Tiffin Girls' School

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The Tiffin Girls' School
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The Tiffin Girls' School
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The Tiffin Girls' School
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The Tiffin Girls' School
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The Tiffin Girls' School
Richmond Road

, ,

Coordinates 51°25′30″N0°18′11″W / 51.425°N 0.303°W / 51.425; -0.303 Coordinates: 51°25′30″N0°18′11″W / 51.425°N 0.303°W / 51.425; -0.303
Type Grammar Academy
Motto Latin: Sapere Aude
("Dare to be Wise")
Established1880;140 years ago (1880)
FoundersThomas and John Tiffin
Department for Education URN 136615 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Chair of GovernorsFazl-E Hasnain
HeadteacherIan Keary
Age11to 18
Enrolmentapprox. 1000
HousesBebbington, Flavell, Nicolle, Orford, Schofield, Watson
Colour(s)Blue and white
Former pupilsTiffin Old Girls' / Tiffin Girls' alumnae
Website http://www.tiffingirls.org/

The Tiffin Girls' School is an all-girls selective school located in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, England. The school moved from voluntary aided status to become an academy school on 1 April 2011. The school lies in over nine acres on the east side of Richmond Road.



The Tiffin Girls' School old building Old Tiffin Building.jpg
The Tiffin Girls' School old building

The Tiffin name is borrowed from Thomas and John Tiffin, prosperous brewers in the early seventeenth century, who left money in their wills for the education of the poor. The money was first used for scholarships for one or two boys to attend an existing private school but, thanks to wise investment and donations from other local benefactors, nearly 100 children were benefiting from the charitable fund by the 1820s.

By 1869, when the charity schools had closed and the money was no longer needed by the Public Elementary School, the Trustees proposed to dedicate the Tiffin money exclusively to Kingston Grammar School. The dispute that ensued went on until 1872 when it was ruled that the Grammar School should not receive more than a quarter of the income from charities. In 1874, plans were drawn up for two new schools, a Tiffins' School for boys and one for girls, each to take 150 pupils. The Tiffin Girls' School was originally called The Tiffin's Girls' School, but the name was changed as it caused some confusion.[ clarification needed ]

The single building by "The Fairfield" (now recreational cricket ovals), which housed both schools, was completed in 1879 and opened in 1880. Miss Rhoda Ward Fysh was appointed as the girls' school's first headmistress. After fifty years in a previous building in Richmond Road, the school moved to its present site, also in Richmond Road, in 1987. The building had previously been occupied by The Tudor School which was closed by the local authority in 1986.

In 1999 the school benefited from a £500,000 Sport England Lottery Fund Grant. This, combined with fundraising from the school, greatly enhanced the sports facilities for both school and community use. Improvements included a floodlit all-weather astro turf for hockey, floodlit netball/tennis courts and refurbished changing facilities as well as a community sports development programme for after school, weekends and holidays.

On 15 December 2003, a fire caused by a short circuit due to a leak in the roof burned down a large portion of the main building. The Tiffin Fire Appeal raised a significant amount of money for rebuilding.

The new part of the school was completed in 2006. The new wing was named the Holdsworth Wing after the retired Chair of Governors, Sandra Holdsworth. The construction of a new drama studio was completed in 2007. The school raised money for a new music studio, which opened in September 2009.

The school became an academy on 1 April 2011.

Present day

Holdsworth Wing New tiffin girls school.jpg
Holdsworth Wing

There are approximately 1000 pupils aged between 11 and 18, including approximately 300 in the sixth form. They are split into six houses – Bebbington (Red), Flavell (Yellow), Schofield (Blue), Watson (Green), Orford (Orange) and Nicolle (Purple). All are named after former headmistresses of the school. Prior to 2012 pupils were split into house groups according to their forms (i.e. 10A, 11B etc.) until sixth form. From 2012 to 2016, forms were made up of girls of different houses. From 2016, the form system has reverted to girls of the same house. Pupils earn points towards the house competition in events such as the school birthday (last day before February half term) and sports day.

The house competition used to run throughout one academic year, but in 2008 was changed to run from Easter to Easter in order to allow the current House Officers to enjoy their victory. The house with the most points wins the Belitha trophy (donated by Edward Belitha).


Pupils in Years 7–9 study Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Religious Studies, Spanish, French, Latin, Design and Technology, Art, Computing, Music, Geography, History, PE and Drama. There is also one period of PSHE and Citizenship each week.

In Years 10 and 11, pupils continue 10 subjects to GCSE level. All GCSEs are sat at the end of Year 11. English Language, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths are compulsory. This leaves four options to be chosen, of which one must be a modern language (French or Spanish). Girls also take core PE lessons and have one period a week for PSHE and Citizenship.

In Year 12, pupils choose four subjects to begin their A level studies. Subjects follow A Level specifications with the exception of Music which follows the Pre-U course. At the end of Year 12, girls can sit the AS exam in the subject they will not continue in Year 13, taking forward three subjects to A level. At the end of Year 12, girls are also given the opportunity to study for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Ofsted report

The Ofsted report in 2009 stated that "The Tiffin Girls' School continues to provide an outstanding quality of education and students consistently attain exceptionally high results in GCSE and A-Level examinations. The school constantly strives for and achieves excellence." The school was rated "outstanding" in every area except GCSE English.


Entry into the school is by academic selection, using a Mathematics and English test and the school prioritises girls from its catchment area. Prior to 2012, the tests were both verbal and non-verbal reasoning, with a Mathematics and English test being added that year. From 2015 both rounds of tests were in Mathematics and English and the school added further priority to girls with pupil premium funding from its catchment area. 180 children are admitted to the school each year, this number being increased from 150.


Each academic year, in addition to academic music lessons, the school puts on around twelve concerts both at the school and in other locations around Kingston. These include six major orchestral and choral concerts, one in November, two in December, two in March and one in July. In addition there are termly "informal concerts", held in the music rooms, at which any girl may sign up to perform, as well as GCSE and A level recitals. The first event of the school year is the Year 7 Concert, which is held in early October.

Over a third of pupils (350 approx.) are involved in the sixteen differently weekly instrumental ensembles and choirs. There are three choirs for pupils to join (all auditioned): Tiffin Girls' Junior Choir (70 pupils, Years 7–9), Tiffin Girls' Choir (62 girls, Years 10–13) and A Capella Choir (20 girls). Since the start of 2015, the choirs have performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, broadcast on Radio 3, sung a joint evensong with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and won their categories at the Woking Music Festival in addition to the overall prize for best choral performance.

There are a number of instrumental ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra (50 girls), Sinfonia (20 girls), Wind Band (45 girls), Brass Ensemble (10 girls), String Orchestra (35 girls), Tiffin Jazz (12 girls) and the Indian Orchestra (20 girls). The Thames Youth Orchestra, Thames Youth Choir, Thames Youth Sinfonia and Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra are joint ventures run between the Tiffin Schools and open to any local pupils, not just those at either Tiffin school, to join. Students can also audition for the Thames Youth Orchestra which is a joint venture involving performers from both Tiffin schools. [1]

There is an annual battle of the bands competition for Year 9 pupils. Girls compete within split groups for a place in the finals which is held at lunchtime.

A house singing event is also held each year, this is a cross year interhouse event so house points are awarded to those in first, second and third place. Although house singing has been relatively low key in previous years, there are plans to make it more important in upcoming years with the introduction of three different categories: senior soloists, unison songs for Years 7–9 and part songs for those in Years 10–13.

Notable former pupils

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