A year after being named the top independent school in the north west, Withington Girls’ School has earned the honour of being named North West Independent School of the Decade by The Sunday Times.
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Schools Guide, Parent Power, said: “Winner of our Northwest Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2019, Withington Girls’ School goes one better this year with our regional School of the Decade award.
“This latest accolade acknowledges the consistent academic excellence achieved by the school over the past 10 years, when it has finished as the top-ranked independent school in the Northwest in our annual Parent Power rankings every year.
“This has been achieved without creating an academic hothouse. Girls thrive in a supportive, caring environment, where they are encouraged to contribute to school life in myriad ways, not just in examination halls.
“The school’s commitment to accessibility through a generous bursary scheme sees many study here for reduced fees – or even no fees at all. The diverse community of more than 700 girls leave the school ready to take their place in the world and become leaders in their chosen fields, as so many of their predecessors have done.”
In a year that marks the 130th anniversary of Withington’s foundation, headmistress Sarah Haslam expressed her delight at this recognition by The Sunday Times.
“We are so proud of the outstanding academic achievements of our pupils and the joy they bring to their learning and the whole school community, inspired in no small measure by our outstanding teaching staff,” she said.
“One-in-six of our pupils are supported by the Bursary Fund which, in line with our founding vision and ethos, contributes to our warm community centred on equality and opportunity and helps to maintain the diversity that has been celebrated since 1890.
“It is our pupils’ engagement with their learning and with the broader aspects of Withington life – a wealth of extra-curricular activities and opportunities for community partnership work – that is a privilege to be a part of.
“Our pupils’ sense of fun, their enthusiasm, their collaboration with and support of one another creates a very special atmosphere here at Withington and we’re thrilled that the dedication, care and passion of all who make up our community have been acknowledged by The Sunday Times in this way.”
Parent Power is widely acknowledged as the most authoritative survey of the country’s best schools. The rankings in the secondary school league tables are determined by the percentage of examination entries gaining A* to B grades at A-level (which is given double weighting) and the percentage of entries graded 9, 8 and 7, at GCSE and iGCSE.
It is the fourth time Withington has earned a Sunday Times Schools Guide accolade; WGS was previously Independent Secondary School of the Year for 2009 and the north west winner for 2012 and 2020.
Withington Girls’ School admissions
Admissions key dates:
Seniors: Application closing date: Thursday, December 3. Entrance exam: Friday, January 8
Juniors: Application closing date: Thursday, December 10. Entrance exam: Saturday, January 16 (provisional)