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.
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.
A new inspection report has revealed that a leading Harrogate school has met key Government standards in all areas despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
11th November 2021 — A new inspection report has revealed that a leading Harrogate school has met key Government standards in all areas despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Harrogate Ladies’ College recently underwent a comprehensive review by the Independent Schools Inspectorate – the equivalent of Ofsted in the state sector.
It covered teaching standards, pastoral care, facilities and extra-curricular activities across the school, which offers provision for pupils aged two to 18.
The key findings acknowledged the school met all standards, and it highlighted the work of staff in fulfilling the school's values and individual achievements of pupils in academic and personal development.
It noted that pupils in Highfield Pre-School and Highfield Prep School are above the national average in all areas and the pupils in the senior school and sixth form are above average ability for their age.
The report also recognised the quality of academic study by pupils as well as the 'personal, moral, social and cultural development of pupils', and the standards of practice put in place for the welfare, health and safety of pupils.
The inspectors spent time in the school scrutinizing practices and procedures, observed school lessons and examined pupils' work. They also attended pupils’ form meetings, visited the school's boarding facilities and oversaw extra-curricular activities.
The report stated that the school’s “principles and values are actively promoted which facilitate the personal development of pupils as responsible, tolerant, law-abiding citizens. Boarders' views are actively encouraged and their opinions and concerns are appropriately considered by staff."
Principal Sylvia Brett said she was delighted that the school was compliant in every area.
"The report reflects the incredible hard work of staff, and most of all it shows an appreciation of the pupils and their amazing abilities and achievements. I’m particularly proud of this inspection outcome, coming as it does in the midst of a global pandemic, when so many of our procedures and practices have had to be adapted, without compromising any of the standards that parents and children rightly expect from us."
A talented dancer from Harrogate is set to be a rising star in the UK Championships
A talented dancer from Harrogate is set to be a rising star in the UK Championships. Phoebe Russell was placed 1st and 2nd place in a national dance competition in Southampton, quickly followed by 2nd and 3rd place in a national competition in Blackpool Winter Gardens. At 16, she was the youngest competitor in her age group which spans 16-29 year olds.
13th October 2021 — A talented dancer from Harrogate is set to be a rising star in the UK Championships. Phoebe Russell was placed 1st and 2nd place in a national dance competition in Southampton, quickly followed by 2nd and 3rd place in a national competition in Blackpool Winter Gardens. At 16, she was the youngest competitor in her age group which spans 16-29 year olds.
Phoebe, who joined Harrogate Ladies’ College on a dance scholarship, plans to become one of the few people in the world to specialise in dance physio at university.
She excels in Ballroom and Latin dance and even designs her own costumes for her pro-am competitions.
She started ballet at just two and developed her passion for Ballroom and Latin long before the phenomenon of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show.
Phoebe plans to enter international competition and one day dreams of setting up her own dance school in her home town of Harrogate.
Phoebe, who is a Year 11 pupil at the school, is even hosting dance lessons for fellow pupils in one of the school’s boarding houses.
And she credited sports teachers at the school for the extra help in core strength work and exercise.
“I absolutely love it, it’s given me great strength and also perseverance.
“I really enjoy the competitions and the training in Manchester every weekend with Amy and Alex at A Class dance Studios.
“Dance teaches you many things and as soon as I saw Ballroom & Latin as a much younger child, I knew I wanted to do it, and my first teacher Darren Hodgson at The Harrogate Dance Centre saw something in me. He encouraged me, telling me to do it again and again!” she said.
Mrs Sylvia Brett, Principal of the School, said the whole school was thrilled to see Phoebe’s remarkable progress.
“She has an amazing raw talent which shines through, and which inspires younger pupils to really believe in themselves and follow their dreams,” she said.
“Phoebe has shown real grit and determination in her pursuit of her ambition and great physical and mental resilience alongside her school work.”