The main joining points are at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Traditional open days have been ditched in favour of Snapshot Mornings (involving a tour with Year 8 or 9 girls and a Q&A with the head) for a more informal and personal experience and prospective pupils can then come along for a taster day.
Around 75 per cent of girls at Godolphin prep will make their way up the hill to the senior, and there’s no need to sit any tests if they have been in the Godolphin fold for at least two years. Pupils from other schools will need to take formal tests in maths and English, have an interview with the head and provide a reference from their current school – although it all falls under the banner of ‘softly selective’, which we think is rather nice. Bursaries are available and there are scholarships for academics, sport, drama, art and music.
There are four boarding houses: Walters for the junior boarders (ages eight to 13), Cooper for Years 9,10 and 11 and School & Jerred House for the sixth form (known here at the Godolphin Sixth). We hung out in Cooper, home to 60 boarders and a spacious and buzzy environment with pupils happily beetling in and out to sign in for lunchtime registration, attend the Friday talk or change for activities and games. All unobtrusively supervised by the Cooper house staff (affectionately known as ‘the dream team’) strategically positioned to just keep an eye on everyone or, as we saw, ready to whisk any worried-looking individuals off for a cup of tea and a reassuring chat.
Pupils can full board, flexi board or day board, and numbers increase as you go higher up the school with around 60 per cent of girls boarding at some point during their time here. Boarding for the Godolphin Sixth takes on a more university-like vibe, with more independence and facilities for pupils to do their own laundry – although amusingly the girls themselves seemed unaware that this was an option.
Weekends offer a change of pace – there’s no Saturday school and so boarders will take part in activities, go into town or catch up on prep before the afternoon sports matches. Despite the flexibility, there remains a significant cohort of boarders here at the weekend.
Don’t panic! We have more than ten years’ experience of visiting schools and advising parents, and we are all parents ourselves – we can make this easier for you.