Harrogate Ladies’ College is one of the UK’s leading independent day and boarding schools for girls aged 11 to 18 years.
Senior school years are perhaps the most critical in terms of shaping long term futures, but we believe that they should also be exciting, inspiring and stimulating – a time of building confidence, increasing independence; and of becoming comfortable with who you are.
At Harrogate Ladies’ College we focus on providing girls with an all round education which will ensure that they have the best possible opportunities when they move on to the next stage in their lives.
2017/2018 Day Fees - UK and EU £5,290 per term. *Pupils who join us before Year 12 and continue into Sixth Form will continue to pay Year 7-11 fees.
2017/2018 Boarding Fees - UK and EU £9,420. Non-EU (entry into Year 7-11) - £9,705 per term. Non-EU (entry into Year 12-13)* £11,815 per term. *Pupils who join us before Year 12 and continue into Sixth Form will continue to pay Year 7-11 fees. Non-EU fees are applicable to all families who are not domiciled in the EU.
Passionate young diver makes a splash raising £500 for a diving charity
Along with friends at Diveshack UK in Harrogate, Bella, aged 12, organised a scuba diving session at Harrogate Ladies’ College pool to raise over £500 for the British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity.
5th April 2022 —
A Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil who gained her PADI Junior Open water on her 10th birthday, became one of the youngest divers to be certified to dive to depths of 12 metres / 40ft, which is the limit for her age. She has since dived in the Central Atlantic Ocean and closer to home in the cooler waters of the UK, where she gained her dry suit diver certificate last year.
Along with friends at Diveshack UK in Harrogate, Bella, aged 12, organised a scuba diving session at the Ladies’ College pool to raise over £500 for the British Divers’ Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) charity. The money will be used to purchase new helmets for marine medics when they are accessing difficult terrain to rescue stranded or injured sea mammals such as seals, dolphins and whales.
Bella’s father Adrian said her passion for diving stemmed from her love of the marine environment. “From a very early age Bella has been obsessed about nature and has never shown any fear of the water. She’s a very sensible diver and she loves to see the underwater world, and all the colours and life down there,” he said. “In particular”, he added, “Bella loves to look at nudibranchs, the soft molluscs which are noted for their extraordinary colours and forms”.
Bella is already hoping to study marine biology at university and is a committed environmentalist.
Tim Yarrow, Director of Diveshack, said Bella was a natural in the water and inspired others with her love of nature.
“Since completing her course in Cape Verde, she has been desperate to come out and visit some of the amazing UK dive sites we have. Top on her list is to come diving with the seals in the Farne Islands later this year.
“Her determination to show the wonder of breathing underwater showed through with her organising the try dive for her school peers and in doing so raising money for a fabulous local marine charity which was very important to her”.
“I have no doubt that she will be at the forefront of an environmental campaign in the future as well as being an instructor for us in time,” he said.
Bella is a former Head Girl of Highfield Prep School, part of the Harrogate Ladies’ College family, and played a key role during the Covid-19 pandemic in restoring a derelict pond on the school grounds into a wildlife pond and garden.
“I am so lucky to have been able to learn to dive”, said Bella, “and I would encourage other children to try it. Being closer to nature underwater and seeing how fragile it is has made me want to learn more about conservation. During lockdown when we couldn’t dive it was so rewarding to create a safe environment for amphibians at our eco pond. I’m now looking forward to attending a BDMLR Marine Medics course with my Dad in the Easter holidays and learning how divers can help our British sea mammals”.
College launches 'Inspired Woman' essay writing competition
Harrogate Ladies’ College has launched a junior essay writing competition to mark International Women’s Day. ‘Inspirational Woman’ is open to Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils across the district, and entrants are invited to write about a woman who has inspired them
8th March 2022 — Harrogate Ladies’ College has launched a junior essay writing competition to mark International Women’s Day.
The competition, entitled ‘Inspirational Woman’ is open to Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils across the district, and entrants are invited to write about a woman who has inspired them. The finalists will be invited to lunch at the school and will have the chance to hear their story read out by inspirational women.
International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements across the world and the victories women have won in the fight for equality.
Mrs Sylvia Brett, Principal of the School, said the essay writing competition was a way of celebrating women in all walks of life from celebrities to family members:
“This competition brings to life every day stories of women who have made an impact on younger children – it could be someone’s grandmother, the woman who drives the school bus or a favourite actress or author. We want to hear about who inspires you and why, and I am already looking forward to reading the entries which I know will be of the highest calibre. It’s always a pleasure to read younger children’s work because it’s so authentic. Harrogate Ladies’ College has a 128-year long tradition of educating strong, empowered women, many of whom have gone on to achieve remarkable things in their lives. We want to hear stories from our junior friends in the community about who has had an impact on their lives, and why.”
The competition opens today (Tuesday) and closes on March 28th. Finalists will be invited to a special lunch on May 12.
Pupils in Year 3 & 4 must write a maximum of 500 words and Year 5 pupils have a 750 word limit. The winner in each age category will receive £50 of book vouchers and a further £50 in vouchers for their school, and the 2nd prize winner will receive £20 in vouchers, and £10 in vouchers for third prize.
Former Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil and budding writer has seen her dream come true with the publication of her first novel. Roxanne Davies, 20, from Embsay near Skipton, has just released ‘The Past Never Dies’, a crime novel with a dark twist.
2nd February 2022 — Former Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil and budding writer has seen her dream come true with the publication of her first novel.
Roxanne Davies, 20, from Embsay near Skipton, has just released ‘The Past Never Dies’, a crime novel with a dark twist.
Roxanne, who is studying Drama & English at Exeter University, said her passion of crime literature was sparked during her time at Harrogate Ladies’ College.
She said inspiration and encouragement from teachers at the school compelled her to write the book.
“It was while I was at school that I started the book and I was really motivated to write it after conversations with people in the English department. I was encouraged to be very creative and the best advice I was given was to have a go,” she said.
Roxanne wrote the first three chapters of the book, which she described as a murder mystery with a dash of romance, and submitted it to three different publishing houses.
“It took quite a long time as I was in the middle of my A levels but I was really pleased to get the response back to say it was going to be published and share the news with my friends and family, “ she said.
Harrogate Ladies’ College Principal Mrs Sylvia Brett said the school was proud and pleased of Roxanne’s achievements.
“We knew Roxanne would make her mark on the world of literature at an early age because her love of books, her knowledge of fiction and her passion for the world around her. We will watch her remarkable progress with delight and pride, “ she said.
Roxanne, who is currently writing her university dissertation, hopes to draw on her experiences as a volunteer for her next work of fiction.
Pupil with a passion for social equality wins prestigious prize
An inspirational pupil who has a passion for social equality has won a prestigious prize for her charity work. Sophie Dragoj, 18, received the Rotary Club of Harrogate Young Citizen Award 2021-2022 for her efforts in school and the local community.
28th January 2022 — An inspirational pupil who has a passion for social equality has won a prestigious prize for her charity work.
Sophie Dragoj, 18, received the Rotary Club of Harrogate Young Citizen Award 2021-2022 for her efforts in school and the local community.
Sophie, a Sixth Form student at Harrogate Ladies’ College, said she was thrilled to receive her prize from School Principal, Mrs Sylvia Brett.
She was nominated for her efforts with local and national appeals including the MacMillan Coffee Morning, the Harvest Appeal for Harrogate Homeless Project, the RNLI Poppy Appeal and the national Anti-Bullying Week.
Sophie is also involved with the school’s eco-committee, and as a charity prefect helps promote charity events in school assemblies and events.
“I am led by the principles of duty, kindness and compassion. I was thrilled to receive this award and am so grateful to school and the Rotary Club. I wanted to make a contribution to school but also the wider community of Harrogate. It’s a wonderful town with a close-knit community and it’s lovely to be able to organise events that can help others.”
Principal Mrs Brett said Sophie thoroughly deserved the recognition for her efforts:
“Sophie is a wonderful example of everything we strive to achieve at school – she is an independent, compassionate, thoughtful young woman who observes the world around her and who wants to make a difference. She shines like a beacon of kindness across the school family.”
Ann Percival, President-Elect of the Rotary Club, said:
“ The Rotary International Young Citizen awards celebrate the achievements of young people under the age of 25, showcasing the citizenship and responsibilities they demonstrate. This is the first year The Rotary Club of Harrogate has run these awards and all the recipients fully deserved to be recognised and rewarded. We are certainly hoping to run the Award next year, so would ask that schools and youth organisations start looking now for students such as Sophie to be recognised next year.”
The club awarded Sophie £50 in book tokens as her prize.
A woman who helped make sporting history hopes to inspire the next generation of young athletes to compete at the highest possible level
Henrietta Butler, daughter of former West Yorkshire MP Sir Giles Shaw, was the first female cox for Cambridge University to compete in the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race.
8th December 2021 — Henrietta Butler, daughter of former West Yorkshire MP Sir Giles Shaw, was the first female cox for Cambridge University to compete in the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race. She was also a very talented runner competing in and winning the cross country during her time at university.
Today the former Harrogate Ladies’ College pupil hopes young women will continue to push the boundaries to break down barriers. She says it was her time at the school that taught her she could achieve anything she put her mind to.
“We didn’t think of ourselves as trail blazers, we just got on with it and that was that,” she said.
It was this sense of spirit and determination that literally landed her the role of first female cox at St John’s College, Cambridge, and her father’s alma mater. Sue Brown had previously competed for Oxford as a female cox and Cambridge were keen to follow suit. Henrietta’s sporting prowess and diminutive size made her the obvious choice for the Canadian coach and university crew.
“It was an amazing experience as we were a very tight knit crew with a lot of training. Back in those days, there wasn’t the emphasis on nutrition and I recall us enjoying a side of beef after training!”
She took part in the Boat Race in April 1985 – Cambridge had lost the last nine races in a row. Henrietta recalled her father travelling to watch the race, along with some former school friends. Unfortunately Oxford went on to win on that occasion but Henrietta – or Henri as she was called by the crew – said it was a great occasion. She went on to have a worldwide career working in advertising, television in Hong Kong and for the BBC. She moved to the States before moving back to the UK.
She firmly believes in the power of an all-girls school and her own daughters followed in her footsteps girls’ schools in other parts of the country.
“My time at Harrogate was a happy one and we were very much encouraged to become independent women,” she added.
The Boat Race started in 1829 when two friends, both from Harrow School, decided to challenge each other to a boat race on Henley-on-Thames – one of whom went to Oxford University, the other to Cambridge University. The race has been held annually since 1856 – except during World War I and World War II.
The first woman to run a mile in under five minutes to be honoured
Diane Leather attracted headlines around the world when she made history at the women’s athletics championships in Birmingham on May 29 1954.
Now her former school, Harrogate Ladies’ College, plans to establish an award for promising female runners.
17th November 2021 — Diane Leather attracted headlines around the world when she made history at the women’s athletics championships in Birmingham on May 29 1954.
Now her former school, Harrogate Ladies’ College, plans to establish an award for promising female runners in recognition of her extraordinary feat.
Diane’s achievement came just 23 days after Roger Bannister’s sub-four-minute mile, but with only a fraction of the acclaim, because of the low regard in which athletics held women’s distance running at the time.
Now the Principal of the College Mrs Sylvia Brett hopes Diane’s achievement will inspire keen runners at the school.
“Diane was a pioneer and an amazing athlete. We’re determined her legacy for female athletes won’t be forgotten, and we hope the new award will help others achieve their dreams,” she said.
The school intends to establish the award for athletes as part of its annual Speech Day.
While at school, Diane enjoyed all sports, particularly netball and lacrosse, but it was her running ability which marked her out from a young age.
She had already come close to beating the five-minute mark on a number of occasions, and the quest to be first was hotly contested. In the previous year, Anne Oliver of Britain had run a record time of 5min 8sec, later bettered by Edith Treybal of Romania with 5min 3sec. On 26 May 1954, at the Alexander Sports Ground in Birmingham, Leather beat Treybal’s best with 5min 0.2sec. Three days later she tried again and this time she made history.
Earlier in the afternoon she had competed in the 800m, but it was her mile race that really attracted the attention. Unlike Bannister’s historical marker, Leather’s was a genuine race, without pacemakers, and she led from start to finish. After a final surge in the last 100m she crossed the line in 4min 59.6sec. On being told her time, she said: “Oh good, at last!”
Her husband, Peter Charles, wrote later: “It’s a sad fact that while Bannister’s story is known to all, Diane Leather is almost unheard of amongst the younger generations and outside of athletics circles.” This was due to attitudes at the time towards women’s sport. Throughout the 20th century, there was a great deal of anxiety around women competing in various events: because of unfounded medical concerns, they were banned from the Olympic marathon until 1984 and only began ski jumping at the Winter Olympics in 2014.
After Diane’s record run, it was another 13 years before the International Amateur Athletics Federation recognised women’s world records for the mile, and women were able to compete at the distance in international events – all of which came too late for her
Thankfully, recognition did come about in her later years. In the 2008 edition of Athletics Weekly, Leather was ranked No 2 in a list of all-time great 1500m runners, behind the double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes. More recently, in a BBC broadcast of the Great North Run two days after her death, Mo Farah, Kathrine Switzer and Laura Muir all paid tribute to Leather’s achievements. “I had no idea that I would ever be called a pioneer,” Leather said in 2014, on the 60th anniversary of her big race. But a pioneer she certainly was.
She was born in Streetly, Staffordshire, one of six children, and the only daughter, of James Leather, a surgeon, and his wife, Mabel (nee Barringer), and after her time as a boarder at the Ladies’ College she went on to Birmingham College of Technology (now Aston University) to train as a chemist.
Watching the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki was to change her life, as Leather was inspired to join her local athletics club, Birchfield Harriers. There she discovered a natural talent for running, notching up a team world record for the 3 x 880yd relay, as well as a British record in the mile, in her first year at the club.
Leather set a women’s “best”, as it was called, in 1953 for the mile, which she ran in 5min 2.6sec. Her historic 4min 59.6sec came the following year. Further records ensued, with 4min 50.8sec and 4min 45sec in 1955 – in total she held claim for eight years.
Her versatility across distances was notable. She won the 800m world record by running 2min 9sec in 1955, and gained a silver medal at the European Championships in 1954 and 1958 over the same distance. She also held the British 1500m record for 11 years. Additionally she won national and international cross-country titles.
In 1959 Leather married Peter Charles, an engineer – they had met as students. She competed at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games as Diane Charles, running in a preliminary heat in the 800m. Later that year she retired from competitive running, aged 27, and in 1961 gave birth to her first child.
She studied for a diploma in social work, worked with the Hertfordshire child protection team and volunteered for the Samaritans, alongside raising four children and taking in foster children. In the early 1980s the family moved to Cornwall, where she worked for Cornwall child protection and volunteered at the charity Cruse Bereavement Care.
Peter died in 2017. She is survived by their three sons, Matthew, Hamish and Rufus, and daughter, Lindsey, 13 grandchildren and three brothers.
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