Students at the Senior School achieve outstanding academic results. There are around 850 pupils (aged 11 – 18), and each year around 40 girls join our Sixth Form. Our aim is to produce students who can progress to university with the confidence and motivation to stand alone as independent learners, with a love of learning for learning's sake. Academic endeavour is supported by a wide range of co-curricular activities, including excellent provision for Sport, Music, and Drama.
About the school
University College School was founded in Gower Street in 1830 as part of University College, London and moved to its current location in Hampstead in 1907. The UCS Foundation comprises three separate schools offering education to children at each stage of their development from the ages of 3 – 18. UCS was founded to be different from other schools and we remain so today. Our approach to education is founded on a dual emphasis on liberal academic scholarship and on being a community of individuals; this lends the School a distinctiveness of which we are extremely proud. We have an outstanding reputation for pastoral care which results in a happy and well-balanced environment for pupils and staff alike. Our pupils are hard-working, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and a lot of fun. We believe in creating a culture of intellectual curiosity where our pupils think outside the box and develop a love of learning for learning’s sake. Our inspirational teachers encourage debate and breadth of thought to nurture this culture: our outstanding academic achievements are the result not just of effective learning, but of the fact that UCS pupils leave School as problem solvers. Our founding principles of tolerance and liberal scholarship can be seen in the kindness and confidence displayed by each of our pupils; their caring attitude is evident not just through the respect with which they treat each other but also through the ambitious programme of charitable fundraising which they undertake each year. We want our pupils to be able to make a real difference to their world, and we take great pride in UCS being such a strong and vibrant community – one where the educational experience is truly unique. Teaching and learning at UCS is driven by far more than simply the desire to achieve top examination results. Our aim is to produce students who can progress to university with the confidence and motivation to stand alone as independent learners, with a firm basis of knowledge, experience and understanding, and a strong sense of values, personal integrity and compassion. The emphasis in all that we do at UCS is on identifying, supporting and meeting the needs of individual students. Teaching is well-structured and orthodox, yet challenging and varied. Much emphasis is placed upon developing in our students a commitment to, and an enthusiasm for, learning. The Senior School is the largest single element of the UCS Foundation. Approximately half of the students who sit GCSE and A-level here will have come up from the Junior Branch. Some of those will have started their education at The Phoenix. The other half will have joined through our admissions processes at the ages of 11, 13 or 16. Whenever they join us, all will quickly feel full and valued members of the UCS community.
UCS Community Donates Over 3 Tonnes of Groceries to Local Food Bank
Last week, the pupils, parents and staff of University College School in Hampstead donated over three tonnes of groceries to North Paddington Food Bank.
12th October 2020 — Last week, the pupils, parents and staff of University College School in Hampstead donated over three tonnes of groceries to North Paddington Food Bank. The school has supported the food bank since 2016. Back then, members of one form group organised the collection after being inspired by a discussion around food poverty and the Ken Loach film, I, Daniel Blake. Four years later, the collection now involves pupils from across all three schools in the UCS Foundation and on Friday, three trips were made by UCS staff to deliver the groceries and toiletries to the food bank based on Elgin Avenue.
James Quayle, manager of North Paddington Food Bank, was delighted by the response of the UCS community to the appeal, “At this point in 2019, we had supported 8,000 people. Already this year we have supported 20,000 people and we anticipate this number to rise even higher over the next month. So many families are living in extreme hardship and knowing we can rely on the UCS community to provide a sizable donation every October makes a huge difference to our work and means everyone who relies on us, can receive the best possible support. Thank you UCS. The size of this donation is simply staggering.” Mark Beard, Headmaster of the UCS Foundation was equally pleased, “It was fantastic to see our staff and pupils all working together for a common cause. The food was packed into 159 boxes which were delivered on Friday and I would like to thank everyone in the Foundation who donated these items. I am now looking forward to seeing more events like this run after half-term during our Community Action programme.”
Prof. Sir Roger Penrose, a former pupil at University College School, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Prof Penrose's work on black holes is considered the most important contribution to the general theory of relativity since Einstein.
9th October 2020 — Earlier this week, Professor Sir Roger Penrose, a former pupil at University College School, was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize to the Old Gower for “the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.” The academy credits Sir Roger with using, “ingenious mathematical methods in his proof that black holes are a direct consequence of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.” In 1965, Sir Roger proved that black holes can form and his ground-breaking article is still regarded by many as the most important contribution to the general theory of relativity since Einstein.
Professor Sir Roger Penrose studied at University College School in Hampstead between 1945 and 1949. He was awarded a knighthood in 1994 and shared the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1988 with Stephen Hawking. Mark Beard, Headmaster of UCS commented, “This is a fantastic achievement and we congratulate Prof Penrose and everyone who has collaborated and contributed to his work.”
Pupils at University College School were delighted to learn that construction work on the new Sixth Form Centre is ahead of schedule and that the building will be ready for use shortly after the Christmas holidays.
22nd September 2020 — Sixth Form pupils at University College School in Hampstead were delighted to learn that construction work on the new Sixth Form Centre is ahead of schedule and that the building will be ready for use shortly after the Christmas holidays. The Centre has been designed by Lewandowski Architects, whose work on the recently opened AKO Centre, UCS’s stunning library and creative learning centre, was so impressive. With that in mind, the sense of anticipation is sky high! The new Sixth Form Centre will be significantly larger than its predecessor. There will be extensive space for pupils to work and unwind. The café area will be larger and pupils will find that the new space will have a more open-plan feel. Many of the foundational design elements for the new centre came from the students themselves: the project needed to be as environmentally-friendly as is possible from the very start, and a strong sense of biophilia, as well as sustainability, underpins the design and the furnishings.
Mark Beard, Headmaster of UCS, delighted with the progress of the new building said, "The girls and boys in our Sixth Form are understandably excited about the imminent opening of these inspirational facilities. The new space will be exceptional and an environment where collaborative work could happen anywhere, not just in one designated area. Like the Creative Learning Centre opened in 2019, it will certainly add to the Sixth Form experience at UCS. I almost wish I could be a sixth former again!"
UCS Musician Wins Scholarship at Birmingham University
Last week, Daniel Kohn, a former UCS pupil, was awarded a music scholarship at the University of Birmingham. Daniel plays the oboe and violin and this award entitles him to £3000 of instrument tuition at University or Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
9th September 2020 — The Good Schools Guide visited University College School in Hampstead in January 2020. They described the standard of music as “spine tingling” and the range of music, drama and dance opportunities available to UCS pupils was evident throughout June’s UCS Unlocked, the online Performing Arts Festival setup by the school in June.
Last week, Daniel Kohn, a former UCS pupil who achieved one A* and two A grades in his A-Levels this summer, was awarded a music scholarship at the University of Birmingham. Daniel was also a music scholar at UCS and was delighted to receive this award which entitles him to £3000 of instrument tuition at the University or Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Daniel commented, “At UCS I took advantage of the Endangered Instrument Scheme run by the music department. I was already a violinist but, through this scheme run by the school, I had free lessons on the oboe. By Year 11, I had progressed to leading the oboe section in the school’s orchestras and ensembles and latterly I played with the English Schools’ Orchestra at Cadogan Hall. This was a real highlight for me.” Daniel starred at UCS’ spring concert where he played Stephen Frost’s Oboe Concerto accompanied by the school’s chamber orchestra. He added, “Playing Stephen’s concerto was an incredible opportunity to showcase contemporary oboe work. It was fantastic to play the piece in UCS’ iconic Great Hall and I was delighted when Stephen told me how moved he was when he heard me play it.”
Daniel will undoubtedly return to UCS at some point to support younger pupils with their musical pursuits but he is now looking forward to embracing the challenges posed by studying Medicine whilst furthering his musical education. If you would like to know more about the benefits music scholars enjoy at UCS, please see: https://www.ucs.org.uk/bursaries-and-scholarships
Year 11 pupils at UCS celebrated a superb set of GCSE qualifications. 19 pupils achieved straight 9 grades and 53 pupils achieved a set of grades which included only 8s and 9s.
20th August 2020 — Year 11 pupils at University College School in Hampstead celebrated a superb set of GCSE qualifications today. 19 pupils achieved straight 9 grades and 53 pupils achieved a set of grades which included only 8s and 9s. Pupils studying English Language, English Literature, German, Ancient Greek, Mandarin, Music, DT and Drama all achieved at least a grade 7 in these subjects. Mark Beard, Headmaster of the UCS Foundation was pleased with the results. He commented, “Around 80% of grades were 8 or 9. I am delighted for the pupils after what has been an extremely challenging period. They worked so hard throughout their GCSE courses up to lockdown and did so whilst fully committing to our impressive cultural, sporting and performing arts scenes. I hope they are proud of these results.”
UCS has recently expanded its bursary provision which makes education at UCS more accessible than ever before. Year 11 bursary pupils achieved an average grade of 8.5. If you would like to know more about fee assistance at UCS, please see: www.ucs.org.uk/bursaries-and-scholarships
This Year 11 cohort will start their Sixth Form studies at UCS in early September and will be joined by around 60 girls in the co-educational Sixth Form.
Pupils at UCS celebrated stellar A-Level results this week. 95% of grades were A*, A or B and the pupils now look forward to taking up their places at Cambridge, Oxford and other Russell Group universities.
19th August 2020 — Earlier this week, pupils at University College School in Hampstead celebrated the government’s decision to award A-Level candidates the Centre Assessment Grades (referred to as CAGs).
95% of grades achieved by UCS pupils were A*-B and 92 pupils were awarded straight A or A* grades. Mark Beard, Headmaster of the UCS Foundation was understandably pleased by these results commenting, “The class of 2020 broke all school records for GCSE results back in 2018. I know they were disappointed that they were not given the opportunity to prove themselves in the exam hall this summer but we now feel that they have received the grades which their industry over the last two years has merited. We wish them all the very best of luck for the future.”
The vast majority of UCS pupils have been awarded places at one of their top choice universities, including those studying Engineering, History, History of Art and Physics at Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell Group universities. Applicants to study Medicine were equally successful. Every year, a number of UCS pupils decide to pursue their post-18 study abroad. Supported by UCS’s long-established SAT preparation course, the USA remains a popular destination and this year’s leavers will be taking up places at illustrious institutions such as Chicago, University of Southern California and Cornell.
UCS is proud that it has recently been able to increase provision for means-tested bursaries which makes education at UCS more accessible than ever before. The outgoing Year 13 contained seventeen bursary pupils and eleven of these pupils achieved straight A or A* grades and, next month, will start courses in subjects including Maths, Economics and Chemistry at universities such as Cambridge, LSE and Imperial. If you would like to know more about fee assistance at UCS, please see: www.ucs.org.uk/bursaries-and-scholarships