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A spirited pupil duo who gave us a thorough, informative and appreciative tour of their school. Cathedral choir, founded in 1165, began to admit girls in 2022 – somewhat late to the co-ed cathedral choral party. We were lucky enough to meet the very first girl chorister. While agreeing that ‘more space would be nice,’ parents don’t seem overly concerned, ‘It’s so characterful, full of nooks and crannies – the children love it.’ The library, however... 

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All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

Choir school - substantial scholarships and bursaries usually available for choristers.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2022, Helen Hoffmann, formerly head of Derwent Lodge. Freely admits that for her the road to headship has a been somewhat winding one, ‘Career verb, not noun,’ she laughs, ‘certainly not a straight line.’ Educated at a Kent grammar school she went on to study English and drama at Wolverhampton Polytechnic which led to a stint as a BBC children’s TV production assistant. It was her love of children’s television that ignited an interest in teaching and so she headed to Scotland to take a PGCE and then taught in both primary and secondary state schools in Wales. Along the way she became a qualified upholsterer and spent a while living in France. Returned to education, taking up a post as director of studies at Vinehall before being appointed head of Derwent Lodge...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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