Withington Girls' School, based in Manchester, was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Tatler Good Schools Guide 'Best Public School of The Year ' award.
· Withington Girls' School
WITHINGTON GIRLS' SCHOOL
Founded 125 years ago by men who wanted their daughters to receive the same stellar education that their sons were getting at Manchester Grammar, Withington Girls’ ticks the academic box – and many more besides. Funds are micromanaged to keep fees low while academic results soar: 96 per cent A*–B at A-level last year; 12 Oxbridge offers. Some facilities (including a bus service) are shared with MGS too. Head Sue Marks, a firm believer in all-girls education, is impressive, energetic and sets a great example. Her study is littered with photographs of old girls and mementoes of her own academic and sporting past (one of the first women at Jesus College, Oxford) to inspire her wards. Entrance is selective and there are three or four applicants for every place. The junior school is fab and has a new building, but sadly there’s no automatic entry to the next level. There’s no rule book other than to ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’, no detention system, a culture of respect and no prizes awarded as ‘the pleasure of academic work should be its own reward’, according to Mrs Marks. That didn’t stop girls conquering all in the British Physics Olympiad, two Oxford colleges’ essay competitions and the Model United Nations last year. Pupils compete at county and international level in sport and are passionate about fundraising and community support. Famously, the school nurse’s lavender oil will cure everything.