[I will miss] the community of the school, the closeness, the homely feel. All my friends and all my teachers. I’ll miss them and their support so much.
We interviewed Grace, a recent SGA Sixth Form Alumna, to hear her honest reflections on life at the St George's Sixth Form.
To find out more about what St George's can offer your daughter, speak to a member of our Admissions team.
Grace joined St George’s, Ascot as a tailored boarder in the Third Year (Year 9) when her family moved from Australia to London. Looking back, she remembers settling very quickly into the ‘homely’ community of the school. She quickly immersed herself in both the academic and the co-curricular life of the school, singing in the choir, as a member of netball and lacrosse teams and starring in the annual school musicals.
She went on to achieve high scores at GCSE, inspiring her choice of History, Biology and Geography at A level. She is waiting on her A level results but is hoping to attend Nottingham University to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics. With an offer of A*AA, she embodies the St George’s vision of a Confident, Capable, Connected young woman ready for the 21st century.
We recently had the chance to chat to Grace and find out about what makes the Sixth Form at St George’s so special and how she was supported to balance academic success with a full extra curricular life.
What were some of the things that were you looking forward to in advance of entering the sixth form?
So in the Sixth Form there is the opportunity to go into a local primary school. You can teach as an assistant and help with the children, you can help with reading or with artistic activities with educational themes. I was really looking forward to that and felt it would be great for my CV.
What did you learn from this opportunity?
You get a feel for a work environment. When you’re younger you’re protected by the school environment. Going outside of school and into the community gives you the opportunity to work alongside people you haven't met before, with those who are older than you and the children who are younger. It takes you out of your school bubble.
Going outside of school and into the community gives you the opportunity to work alongside people you haven't met before. It takes you out of your school bubble.
What were the worried about?
Before starting the sixth form, I was definitely worried about balancing work and extra curricular activities and also having a social life at school. I soon realised that because you’re just doing your three subjects you do have a lot more study periods, you are given a lot more independence and freedom, it just kind of worked itself out. St George’s has really taught me to love being busy! You can do really well academically but also be involved in the extra curricular activities that you really enjoy.
St George’s has really taught me to love being busy! You can do really well academically but also be involved in the extra curricular activities that you really enjoy.
What are the best elements of being in the sixth form?
Probably that the relationship with your teachers and your peers really deepened. You start to work with each other more closely and create a special bond. I also enjoyed the freedom and the extra independence you're given at the school. I guess that’s partly because the teachers trust you a lot more and they give you a lot more opportunity and space to excel in what you want to excel in and they really support you in doing that.
I really noticed how much the younger years start to look up to the Sixth Form. I think that helped to mature us in Sixth Form because you start to become this role model. You think ‘I need to represent a good image for them and be responsible.’
Do you feel you benefited from being educated in an all girls environment?
I think for me, being in an all girls environment has been very positive. I just grew in confidence so much in that environment. Now I am more confident and capable of putting myself out there no matter what kind of environment I’m in, whether I’m in an all girls environment or with girls and boys mixed. It was quite interesting, I went to an open day for university recently and had a lecture in the subject I am going to take. The lecturer was asking everybody questions and a lot of the girls were timid and shy in answering and it was all the guys who were answering the questions. I didn’t mind putting my hand up because I’d grown in the St George’s environment where everyone can be involved in everything.
I grew in confidence so much in [this all girls] environment. Now I am more confident and capable of putting myself out there no matter what kind of environment I’m in, whether I’m in an all girls environment or with girls and boys mixed.
Did you feel the school offered a strong co-ed programme?
Oh yes! We obviously have a lot of socials and one of my favourite memories is the Ceilidh with Eton and that was so much fun. I didn’t even know what it was, we certainly didn’t do that in Australia! I certainly didn’t know how to spell it!
How did you find the transition from gcse to a level?
I was definitely worried I’d be way too busy, but it was great! I loved doing all my extra curricular activities because you get to know the younger years so well. There’s a girl in the year above me who I was in choir with and she was on the lacrosse team with me as well, and she is at Nottingham Uni which is where I want to go. I’ve been messaging her about Nottingham and she’s suggested the best accommodation saying, ‘When you come to Nottingham I’ll take you out and show you around.’ Because you form bonds between Year groups it can really help even beyond school because you keep that connection.
The GCSEs changed for our year (with the introduction of the 1-9 system of grading). It became a much harder course and so the transition from GCSE to A-level was much easier than it had been previously. I was expecting a massive jump but it wasn’t as big as I expected it to be. It ended up being very doable.
What three things would you tell a friend if she were thinking about joining St George’s in the sixth form?
I think one would be the bond with your teachers and your peers. That changes and you become a lot closer. You’re so supported by your teachers that you really want to do well for them as much as for yourself. You notice how much the younger years start to look up to you and you want to set a good example for them.
The last two years are just the best years of St George’s. I think a lot of people underestimate how good the school is in the Sixth Form.
What have been your stand out moments or funniest memory from the sixth form?
When we came into the Sixth Form,The View (the Sixth Form Cafe) was new. I have just loved sitting in The View at lunchtime in the summer, with the tuckshop there. Some of my funniest memories were made there and you bond so well with your year group because everyone just sits there hanging out. I have memories of people singing at the top of their lungs at lunchtime or even asleep on the couch. Our year group is so close.
What will you miss?
The community of the school, the closeness, the homely feel. All my friends and all my teachers. I’ll miss them and their support so much. Everyone at St George’s just encourages you to do whatever you want to do and to put yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s very hard to find another environment that’s like that. I feel very lucky that from such a young age, I have felt I can do whatever I want and I think that that is a great thing I will have even when I am older and when I start working. I’ll push myself out of my comfort zone to do a job that I think I really want to do, I will strive for that and that is something St George’s has taught me.
I’ll push myself out of my comfort zone to do a job that I think I really want to do, I will strive for that and that is something St George’s has taught me.
Have there been any teachers who have been particularly influential and what was it about them that made them so special?
I will always remember my History teacher. She just goes so far beyond teaching, you can just go to her office and chat to her for hours, she’ll always have chocolates and always have sweets. She is the busiest person, the busiest teacher I think, but she will still make time for every single student, no matter who you are or where you’re from. She’s just amazing!
How do you feel St George’s has helped you prepare for life beyond school?
I definitely feel well prepared. There’s something Mrs Hewer (the Headmistress) has drilled into us so much and that’s the idea of balance. When you go out into the real world, life isn’t just about your work, your job - you do need to have that balance, you need to connect with people, see your family, see your friends, do sport and do the things you love as well. That balance is something you learn from a young age at St George’s.
If you could sum up your experience of being part of the sixth form family in one sentence what would it be?
I could use a million words but cannot narrow it down, I just love this school so much!
Sigho joined St George’s as a full boarder in the Third Year (Year 9) from a French Speaking International school in Nigeria.