#StudentTakeover: “Happiness is key” as Golders Hill School celebrates 110 year anniversary

PUBLISHED: 11:56 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:56 23 March 2018

Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School

Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School


College of North West London student Tadhg Ormond delves into the history of a school which has been serving the community since before the First World War

The second headteacher of Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School The second headteacher of Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School

“Happiness is essential” for a successful school, according to a headteacher who has been a vital part of the fabric of a Golders Hill institution for more than 40 years.

It is a year of celebration a Golders Hill School, which caters for co-educational pre-prep students in the leafy suburb off Finchley Road and is marking its 110-year anniversary.

Over the years, the school has become a secret favourite of parents keen to gain access to schools such as Highgate School, North London Collegiate and University College School, Hampstead.

The official motto for the school is “a happy, secure and rich learning environment”, and student wellbeing is of the upmost importance to headteacher Amanda Eglash.

Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School

“We are all so excited to be celebrating our 110 Year anniversary,” she said.

“Golders Hill has been opening its doors to local children since before the First World War, when Edward VII was on the throne.

“Our school has always strived to be a happy, nurturing school, as well as a successful one. I am often told by ex-pupils that they hold precious memories their time here.

“I am delighted to see children join the school now, whose parents I once taught.”

Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School Lining up at Golders Hill School, Miss Davies. Photo by Golders Hill School

And there a plenty of ex-students hitting the headline.

Abe Tolley won a prestigious award for devising a new way to diagnose cancer. He was part of a team of seven science students from City of London School to be awarded a gold medal and four prizes at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition — described as the world cup of molecular biology. The team was honoured for developing a genetic circuit that can diagnose cancer easily, cheaply and, they claim, at a “curable stage”. Abe, now 17, travelled with his team-mates and teachers to the iGEM finals in Boston to present their discovery.

Entrepreneur Joshua Browder is the founder of DoNotPay, the first chatbot that allows motorists to appeal their parking tickets automatically, while fellow ex-pupil, Tommy Bard is featuring in the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Vanessa Kerner Wolfowitz, 45, grew up in Hampstead, and spent her early years as a pupil at the school. She said: “I was there pre-Amanda, but I remember my time there being particularly happy.

“That said, I do remember having soap put in my mouth once as a punishment for indulging in a spitting competition with my friend, but I guess they did things differently then.”

Pupils who sat the 5+ and 4+ assessment gained places at schools including Channing and South Hampstead High School, but Amanda makes it clear that she doesn’t believe in hot housing.

“I strongly believe that happiness is essential to the acquisition of knowledge, and that learning should always be fun.

“Competition may be tougher now, but we still do our best to buck the trend and achieve good results without undue pressure.

“I also try to ensure all our pupils will feel unique and special, regardless of their academic ability.

“These are their early years and they should be happy ones. We also encourage them to think of others and take part in charitable activities as much as they can.”

Amanda added: “We are so proud of all our pupils. We were particularly thrilled that this year, each one of our pupils who sat the 7+ assessments managed to gain a place at either Belmont, Highgate or University College School.

“This is a great achievement, for things have changed quite a bit over the years.

“When I first started at the school, there was a significantly higher ratio of places to applicants, so the pressure and competition to get places at these kinds of schools wasn’t nearly as harsh as it is today.”

Latest Hampstead Education News

Channing School has backed down after a row broke out over a plans to turn its sports field into a car park.

The mayor of London announced plans to extend London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) during a visit to Netley Primary School in Euston this morning (Friday).

An independent girls’ school is looking to upgrade the Victorian buildings housing its younger students.

A headteacher has vowed to keep the arts “alive and kicking” in his school despite creative subjects being squeezed out of curriculums across the country.

It was a star-studded speech day at UCS Hampstead with actress Helen McCrory taking to the stage to hand out prizes.

A catholic school is looking to triple the size of its sixth form as its new building nears completion.

A West Hampstead nursery has been given three weeks to improve after it was today given the worst possible Ofsted rating.

Cally man Dan Storey gave up art at 15 despite loving it. Now 42, he tells the Gazette about his first exhibition, which is running until June.

Swiss Cottage School has ditched plans to convert into an academy after being told another school would need to be included in the deal.

Preparing your child in advance for school will go a long way towards ensuring the very best start for your child.

After over 50 years in the acting industry, and a decade of unprecedented success delivering outstanding part-time performing arts tuition at her weekend Academies across the country, Pauline Quirke returns to her roots to create even more opportunities for young performers in North London.

A new survey has revealed the often “extraordinary” lengths parents have gone to get their children into their preferred primary school.

Camden Market’s array of stalls come in all shapes and sizes, but according to one trader “we are like a family who are always defending each other”.

Our Student Takeover 2018 drew to a close on Friday with an awards ceremony, but the story is not over for one budding journalist.

College of North West London student Tadhg Ormond delves into the history of a school which has been serving the community since before the First World War

A school has pulled out all the stops to champion all things scientific.

A group of 15 budding politicians have launched their campaigns to become Camden’s next youth MP.

South Hampstead High School’s bursary scheme has been championed by a former student who grasped the opportunity with both hands.

A team of media-hungry teenagers have arrived at the Ham&High for the Student Takeover 2018.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama has backed the Mayor of London’s commitment to calling out sexist and misogynistic attitudes.

Plans for a raft of Catholic schools to form an academy trust have been kicked into the long grass due to a lack of interest from those consulted.

Camden and Haringey schoolchildren have been celebrating the magic of fiction on World Book Day.

The Ham&High’s student takeover team has been decided following a Dragons’ Den-style pitching session at the City of Westminster College.

Placard-bearing staff at UCL have entered their second week of strikes in response to a dispute over pensions.

A consultation has been launched on plans to bring a specialist school for young people with autism to Haringey.

A Hampstead school table tennis team is going for glory after getting through to the finals of the table tennis national school team championships.

An Archway children’s centre has been rated “outstanding” across the board in its latest Ofsted report.

Fortismere School has appointed two permanent headteachers following a “rigorous selection process”.

A Camden super group has been formed to ensure that “no child gets left behind in Camden”.

The decision to admit girls into UCS Hampstead 10 years ago has been described as “ground-breaking”.

Former La Sainte Union student Eden Lunghy, 18, speaks to the Ham&High about her role as a Camden deputy youth mayor.

“Promoting equality and empowerment” remains at the forefront for an independent school celebrating 100 years since women were first able to exercise their right to vote.

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said the care a school has shown in hosting a play about their ordeal has made a great difference to his jailed wife.

Children at Our Lady of Muswell Primary School were left “stunned” by a surprise visit of Britain’s tallest man.

Pupils are being warned of the dangers of being mugged at home time as they continue to be targeted by teenage gangs.

Hornsey School for Girls has been named as the best performing school for progress in Haringey.

Camden School for Girls has been recognised as the top performing schools for progress in the borough.

The headteacher of St Aloysius College in Archway has been suspended from his post after being arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Highgate Primary School has received a donation of 100 trees to help transform the site into a greener and healthier space.

The future is bright for Hawley Primary School following the official opening of its new building.

Students from Portland Place School have demonstrated their support for anti-bullying by winning first place in the ‘odd socks day challenge’.

A Golders Green school is celebrating after receiving an “outstanding” Ofsted report.

Our Lady of Muswell Hill Primary School is on the up after receiving an upgrade in its Ofsted rating.

A Coldfall Primary School student has been named as the number one ranked under-10s table tennis player in the country.

Greig City Academy students were among dedicated sailors from across the UK who had their endeavours recognised by HRH Princess Anne at the annual Royal Yachting Awards (RYA) ceremony.

Most Read