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History of The Grammar School at Leeds

In 2018 we celebrated the first decade of The Grammar School at Leeds. Over the course of the year we held various events to mark this important milestone in the school’s history. We also created 11 Birthday Bursaries to enable academically talented pupils from low income households to attend the school, keeping alive William Sheafield’s desire to provide opportunities for some of the most deprived children in Leeds.


The Grammar School at Leeds origins date back to 1552 when one of the original schools, Leeds Grammar School was founded through a bequest of local industrialist, William Sheafield, to teach and instruct freely …all such younge schollars, youthes and children as shall come and resort to him.

Originally housed in a small building on Vicar Lane, Leeds the school began to expand into purpose built facilities and in 1691, Godfrey Lawson founded the very first library in Leeds, located at the school. Further expansion followed and in 1859 the school relocated to Woodhouse Moor.

Shortly afterwards in 1876 Leeds Girls’ High School was founded to provide poor girls with a quality education; and in 1898 about the same time as Leeds Grammar School expanded its provision to educate junior boys, Leeds Girls’ High School became part of the Grammar School Foundation.



In 1906 Leeds Girls’ High School moved to a new site in Headingley, and in 1925 it too expanded its provision to cater for younger pupils with the opening of Ford House, followed by Rose Court.

In 1997, with ever-increasing land and logistical pressures Leeds Grammar School relocated from Moorland Road to the current site in Alwoodley. For the first time in its history the school enjoyed fully purpose built facilities on a campus of nearly 140 acres.



Meanwhile Leeds Girls’ High School was experiencing similar pressures and with the ever-changing social and financial landscape the decision to fully merge the schools was taken. In 2005 the schools were legally merged to form The Grammar School at Leeds. Physical merger happened some three years later when the girls finally joined the boys at the present site in Alwoodley, with the Nursery and pre-prep department taking over the original Leeds Girls’ High junior school site at Ford House.

The decision to run on the diamond model principle ensured that the benefits both the schools had enjoyed as single-sex institutions was maintained and further enhanced by the opportunities of co-education. The school has continued to evolve. In September 2020 pupils aged 3 to 7 moved from Rose Court to the main school site at Alwoodley Gates to form The Grammar School at Leeds Primary.

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