Leaders who listen

At The Abbey, leadership is built on listening. Staff and student leaders aim to consult their peers and build consensus on the way ahead.

Everyone looking back at their own school days will have such clear memories of what worked well and what didn’t. Getting students involved in how school works is a wonderful experience for them. It empowers them to feel ownership over their own development. It also helps create the best and most fulfilling student experience.

At The Abbey, every form has a leader and representatives on councils looking at sustainability, diversity, food and more – a mix of the issues and the everyday experiences that shape how school feels. Student Council is led by the Head Girls and engages in a dialogue with the leadership of the school.

At the top of the Junior School and in the Sixth Form the majority of students have their own specific leadership roles. There are Head Girls and deputies, House captains and leaders in sport, drama, music and art – but there is such a wide range besides. Students get involved in organising alumna events, liaising with younger years and the Junior School, marketing, science, digital innovation – any aspect of school life that interests them and helps them gain experience.

Every student in Years 5, 6, 7, 9, 11 and 12 meets with the Head every year in small groups to share their ideas on the development of the school.

Choice in learning

The Abbey probably offers the most choice and personalisation of any school. It is all built around our Abbey Learner Profile.

We want every Abbey student to be a thinker, inquirer, communicator and risk-taker: that’s why these qualities are the heart of our profile. We want girls to own their learning: not just to excel in tasks they’ve been given, but to break ground themselves.

At the Junior School, our Human Intelligence curriculum puts students as independent inquirers at its heart. They learn how to ask the right questions, and what to do with the answers. Year 6 culminates in an exhibition of learning where students create and curate exhibits about their passions and what investigating them has taught them.

At the Senior School, students start making their own curriculum choices from Year 7. They can select two or three from a range of languages. They can explore which creative subjects works best for them. By the time they pick GCSEs they are familiar with leading their own learning.

At the top of the school, every student chooses A Levels or the IB Diploma Programme. The IB route offers six subjects, Creativity, Activity and Service, Theory of Knowledge and independent work. The A Level route offers three or four subjects, an Extended Project Qualification, the Abbey Award and much more. Read more about the Sixth Form here.

The House system

All students are members of one of our four houses:

  • Carrington
  • Ducat
  • Kensington
  • Paget

Houses don’t just offer leadership roles: they offer the chance to get to know students across year groups in whole new ways. Students collaborate in projects and take part in activities. Alumnae remember and cheer on their house forever!


Fellows and Guild Visit Us

The Abbey probably offers the most choice and personalisation of any school.