Newstead Wood School

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Newstead Wood School
Newstead Wood School, Orpington, BR6 - - 55518.jpg
Motto Fortitudine Crescamus ('May We Grow in Strength')
Established 1957
Type Grammar Academy
Headteacher Mr Nick Webb
Location Avebury Road
51°22′01″N 0°04′37″E / 51.367°N 0.077°E / 51.367; 0.077Coordinates: 51°22′01″N 0°04′37″E / 51.367°N 0.077°E / 51.367; 0.077
DfE URN 136551 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 987
Gender Girls (Mixed in the sixth form)
Ages 11–18
Houses Nightingale     , Wren     , Swift     , Falcon     , Griffin     , Phoenix     

Newstead Wood School is a selective girls' Grammar school in Avebury Road, Orpington, London, England.[1][2]


The school specialises in engineering and languages, and has strong links with nearby St Olave's Grammar School. The current acting head teacher is Nick Webb. 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,[3] 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 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 [4] 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.


  • Nicholas Webb 2015-Present
  • Alison Ross 2014 - 2015
  • Elizabeth Allen CBE (technically Mrs E Bennett) 2001-2013 (Headteacher from 1993-2001 of Altwood Church of England School, and a former Religious Studies teacher)
  • Barbara Gibbs FRSA 1994-2001 (later Headteacher from 2001-06 of the British School in the Netherlands, and a former Chemistry teacher)
  • 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.)

Academic performance[edit]

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.[5]


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.


Years 7-9: Green and white striped shirt,a green school blazer, a green pleated skirt/a green A-line skirt/ black trousers and a green V-Neck Jumper.

Year 10-11: A green and white striped shirt,a black school blazer, a black pleated skirt / black A-line skirt / black trousers. A green V-Neck Jumper which is Optional.

Year 12-13: Office Dress Code


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. It expanded still, having six classes since the September 2013 intake.

The school now consists of six houses: Nightingale, Wren, Swift, Falcon, Griffin & Phoenix. The first five house names come from the school's initials NWSFG (Newstead Wood School For Girls), the sixth house, Phoenix was added in 2017 and celebrates the school reaching six forms for all years in the school. The September 2017 intake will be the first year group to include Phoenix. 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.

Entrance Examinations[edit]

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[edit]

Josie Long at the Green Man Festival (Brecon Beacons) in August 2010

Orpington Grammar School for Girls[edit]


External links[edit]