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Guildford High or Tormead for an 11yr old girl?

(19 Posts)
goinggetstough Fri 10-Jul-09 10:11:59

Does anybody have any views both positive and negative on the above schools in Guildford. Thanks.

mirrorflash Fri 10-Jul-09 10:47:50


I visited a Tormead Open Day when I was looking secondary schools for DD (11) last year.

So this is just a very subjective opinion based on what I saw...

I think it's a very, very good academic school. The Head is impressive. I got the impression she wants to educate girls to have the opportunity to go into really topflight careers - I think the numbers going to Oxbridge are really high.

She said they reward effort almost above achievement, which I thought was fine to a degree although she said if a girl was getting an A grade but "coasting" then they would be encouraging her to work harder. At that point I knew this wasn't the right school for dd, who is bright but laid-back!!!

Looking round at the other parents they seemed quite posh. Depends if you feel your family would fit in. I felt ours probably wouldn't.

I did know a girl a Uni (admittedly about 25 years ago) who had gone to Tormead and she really was a bit "up" herself about having gone there - not a very nice attitude. Don't know if the school still fosters that sort of superiority - I hope not. The Head seemed quite down to earth.

But it was only a two hour snapshot of the school. Hope you get more comments.

MagNacarta Fri 10-Jul-09 10:50:30

We were shown around a state school by a girl who had moved there from Tormead because it was too pushy. She was academic, but didn't like the atmosphere and said she was very happy to leave.

pagwatch Fri 10-Jul-09 11:09:26


I know Tormead very well.
It is an academic school but the pastoral side is brilliant. The girls are expected to work hard but it is not a hot house and the school looks to extend the girls in all areas. It has a huge emphasis on community and general kindness - the big girls help in the junior school and are mentors and prefects.
Sports day for the juniors was run by the senior girls who cheered the little ones on and hugged them ifthey fell over.
I had a bunch of senior girls here for my sons 16th and they were polite and amusing, confident and helpful. My second son has Special needs and the girls ( and boys actually) came in a couple oftimes to check they were not upsetting him.
The parents I know are a mixture. There are obviously wealthy people there and a few flash types but the mums and dads I know are friendly and very normal.
The pre-prep is the most nurturing enviroment I have ever seen in any school - ever. I have never encountered any comepeteive parenting which is also a first in any school I have been involved with.
The extra ciricular is extensive and interesting and the girls are encouraged to be independent and ambitious.
I think it is a really good school.

Guildford High is also good school with excellent facilities and a very good academic reputation - and deservedly so. It is good for girls who find the challenge of that easy but less enjoyable I think for the girls at the lower half of the classes. The girls are confident and bright but perhaps they have a slightly greater sense of entitlement than is strictly healthy. But that is obviously just a few of the girls and not all. Their sports are well taught and their facilities are brilliant.
Guildford is generally considered to be superior in terms of academic results whilst Tormead is the more relaxed and more pastoral.

My personal view is if you have a strongly academic child they will get greater kudos and be more challenged by Guildford High. If you want your child to have a more social and pastoral education then look at Tormead .

Anything else?

happywomble Fri 10-Jul-09 11:33:05

you could may be look at St Catherine's supposed to be good.

Kitty01 Fri 10-Jul-09 11:49:05

My daughter is at Tormead.

We sent here there because of the high standard of academic results achieved through a strong pastoral caring environment, which encourages the pupils to perform at their best.

Both Tormead and Guildford High are highly selective schools so a girl attending either school is mixing with a bright group.

Regarding the comments made:

We went through the junior department at Tormead and didn't find much senior school involvement, although I didn't see this as a problem. There is a very strong head there now who is developing the junior department in many different aspects offering the girls there a host of extra curricular opportunities.

From my point of view the difference between the two schools is immense despite them both being at the top of the league tables (Guildford High always at the very top). In my opinion Guildford High achieve this through lots of pressure and close management of results. Tormead achieves this by nurturing the girls and helping them to find ways to achieve at their best. Tormead girls are encouraged to take part in everything … sort of "give it a go" and will not exclude girls from activities where they are not particularly strong, this allows for development in areas where you may not be given the opportunity elsewhere.

I find the parents at Tormead very relaxed, largely not competitive and mixed in terms of wealth.

The overviews of both schools in the Good Schools Guide are very helpful.

I hope this helps.

happilyconfused Tue 14-Jul-09 00:01:38

DD was offered a place a GHS but we turned it down because it was a little too scarey. I thought I could not mix with the Surrey middle class power mum - I am not tall, not blond, not thin and have to work. I found the other mums very snooty. It was different at Tormead and we like it - but not as much St Catherines where it felt that the girls where not as tightly controlled and were more individual.

surreylady Tue 14-Jul-09 19:21:38

Have to disagree with some of the comments about GHS - and I speak from personal experience - we (and DD) are very happy - I think it has a reputation of being pushy but only with people who have no personal experience ifyswim all of the girls in our class are very happy and relaxed. I think you should look at both and I do agree they are different - we had the choice and are very happy with our choice it is very much I feel what suits your daughter - parents are mostly professional types as selection means it is not about income and it is a mixed area. I would look at St Catherines also - as I consider this is also very good - very lucky area IMO to have such a good choice of schools for girls. One point to consider if you are looking at Junior - GHS has a policy of selecting at all intakes and so if you have a place in prep school you will NOT have to sit for the senior school - Tormead unless it has changed in the last couple of years does not - for us we are happy that DD will not be put through the entrance exam stress at 11.

surreylady Tue 14-Jul-09 19:32:14

Opps just read the title - sorry - lucky DD is smarter than me....

busymomtoone Wed 11-Aug-10 23:56:30

Well we looked at both schools, and Tormead (junior) has much smaller classes - some only 14, vs GHS up to 24, and slightly better grounds/gym; but then GHS has the edge on academic (tables) achievement, and swimming/other sports facilities, and some might argue general facilities?(labs,computer gear etc) . Moved in year 3 because DD found to have very high IQ and not being stretched enough - it was her decision (immediately she walked in!) to go for GHS and I was initially very apprehensive - I am also not a yummy mum,never carry designer handbag and struggle to pay the fees!! However, for us it was 100 per cent the right decision, DD was welcomed with open arms (as were parents) - maybe there is snobbery in some classes, but not in hers, and she has completed one year and has enjoyed absolutely every single day. My own take (which is only personal) is that if your child might need some coaxing/encouragement to learn then possibly Tormead; if your child snatches at learning and is an enthusiastic academic then possibly GHS - at the end of the day we know very bright older girls at both schools and they are all lovely girls and very happy/thriving/academically achieving - so I think it boils down to what matters most to you and DD.

mummytime Thu 12-Aug-10 07:58:51

Tormead is getting a new headteacher (she comes from St Catherines). Tormead, St Catherines and GHS are all good schools with good facilities. I know lots of quite normal Mums at all three.

I don't think there is much snobbery at any of them (maybe I just know the lovely girls). Tormead was very different years ago, just listen to Sandy Toksvig on it!

Happymum22 Tue 31-Aug-10 21:08:37

To do my bit for GHS!!...
I am not at all posh i am a working single mum (not blonde, skinny or 'surrey power mum')and my daughters who are a couple of years into seniors love it! I think if you're daughter is academic enough to get a place she will be more than able to cope and thrive.
My daughter worked hard for her GCSEs which amazed me as she did not need (much!) nagging or motivation from me, I know a tormead girl who is receieving £200 per A grade at GCSE for her results, my daughter simply wanted to do well and knew how to revise. She is not top, pretty much just below middle of the year group in most subjects. The support is excellent my daughter went in for help from teachers during her study leave or throughout the year would be confident about asking for extra help, and my other daughter who isnt so motivated or confident about asking for help is still doing well and gets the help and push when needed.
One of my daughters is very loud and confident, the other quite shy, my other who has now left was shy but certainly changed as she got to year 11 and grew and grew in confidence, but I feel the school caters for all very well and in particular the pastoral care is outstanding, my eldest had some problems and said she felt the teachers generally were mostly all very approachable and she feels particularly in the older years when problems to tend to arise the school helped her hugely not just 'solving' the problem but checking up and showing care and reassurance the school is alwyas there for pupils afterwards. In the yougner years, yes, like any all girls school their is bitchiness but one thing that stands out is all the girls do have strong friends and the school deals well with friendship problems, recognising what is major and what is normal and making sure the girls learn from any situations.

GHS is excellent if your daughter is sporty, the sports centre is amazing, also music and drama are very strong. But if you're daughter isnt there is plenty of other things to do, sport was great as my eldest who loved lacrosse played for the shcooll, wheras my youngest who hates it now doesnt even have to do it in her pe lesson she has a choice of a variety of more fitness focus recreational sports.There is houses now which my youngest loves doing the competitions and i feel this has made GHS much more for everyone rather than just the top lax player, top geniuses, top actor and rest forgotten as i feel it used to be. It has changed a lot in the last few years with new SMT and a much more relaxed enviorment but still outstanding results.
We cant afford too many trips etc and this was a big worry for us before but its not too much of an issue, the trips arent too expensive and yes we have found things like the ski trip and watersports holidays are a no go for us, but the girls have been fine with it and havent missed out or ever expresed upset about missing out! I get on well with my daughters close friends parents and fit in fine.

GHS really really isnt the high pressures powerhouse it's made out to be, yes it achieved highly but not through pushing and pushing, the girls dont have tons of homework at all, but they do do the work when set and are motivated to do it well.

Its not for everyone, but GHS certainly has been fantastic for my girls and my eldests reaction on leaving, feeling great sadness and feeling she will miss her friends, the teachers and community, but excitement and confidence about the future really sums up the school.

12jenny Thu 30-Aug-12 10:35:58

my child has been going to this school for a number of years and absolutely hates it in year eight alone 14 girls have left including my own. the head needs to get off her high horse and start helping this school thats going downhill fast. if you have the choice of sending you child somewhere else i advise you to take it now because you will be taking it later. i strongly advise sending your child to this school as it has changed dramatically for the worst i'm afraid.

12jenny Thu 30-Aug-12 10:37:52

sorry the school i meant is tormead, ghs is a lovely school

moid Fri 31-Aug-12 05:49:10

How about the Guildford state schools - George Abbott, County and St Peters all great reputations ?

Less issues with Surrey yummy mummies

BeckAndCall Mon 03-Sep-12 19:53:57

This thread is three years there a current question about either school?

HouseRules Wed 05-Sep-12 23:01:40

Any tips on the 11+ exams at Guildford High from past students please? thank you

meenarun Thu 27-Feb-14 22:04:04

I am looking at applying for my daughter in GHS. Can you please give a heads up as to what is it they expect the child to know. Did you give any special coaching for your daughter. Thanks

AliceInSandwichLand Thu 27-Feb-14 22:30:37

Do you mean 11 plus entry? If so, it's an English exam, a Maths exam and an interview - both exams pretty standard compared with other schools I think - 11+ books prepare pretty well for the maths, the English is a comprehension on a passage and then a related piece of free writing, or at least it was a few years ago. They interview all girls on exam day - not a scary interview, things like what their hobbies are and what they think is happening in a certain picture, etc.

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