Wimbledon High School
Wimbledon I 1,030 Pupils I 4-18 years girls
Wimbledon High School’s approach to education is centred on girls stepping in, feeling known, supported and able to shine, and striding out, prepared to shape the society in which they live and work.
Since 1880, Wimbledon High School has been educating girls to go out into the world and make a difference. The school community is incredibly proud of that heritage, and of its membership of the Girls’ Day School Trust, a group of schools that has long pioneered education for girls and young women. “We know how girls learn and we give them the space to grow, to find their passions and to find their voices to speak out about the things that matter,” says Head, Fionnuala Kennedy.
A through school, girls join at 4 (into Reception), at 7 (into Senior / secondary school) and at 16 (into Sixth Form). “We find myriad ways to challenge, excite and inspire our students, firing their imagination in the classroom and beyond, through our brilliant harnessing of technology as a TES award winner in 2020 (Best Use of Technology) and as a Microsoft Showcase school, particularly important during recent times of Guided Home Learning, but also through our innovative STEAM curriculum. Bringing together Science, Technology, Engineering the ARTS and Maths, STEAM encourages connections between subjects – a ‘shimmering of ideas’ –and enriches our understanding of the world around us,” says Ms Kennedy.
Such exploration is central to the school’s partnerships activity with local primary schools, whether as part of the SHINE ‘Reach for the stars’ programme (on Saturdays) STRIVE or Teach Together as part of the weekly partnerships afternoon that sees students in Years 11 and 12 mentor younger children and work together on languages, science, music, coding, english or maths.
The school opened its STEAM Tower in September 2020 and is currently building a new Sixth Form Centre, auditorium and ‘playground in the sky’, to be completed by September 2022. The new facilities will match the ambition of the school to provide more spaces for its community activities.
“It is an absolute joy building such strong relationships with local primary and secondary schools. Watching the relationships flourish between the students and seeing the confidence and understanding of each other develop, is so inspiring – as are the friendships that grow in our links with local guilds, charities and residential old people’s homes. It really feels like we are moving forward as a community together,” said Wimbledon High’s Director of Co-Curricular and Partnerships, Jenny Cox. History and heritage play a part in community links too: the school’s playing fields are a short walk away at Nursery Road, where the Wimbledon Championships were originally held, until they moved to Church Road; these days, students continue to be ball girls and the school runs a tennis academy all year round.
“Since the pandemic began, we’ve all valued community more than ever. I have been deeply struck by our students’ resilience to keep going, to adapt their plans, & to help out with local initiatives. Our focus on outstanding pastoral care, as well as our values of kindness and mutual support, ensure that Wimbledon High is a place where girls learn to own their space and be comfortable in the skin; where they take themselves seriously, whilst holding themselves lightly. Never has the need for bright, grounded, confident and compassionate women striding out into society and shaping the world around them been more necessary,” added Ms Kennedy.
Wimbledon High School
Mansel Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 4AB – a few minutes’ walk from the station
Ms Fionnuala Kennedy (Head since September 2020)
4-18 years of age