You’ll only understand these 15 things if you went to an all-girls grammar school
The competitive bench ball tournaments were terrifying
You’ve passed the 11+ and have got into the all-girls grammar school in your local town. You have to leave your Year 6 boyfriend behind to become an independent woman, put on your tartan skirt (which is really more like a kilt), straighten your hair and apply Dream Matte Mousse carefully. You pick up your new handbag from New Look and put on your black Vans – no more school shoes from Clarks. You check your skirt once again before leaving the house, it’s not short enough so it’s rolled up once more.
Going to an all-girls school is an experience: Girls can be incredibly mean, but you can also meet some of your best friends for life. Nothing is off-limits in an all-girls school because you all go through the same awkward phases, fashions failures and awful hairstyles together.
Here are some things you’ll know if you went to an all-girls grammar school:
Anything below a B was considered awful
Going to a grammar school meant that everyone was really clever, and also very competitive. Everyone was told to aim for A*s and As in GCSEs and A-levels and honestly, the fear of getting anything below a B was engrained in so early on that we thought we would be complete failures if we didn’t leave school with three A*s.
Everyone had a crush on the one male teacher under 30
With the lack of men in the school, everyone fancied that one male teacher, and looking back it is really weird that a bunch of 11 year olds fancied someone who was almost 30.
Rolling up your skirt was crucial
As soon as the bell rang on a Friday afternoon, you knew the drill: Go into the toilets to roll up your skirt as short as you could while you text the boys from the boys’ school across the road and ask them to meet you in town. After rolling up your skirt so it just about covered your bum, you’d have to sneak past the teachers and make it out the school gates without them seeing.
Making the ladder in your tights a fashion statement
Along with rolling up your skirt, one of the coolest things you could do was make the ladder in your tights really really big – kind of like a ripped jeans vibe. You and your mates would then walk around town with the shortest skirt and ripped tights thinking you looked amazing when in reality you looked like a hot mess.
Teachers measuring your skirt length
Rolling up skirts obviously became a big problem which resulted in teachers coming round and measuring any they thought were too short – cue the excuses: “I’ve just grown loads since I bought this skirt I promise!”
When this didn’t stop us, the school changed the skirts to have a slit in the back that would crease and make it blindingly obvious.
The competition of who would be the first to wear a bra
Everyone wore those crop top sports bras from M&S but the real competition was to see who would be the first to wear a proper grown-up bra. The first girl to wear a bra would take her shirt off really dramatically in the changing rooms so everyone would see that she was wearing a bra and everyone would gasp and ask her questions like “what does it feel like? Is it really uncomfortable? Do you feel like a woman now?”
As you got older, the trend was to wear bras you could see through your white school blouse – bright pink or black were the colours of choice.
There was a constant talk of Oxbridge
Passing the 11+ and getting into a grammar school was probably your biggest achievement at the age of 11 but the talk of getting into Oxbridge or a Russel Group uni never stopped. Every grammar school seemed to be in the “top 15 per cent of the country” and you were expected to join the masses.
Buying a ridiculous amount of clothes before sixth form
Entering sixth form meant you could wear your own clothes, so no more tartan skirts, white blouses or itchy jumpers. Over the summer of Year 11, ASOS and PrettyLittleThing were the go-to websites for creating your sixth form wardrobe. Jeans in every colour were bought and crop tops were sneakily ordered to see if we could get away with showing a slither of midriff.
However, after the first week everyone gave up with their elaborately planned outfits. The stress of UCAS and writing a personal statement meant that it was the same leggings and jumper combo every day – sometimes jeans if you were really feeling it.
Seeing a sixth form boy walk into the school was something else
Whenever a sixth form boy would walk into the school every girl would obsessively stare at him because this was our only available male interaction aside from the one fit geography teacher.
Being obsessed with the boys in sixth form
If your all-girls school allowed boys to join in sixth form, every girl would learn the names of all 10 boys that join, and these boys were treated like gods.
The disco with the boys’ school was the event of the year
The highlight of Year 7 and 8 were the termly discos in your school hall with the boys’ school across the road. Getting ready at your friend’s house for a disco consisted of Dream Matte Mousse in the completely wrong shade and clumpy mascara.
The disco then consisted of three hours of you awkwardly staring at the boy you fancied from a distance while Without You by Usher played on the speakers. He would then message you the next day on BBM asking to meet at the park.
Everyone overshared everything
Spending your whole day with only girls means there was nothing you were uncomfortable about. Your unbelievably heavy period, what “bits” you did with your boyfriend at the weekend, and asking for a tampon from a stranger were normal conversations during lessons.
After leaving an all-girls school, you realise that not all women are as keen on you oversharing every aspect of your life.
The changing rooms always smelled of cheap body spray
The changing rooms were a grim place and the smell was an awful combination of hormones and social anxiety. This led to girls spraying their new Impuse/Victoria’s Secret/Hollister spray a million times, cue the girl in the corner screaming “You can’t spray that in here I have asthma!”
Everyone used Hollister bags as their PE bags
The Hollister bags with the topless men were every Year 8 girl’s dream. Girls would use it as a PE bag or even as a lunch box to make sure everyone saw they had been to Hollister. Most weekends would consist of us begging our mums to go just so we can get a carrier bag and parade it around the school like the cool girls.
The competitive bench ball tournaments were terrifying
Indoor PE lessons consisted of bench ball which became the most competitive sport. No idea why we all got so into this game but it was fucking carnage and only got worse and worse until the devastating announcement that it had been banned.