Nottingham Girls' High School

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Nottingham Girls' High School
9 Arboretum Street


Coordinates52°57′46″N 1°09′22″W / 52.9627°N 1.1562°W / 52.9627; -1.1562Coordinates: 52°57′46″N 1°09′22″W / 52.9627°N 1.1562°W / 52.9627; -1.1562
TypeIndependent girls-only day school
Local authorityNottingham
Department for Education URN122936 Tables
Head teacherJulie Keller
Colour(s)Sky Blue, Navy Blue

Nottingham Girls' High School is an independent selective day school for girls aged 4–18, situated just north of Nottingham city centre. The school was founded in 1875 and forms part of the Girls' Day School Trust.

Nottingham Girls' High School from the Arboretum.


Nottingham Girls' High School was founded on 14 September 1875 by the Girls' Public Day School Company (now the Girls' Day School Trust).[1] It was among the first such schools opened outside London.

Before the 1870s, education for girls in Nottingham was fixed by social class, with limited opportunities for working-class girls to receive any post-primary schooling. Much of the development in girls' education was due to the work of feminist reformers. Nottingham Girls' High School was originally on Oxford Street, with Mrs Bolton as Headmistress, before relocating to its current location on Arboretum Street, in a building formerly a lace manufacturer's house. When the school first opened, it had 34 pupils, but by the time of its relocation it had expanded to 146.

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 caused the school to move to two separate locations: Ramsdale Park and Daybrook. The Arboretum Street buildings were used to accommodate the South Notts Hussars until 1944–1945, when the school was able to move back. Ten years later, as the school celebrated its 80th anniversary, the number of pupils reached 800.

The 1970s saw significant building expansion at the school and in 1975 the school marked its centenary. On 18 May 1973, the Milford Building was officially opened by the Duchess of Gloucester and in 1978, the Duke of Edinburgh opened the Edinburgh Library.

In 1995, a House system was introduced and named after the first four headmistresses of the school: Bolton, Hastings, Luxton and Skeel. The Bowering Sports Hall was opened by Richard Bacon in 1998 and eleven years later, in May 2009, the new Sixth Form Centre opened. In 2016 the Old Dining Hall building was demolished and replaced by a performing arts centre known as The Space, and named The Squire Performing Arts Centre, after an alumna, Dame Rosemary Squire.

Over its history, the school has been overseen by 13 headmistresses and one acting headmistress. Today's Head is Julie Keller.


Originally based in a group of Victorian houses, the school has since expanded considerably. The campus now has a performing arts centre called The Space, where the old dining hall and uniform shop used to be. The Space is used for music and drama productions at the school and can be hired for non-school conferences, meetings and performances. It is also a source of education for girls interested in aspects of the performing arts and theatre production work, from music to lighting.

The Space.jpg

There is a Sixth Form Centre adjoining The Space, with modern classrooms, a kitchen area and tuck shop, and an outside garden and decking area. There are two libraries - one in the Senior School and one in the Junior School; a lecture theatre, drama studio, music building, a dining hall, and common rooms for the lower and upper school. The Infant and Junior School are on the same site, but based in the buildings on Balmoral Road.

In recent years, the school has invested in IT provision and training. Girls from Year 4 upwards are issued with a personal iPad; younger girls share iPad facilities. Classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and there is digital equipment for use across the curriculum, such as cameras and microscopes. DT and food rooms have also been refurbished to include a 3D printer among other high-tech equipment.

The school grounds include all-weather courts, grass pitches, a gymnasium, and a sports hall and fitness suite. The outdoor learning area comprises a climbing wall. Upnah Wood has plentiful outdoor learning equipment, such as low ropes, a fire pit and a pizza oven. There is an additional sports ground at Grassington Road in Aspley, due for future reinvestment and redevelopment.


The four school houses are named after the four first headmistresses of the school; Bolton, Hastings, Luxton and Skeel. In recent years, the Junior School has also adopted the House system, so that girls can be in the same House as siblings further up the school. The House system includes inter-house competitions and sports events.

Academic structure[edit]

The school can accommodate around 900 girls aged from 4 to 18. The Sixth Form, making up nearly 30 per cent of the Senior School, is overseen by a Head of Sixth Form. There are usually around 280 girls in the Junior School, which has its own Head. The Head of whole school is Julie Keller. Nottingham Girls' High School is among the largest of the 23 schools and 2 academies run through the Girls' Day School Trust, which has promoted education of girls since its foundation in 1872.

Student executive[edit]

The Sixth Form elects a group of 16 girls, including a Head Girl and two Deputy Head Girls, who organise social events. There is also a senior prefect team to aid the Head Girl in her duties. Three House Captains are appointed by each house to run its events and participation.

Notable alumnae[edit]


  1. ^ Meller, Helen Elizabeth (1971). Nottingham in the eighteen eighties: a study in social change. University of Nottingham. p. 43.
  2. ^ Carter, James (2002). Talking Books: Children's Authors Talk About the Craft, Creativity and Process of Writing, Volume 2. Routledge. pp. 114–29. ISBN 9780203025178.
  3. ^ ""Notable GDST Alumnae", Annual Review 2011 – More than an education" (PDF). Girls' Day School Trust (courtesty of Times Educational Supplement).[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]