Harrogate School Guide

Yesterday was the day, National Offer Day, for those of you with children heading off to secondary school in September, it was no doubt one of the biggest days so far in your child’s development and academic career.

With that in mind we truly hope you all got the results you wanted and are very happy families.

However, if you have not yet reached the decision making time, we thought we would share some of our knowledge and insights into the secondary schools we’re blessed to have in Harrogate.

Whilst it can be as simple as selecting the local public school, or the school in the same government zone as your home, you may want to explore other options.

Some factors to consider when weighing your options:

School Type

You should first identify the type of school you want your child to attend. This can be confusing given the various types of secondary schools that exist these days compared to what you may have had on offer when it was your time to choose as an 11 year old. There are now a wealth of options outside the realm of private, public, grammar; academies, local community schools, technical colleges, foundation schools, studio schools.

Independent schools, also known as private schools, are funded by the parents and therefore do not have to follow the National Curriculum. They can create their own education standards and determine their own admission criteria (which usually begins with a formal written test and in some cases an interview)

State schools receive all or part of their funding from a local authority and have to follow that National Curriculum. However, there are differences in the ways they are managed and often in the rules they have for offering places to pupils. There are also numerous different types of state schools, so you will need to determine which one is best for your child.

So now that you have decided on the type of school, we have broken down what we consider to be best in each category in Harrogate and the surrounding area.

Independent Schools

Harrogate Ladies College

Harrogate Ladies’ College is an independent boarding and day school located within walking distance of Harrogate town centre, set in beautiful gardens with boarding houses surrounding the main school buildings.

Founded as a girls’ senior school in 1893, the college now educates girls from ages 2 to 18 and boys up to age 11.

The school prides itself on a strong sense of community – in fact, when they asked pupils, parents and staff to describe the school, “family” and “community” were the most frequently used words.

Ashville College

Ashville College is a co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils aged 4–18, in the Pannal Ash housing area of Harrogate.

It was founded in 1877 as a boarding school for boys; it’s now open to non-Methodists and to those of non-Christian religions. The college accepted girls in 1982 and is now fully co-educational.

It thrives as the oldest independent school in Harrogate and owns an estate of 60 acres on the south side of our beautiful town.

State Schools

Harrogate Grammar

Harrogate Grammar is an independent, co-educational school and sixth form located in Harrogate in the Otley Road area. It has roughly 1,700 pupils and there are about 600 pupils in the sixth form.

The school began in 1903 when the Municipal Secondary Day School opened in Haywra Crescent with 44 pupils. In 1933 the school, now Harrogate Grammar School but still led by its first Headmaster Mr Thoseby, moved to the present Arthurs Avenue site.

Students now have the opportunity to study an exceptionally wide range of subjects at AS and Advanced level. It has also developed a specialism in language learning.

From 2007-2013 the school has maintained its Outstanding status from OFSTED.

St Aidens

St. Aidan’s Church of England High School is a mixed Church of England secondary school and sixth form with academy status founded in 1966, located adjacent to The Stray in Harrogate and within the St Helen’s housing area.

There are currently over 2500 students of both lower school and sixth form age.

The school was made one of the first Beacon Schools in 1998. It was also awarded Specialist College Science Status.

It won the International Schools Award from the British Council in 2006. The school also received specialist Languages College Status, and followed this up with a series of Languages Days for both students of both primary and secondary level.

St John Fishers

St John Fisher Catholic High School is a co-educational Catholic comprehensive school for 11-18 year olds.

It has developed steadily during the past 50 years and has around 1,400 pupils on roll.

The school is set in 22 acres on the south side of Harrogate and skirted by Hookstone Woods.

Graded “outstanding” in its most recent OFSTED Report, the school was the top non-selective comprehensive school in the 2013 GCSE league tables in Yorkshire


Rossett School, a coeducational secondary school with academy status in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It is a specialist school and a Mathematics and Computing College.

Results have continued to improve year on year. Rossett prides itself on offering much more including an extensive range of extracurricular activities and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Ofsted awarded Rossett outstanding in 2006/2007

Should you need further information about schools in Harrogate you can visit the OFSTED website, any of the individual schools websites or the government education advice site


About Charles

This blog follows the residential Sales and Lettings market in Harrogate, Knaresborough and surrounding villages.You will find information, analysis and guidance here along with news about Harrogate. I’m Charles Myring working in the Myrings Estate Agents Ltd business alongside my son Simon , daughter Gemma and dedicated sales teams. If you're thinking of Selling / Buying / Letting / Renting property locally Myrings would be happy to assist.