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.
Year 10 Violist From UCS Returns To The Royal Festival Hall
Jaren Ziegler, a UCS violist, is looking forward to performing at the Royal Festival Hall in July. He has also been selected to play with the LGT Young Soloists & is a semi-finalist at the forthcoming Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition.
30th June 2021 — Jaren Ziegler, a Year 10 violist at University College School in Hampstead, is looking forward to returning to the Royal Festival Hall this summer. In 2020, Jaren performed solo at the iconic South Bank venue as part of the Rotary Club’s Youth Makes Music Concert. Next month Jaren will perform there as part of the National Youth Orchestra following a successful audition during the spring. Jaren is understandably extremely excited about this opportunity and commented, “I have really missed performing to an audience over the last 15 months. I have spent a lot of time having lessons, doing auditions and performing using Zoom. This has its limitations so I just can’t wait to be back on the stage.” This concludes another successful academic year for the ambitious violist. In April he was awarded 1st place in the North London Festival Solo String Competition for ages 14-18. In May, Jaren auditioned for LGT Young Soloists and has been invited to perform with them later in the year. The chamber orchestra is considered by some to be the finest youth orchestra in Europe. Jaren has also been selected as a semi-finalist in the Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition which will take place in November. He is the youngest competitor and one of only 4 from the UK.
Jaren is a music scholar at UCS which means he receives a reduction in fees and free instrumental lessons. He usually practices for 3 hours every day and takes a leading role in a number of the school’s impressive ensembles. Chris Dawe, Director of Music at UCS, is understandably delighted by Jaren’s persistence over the last year and commented, “Jaren has worked extremely hard throughout the various lockdowns. He has performed in several school recitals but on the whole, there have been few opportunities to perform to live audiences. Nonetheless, Jaren continues to make superb progress and richly deserves the chance to perform with the LGT Young Soloists. I know he is also excited about returning to the Royal Festival Hall and we wish him the best of luck with this.”
Inaugural UCS Partnership Education Conference launched to great acclaim
On 18th June, UCS launched The Conversation, an education conference planned and delivered by teachers from UCS, three partnership schools (Westminster Academy, UCL Academy and LAE, Stratford) and renowned speakers Hayley Mulenda and Tulip Siddiq.
25th June 2021 — Last Friday, University College School in Hampstead launched its first education conference known as The Conversation.
The inaugural event focused on wellbeing and mental health and was attended by teachers from across the capital.
The conference had been devised and planned over the last six months by staff at UCS and three of its state partnership schools: Westminster Academy, UCL Academy and the London Academy of Excellence, Stratford.
Staff from all four schools delivered seminars, workshops and talks on aspects of pastoral care and teachers appreciated the opportunity to share practice across the schools and, indeed, the state and independent sectors.
The conference was masterminded by one of UCS’s Directors of Teaching and Learning, Sophie Bennett, who commented: "There is so much to be gained by sharing expertise across our schools.
"I was delighted that the schools involved were able to work so closely to put on such an enriching programme of staff development.
She continued: "Every school is different but as teachers one thing truly unites us: nothing is more important than the wellbeing of our pupils.
"Today was an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our work and learn from each other."
The festival was free to attend and whilst Covid restrictions meant everything was carried out online, this did not detract from the experience.
A highlight for some was hearing from renowned speaker Hayley Mulenda whose address was followed by a talk from local MP and Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Tulip Siddiq.
Talks delivered by teachers from UCS, LAE, UCL Academy and Westminster Academy were equally impressive.
Mark Beard, Headmaster at UCS, was delighted with the success of the conference: "It’s been a remarkable school year and this was a fantastic opportunity for teachers across the independent and state sectors to share expertise regarding mental health and wellbeing in education.
"The programme was broad and the talks were fascinating.
"I would like to thank Westminster Academy, UCL Academy and LAE, Stratford for their involvement.
"The key to successful partnership work is designing activities which mutually benefit all the schools involved and this certainly did!"
Head of Physics at UCS, Dr Peter Edmunds, has released a GCSE Science textbook which supports pupils with the mathematical aspects of the GCSE Science courses. The book has already received 5-star reviews online.
22nd June 2021 — Last month, colleagues and pupils at University College School in Hampstead were delighted to learn that Dr Peter Edmunds, who has been Head of Physics at UCS since 2020, has released a GCSE Science textbook.
The book is designed to support pupils with the mathematical aspects of the GCSE Science courses and has already received 5 star reviews online.
Dr Edmunds was delighted that it has been so well received and commented: “I’ve always enjoyed writing new teaching resources for my classes, and two years ago started a website (sciencedoctor.school.blog) to share these more widely within the teaching community.
"At times, teachers have a hectic schedule and so it’s nice to make other teachers' lives a little easier. I’ve been amazed that my resources have been downloaded 300,000 times now!"
Collins, the publishers, contacted Dr Edmunds in 2020 and the book, which is designed to be used by pupils of all abilities, was released in mid-May.
Dr Edmunds added: "I tested some of the resources in my classes and they really enjoyed the challenge of the higher level material."
Mark English, Vice Master and Academic Director at UCS added: "We were delighted to support Peter with this. Sharing resources between teachers across schools is essential in developing pedagogy and we are pleased Dr Edmunds’ book has been so well received."
UCS pupil in Year 11 raises £1,500 for laptops at local primary school
UCS pupil, Lukas Horvat, raised £1500 during lockdown which has been donated to Richard Cobden Primary School in Camden. The money will be used to buy laptops for pupils whose learning has been most affected by the lockdowns over the last 12 months.
25th May 2021 — During the most recent lockdown, a Year 11 pupil at University College School in Hampstead, Lukas Horvat, raised £1,500 to support pupils whose learning had been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last Friday, Lukas donated this money to Richard Cobden Primary School in Camden who will use this money to buy laptop computers for a number of their pupils.
Lukas commented: "My friends and I know how fortunate we have been over the last 12 months to get full access to online learning. We were keen to do something to help so I setup the website maths4all.uk
"I am pleased with the response to the appeal and I hope that my friends and I will be able to support primary aged pupils with maths over the summer.
"It was wonderful to visit Richard Cobden Primary School and see that they are able to put the money to such good use."
Kathy Bannon, Headteacher at Richard Cobden added: "We are delighted by Lukas’s donation. This money will be used to buy equipment for our pupils who need it most.
"This donation will have a significant impact on pupils’ learning and we can’t thank Lukas enough."
Additionally, over the last six weeks, fourteen Year 5 pupils at Richard Cobden Primary have been working with UCS pupils via Zoom before school every Friday morning.
The UCS pupils, from Years 10 and 11, work through maths problems using Zoom for 30 minutes every week.
Headteacher, Kathy Bannon, commented: "This scheme has been a real hit. Our pupils get so much out of working with the older UCS boys.
"Not only are they being supported with their maths but the UCS students are excellent role models and our pupils relate to them extremely well."
Functional Movement Software Revolutionises PE Lessons at UCS
Functional Movement Software has revolutionised how the movement of pupils at UCS is developed. Each PE lesson now begins with a series of exercises which are individually planned for each pupil and help them to form correct movement habits.
18th May 2021 — Over the last 12 months, pupils at University College School in Hampstead have benefitted from a fresh approach to PE. Throughout this time, pupils in Years 7, 9 and 10 have been using Functional Movement Software (FMS) to monitor their movement capabilities. At UCS, each PE lesson for these pupils begins with 10-minutes of exercises which are individually generated from assessments. The software is provided by FMS UK and allows teachers and pupils to individually track pupil’s developments and support them in forming correct movement habits.
Edward Sawtell, Director of Sport at UCS, has been impressed with the impact the software has made to lessons and on pupils, “It is clear that our pupils are moving more efficiently than they were a year ago. This means they are developing better gross motor skills and learning the skills for specific sports should be easier. The improvement to movement will stay with our pupils for the rest of their lives and will hopefully set them all on the right path to enjoy good physical wellbeing.”
FMS was used by UCS pupils throughout the various lockdowns over the last year. Mr Sawtell added, “The FMS platform offered our pupils support even when exercising at home. Our lessons were conducted by Zoom and it was fantastic to see pupils doing their movement patterns in their homes and gardens.” The scheme has been equally popular with pupils. One Year 7 boy, Charlie, explained, “The exercises have really helped me to get much stronger. We all do slightly different things and some of the stretches are quite unusual. I like the one that strengthens the side of my back – I had never thought about doing that before.
The scheme has been such a success that it is being expanded to include all pupils from Years 6-11 from September.
UCS Shortlisted For Sustainable School of the Year Award
On World Earth Day, pupils and staff at University College School in Hampstead were delighted to learn that the UCS Foundation had been shortlisted for the Sustainable School of the Year in the Sustainable City Awards.
26th April 2021 — On World Earth Day, pupils and staff at University College School in Hampstead were delighted to learn that the UCS Foundation had been shortlisted for the Sustainable School of the Year in the Sustainable City Awards. The awards are organised by environmental charity Global Action Plan and partnered by Investec, Mayor of London and LEDnet (London Environment Directors’ Network). They seek to recognise individuals and organisations who have developed imaginative solutions and approaches to help Londoners from all backgrounds live, work and spend their leisure time in ways that are good for health, wealth and the planet.
In January, UCS pledged to go Carbon Zero by 2030 and are working through a series of measures in an effort to meet this target. James Firth, the Environmental Impact Coordinator of the UCS Foundation, commented, “We are so pleased that what we have done across the three UCS schools has been recognised by being shortlisted for this award. We are making great strides in this area but what is really special, is that so many of our initiatives have been pupil-led. Around sixty pupils getting involved in planning a significant number of projects. For example, the work of Year 9 pupils devising and implementing a drive to improve recycling across the school has been particularly eye catching and over 75% of our waste is now recycled. Year 12s should also be congratulated on their work with Oxford University in devising short films to promote communication on the subject of climate change.”
Earlier this year, UCS teamed up with the Camden Forest initiative and 100 trees were planted across the borough in pupil’s gardens. 60% of UCS pupils and staff travel to school via sustainable means and an independent travel scheme running at the UCS Junior Branch further encourages pupils to walk to school whenever possible. Pre-pandemic, this scheme achieved a 50% reduction in daily vehicle use. In the last 12 months, the number of pupils cycling to UCS has doubled and the school are working with Sustrans to further encourage this. Staff are strongly discouraged from driving to school although there are now five electrical charging points for their cars on site. The school’s biodiversity and allotment societies contain pupils aged between 4 and 18 and their enthusiasm for growing vegetables, keeping bees and looking after chickens is evident. As a Green Flag School, the ‘Eco Warrior’ team is well-established at the UCS Pre-Prep and throughout the Foundation’s curriculum, sustainability is firmly embedded.
Mark Beard, Headmaster of the UCS Foundation, stated, “I congratulate my colleagues Mr Firth, Ms Casey and Mrs Lenton who have done so much to promote sustainability across the UCS Foundation. Our pupils are carrying out sterling work in an area which is of huge importance to us all.” Tristan Jenkins from Year 10 concluded, “Everyone at UCS knows how important our work is and it has been fantastic to see the whole community working together. Improving air quality, reducing emissions, and encouraging biodiversity are fundamental to life in the 21st century. There is more to be done so watch this space.”