Aims & Ethos | Our Mission | Streatham & Clapham High School

Aims and Ethos

Our motto
ad sapientiam sine metu (‘towards wisdom unafraid’).

Our vision
To be unrivalled in empowering our young women to discover, nurture and project their unique identities and character.

Our purpose
To enable every girl to achieve beyond the bound of expectation on a daily basis, across the spectrum of endeavour.

Our salient and distinctive features

We nurture, not coerce, excellence

We are a family, not a factory, school

We celebrate difference through our buzzy, diverse community, drawing strength from all that is great about London

We have an unstinting commitment to innovation; we do not stand still but are trailblazers

We draw strength from being part of the GDST family of schools, being pioneers in, and the shapers of, girls’ education.

Academic Ethos

Outperforming expectations on a daily basis

We aim to inspire achievement beyond the bounds of expectation, without compromise. Every day we coax the very best from our girls, empowering them to identify, broaden and develop their talents. We promote independence of thought, an appetite for intellectual risk, and a thirst for learning for its own sake. Motivated and confident, our pupils discover the power of civilised values and attitudes, indeed a complete philosophy of living, to guide them in their present and future lives.

Our excellent examination results, which place us in the top tier of UK independent schools, pay tribute to this rigorous focus on achievement. Likewise, recent inspection reports for both the Prep and Senior Schools are fulsome in their praise of the exceptional education we offer right across the academic spectrum.

A broad, challenging and enriched curriculum

From the age of 3 to 18, our pupils enjoy a broad, challenging and enriched curriculum. Their academic success is promoted by small classes and high expectations. We ignite their curiosity with the Early Years Foundation Stage in our Nursery.

A vibrant academic programme of study, reaching far beyond the limits of the National Curriculum (for instance in offering a choice of languages such as French, Spanish, Mandarin and Latin), takes them through to Year 6.

In the Senior School, pupils embark on exciting new subjects such as Ancient Greek, and enhance their core GCSE selection with a rich choice of subjects across the disciplines.

In English and Mathematics, we offer IGCSE courses, valued by leading universities for their rigour. In addition, all pupils participate in the school’s ground-breaking enrichment programme, ‘Kinza’, which introduces them to a huge range of subjects and activities.

We’re extremely proud of our 2019 GCSE results; the highest possible score, 9 (which is considered higher than the A*, really an ‘A**’), rose by 35% and Number of grades 7-9 (A* to A**) increased 10% year on year.

In the Sixth Form, students may choose from a substantial portfolio of 23 subjects. In recent A Level results, over 89% of grades were at A*- B, and thus it is no surprise that the majority of our students progress to some of the most competitive Russell Group universities.

Greater heights of achievement

In every part of our school, we encourage a life-long passion for learning that inspires our pupils to reach ever greater heights of achievement. They relish the challenges placed before them, absorbing knowledge, learning life skills and growing in intellectual confidence. Our pupils thrive on success.

A framework for development

The concept of change lies at the heart of education. The quiddity of educational endeavour is, after all, to inculcate change in terms of pupils’ outlook, interests, knowledge, aspiration and behaviour as human beings and to equip them to respond positively to the demands of a world in flux. But change is intrinsic to school life in other ways, too. The pupil roll, for instance, is dynamic in its nature. The natural turnover of staff, too, is a propeller of change. Equally, staff can deliver their best efforts only by constantly reviewing their practice, developing their expertise, nurturing new skills and augmenting their subject knowledge. Above all, no institution can flourish and achieve success if it does not respond positively, creatively and imaginatively to the tides of change in the world in which it operates: for example, the changing fortunes of the economic environment; changes in terms of social and demographic trends; the development of technology and its uses; the evolving values and attitudes of society at large; shifting governmental agendas, for instance in the field of higher education; changes in the regulatory and legal spheres; and (of course) change in terms of the specific marketplace in which the school operates.

The school has a strategic plan that provides a framework for its development for the next three to four years in the context of a changing environment. In doing so, it sets out key planning assumptions, identifies the aims and objectives of the school, establishes the strategic priorities for the school’s development, and plots an agenda for the attainment of these priorities, organised under various headings, the key strategic intents.

At the core of this strategic plan lies the question: ‘How best can the school develop, strengthen and amplify its distinctive ethos?’ The school’s ethos in the past has focussed on its nurturing approach to pupils’ education. With my appointment in January 2012, a decision was made to redirect this focus onto pupil achievement across the width of activity, without jettisoning the school’s attachment to expert pastoral care, which, after all, is intrinsic to pupils’ attainment of success. This is reflected in the revised aims of the school. A decision was also made to increase the distinctiveness of the school’s mission. The school must not only constantly strive to perform at a higher level across the range of its operations; it must also set clear water between itself and its competitors. In so doing, the school must never lose sight of its core values and the need for this distinctiveness to be driven by a belief in the school’s educational mission. The combination of pupil achievement in the context of expert pastoral care and a distinctive educational proposition will lend the school a position of strength in a highly competitive marketplace.


The GDST, which has pioneered the education of girls and young women since its foundation in 1872, is the leading network of independent girls’ schools in the UK, with approximately 4,000 staff and nearly 20,000 pupils in its 24 schools and two academies throughout England and Wales. About 8% of all the girls in independent education in the UK are at GDST schools. GDST schools are non-denominational, and pupils have always been admitted irrespective of background or beliefs. All but two of the schools educate girls from the age of 3 or 4 to 18.

SCHS Alumna and opera sopranao Elizabeth LlewelIyn shakes hand with SCHS girl on Speech day

Streatham & Clapham High School is a member school of the Girls’ Day School Trust, and as such the Trust holds legal responsibility for its operations. The Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, Ms Cheryl Giovannoni, is based at GDST Head Office, 10 Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DH (telephone: 020 7393 6666, The Chair of the GDST council is Ms Juliet Humphries (address, telephone number and email as for the GDST.)

SCHS Alumna Maryam Moshiri talks with SCHS girls on Speech Day IJP-27-6-19-SCHS-SD-0160

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