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Manchester High School for Girls

GCSE Results: Cream of the crop from Manchester High

As the new, more rigorous grading system for GCSEs (1 to 9 rather than G to A*) comes into full force, pupils at Manchester High School for Girls are celebrating excellent examination results.

Half of all grades achieved by this year’s cohort were grade 8 or 9 (with 8 an A* and 9 ‘beyond’ an A* in the former system) and, despite forewarnings that the grade 9 would be awarded to fewer students than the old A*, 14 girls secured a string of 8s and 9s in all their subjects.

Fit for the Future

Head Mistress, Mrs Claire Hewitt, commented: “This school was founded in 1874 with the aim of giving girls the best education possible and to, ‘…fit them for any future which may be before them’. This is something of a tricky task for myself and the teaching staff, as, what we know about the future is that we don’t know about the future!

“While we can’t possibly know what lies ahead, what we can do is teach our girls critical skills and enable them to lay solid foundations for the future. Some of these pupils have been with us since the age of four; we have taught them to read, write and calculate but we’ve also armed them with less tangible skills such as agility and adaptability, critical thinking and problem solving, initiative and entrepreneurship.

“A skill set such as this has seen them through these challenging GCSE syllabuses and will now take them on to A-level, university and beyond. They should all be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

“I’ve never felt pigeon-holed!”

All the 9s...99! Mahima and Beatrice from Bolton both scored a string of straight 9s

Beatrice de Goede and Mahima Raghavendra, both from Bolton, scored grade 9s across the board and were also both awarded an A* grade for their Higher Project Qualification (HPQ), an autonomous piece of work where students select an area in which they would like to expand their knowledge.

Beatrice, who sat exams in ten subjects, English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Dance, History, Latin and Spanish, commented: “I’ve never felt pigeon-holed at Manchester High School for Girls. I love all the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, as well as languages, but have always felt totally supported by my teachers to explore my creative side too.  

“Dance has always been the highlight of my timetable and away from school I have competed as an ice dancer. Sometimes I’ve felt tempted to pursue that as a career path but I’ve decided, with these GCSE grades, to first explore the sciences and see where that takes me.”

All the 9s!

Mahima who secured grade 9s in nine subjects (English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Geography and German) said: “I’m totally overwhelmed. I felt like I’ve prepared well but the exams are tough so you just never know! I’m really pleased that all my friends have done really well too. It’s been the best morning!”

Mahima will now undertake A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Geography in the MHSG Sixth Form.

Excellence all round

Crème de la crème: Niamh from Prestbury is another girl celebrating 9s across the board

100% of all grades in Religious Studies were grade 8 or 9, and 91% of all Geography and Dance grades at Manchester High School for Girls were ranked in the 7 to 9 band (A to A*) of which Mrs Hewitt remarked:

“Manchester High girls shine across the full breadth of the curriculum. Religious Studies, Geography and Dance, for example, are three very distinct subject areas where our pupils have excelled equally. This year’s cohort must be on their levels of commitment and enthusiasm. Regardless of which of their nine or ten GCSE subject lessons they have been in, they have remained indiscriminately dedicated. This is a group of young women with real stamina!”

Prestbury’s Niamh Tooher is one such student who has given her all to an extensive GCSE curriculum. She secured ten grade 9s in English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Dance, Geography, German and History.

Of her achievement Niamh said: “I can’t believe I have ten grade 9s. I knew I had worked hard and stuck to my revision timetable but I wasn’t quite expecting this! I’m planning to take forward Geography, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics to A-level. I know they’re all quite STEM-focused but feel like Geography will provide some balance.

“I know there is a big jump between GCSEs and A-levels so I’m really pleased to be staying on at Manchester High as the teachers are brilliant. Learning here is a very collaborative process, you’re really encouraged to be inquisitive and independent, which is probably why I just got down to my revision! The extra-curricular programme here is also really varied so I’ll be able to continue dancing outside of my lessons.”

Served up an ace!

International tennis player, Holly Staff

Among Manchester High’s GCSE year group is rising international tennis star, Holly Staff, who due to gruelling training regimes and fixtures abroad is often away from school. A Swinton resident, Holly is both Under 18 and Under 16 British Tennis Singles Champion and can now add eight GCSEs to her list of honours. She secured grade 9s in Biology and Sport Studies, grade 8s in Mathematics, History, Physics and Religious Studies, a grade 7 in English Literature and a grade 6 in English Language.

Mrs Hewitt remarked: “It’s important to us that girls pursue their passions and take their talents to the absolute limit which is why we are totally supportive of Holly’s tennis journey. Her results prove that as well as working hard on the tennis court she has also really put her mind to her studies.”

Holly commented: “There’s obviously a lot of pressure to juggle my tennis career with school work but I realise the importance of having a good education behind me, even Serena Williams can’t play tennis forever! Manchester High keeps me grounded and I feel very fortunate to have such supportive friends and teachers who I know are willing me on whether it’s on court or in the classroom.”

Holly will continue into the Sixth Form at Manchester High, taking A-levels in History, Physics, Biology and Economics.

Sixth Form Applications for September

A limited number of places in the Sixth Form at Manchester High School for Girls’ Sixth Form are available for a September 2019 start.

Mrs Hewitt explained: “Today there will be those students who perform better than they expected in their examinations. Every year at Manchester High we speak with girls who have a fantastic set of GCSE results and want to see what our high performing Sixth Form can offer them.

“We are available today and appointments can be made after that to come in and chat things through. You don’t have to commit to anything, it’s simply about exploring your options.”

For more information visit or call 0161 224 0447.