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Not the top of the highly competitive North London academic tree, but no slouch. No visitor to the school is likely to leave without hearing the word ‘ambitious’ repeatedly. ‘They want you to aim high, but there’s not masses of pressure,’ one girl told us. Think carrots not sticks, stretch not push, although gets crisper as they get older of course. High expectations and clear boundaries, but it doesn’t feel overly strict. ‘These girls are conservative and from aspirational families in strong communities – we have very few behavioural problems,’ says head. But warnings for ....

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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.

What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2011, Dr Mary Short BA PGCE PhD (50s) – did her PhD, in the politics of budget-setting in the 1920s, at Cambridge. Has taught undergraduates at Cambridge and pupils at independent schools including St Paul's Girls, City of London School and Haberdashers' Aske's Girls (deputy head). At St Helen's, she has upped the academic performance, partly by making the school more selective, but also by curriculum reviews, consistency of aims, better monitoring of performance, peer review of teachers, that sort of thing. But a league table obsessive she is not and parents say she’s made her changes through evolution, not revolution. ‘I think my main contribution so far is making sure St Helen's understands what it is,’ she says. ‘In the past, the school knew what it wasn’t, but wasn’t sure what it...

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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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Special Education Needs

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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