North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021

Working in our community

Meeting our civic duty

As one of the oldest institutions in Leeds we take our role in the community seriously. According to research undertaken by the Independent School Council (ISC), we contribute nearly £20m to the local economy and our activities support over 470 jobs in the Leeds area. The success of the school and that of the city are inextricably linked, and thanks to generous philanthropic support throughout our history we are fortunate to enjoy excellent resources and facilities, so we want as many children and young people as possible to benefit from our good fortune. We are a Child Friendly Leeds ambassador, and we are committed to playing our role in making Leeds the best city in the UK for children and young people.

We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach so the nature of the support we provide depends on the needs of the people and organisations that we work with. By working in partnership we are able to identify how we can help with particular challenges or issues in a mutually beneficial way. This may be as simple as providing free event tickets so children in care can meet a leading author or more ambitious such as running free family fun days at Leeds City Museum.

We also encourage our pupils to be conscientious citizens and our weekly charity programme typically raises over £40,000 per year for good causes. We also expect our pupils to give their time to help others for example through our voluntary service programme, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme or helping build education facilities in Malawi. Many of our pupils continue to support these good causes once the formal programme has ended and for some this experience influences what they do after leaving school.

We published Beyond our Gates Report in 2021 which is a collection of partnership case studies. Whilst we are doing a lot of work to have a positive impact on Leeds, the region and even further afield we are keen to do more. If you would like to know more about what we do or become involved with one of our projects please email

Bursary provision

The financial support offered through our means-tested bursary scheme helps pupils who have the potential to succeed at GSAL but would be prevented from taking up a place by their financial circumstances. We currently invest over £1m per annum in providing financial support to over 120 of our senior school pupils. The typical bursary award is 75% and most of our bursary students are eligible for free school meals.

In 2018 as part of our 10th Birthday celebrations we raised over £900k which enabled us to create 11 additional bursaries. This campaign was shortlisted for an Independent School of the Year Award.

School outreach

Our extensive school outreach programme sees around 2,000 pupils a year from across Leeds, West and North Yorkshire take part in high quality cross-curricular activities. Events include maths and science workshops, physics masterclasses, arts performances and access to our higher education and careers support. We have an on-going partnership with Parklands Primary School and recent projects include an outdoor school mural project in collaboration with GSAL sixth form. To view further projects we are involved with please click here.

Young Scholars Network

A number of schools from across Leeds and the University of Leeds are working together to support academically talented pupils. Our idea is to create a network of Year 10 pupils who will take part in a range of enrichment activities to build their resilience whilst developing their team-work, communication, critical thinking and research skills. Our hope is that by the end of the programme these young people will have a greater understanding of their options after GCSE and feel better prepared for Year 11, and have made friends from across the city. If you would like to be involved in the Young Scholars Network please contact

Partnership working

Innovative partnerships with leading cultural and educational organisations such as Leeds City Museum, Otley Science Festival, MathsCity and LEEDS2023  enable us to work collaboratively, developing a range of activities that meet the needs of their audiences.

In 2020 we received two certificates from Child Friendly Leeds for our support for looked-after children which we deliver in collaboration with our partners. One certificate was for inspiring creativity through arts and culture –  for our work with Harrogate Theatre where we delivered a Play in a Day for looked after children and the other for the school’s overall contribution to making Leeds a child friendly city – for our work with Ilkley Literature Festival which enabled looked after children and their families to visit the festival.

Professional training

We are committed to sharing best practice as a means of learning from others. We are an active partner in a number of initiatives including continuing professional development projects with schools from across Leeds. We are a member of both the White Rose Alliance  and Yorkshire Schools Alliance which are two clusters of schools delivering initial teacher training through the School Direct model. Each year we organise a Teaching and Learning Conference which is attended by over 200 primary and secondary school teachers, the event brings together passionate, enthusiastic and experienced teachers who are committed to improving the education of children and young people.

Helping other charities

We encourage pupils to consider their place in the wider community, develop a strong sense of social responsibility and support those less fortunate than themselves. We are a member of the Leeds Community Foundation 100 Club which works to make a difference to the people of Leeds. Our sixth form students also give at least 25 hours of their time to voluntary work and each year, with support from staff, pupils select a number of local, national and global charities to support through weekly charity collections and fundraising events during the school year.

Malawi project

The Malawi project was initiated nearly 30 years ago by Barry Brindley at Leeds Girls’ High School and continues today at GSAL. Through fundraising and the collection of donations in kind, the project has helped communities in Malawi by creating and maintaining schools, orphanages and medical centres. As well as raising vital funds for the projects our students visit the country to improve their understanding of Malawi and to provide practical assistance to the causes they support. Barry’s unswerving commitment and enthusiasm was recognised by a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Independent Schools Awards.

Community access

Our facilities are available for use by community groups, charities, educational organisations and businesses. We have an excellent range of facilities, including a swimming pool, 3G pitch, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, a theatre, music rooms and meeting venues, which are available for others to use. Recent activities have included sports days for local primary schools, intensive swimming sessions for 10 year olds and hosting GCSE revision workshops for one of our partner secondary schools.

“Your continued support makes a difference in young people’s lives, giving them opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy to experience arts and drama.”

Child Friendly Leeds


Or, if you prefer to chat to someone please call our admissions team. For Senior School call 0113 228 5121 and for Primary School call 0113 228 5113.