Henrietta Barnett School

The Henrietta Barnett School is a grammar school with academy status primarily for girls in Hampstead Garden Suburb in London. The Good Schools Guide called the school 'One of the best academic state schools in the country, providing a gentle, inspiring education in a wonderful setting for very clever girls',[1] and the school consistently ranks amongst the top state schools in educational league tables.[2] The school named among the 'magnificent seven' in 2005,[3] following three mentions as being 'outstanding' in Ofsted's annual report, and was again deemed Outstanding in all respects in the most recent Ofsted inspection in 2007, before its conversion to an academy.[4]

The Henrietta Barnett School
Central Square

London, England
NW11 7BN

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°34′52″N 0°11′21″W
TypeGrammar academy
Established1911; 110 years ago (1911)
FounderDame Henrietta Barnett
Department for Education URN138051 Tables
Head teacherMrs Del Cooke
Age11 to 18
Enrolmentc. 745


It was founded in 1911 by Dame Henrietta Barnett for the education of girls.[5] She wished to improve girls' education, which in her time, was at a low level. She believed in a society where poor girls had access to the same levels of education as those girls in more privileged sections of society. Indeed, when the school was founded, the now affluent Hampstead Garden Suburb was being developed for poor families to live in, and it was Barnett's wish to educate girls based on their natural ability, not their financial background.

Originally known as 'The Institute', the school was initially intended to enclose the North-East side of Central Square, according to Sir Edwin Lutyens' masterplan for the area, and the north wing was completed in 1911. John Soutar, the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust's architect supervised construction of the south wing in 1923, while Lutyens designed the elevations for Crewe Hall, the central block. The building offered concerts, evening classes and debates until its conversion to the Henrietta Barnett School for Girls in the 1930s.[6] The school is a Grade II* Listed Building.

Present day

As of 2016, the school is ranked by The Telegraph as the best performing state school in the country,[7] with GCSE and A Level results combined. The school placed 1st according to GCSE results[2] and 2nd for A Level results.[8] 96.13% of GCSE grades and 85.52% A Level grades achieved were A* or A.[9]

In 2017 the school was featured as the case study in a Sunday Times article on the success of single-sex state schools.[10]

Years Seven to Ten have cohorts of 100 students per year, since the class sizes were reduced to 25 pupils in September 2013.[11] External applicants are also admitted for the Sixth Form based on GCSE grades.[12]

The school was previously awarded Music Specialist Status due to its outstanding music department, and became a Specialist Music College with English. Although awarded academy status in 2012,[13] the school continues to specialise in Music and English.

The school offers all students participation in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, at all levels. It also runs the Young Enterprise scheme annually.

In September 2007, the school opened a new multi-gym containing a variety of different exercise machines. In 2009 the school's science wing was completely refurbished to provide 8 modern labs. Sports facilities have also been improved, including the new MUGA area. In 2011 they received over £9 million to build state of the art facilities at the school. This building project has since been completed, providing the school with two outstanding new blocks: one for Music and Drama and the other for Design & Technology and Art, including two computer rooms. These also house teaching rooms for peripatetic music lessons, practice rooms and a café for older students.[14] In December 2015, the new £350,000 library was opened.[15]

In March 2013, headteacher Oliver Blond took a job at a £34,000-a-year private school, Roedean.[16]

As of September 2014, Del Cooke has taken over as headteacher.[17]

In 2021, a group of students from Year 12 entered the finals of the UKSDC competition

Academic achievement

In 2012, The Times newspaper ranked the school 1st and 2nd best achieving state school according to GCSE[18] and A Level[19] results, respectively.

In 2014, in an article by The Telegraph the school was identified as in the top ten schools for Russell Group applications with 75% of pupils winning places. The school was also listed as having the 7th highest rate of successful applications for Oxbridge, with 24% of pupils winning places, furthermore the school was the only state-grammar school listed, alongside ten independent schools, including Eton and Westminster.[20]

In 2015[21] and 2016[2] the school was ranked as the best state school by The Telegraph based on their GCSE results, with 100% A* to C grades both years, 94.14% A* to A grades in 2015, and 96.13% A* to A grades in 2016. It also placed top in the annual Sunday Times Parent Power Table.[22]

Notable former pupils


  1. "The Henrietta Barnett School, London | The Good Schools Guide". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. "GCSE results 2016: the top 100 secondary schools". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  3. "BBC NEWS | UK | Education | 'Best of the best' schools named". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  4. "Ofsted Report | About Us | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. British History Online – Hendon Education
  6. "History of the School | About Us | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  7. "Top 10 grammar schools for GCSE results". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  8. "A level results 2016: the top 100 secondary schools". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  9. "Exam Results | Academic Life | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  10. Correspondent, Nicola Woolcock, Education. "Single-sex schools stay top of the class". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  11. "Year 7 – 9 | Academic Life | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  12. "Year 12 | Admissions | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  13. "Academy Status | About Us | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  14. "Facilities | About Us | The Henrietta Barnett School". www.hbschool.org.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  15. Thomas, Imogen. "Kensal Rise author Professor Maggie Gee opens library at Henrietta Barnett School". Kilburn Times. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  16. "Henrietta Barnett head to take over at Roedean". London Evening Standard. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  17. Blake, Imogen. "New Henrietta Barnett headteacher reveals vision for top school". Hampstead Highgate Express. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  18. The Times top state schools at GCSE
  19. The Times top state schools at A Level
  20. "Private school pupils 'five times as the likely to go to Oxbridge'" The Telegraph
  21. The Telegraph state school results
  22. "How we ranked the schools". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. Obituary, Hiron, M. The Independent 2 July 2011
  24. Guardian Unlimited
  25. Finney, Patricia. "Patricia Finney – by Herself". Retrieved 19 November 2007.