Hitchin Girls' School

Hitchin Girls' School
Hitchin Girls School 2017.jpg
Highbury Road

, ,

Coordinates51°56′52″N 0°16′10″W / 51.9479°N 0.2694°W / 51.9479; -0.2694Coordinates: 51°56′52″N 0°16′10″W / 51.9479°N 0.2694°W / 51.9479; -0.2694
EstablishedJuly 1889
FounderJohn Mattock
SpecialistScience College
Department for Education URN137288 Tables
ChairColin Minton
Head teacherF.C. Manning
Age11 to 18
Houses  Austen
Colour(s)Navy blue and gold   

Hitchin Girls' School (HGS) is a secondary school with academy status in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. The school has 1079 students and is in a consortium for sixth form teaching with Hitchin Boys' School and The Priory School. It gained academy status in 2011. Its Main Block is the highest building in Hitchin, and upon inspection in 2013 it was given the "outstanding" rating by Ofsted. There are 80 teachers and 1100 students currently on roll.


In 1639, John Mattock gave the rents and profits from nine acres of land for "the maintenance of an able and learned schoolmaster for instructing the children of the inhabitants of Hitchin in good literature and virtuous education for the avoiding of idleness, the mother of all vice and wickedness," a quotation which can now be found as a plaque above the school's main entrance.

The original school Mattock founded, Tilehouse Free School, suffered many hardships, including conflict with the locals between Mattock's preferred Classics-based curriculum and a more practical 'three Rs' style of education, substandard teaching and a large amount of debt. This school closed in 1876. It was revived, however, by Frederick Seebohm, a rich and influential Quaker, as a fee-paying mixed school with some scholarships available for the town's poorest inhabitants.

In 1889, this new school was first housed in the "Woodlands" building in Bancroft, Hitchin, owned by Seebohm's business partner Joseph Sharples, but moved in 1906 to its current location on Windmill Hill, also given by the Seebohm family, along with £1,000 towards the building and its maintenance.

Since 1960, there have been no more boarders; the dormitories were converted into the school's library in 1955, which used to be housed in the current staffroom.

It was awarded specialist Science College status in 2004. The head teacher is James Crowther who replaced Frances Manning. Frances Manning replaced Mrs Edwards at the start of the 2007/8 academic year.

In July 2011 it became an academy.

The school's traditions include form running, a relay race which takes place at the end of every term. The first form running competition was held in 1920, and this remains the only state school in the country to maintain this tradition. Gymnastics competitions are held every year, the first of which took place in 1914.

Founders' Day, honouring the original benefactors, has taken place every year since 1932.


The school occupies several buildings:

  • The Main Block built in 1906, with extra classrooms and a dining room added in 1929, 1939 and 1958. This block is currently used for teaching Maths, History, Classics, Computing and Art. It also houses the school library, which formerly served as dormitories for boarding students. The Main Hall, used for plays and assemblies, is situated there.
  • A Science and Gym Block built in 1972, which is used for indoor PE lessons and for the teaching of all three sciences
  • The Lower Block built in 1978, which contains specialist teaching rooms for Design and Technology and is also used for English and Modern Foreign Languages
  • Highbury House, a music and foreign language teaching area
  • A Sixth Form Centre which features a common room and several teaching areas for those in the Hitchin Consortium
  • Woodside, a new block of classrooms designated for the increased intake of Year 7 students, which was finished on 5 September 2018

House system[edit]

The school is split into eight houses, with six established in 2004 and two added in 2018 to accommodate an expansion of the school.

House Founded Named after
Austen 2004 Jane Austen Yellow
Brontë 2004 The Brontë sisters Green
Curie 2004 Marie Curie Red
Frank 2004 Anne Frank Purple
Jewel 2004 Jewel Plummer Cobb Orange
Pankhurst 2018 Emmeline Pankhurst Teal
Rosa 2018 Rosa Parks Pink
Teresa 2004 Mother Teresa Blue

Notable former pupils[edit]


  • Douglas, Priscilla Mary; Donald, Joyce; Duignan, Elizabeth (1988) The School on the Hill ISBN 9780951372807


  1. ^ Derrick, Maya (1 June 2021). "'I never thought I'd get quite this far!' - Professor on Astronomer Royal appointment". The Comet. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  2. ^ The Philadelphia Print Shop Retrieved 18 August 2007 Archived July 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]