bono Thinking Tools, for which the school was one of the first in the United Kingdom to receive accreditation as a national training school.
Unlike other sixth forms in the UK, the upper and lower sixth girls are required to wear school uniform, albeit with a white shirt instead of the yellow one worn by years 7 to 11.
Notable former pupils
- Geri Halliwell (pop singer and former Spice Girl) attended the school up to GCSE.
- Leigh Driver (artist, historian and author) attended the school 1973–1980.
- Rita Simons (actress in EastEnders).
- Liz Kendall, Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester West from 2010
(since the founding of the secondary school in 1884)
- 1884 Louise Walsh
- 1884–1895 Julia Anne Kennaby (married name Rogers from 1893)
- 1895–1913 Ann Coless
- 1913–1938 Grace Fergie
- 1938–1956 Jean Davidson
- 1957–1973 Jessie Tennet
- 1974–1987 Margaret Rhodes
- 1987–present Dame Helen Hyde
The whole school is split up into different classes. The students' year number is put before their form letter, which can be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I; the form J was introduced for the sixth form in 2012. When the girls are in Sixth Form, their form letter changes and the forms they were originally in are split up.
- Graeme Paton (2007-08-24). "All-girl schools top results league table". Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Samuel Lewis (ed.) (1848). "Watford (St. Mary)". A Topographical Dictionary of England (7th ed.). p. 486. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford: Introduction". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. pp. 446–451. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- W.R. Carter (1894). "Mrs. Fuller's Free School". Watford Endowed Schools Journal 3.
- W.G. Hughes; M. Sweeney (1954). Watford Grammar Schools for Boys and Girls: A History of their Foundation and Development. Watford: Mayflower Press.
- Neil Hart (ed.) (2005). Mrs Fuller's Free School: Three Hundred Years of the Watford Grammar Schools. Rickmansworth: Atlantic Publishing.
- Hart (2005), pp. 79–80, 140.
- Judith Judd (1997-11-20). "Education: In a league of their own - or selective on the sly?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Elizabeth Passmore (2008-09-26). "Determination: Watford Grammar School for Girls". Office of the Schools Adjudicator.
- Watford Grammar School for Girls, Ofsted.
- Nicola Woolcock (2008-01-10). "Lateral thinking paves the way to GCSE success". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Helen Hyde (July 2004). "Why Thinking Skills? Why De Bono Thinking Tools?". Foundation & Aided Schools National Association Newsletter. Retrieved 2008-04-30.[dead link]
- Joanna Moorhead (24 October 2007). "Girl power comes of age". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2008.