The school was amazingly really took the whole St George’s village to prepare us for Oxbridge!


We interviewed Lily, 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.

Lily joined St George’s from Upton House in the First Year so she is, delightfully, part of the furniture of the school. She is our departing Head Girl and is one of a number from her year who successfully applied to and received conditional offers from Oxford for 2020 entry. She studied Biology, History and Philosophy at A level, the ‘weirdest mix’ she tells us but subjects that she has really enjoyed exploring more fully in Sixth Form.

We caught up with Lily recently and she shared why she thinks Sixth Form at St George’s is the best two years of school life and how she was inspired, supported and prepared to apply for Oxbridge.

What were some of the things that you were looking forward to in advance of entering the sixth form?

I just really liked my year group. Every single person in the year just loves St George’s and really wanted to be there and that was a nice environment to learn in. We said to ourselves ‘We all love it here, we all really want to be here, so let’s make the most of our time and do the best we can. Let’s do really well for ourselves and have a great time.” I knew it would be a great two years.

What did you worry about?

I did think about the size of the Sixth Form, the fact that it’s a small school - you have a friend or two going to larger schools - but actually it ended up being other people who were worried or who questioned me rather than me questioning it myself. I had had a really small class in one of my GCSE subjects and it was a real taste of A levels actually. It gave us a much closer relationship with our teacher. I don’t think you get that at other schools? Like a university supervision, a tutorial, more of a conversation. I think a lot of people think ‘Oh small class sizes’ but I don’t think my friend and I would have got the grades we did in a larger class. When it came to getting my GCSE results, I did really well, in fact better than expected and I thought, ‘St George’s has done this for me.’ I would never have been able to do that before. I felt like I had come into my own at St George’s. No, this is for me, I’m staying.

I don’t think my friend and I would have got the grades we did in a larger class.

What are the best elements of being in the sixth form?

Definitely the small class sizes, the relationship with your teachers, they will just go above and beyond for you. Every single teacher, if I sent them an email, would email me back the same day, they were and still are always there for us. Also the pastoral environment, the matrons, those who care for you, it’s just amazing. I rate it highly!

Oh and obviously cutting into the lunch queue, and the tuck shop queue, I can’t remember when I last queued (she laughs cheekily)

How did you find the transition from GCSE to A Level?

I started off fine, I was doing four A levels at the time. Then I took on a weekend job outside of school and it was just too much. I was trying to do my A level work, go out with friends and also do my job and it all just didn’t work. I just wasn’t doing well and, because we were all so close, a few people at school began to notice. I remember the nurse saying “You look tired? What’s going on?” They helped me realise that it was probably too much to manage everything so I stopped my job for the Lower Sixth and also dropped one of my A levels so I could get the balance back.

The transition to Upper Sixth was challenging as well. It was an entire term of constant work to apply for Oxford. With Oxbridge you just have to go for it, you can’t do it in half measures. The school was amazingly supportive, I had suggested I wanted to go for it, and they pretty much said, ‘Right, we’re going to give you the best possible shot.’ We had teachers from others schools brought in to advise us, our chaplain did practice interviews, my history teacher talked to me about books, Mrs Magill talked to me about books, Mr Wright helped me to prepare, they say it takes a village to raise a child, it really took the whole St George’s village to prepare us for Oxbridge! Everyone worked so hard for me and I am so grateful. I am so glad to have received my conditional offer to pay them back. Young girls have come up to me and said ‘Because you have done that, I feel I can achieve that’

The school was amazingly really took the whole St George’s village to prepare us for Oxbridge!

What key selling points would you share with a friend if she were thinking about joining St George’s in the sixth form?

As always with St George’s, the strength of pastoral care and the importance of having a good time, they are at the forefront. It’s not a generic academic hot house, you are just inspired to do the best that you can do. No-one is pushing you to be someone you are not or apply to somewhere you don’t want to go. ‘You tell us what you want and we will help you to get there’ which I love. The class sizes means you’re in tutorials for all of your lessons and the academic support is amazing. The enrichment programme in the Sixth Form is also really strong.

You are inspired to do the best that you can do. No-one is pushing you to be someone you are not.

What have been your stand out moments or funniest memory from the sixth form?

You get into school and laugh constantly until your sides split and then you go home. I would say the Lower Sixth summer term, when you’re all crammed into the View enjoying the hot weather, you’re running up to the High Street in Ascot the whole time to buy ice creams, you feel like you’re a bit of a grown up. It was a gorgeous time of low stress and wonderful bonding with your friends.

What will you miss?

The food at school (groan), my friends obviously - especially in full lockdown, you realise how great everyone is. Teachers, definitely. I will see my friends but it’s going to be a real shock not seeing the staff I’ve seen for seven years. I will miss the vibe of the school. I love it and am very proud of St George’s.

I will miss the vibe of the school. I love it and am very proud of St George’s.

Have there been any teachers who have been particularly influential and what was it about them that made them so special?

I’d have to say my history teacher. When I was younger, I was so unconfident in any academic ability. I was middle of the road and as a result didn’t really care. I was in the Fourth Year when she took me aside and said ‘You’re really talented, you should think about applying for Oxbridge.” It was someone saying to me ‘You can do this, stop underrating yourself’

How do you feel St George’s has helped you prepare for life beyond school?

The enrichment programme in Sixth Form prepares you so well. For an hour you sit there and you are educated about things you haven’t been taught or exposed to before. The volunteering programmes that St George’s offers; many of us read with younger children at a local primary school during our Lower Sixth Year which taught us responsibility. The uni preparation has been really strong. Due to Covid-19 we obviously didn’t take our exams, so St George’s put together the #SGAprepared programme instead; we had a variety of different speakers, we had cookery lessons with recipes for student life, the breadth of what we were taught was amazing. It was phenomenal that they put it together so quickly during remote learning.

Also learning general soft skills, you don’t realise the culture at St George’s prepares you so well for interviews. The way that you have to apply for a prefect role, you have to write an application and go through the whole process that you would do for a job interview. To have such small class sizes in such an intimate setting, having conversations in small circles in which your views are listened to as opposed to copying off a chalk board. I’ve always been able to talk to teachers freely. I say the most stupud things, but I’ve always felt safe to put my hand up and say ‘I just don’t get it’. It’s the capacity to ask, to fail, to be central in it all not just one of many in a bigger class.

If you could sum up your experience of being part of the sixth form family at St George’s in one sentence what would it be?

It’s just the loveliest way to end your time at school, these last two years. Why would I want to go somewhere else? I really rate St George’s. Sorry that’s not one sentence?

Don’t worry Lily, that sums it up nicely!

Read next: Olivia's Story

We caught up with Liv recently and heard all about the academic and pastoral support she received particularly when things were quite hard in the Upper Sixth Form and also why she chose to board in her Sixth Form years.