Tiffin Girls' School

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


File:Old Tiffin Building.jpg
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, due 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 row 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 was changed as it caused some problems.

The single building by "The Fairfield" (now recreational cricket ovals), which housed both schools, was completed in 1879 but 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.

In 1999 the school benefited from a £500,000 Sport England Lottery Fund Grant. This, combined with fund raising 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.

In December 2003, a fire burned down a huge portion of the main building's wing causing much chaos to the school. Thanks to the Tiffin Fire Appeal, there has been a significant amount of money raised to rebuild it.

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, with state-of-the-art equipment, was completed in 2007. The school raised money for a new music studio, which was opened in September 2009.

The school became an academy on 1 April 2011.

Present day

There are approximately 1000 pupils aged between 11 and 18, including 280 in the sixth form. They are split into four houses - Bebbington (Red), Flavell (Yellow), Schofield (Blue) and Watson (Green). These are all named after former headmistresses of the school. Pupils earn points towards the house competition in events such as the school birthday (in February of each year) 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 (which was donated by Edward Belitha).

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.

Academic record

The school has an outstanding level of academic achievement.

The 2011 examination results for the school are:

A-level %A*-B: 91.5%

GCSE %A*-A: 91.1% (58.9% at A*)

The 2013 examination results for the school are:

A-level %A*-B: 96%

GCSE %A*-A: 91.4% (68.28 % at A* - the highest percentage to date)


Entry into the school is by academic selection, using both a verbal reasoning test and a non-verbal reasoning test. From 2012 a second round of tests in Mathematics and English were added. 150 girls are admitted in year 7 each year. Applications to the sixth form are also welcomed.


Each academic year, apart from the normal classroom activity, the school puts on around ten concerts. These include four major orchestral concerts, two in December one in November and one in April. In addition there is a Year 8/9 concert and an A level recital concert. The summer term ends with a vocal concert and a shorter orchestral concert. The first event of the school year is the Year 7 Concert, which is held in early October. There are two choirs for pupils to join, and a number of instrumental ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra, the Tiffin Girls’ Sinfonia, the Concert Band and the Indian Orchestra. Students can also audition for the Thames Youth Orchestra which is a joint venture involving performers from both Tiffin schools. Repertoire has included Borodin’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Sibelius’s Karelia Suite and music by Copland, Roy Harris, Resphigi, Schumann and Britten. An annual concert is given in a central London venue.


Drama is popular at the Tiffin Girls’ School, with an annual school production taking place in the autumn term and a lower school production in the summer. Recent productions have included Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Twits and The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe.


Physical education is an integral and busy part of school life. Tiffin girls are encouraged to fully participate in curriculum, interhouse, lunch time and extra curricular sport. The school prides itself on the amount of opportunities that it can provide for its students. This would range from participating in a training session with an expert coach to competing in borough, county and national competitions.

Notable former pupils

Template:See also

  • Elspeth Attwooll, Lib Dem MEP for Scotland
  • Alison Cooper, businesswoman, chief executive of Imperial Tobacco
  • Lisa Faulkner, actress
  • Barbara C. Freeman, author and illustrator
  • Jill Gascoigne, actress
  • Chloe Hayward, fashion model
  • Ruth O'Keeffe, politician
  • Ingrid Oliver, comedienne and actress
  • Katherine Parkinson, actress
  • Lynne Truss, author
  • Lorna Watson, comedienne and actress
  • Sarah Winckless, Olympic bronze medal winner at Athens in women’s double sculls


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External links

Template:Schools and colleges in Kingston upon Thames