Farnborough Hill is a very special place; the buildings, the history and the spectacular grounds are impressive but what makes it so special are the people. The School prides itself on being the ‘Caring face of academic excellence’. To understand this ethos, one really has to visit the School to see the blend of academic rigour and outstanding pastoral care that the School delivers so impressively. Farnborough Hill is not highly selective but the quality of the teaching and learning leads to very high proportions of A* and A grades in GCSE and A level examinations.
Academic results are by no means the only story at Farnborough Hill. Based on traditional values but always forward-looking, the School aims to educate the whole person in a happy, caring community. The Roman Catholic tradition and Christian values are seen as key to the excellent pastoral care and respect with which pupils treat each other.
The School’s impressive main house, a Grade 1 listed building once the home of Empress Eugenie, has had many modern purpose-built facilities added. These include a sports hall, indoor swimming pool, music suite, theatre, state-of-the-art laboratories, IT suites, Art and Design Technology Centre and chapel.
Life at Farnborough Hill is vibrant and busy – an environment that fosters energy, friendliness and fun. Girls are encouraged to participate in everything on offer and they become adept at balancing their studies with a variety of interests. Head Alexandra Neil holds the view that learning should be fun, that lessons should be inspiring so that school work never becomes a chore. Farnborough Hill establishes a positive can-do attitude which develops the self-confidence the girls need for bright and fulfilling futures.
Gifted & Talented
We identify both academically gifted pupils and those who are talented in more specific fields, such as music or sport. Pupils are identified primarily through existing data, but can also be identified by individual teachers. A central register of pupils is kept and updated regularly. Each department is then responsible for ensuring that an appropriate level of challenge is incorporated into lessons and that pupils have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Departments also run activities to encourage and stretch the most able, such as Maths Challenges, Debating Society and Essay Writing Competitions.
A range of whole-school activities are also provided that, although aimed at the most able pupils, are open to all. Our Think Tank programme invites external speakers into school each term to deliver thought-provoking lunchtime talks. Older students are also encouraged to attend lectures at local universities. The Scholarship Group meets every half term and Sixth Form Scholars are encouraged to lead sessions. Extension activities are also available to students on the School VLE.
The School has limited facilities for disabled pupils, but reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate pupils with disabilities and to comply with our responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001). However, because of the restrictions of the naturally hilly site and the Grade 1 listed buildings, it is difficult for the School to cater fully for girls with mobility problems.
Parents are requested to contact the School to discuss their child’s special needs prior to application. Extra time will be given in the entrance examination (special need must be verified by an educational psychologist’s report). The Head of Learning Support works with the pupils who have reached the required academic standard in the entrance examination but need help with general or specific learning difficulties in order to reach their full potential, including those who might have English as an additional language.
Bursaries & Scholarships
Bursaries worth up to 100% of fees, are available for entry to all year groups for families needing financial assistance. Bursaries may also be awarded to existing parents if their financial circumstances deteriorate. Please contact the Bursar for further details.
A number of Scholarships are available for girls entering Year 7. Academic Scholarships, worth up to 20%of fees, are awarded on the basis of performance in the entrance examination.
Music Scholarships, worth up to 20% of fees, are awarded on the basis of audition. Eligible pupils will usually have attained a Grade IV level in their chosen instrument, but all-round musicianship is a more important consideration.
Sports Scholarships, worth up to 20% of fees, are awarded on the basis of tests. Eligible girls will usually be competing at club level in their particular sport and will have the potential to contribute to the School’s overall sporting achievement.
Art Scholarships, worth up to 20% of fees, are awarded on the basis of tests and sample work. Must be supported by the applicant’s Headteacher.
One Academic Scholarship, worth 20% of fees, is reserved for a Roman Catholic, all other scholarships are open. A series of Exhibitions worth 5% of fees are also awarded.
Music and Sports Scholarships are tenable for seven years, subject to a satisfactory annual review of progress, and a continued significant contribution to the sporting or musical life of the School. The Art and Design Scholarship is reviewed at the end of Year 8, when Art as a compulsory subject ends. Should Art Scholars decide not to continue to study Art at GCSE, or A level, then the scholarship and its associated funding will end.
A number of scholarships are available for girls entering the Sixth Form. These are awarded either on the basis of excellence in the GCSE examinations or as a result of the Sixth Form scholarship examination. Scholarships, awarded on the basis of ability, are also available for the Creative Arts (Art and/or Design Technology), Performing Arts (Music and/or Drama) and Sport.