GSA schools come in many different shapes and sizes. Some cater exclusively for girls, others provide a predominantly girls-only environment with boys in the nursery and/or sixth form. Some follow a diamond model, with equal numbers of girls and boys but separate classrooms between the ages of 11 to 16.
Most of our schools teach A Levels in the sixth form. Around eight per cent teach the International Baccalaureate, either instead of A Levels or as an optional alternative.
The majority – 65 per cent – of GSA schools are day schools. Approximately 35 per cent provide full boarding facilities and the majority of these also offer flexi boarding, where pupils spend part of the week as a day pupil and part as a boarder.
We have city centre schools, leafy rural schools, intimate small schools and opportunity-packed larger schools. Each has its own distinct benefits just as each child has her own individual needs.
Together, GSA schools educate thousands of pupils aged 4 to 18 and sometimes younger, though not every school caters for the entire age spectrum. A small number specialise in educating pupils up to age 16. They have close relationships with the nearby schools and sixth form colleges to which their students progress.
It’s quite common for GSA senior schools to have an attached nursery, pre-prep and junior school but you can apply to any of our senior schools irrespective of where your child is currently educated. In fact, for the vast majority of our senior schools, children from elsewhere make up the majority of their intake.
Most pupils join in Year 7 at age 11, though in some areas there is a tradition of starting in Year 9 at age 13. Joining in other years or mid-year is a also possibility if, for example, you have recently moved house. Each school has its own application procedure so please check before submitting an application.
Cost & help with fees
Fees vary from school to school. They are available on request from the school’s admissions manager and are usually posted on the school website.
Around 25 per cent of pupils in GSA schools receive some form of help with fees. Across all our schools, means-tested bursaries amount to more than £63 million per year. Over half of pupils in receipt of a means-tested bursary have more than half their fees remitted. Most schools have a section on their application form where you can indicate your interest in being assessed for bursary assistance.
Each GSA school has its own assessment procedure. Most require prospective pupils to sit an entrance exam and attend a short interview.
Typically, entrance exams are designed to assess your child’s competency – e.g. in maths and English – rather than their ability to remember learned facts. The ‘interview’ is usually a friendly 1-2-1 discussion in which a teacher asks your child about their interests beyond school and their understanding of the world around them.
All our head teachers will advise you to try and enjoy the assessment process rather than spending hours preparing your child, which can be counter productive. Our schools are looking for potential as much as achievement and we do understand that children cover different topics from one school to another.
GSA schools have an excellent track record when it comes to inspections. Most are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, or the relevant inspectorate e.g. Estyn.
A copy of the latest inspection report is posted on each school website.