A prestigious girls’ school has hired a special consultant to teach its students how to survive intense female friendships and cliques that can turn “toxic.”

Wimbledon High School students can learn about what to do when friendships break down and create a playground divide from education expert Emma Gleadhill, who has been appointed by head teacher Jane Lunnon.

Ms Lunnon told the Evening Standard she was concerned about how teenage girls respond when they have fallen out with their peers.

She said: “Of course they want to do well in exams and playing musical instruments but the thing that often is the big driver in years eight and nine are their friendships.

“We recognise that what you teach them about failure in academics is also relevant to the way they manage their social relationships.

"We found that it really helps them keep things in perspective and breaks down toxic cliquey gangs. They learn not to berate themselves or say something is irreconcilable.”

The school, in Mansell Road, has been holding “fail better” sessions since 2012 in order to teach pupils to take risks and learn from their mistakes.