Our History

Throughout its history, our school has been a progressive and developing organisation; founded in in the early 1900s when the doors were first opened to girls, the school has been steered by a number of redoubtable and strong head teachers through the many changes of the educational landscape to its current status as highly successful and popular co‑educational Academy with over 1,000 pupils on its roll.

Opened in 1905 and housed in premises on Nightingale Road in Guildford, the School for Girls was led by Miss Todhunter, a former High School mistress. The school's name was changed to Guildford County School for Girls in 1907 and by 1909 the school had moved to new premises, Whitehall in Upper High Street. The school's motto, 'Conduct, Toil and Thought' was chosen from John Ruskin's poem "Sesame and Lillies" and underpinned the education provided to girls.

The school continued to grow and by 1909 there were over 110 pupils and new premises were required.  The site, which we currently occupy was identified on the Farnham Road and it was brought from Lord Cranley for the sum of £3,000.  The purpose built school was designed to house 235 girls and was opened in July 1914.  The girls enjoyed their new building for a term and then were required to move back to its old premises in Whitehall, as the building was annexed by the War Office and used as a military hospital.  The girls reoccupied the Farnham Road building in July 1919.

More buildings were added to the Farnham Road site during the following sixty years.  Led by Olive Cassirer, from the 1950s until her retirement in 1974, she had high expectations of her pupils to excel and to follow an academic career. The school flourished under her headship; when she retired in 1974 the sixth form was about 180 and total school roll was about 450.  Lenore Davies was the acting head of school from 1974 to 1977 before reverting to deputy when David Smith was appointed.

Between 1977 and 1979, the school roll grew to over 900. David Smith retired after 24 years service in 2001. He led the transition of the school from a highly selective, successful Girls' Grammar School to an extremely successful and popular all-ability mixed school. He fought off proposals to close the school in 1984, and steered the school into Grant-Maintained status in the 1980s.  For a decade the school was a Grant-Maintained School and during this time the future of the school was secured by the addition of the Cobbett Building which ensured that the School could accommodate a viable number of students in each year group and a strong Sixth Form provision.

At the start of the new millennium, the School became a Foundation School and in 2001, Peter Costello assumed the position of head teacher and secured its status as a Specialist Music College and subsequently recognition of its high performing specialist status in Mathematics and Computing. More recently, Peter has overseen its conversion to an Academy and on his retirement in August 2013, handed over the leadership of the School to Jack Mayhew. Jack is overseeing the next phase of capital development at the school, with multi-million pound investments in school buildings and facilities to equip our students for learning in the 21st century.