Clara Guest, aged 12, daughter of local butcher George Guest, was the first girl on the register of Colston’s Girls’ School when it opened its doors on January 18 1891.
In the 125 years since, the school has played an important role in educating a great many young women from across Bristol.
Alistair Perry, Head of School and Executive Principal for Secondary Sector for the CGS Trust, is the first male headteacher in the school’s history. “Generations of young women, parents and staff have been proud to be a part of our vibrant, caring and highly successful learning community,” said Mr Perry. “Students have always been taught to be independent, curious and resourceful in their learning, to seek knowledge and opportunities and to achieve more that they had thought possible.”
Initially a school that was open to girls of good character and sufficient bodily health, Colston’s Girls’ School is today a vibrant, inclusive and diverse community accepting girls of all talents and abilities.
The school was established by the Society of Merchant Venturers to reflect the changing educational priorities of the late nineteenth century and their own commitment to providing access to education for all young people. The distinctive yellow and red brick Victorian building, designed by William Venn Gough and Grade II listed, has added several new buildings and enhanced its facilities in recent years.
In 2008 Colston’s Girls’ School became one of the first fee-charging independent schools in the country to convert to state-funded academy status. It is rated outstanding by Ofsted and receives more than four applications for every place. The school currently has 780 students, aged 11 to 18, and is set to grow to a capacity of 860.
Mutual respect and responsibility lie at the heart of the school, where a challenging, engaging and values-led curriculum focuses on building characteristics and habits that last a lifetime – respect, responsibility, curiosity and resilience.
Mr Perry added “In celebrating our 125th anniversary, we remain academically ambitious for each and every girl, but more importantly, we want them to grow as happy and fulfilled young women ready to lead and succeed in their chosen path, whatever that may be.”
The school held an impressive display of pupils’ artwork to mark the anniversary, lessons had an anniversary theme and were followed by special assemblies where each student was presented with a commemorative lapel pin. Colston’s Girls’ School plans a number of other commemorative activities through 2016.