Redmaids' High School

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Redmaids' High School
The Read Maids' School coa.png
Westbury Road


Coordinates51°29′24″N 2°36′50″W / 51.4901°N 2.6140°W / 51.4901; -2.6140Coordinates: 51°29′24″N 2°36′50″W / 51.4901°N 2.6140°W / 51.4901; -2.6140
Established1634; 386 years ago (1634)
FounderJohn Whitson, Revd Rose and Urijah Thomas
Department for Education URN109371 Tables
Head teacherIsabel Tobias
Age7 to 18
HousesMaryflowre, Seabreake, Discoverer, Speedwell
Colour(s)Red, Green, Yellow, Blue

Redmaids' High School is an independent school for girls in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, England. The school is a member of the Girls' Schools Association and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC)[1].

The school formed from a merger between Redland High School for Girls and The Red Maids' School in September 2017, with the newly merged school named "Redmaids' High School".[2]


The Red Maids' school was founded in 1634 from the bequest of John Whitson,[3] Mayor and MP of Bristol, making it the oldest surviving girls' school in England. His original Red Maids’ Hospital, on Denmark Street in the centre of Bristol, was founded to provide a secure home for the orphaned or destitute daughters of freemen or burgesses of the City of Bristol, where they were taught to read and sew. The site was irreparably damaged and had to be completely rebuilt in the 1840s. The new school building was designed by architect James Foster[4] in 1844.

The entrance lodge of the existing site in Westbury-on-Trym dates from 1830 and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building.[5]

During World War I, the Red Maids' School was moved to Manor House, which is now part of the University of Bristol, while the school buildings in Westbury were used as a Red Cross hospital.[6]

Redland High School was founded in 1882. The senior school was housed in an old manor-house known as Redland Court which dates from 1732-35. It was built by John Strachan for John Cossins and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building,[7] which has undergone many extensions. In October 2006, a building previously belonging to the Junior School was converted into the Music School, expanding the senior school once again.


Numerous collections of records of the Red Maids' School and John Whitson are held at Bristol Archives, including (Ref. 33041/BMC/6) (online catalogue) and (Ref. 20193) (online catalogue).

There are also a number of records for the former Redland High School for Girls and the Red Maids' School on site in the archive room at Redmaids' High School in Westbury-on-Trym.

Founders' Commemoration Day[edit]

Redmaids' High School Founders' Commemoration Day is the annual celebration of the life and vision of the founder, John Whitson, Mayor and MP of Bristol, and also a day to remember the founders of Redland High School for Girls, Reverend Rose[8] and Urijah Thomas. The date of the event is so, as it commemorates the attempted murder of Whitson on 7 November 1626: Christopher Callowhill stabbed him in the face with a dagger on that day. Whitson survived for two years after this attack before dying after falling from a horse. On Founders' Commemoration Day all the girls march through Bristol City centre accompanied by police and a rolling road closure, from Welsh Back to the cathedral, where a service takes place. In keeping with school tradition the girls are then allowed the afternoon off.[9]

Facilities and campus[edit]

The Junior School and Senior School are separate, but located close together, allowing the junior school full use of the secondary school's facilities.

The senior school, set in extensive grounds, consists of three main buildings: Burfield House, the 300 Building (opened in 1934) and Redland Hall - a high-spec performance space - which was opened in September 2017. There is also a music block, which houses a Mac suite, and a sports hall which contains a dance studio and large indoor sports space. Attached to Redland Hall is the Sixth Form Centre, which has recently undergone refurbishment. There are also 3 computer labs in the school and extensive textiles and artwork facilities. The junior school site is a house on Grange Court Road. It was extended in 2015 and again in 2017 which included the creation of a brand new adventure playground.

There is an astroturf (opened in 2005) an indoor sports hall and two additional netball/tennis courts. Within the grounds of the Senior School there are two former air raid shelters used during World War II[10] which attract visits from local schools as part of their history studies. In 2017 it was announced that the school had purchased a new sports site - The Lawns at Cribbs Causeway. The site is less than 10 minutes’ drive from the School. The 16.7 acre plot includes four full size grass football pitches, four tennis courts, a 3G all-weather Astroturf pitch, a large carpark, together with extensive changing and social facilities. The school will be investing in further development to the site over the coming years.

School life[edit]

The school is divided into three sections: the junior school (7-11), the senior school (11-16), and sixth form (16-18).


The school has a house system with competitions in activities such as dance, music, hockey, netball and drama. The four houses are named after four of John Whitson's major ships:

  • Speedwell (Blue)
  • Maryflowre (Red)
  • Discoverer (Yellow)
  • Seabreake (Green)

School Ethos[edit]

In 2018 the school was shortlisted for a national Tes award in the international award category. This was due to the school's international mindedness, helping their students to become global citizens.

Each year the school hosts a Careers Conference for girls from across the south-west of the UK and beyond. In 2017 the theme was #WomenInMedicine and for 2018 the theme was #WomenInSTEM.


The core uniform consists of a red and green checked kilt and red jumper with green piping, with a white blouse. In the Senior School, girls also wear a red blazer. In the Junior School, the girls wear a red showerproof coat. In the summer, the juniors wear a red and white summer dress.

In the Sixth Form, the students wear their own clothes within a published dress code that encourages them to dress for a modern work place in smart, work-ready attire.

ISI report[edit]

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) visited the school in October 2003. Their Inspection Report was published in January 2004.[11]

Among the main strengths of the school the report noted: "the warm and friendly ethos that is achieved strongly supports pupils’ learning and personal development" and "the realistic and committed leadership of the Headmistress and the Head Teacher" alongside a number of other positive remarks about the school.

In January 2013, in a full ISI inspection of the former Red Maids' School, the school received 'Excellent' in every area, the top score.

In November 2017, Redmaids' High School met all target requirements in an ISI Regulatory Compliance Inspection.

International Baccalaureate[edit]

From 2009 Red Maids sixth formers could study for A-levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in the Sixth Form. The School was the first independent school in Bristol to offer the IB.

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Redmaids' High School Profile on HMC". Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference website. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Bristol private schools to merge". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Bristol Education" (PDF). The Great Reading Adventure. Bristol Cultural Development Partnership (BCDP). Archived from the original (pdf) on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  4. ^ James Foster (architect)
  5. ^ Historic England. "No.145 Entrance lodge to Red Maids School (1202684)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
  6. ^ "Manor Hall & Sinclair House". University of Bristol. 23 November 2000. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Redland Court (Redland High School) (1291739)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 March 2007.
  8. ^ "Redland High School: the proud history". BishopstonVoice. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  9. ^ Stories of Bristol Archived 21 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "The Henleaze Book". Redcliffe Press Ltd. 1991. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  11. ^ Independent Schools Inspectorate Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Red Maids' alumnae". The Red Maids' School. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017.

External links[edit]