What Makes a Potential Scholarship Girl? Insight from Eaton House


Certain traits mark a potential scholarship girl says Oliver Snowball, Head of Eaton House The Manor Girl’s School whose girls won 10 scholarships and one exhibition in 2020

‘In order to give the amount of time required for this level of engagement, a scholar must have that passion to live, eat and breathe something’


With so many prep schools offering an excellent educational start for their child, it can often be difficult for prospective parents to know how to compare like for like. Increasingly, one piece of information which can give an indication of a school’s ability to get the very best from its pupils is the number and range of scholarships achieved.

At Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School in Clapham, the notion of what makes a scholar is something which continues to fascinate the Headmaster, Mr Oliver Snowball.  Delighted by the 10 scholarships and 1 exhibition gained by his cohort of 16 sixteen Year 6 girls last year, and indeed the 44 scholarships gained by his girls between 2017 and 2020, Mr Snowball is a great advocate of the scholarship system and believes it rewards those pupils who demonstrate particular flair.

But what makes a scholarship girl?  From Mr Snowball’s perspective, it doesn’t appear to be one single characteristic but a multitude of factors. “Firstly, and maybe most importantly, there is a sense from most scholars that they are determined, highly self-disciplined individuals who are prepared to go the extra mile and who are prepared to work hard over a prolonged period of time. They are not afraid of hard work and often possess a really strong desire to improve: they are perfection seekers who love an opportunity to grapple with one challenge after the next and they quickly learn from their mistakes.”

Whether it be for the practical areas of Sport, Music, Art and Drama, or the purely academic category, Mr Snowball suggests a scholar will not only be wanting to practise a skill/knowledge set for hour after hour but will use that time effectively. They will also be keen to explore their subject beyond what is simply provided in school.

“In purely measurable terms, when doing cognitive ability tests which generate standardised scores, a potential academic scholar will often be gaining scores in excess of 130.”

In the practical subjects, senior schools may well be looking for a candidate to have achieved Grade 5 with at least one instrument to put them in with a chance of securing a Music scholarship, and to be competing at county standard for a Sports scholarship. In Drama and Art, versatility, originality and pre-prepared audition pieces/portfolios prepared to a highly sophisticated standard will always help a girl stand out. “However, we also tend to see scholars reading extensively, joining external clubs and visiting a variety of events all of which are somehow linked to their area of ever-growing expertise,” says Mr Snowball.“And, of course, in order to give the amount of time required for this level of engagement, a scholar often has that passion to live, eat and breathe something. Sometimes this might manifest itself through an exuberant, confident personality but by no means always. The sparkle, however, is always there!”



Clelia, who was awarded the Barnes Scholarship to Wycombe Abbey for her academic performance, is a typical example of a scholar who stood out from the moment she joined Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School. Inquisitive, tremendously self-motivated and with a real thirst for knowledge, Clelia demonstrated a highly impressive degree of intellectual curiosity in all areas of learning both in and out of the classroom.  Always keen to debate from a well-informed standpoint, she particularly relished any chance to research and discover.



Athena also shone out from an early age, with her talent for performance ultimately leading to a Drama Scholarship from Woldingham School. Whether it be through House Poetry Recital competitions, school productions, choral performances or one-to-one Speech and Drama sessions, Athena always exuded charisma and confidence whenever on stage. The more styles she experienced, the more she wanted to learn; the more she wanted to learn, the more versatile a performer she became.

This is the hallmark of a scholarship girl, and it’s always a wonderful moment for teachers like Mr Snowball when pupils’ talents blossom, or when they show signs of a talent for the first time.

Eaton House Schools consists of Eaton House Belgravia (boys aged 4-11), together with Eaton House The Manor Pre-Prep School (boys aged 4-8), Eaton House The Manor Prep School (boys aged 8-13) and Eaton House The Manor Girls’ School (girls aged 4-11) in Clapham. Both the Belgravia and Clapham sites have co-educational nurseries that feature an Advanced Early Years + Education programme.

To learn more about Eaton House Schools, contact the Head of Admissions, Miss Sam Feilding, on 0203 917 5050 or register for a Virtual Information Session at



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