Ipswich High School (Suffolk)

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Ipswich High School, England
Motto Live for today, learn for tomorrow.
Established 1878
Type Independent day school
Headmistress Oona Carlin
Founder Sophie Youngman
Location Woolverstone
52°00′11″N 1°11′43″E / 52.00292°N 1.19532°E / 52.00292; 1.19532Coordinates: 52°00′11″N 1°11′43″E / 52.00292°N 1.19532°E / 52.00292; 1.19532
Local authority Suffolk
DfE URN 124888
Gender Girls (to be co-educational from September 2018)[1]
Ages 3–18
Colours Cherry red and dark grey
Website www.ihseducation.co.uk//

Ipswich High School (formerly Ipswich High School For Girls) is an independent school located since 1992 at the former campus of Woolverstone Hall School, Woolverstone, near Ipswich, England. In 2017, ownership passed from the Girls' Day School Trust to Ipswich Education Ltd, led by London & Oxford Group, a facilitator of Chinese investment.[2] The school immediately announced major changes, including the introduction of co-education in 2018.[1]


Ipswich High School was opened in the Assembly Rooms in Northgate Street, Ipswich, on 30 April 1878 with 43 pupils. The first headmistress, Miss Sophie Youngman, held the position for 21 years and the school flourished and expanded under her leadership. She was succeeded by Miss Kennett and, in 1905, the Council of the Trust purchased a large private house and grounds in Westerfield Road, Ipswich. The move provided a more modern classroom standard, science laboratories and a playing field.

Following further growth, another house, Woodview House, was purchased in 1913. Owing to the continued expansion of the school and the demands of the modern curriculum, the decision was taken in 1992 to rehouse the school at Woolverstone Hall, a Grade 1 listed building set in 80 acres (320,000 m2) of parkland on the banks of the River Orwell, the former premises of Woolverstone Hall School for boys (1951 to 1990).

As of 2017 the school serves a wide area of Suffolk and north Essex, taking girls aged 3–18 years and providing both primary and secondary school education, including a nursery and sixth form, where girls can take the traditional A Levels in subjects such as Latin, History and Mathematics. As of 2015 there were some 630 pupils, which had fallen to 500 in 2017. There is no boarding, and day attendance fees range from £2,852 to £4,658 per term.[3] The contraction in enrolments reflected increasing fees,[4] country-wide economic decline and keen local competition, which was forcing some other prestigious schools out of business.[5]

Major change[edit]

On 11 September 2017, the GDST announced that ownership of the school was being transferred to Ipswich Education Ltd, which will be introducing the diamond school model, including induction of the first boys in 2018 and a boarding option for students.[1]


Facilities include an AstroTurf playing field, indoor swimming pool, large theatre and sports hall. Extensive formal gardens remain from the historic estate. The grounds extend to the River Orwell, which is viewable from classrooms. In addition to the heritage Hall, there are buildings for the Senior Department and Junior Department. Students dine in the Orangery, situated in the main building, which also houses two libraries and the Sixth Form Centre. The Art Department is located adjacent to the stables and Junior School.


The school offers numerous subjects before GCSE, which include five different languages; along with ICT, the humanities, the arts, and the sciences. English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics must be taken at GCSE. At GCSE, girls can study three of these subjects (excluding English Literature, English Language, Maths and triple science) and one language, picking either Latin, French, Spanish or German. At A Level, girls can study four or five subjects with an 'enrichment course' (Astronomy, Cooking, Sports Leaders or Critical Thinking), with the option of taking an EPQ at A2. Girls can study English Lit, Maths, Further Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Fine Art, Economics, Music, Philosophy, Geography, History, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Classical Civilization and Business Studies.

Academically, the school has featured in the top 100 Independent Schools list for many years and 90% of the Sixth Form students go to Russel Group Universities (2011). The Sixth Form is known for being small and personal, with good teacher-student relationships and support for the students.

The school has always had a strong academic front. To receive entry into the school, the girls must take three exams similar to the 11+ and then must maintain their academic expectations throughout the school, especially at GCSE level. 71.6% of the girls get all A*s at GCSE (2012) and 55.5% of the girls got straight A*s at A Level (2012). Academic support is available for girls, and tutors work closely to monitor the girls' achievements.

House system[edit]

Houses are named after influential women, as chosen by the students. Each house has two captains from Year 11, and four vice captains from Year 10, elected by students of the house.

House Colours Inspiration
Garrett Anderson Green Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
Hypatia Yellow Hypatia
Woolf Red Virginia Woolf
Nightingale Blue Florence Nightingale


Girls are required to study Music until Year 9, where they can take Music GCSE and, if they wish, also study it at A Level. The school has numerous musical clubs which include: Chamber Choir, Senior Choir, Jazz Band, Samba Band, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Strings and Woolverstone Strings, an advanced group. The school organises concerts in its Hayworth Theatre, before audiences of 300 or more. The Hayworth Theatre, which is also a venue for general assemblies, has a large stage, full performing facilities and built in bench-seating. Drama students have mounted performances including We Will Rock You, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Shakespearean plays.

Other activities include a debating team which succeeded in qualifying for the British Semi Finals 2014. Sporting successes have included winning the GDST Rally in 2014.


Junior School

In the junior school, the girls wear a cherry-red blazer with the school logo, along with a checked, long sleeved shirt and a grey pinafore. In Year 6, the girls may wear a pleated grey skirt. In the summer, the girls wear a below-the-knee length dress decorated with a geometric design; white socks and black shoes are worn.

Senior Years (7-8)

The uniform for girls from Year 7 through to Year 11 is a grey fitted blazer with dark grey piping around the collar (introduced in 2011), a cherry-red jumper with a red-and-white checked blouse worn with a knee-length grey skirt and black shoe. From Years 7-8, girls wear a 6-pleated grey skirt.

In the summer, white socks are allowed, but there is not a change in uniform. Sleeves may be rolled up.

Senior Years (9-11)

Years 9, 10 and 11 may wear a pencil skirt with a slit at the back, and years 10 and 11 may wear a white blouse with the schools logo on the collar. The rest of the uniform, including the blazer and jumper, remain the same throughout the years.

They may wear only studded earrings, a religious necklace and a watch. Sports uniform includes a navy blue skort with a white polo-shirt and pink/blue stripped hockey socks. There is an 'IHS' tracksuit available for girls during the winter.

Sixth Form

The Sixth Formers (girls aged 16–18) may wear neat and smart clothing, which include blazers, blouses, shirts, skirts, jumpers etc., and are not allowed to wear any form of denim, revealing tops, high shoes, maxi-dresses/skirts, tracksuits, T-shirts or hoodies.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Stott, Matt Ipswich High School for Girls changes name to Ipswich High School and will accept boys from 2018. East Anglian Daily Times, 11-12 September 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017
  2. ^ About Us: London & Oxford Group. Official company website. Retrieved 11 October 2017
  3. ^ Ipswich High School for Girls, profile at Girls' Day School Trust (GDST), 2015
  4. ^ Why private schooling is on the decline in England. The Economist, 1 February 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2017
  5. ^ E.g., Walden School, Essex; Hillgrove School, Bangor. Retrieved 12 October 2017. See also European debt crisis.

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