Our History 2018-04-12T14:04:12+00:00

Our History

In 2018, Ipswich High School is celebrating 25 years at Woolverstone Hall and 140 years as a school. Over the last 140 years our school has continued to grow and provide a tailored education for our students, emphasising the individuality of each and every pupil that studies here.

It is important to acknowledge the changes the school has gone through in the past and, undoubtedly, the exciting changes that it will go through in the future.

Northgate Street – 1878 – 1905

Ipswich High School was founded in 1878 out of a strong passion for women’s education, with Miss Sophie Youngman being the first headmistress of our school The first site of the school was in the Assembly Rooms in Northgate Street, with the very first pupil count being 43 pupils.

Miss Youngman retired in 1889 after 21 years of service and died in 1911. We award the Sophie Youngman Prize for scholarly work and her portrait, painted by Marie Naylor, hangs in the lounge at Woolverstone Hall.

‘Brakefield’ Westerfield Road – 1905 to 1992

In 1905 expansion of the school continued, so much that it was determined that the campus at Northgate Street could no longer accommodate the school’s growth. The Girls’ Public Day School Company purchased ‘Brakefield’ on behalf of Ipswich High School. The plans for expansion included a laboratory, games fields more classrooms, assembly hall and a gymnasium.

The school celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1938, shortly before World War 2 began, with an Old Girls’ Day including hockey matches, an evening reunion and two parties. During the war pupils took on the charge of knitting and creating hospitality garments and medical supplies to be put toward the war relief effort.

Woolverstone Hall – 1992 to Present Day

In 1992, the school made the decision to purchase and move into Woolverstone Hall. With the move to Woolverstone Hall, upgrades to our facilities followed, with the opening of both a new sports hall and a new theatre complex in June 1993.

The 120th birthday of the school was celebrated in 1998, with the Bishop of Dunwich in attendance to give a Thanksgiving service on 30th April. 2002 saw the addition of our magnificent 25-metre, 6-lane swimming pool, which joined to the Hayworth Building, new AstroTurf for sports, a new canteen and a new Learning Resource Centre.

In 2007 the school launched Woodland Prep-Prep, extending the age range of education at the school to ages 3 to 18.

In 2017 Ipswich High School parted ways with the GDST and were purchased by Ipswich Education Ltd. This news was coupled with another exciting announcement, as Ipswich High School were to, once again, begin accepting boys and become the first Diamond Model school in Suffolk.

With this in mind, and with the benefit of being able to embrace the past experiences of working with the GDST and the history of the site as a boys school (Woolverstone Hall School), we are very pleased with the trusted, educational approach we are set to embrace in the years ahead.

Given the varied ways in which girls and boys develop and learn, we are confident that the Diamond Model of teaching is an ideal one for the future of Ipswich High School. The teaching and support team here are all incredibly proud of the exceptional, bespoke, educational offer which we have become known for, and we are looking forward to extending this offer to include boys. We welcome the investment in facilities, alongside the training and support that Ipswich Education will be able to provide as we move towards becoming a Diamond Model School by September 2023. This will only enhance the already first-class learning experience we deliver, alongside the highest level of pastoral care for our pupils.