Wycombe Abbey ascribes its success to a ‘total commitment to pastoral care through boarding.’ The school’s main values are mutual respect, encouragement, and trust. Girls are treated as individuals, and able to grow and make friends in the 170 acres of parkland that surround the school.
Wycombe Abbey was founded in September 1896 by Miss Frances Dove, who promoted equal opportunities for girls. The school was established in Loakes Manor, and initially greeted a cohort of 40 girls. By 1899, there were 210 pupils, and the school pursued a policy of education as education for citizenship, emphasising ‘corporate virtues… a wide range of interests and a sense of discipline, as well as an esprit de corps.’
In recent years the school has opened the Lancaster Arts Centre and the Archer Recital Hall, as well as the Davies Sports Centre. In 2017 it opened an atrium cafe called the Courtyard, and two new boarding houses for Pitt and Rubens.
Wycombe Abbey is the top girls’ boarding school in the UK. Recent GCSE results were 95% A* and 99% A*-A. This exceptional level of attainment is mirrored by A Level results, with 63.9% A* and 99% A* – B.
Wycombe Abbey does not have predetermined option blocks but instead a total flexibility. There are six compulsory subjects – English, English Literature, Mathematics, and each of the three Sciences. Then, girls can select four or five other subjects from a range of 15. One must be a modern language and one a humanities subject. The sixth form curriculum is ‘designed to nurture individual interests and provide a solid foundation for university studies and the global workplace of tomorrow.’ Four A Level subjects are chosen from a total of 26 different options. Girls can also choose the Extended Project Qualification. Pre-U is offered for girls who choose to study Chinese and German. There is an additional enrichment program that seeks to develop critical thinking, leadership, research, and presentation skills.
The first stage of the assessment process at Wycombe Abbey is the CAT4 online Cognitive Abilities Test. This can be sat at your child’s current school or a test centre.
The second stage is an Assessment Day, which aims to provide girls with a ‘taste of life at Wycombe Abbey’ and also allow teachers to assess individual girl’s academic ability and suitability for the school. This day takes place at Wycombe Abbey in November.
Candidates will have an interview with one member of staff – a one-on-one – as well as taking part in some small group activities. Additionally, all girls will sit entrance examinations in English and Mathematics. Both papers are one hour and sample questions are sent out beforehand. Lastly, references from the current school are required.
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What is your greatest strength?
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