Withington Girls’ School (WGS) is an independent day school for around 640 girls aged seven to eighteen. It was founded in 1890 by a group of eminent and far-sighted Manchester families who wanted the same educational opportunities for their daughters as were already available for their sons. A-level and GCSE results consistently confirm the School’s position as one of the top ten schools in the UK and the best-performing school in the North of England. In 2013 WGS pupils achieved 96% of GCSE passes at grades A* and A, and 94% of A level passes at grades A*, A and B. The Sutton Trust’s 2011 Degrees of Success report placed WGS as the second most successful school in the country, with over 90% of pupils going on to one of the 30 most selective UK universities.
WGS is a former direct grant grammar school, and it aims to extend the opportunity of a WGS education to those girls who will benefit from it most, irrespective of their financial circumstances. Approximately one-in-six Senior School pupils receives help via means-tested bursaries, which range from 10 to 100% of the annual fee, according to need.
WGS girls play a full role in working with and supporting the local community. The School is situated close to the extremely challenging areas of Moss Side and Hulme, and many of the local primary schools have required support to tackle the effects of social and economic deprivation traditionally associated with major urban conurbations. Since 2006 WGS has hosted SHINE Saturday Morning Science classes to help raise the aspirations of local primary school children. The School’s sporting facilities are used extensively by local groups during the weekday evenings and a partnership with Manchester City Council enables local teenagers to have two hours of free football coaching each week in the School’s Sports Hall.
All WGS Lower Sixth girls spend give service to the local community, including local primary schools, a special school and a care home for elderly people. WGS pupils raised more than £23,000 for charity during the school year 2012/13 through activities ranging from whole school extravaganzas, such as Strictly Come Dancing and the Fashion Show, to a constant stream of cake sales. Girls who are going on the World Challenge expeditions and The Gambia also raise money to help fund orphanages and projects in less developed areas of the world.