Watford Grammar School for Girls

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Watford Grammar School for Girls
File:Watford Girls.png
Motto Sperate parati
("Go forward with preparation")
Established 1704 (1704) and 1884
Type Partially selective academy
Headmistress Dame Helen Hyde DBE
Chairman of Governors Mr Percy McCloskey
Founder Elizabeth Fuller
Location Lady's Close
WD18 0AE
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DfE URN 136289 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 1250
Gender Girls
Ages 11–18
Colours Navy blue     and yellow    
Website www.watfordgirls.org.uk

Watford Grammar School for Girls (commonly abbreviated WGGS) is an academy for girls in Watford in Hertfordshire, UK. Despite its name, the school accepts girls of all abilities, although a proportion are selected for academic or musical aptitude.

Its GCSE results were the highest achieved by non-grammar state schools in England in 2007.[1]


The Girls' school and its brother school, Watford Grammar School for Boys, descend from a Free School founded as a charity school for boys and girls by Elizabeth Fuller in 1704 and refounded as a secondary school in 1884.[2][3][4][5]

The school has occupied its present site in central Watford since 1907. The name Watford Grammar School for Girls dates from 1903. Although the school ceased to be a tripartite system grammar school in 1975, it retains some features of the grammar school tradition.[6]

The school site is divided in two by a public footpath, with a footbridge spanning the path to connect the two parts. The northern part includes a former private house, Lady's Close now used as the English block. Also in the northern part is the PE block and Fuller Life Gym (with a swimming pool), open to members of the public in non-school hours. A new building, Hyde House, is also situated in the northern part. Except during the First World War, when it was taken over by the Red Cross as an auxiliary hospital, the building served as the school's preparatory department until that department was closed in 1944. Since then it has served as the home of the entry form to the school.[7]

The school today

Watford Girls has been partially selective since 1995, though the proportion of selection has been reduced over this period. The school also gives priority to sisters of current pupils at the school. Prior to 2008 it also gave extra consideration during the selection process to sisters of pupils of Watford Grammar School for Boys.[8][9] Its admission area reaches out about 5 miles (8 km), including some northern parts of the London boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon. In comparison with the national average, its intake has significantly higher academic attainment, greater ethnic diversity and fewer children receiving free school meals.[10]

An inspection in 2007 by the Office for Standards in Education rated the school as outstanding in all categories.[10] It has long been near the top of performance tables for comprehensive schools, but when the key measure at GCSE was changed in 2007 to include English and mathematics the school moved to the top position.[1] The headmistress, Helen Hyde, attributes part of their success to De Bono Thinking Tools, for which the school was one of the first in the United Kingdom to receive accreditation as a national training school.[11][12]

Unlike other sixth forms in the UK, the upper and lower sixth girls are required to wear school uniform, albeit with a white shirt instead of the yellow one worn by years 7 to 11.

Notable former pupils


(since the founding of the secondary school in 1884)[6]

  • 1884 Louise Walsh
  • 1884–1895 Julia Anne Kennaby (married name Rogers from 1893)
  • 1895–1913 Ann Coless
  • 1913–1938 Grace Fergie
  • 1938–1956 Jean Davidson
  • 1957–1973 Jessie Tennet
  • 1974–1987 Margaret Rhodes
  • 1987–present Dame Helen Hyde


  1. 1.0 1.1 Paton, Graeme (24 August 2007). "All-girl schools top results league table". Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Samuel Lewis (ed.) (1848). "Watford (St. Mary)". A Topographical Dictionary of England (7th ed.). p. 486. Retrieved 22 March 2008.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. William Page (ed.) (1908). "Watford: Introduction". A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2. pp. 446–451. Retrieved 22 March 2008.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. W.R. Carter (1894). "Mrs. Fuller's Free School". Watford Endowed Schools Journal. 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. W.G. Hughes; M. Sweeney (1954). Watford Grammar Schools for Boys and Girls: A History of their Foundation and Development. Watford: Mayflower Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Neil Hart (ed.) (2005). Mrs Fuller's Free School: Three Hundred Years of the Watford Grammar Schools. Rickmansworth: Atlantic Publishing.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Hart (2005), pp. 79–80, 140.
  8. Judith Judd (20 November 1997). "Education: In a league of their own - or selective on the sly?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Elizabeth Passmore (26 September 2008). "Determination: Watford Grammar School for Girls". Office of the Schools Adjudicator.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Watford Grammar School for Girls, Ofsted.
  11. Nicola Woolcock (10 January 2008). "Lateral thinking paves the way to GCSE success". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Helen Hyde (July 2004). "Why Thinking Skills? Why De Bono Thinking Tools?". Foundation & Aided Schools National Association Newsletter. Retrieved 30 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  13. Joanna Moorhead (24 October 2007). "Girl power comes of age". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/medicine/staff/charlottewright/
  15. Janet Cresswell, Ox-bow (ISBN 1904697305), p. 27

External links