The Grey Coat Hospital

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Grey Coat Hospital's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Grey Coat Hospital is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Siân Maddrell
GCH St Andrew’s site: a
Grade II listed building in
the heart of Westminster
The Grey Coat Hospital, founded in 1698, is a Church
of England comprehensive school for girls aged 11 to
18, which has a mixed sixth form. As a school, they
pride themselves on having strong values and express a
deep commitment to ensuring each student is known as an
individual who can then develop the knowledge, skills and
personal qualities to lead a successful and fulfilling life. Their
motto, taken from Corinthians, is “God give the increase”.
Headteacher Siân Maddrell and the school’s head girl, Elena,
provide a further overview of the school.
The aim of The Grey Coat Hospital is “to enable students to take charge of
their learning, make decisions based on Christian values, live in the world as
independent women and men and meet the challenges of the 21st century”. This
is a living aim which we strive to achieve for every student each and every day. We
have the highest aspirations for and expectations of our students, and everyone is
expected to represent themselves and the community as well as they can. We aim
for excellence both in and out of the classroom, seeking to develop the qualities of
inquisitiveness, resilience, independence, humility and kindness.
Expanding horizons
As a community, we want to be the very best school for our students, one which
ensures that each student experiences a challenging learning journey, achieves well
and learns in a reflective, creative and vibrant atmosphere in which all our students
may thrive.
»Headteacher: Siân Maddrell
»Founded in 1698
»Based in Westminster
»Type of school: Church of
England comprehensive
academy for girls (mixed sixth
form) aged 11-18
»No. of staff: 67 FTE teaching,
42 FTE non-teaching
»No. of students: 1,075
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”
The Grey Coat
Highlighting best practice
We emphasise the learning of
languages, as we believe that it is
important to develop the linguistic
skills to communicate with people from
around the world as well as to gain
an understanding and an appreciation
of other people, religions, countries
and cultures. We want our students
to be able to use their linguistic skills
in their future careers and lives. We
have the longest-standing German
exchange in the country, having
established an exchange with our
partner school, the Annette von Droste
Hülshoff Gymnasium, in Münster
in 1952. Students in year 10 have
the opportunity to take part in an
exchange with Chiyodo-ku in Tokyo,
which was established in 1997. Our
more recently established exchange
with Pamplona in Spain is thriving.
We believe strongly in the value of
exchanges to foster international
understanding and friendship.
We keep in close touch with our alumni.
Students enjoy their visits to the school
to talk about university, work and life
beyond Grey Coat. Whether they are
18 or 80, they say the same four things
about The Grey Coat Hospital:
1. You have to work hard at Grey
Coat. We believe in the importance
of working hard and achieving your
best so as to ensure real choices in
the future.
2. You are taught and expected to
behave according to Christian
values, with kindness, respect,
generosity, courtesy and honesty.
3. Students are given fantastic
opportunities and show boundless
enthusiasm for the many activities
offered, from STEM club to athletics,
gardening club to orchestra, and
exchanges abroad to the school play.
4. Attending The Grey Coat Hospital
means being part of a strong
community: the Grey Coat family.
Students make strong and positive
friendships, which last throughout
their time at school and beyond.
Treating people as individuals
At the core of The Grey Coat Hospital
is value for each member of the
community as an individual with a
shared learning journey and shared
values. We want our students to be
reflective and active in their learning
journey, consciously thinking about
the impact they want to have on the
world, and to think big.
Each year, we reflect on a theme that
is important to our community, such
as kindness, courage, discovery and
leadership. This reflection helps us to
develop together as a community and
The school community
celebrating the theme of
The success of our school lies in several factors:
»We are a strong community – a creative and dynamic team of staff
and students working together.
»Students are known as individuals and supported by our excellent
pastoral team, who create a sense of family within the school.
»Staff are committed to ensuring that students make excellent
progress and achieve extremely well in their examinations.
»Students are supported to explore the breadth and depth of the
curriculum both in lessons and through excellent enrichment and
extra-curricular opportunities.
»Many student leadership roles from year 7 through to year 13
give our students the experiences they need to develop and
demonstrate important personal qualities needed for success.
»A cycle of reflection ensures that everyone in the school community
contributes to ensuring that our school continues to develop with
each cohort.
We have the
exchange in the
country, having
established an
exchange with
our partner
school in Münster
in 1952
within ourselves. This is the foundation
on which we are able to build a
community where we work extremely
hard while having a lot of fun.
Head girl Elena’s commentary
I have been a part of the school
community for nearly seven years
now, and I can honestly say that The
Grey Coat Hospital is definitely not
any old regular school. Excellence here
is more than just expected; rather, it
is a natural and inherent part of our
culture. I see this on a regular basis in
our sixth-form common room, where
we tell one another about our hopes
and dreams for the future – of going
to Oxford, UCL, the Royal Academy
of Music, or even to southeast Asia to
do humanitarian work. These are only
a few of the plans some of us have
for ourselves, and I truly believe these
aspirations stem from the environment
that has been cultivated here.
This summer, I was fortunate enough to
visit India through my church to support
women and young people within the
red-light district. As a sixth former, I
was offered financial aid through an
initiative called The Grey Coat Hospital
Adventure Trust: a fund set aside to
support students who choose to go on
an adventure. The grant I was awarded
really made a difference to my being
able to participate in the trip. The trip
itself was incredible, and so I am very
thankful. Through this opportunity, I
gained an understanding of the joys
that can come from simplicity. I was
humbled by the individuals I met, who
lived a very different kind of life to
mine, and grew in compassion.
This is an environment in which you
learn that not even the sky is your
limit. As students at Grey Coat, we
ourselves like to say that there is a bit
of a bubble. Not the negative kind that
leaves you ignorant of events in the real
world – most certainly not. We love to
get involved in all sorts, whether that
be raising awareness and donating
to our local charities, often raising
over £1,000, or discussing politics,
listening to external speakers talk about
their amazing experiences, or being
competitive against other schools in
national competitions. No. Rather, in this
bubble you truly believe that nothing
can stop you from achieving what you
want, and the things that try to do so
need only be moved out of your way.
Personally, it had never occurred to me
that I might be discriminated against
in the working world as a woman.
This remained the case until only
a few years ago, because that had
never been relevant to my life. This is
because, here in our school, we build
more than just women of the 21st
century. We build, first of all, leaders,
scientists, philosophers, philanthropists,
debaters, creatives and so much more.
School life can be challenging, and it
is true to say that as students, you do
not always love it. At The Grey Coat
Hospital, you are pushed to be the
best version of yourself, and that can
sometimes mean being faced with
tough love. However, I do know that
my peers and I look back and realise
the extent to which our respective
journeys at Grey Coat have defined so
much of who we are and who we strive
to be. In the future, we will proudly
We want the
students to be
reflective and
active in their
thinking about
the impact they
want to have on
the world, and
to think big
The Grey Coat Hospital
headteacher, head girl
and deputies
»Progress 8 in 2018
(consistent with
previous years) +0.74
»Progress 8 for
students +0.47

This article was sponsored by The Grey Coat Hospital. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster