Our School History
Founded in 1895
Established in 1895 as a girls' school by our founding Headmistress, Miss Hill, the school was initially located on Park Road, Peterborough. It remained there until 1936 when it relocated to Westwood House, (formerly known as Westwood Park Estate), Thorpe Road, where it presently operates on expansive, tree lined grounds.
During Miss Somerville's tenure as Headmistress, the school had a total of 24 students aged between 7 and 14. The preparatory department became co-educational, teaching both boys and girls, whilst the Senior School remained exclusively for girls.
Park Road School House
1936 - 1960
In August of 1937, the school appointed Mrs. Belgion as the new Headmistress. Under her dynamic leadership, the school experienced significant growth and by September 1938, the school's population had increased to 64 students. Mrs. Belgion was resolute in her commitment to continue the school's expansion, which ultimately led to a total of 200 pupils by 1949. While the majority of students were day students, the school also accommodated some weekly and termly boarders. In 1939, the school was renamed ‘Westwood House School’.
Westwood House School crest, and former Headmistress Mrs Belgion
1960 - 2000
Mrs. Bowis played a significant role in overseeing the gradual expansion of the School between 1961 and 1973. In 1968, the School was incorporated into the Woodard Corporation. To accommodate the growth, a new boarding house, science and art block, and a first storey to the West Wing were constructed. In 1971, the Chapel of St. Hugh of Lincoln was created by repurposing the old gymnasium in the stables.
As the city of Peterborough continued to grow in the 1970s, the School underwent further expansion. Mrs Storey, who served as Headmistress from 1977 to 1999, was instrumental in the development, particularly of the Sixth Form. Various buildings were constructed, including the Home Economics block. The Library and Sixth Form Common Room were the final additions of the 90s and were housed in a new building adjacent to the boarding house. In 1991, the School reverted back to the original name ‘Peterborough High School’.
2002 - 2010
The opportunity to purchase 110 Thorpe Road from the Newington family presented itself and subsequently, the site underwent a conversion process, culminating in the grand opening of our luxurious Nursery in September 2002.
Under the guidance of Mrs. Sarah Dixon, the Creative Arts Centre development was initiated, with the first phase completed in September 2006. This phase involved the construction of a Refectory gallery, which serves as a magnificent dining facility, as well as an exhibition space for the School's artwork.
Phase 2 of the Creative Arts Centre development was completed in September 2007 and comprised of the redevelopment of the East Wing entrance. The newly designed entrance features a Music Technology Classroom, a revamped backstage area, and upgraded cloakrooms for pupils. Additionally, the state-of-the-art 'black-box' Drama studio was completed and the Hall was redeveloped to include tiered, retractable seating.
The School's inaugural and current Headmaster, Mr. Adrian Meadows, was appointed in September 2007. Two years later, in November 2009, the School Council declared its intention to expand the School's admission to include boys from Years 7 to Upper Sixth, thus establishing itself as the sole independent co-educational school in the city, catering to pupils aged 4 to 18.
In recognition of this change, the School's name was revised to "The Peterborough School".
2010 – present day
The Peterborough School discontinued its boarding facilities, and Belgion House underwent significant transformation into spacious new classrooms. The Preparatory School also experienced significant redevelopment in 2016, including the expansion of its playground. Further refurbishments are in store, and we look forward to the installation of our nature-themed Reception Classroom during October Half Term of 2023.
The Storey Building underwent a complete renovation in 2018 and now houses an advanced Sixth Form Study Centre, a communal area, a meeting space, and the Director of Sixth Form's office. This allows our most senior students to study and relax in their dedicated space. Additionally, the Nursery underwent a considerable expansion during the summer of 2023, featuring a new building designed exclusively for our Pre-Prep children.
Despite undergoing significant advancement since its Victorian beginnings, The Peterborough School remains dedicated to providing students with "education with character." Our school's legacy is channelled into the present-day education we offer, and we continue to emphasise the importance of the Westwoodian’s mantra: “Be valiant”.
The Peterborough School is a Woodard School. The Woodard Schools, located across England and Wales, may be geographically diverse but they share an educational vision which empowers, celebrates diversity and adds value to a child’s development.
Founded in 1848 by Priest and educational visionary, Nathaniel Woodard, the family of Woodard Schools – independent and maintained, senior and prep, co-ed and single sex, boarding and day – all share the founder’s vision of a Christian education coupled with a belief in nurturing and enriching each individual.
The schools all provide the highest academic standards but Woodard Schools set themselves apart by also offering an unrivalled effective and supportive environment, where each individual is valued and encouraged to give of their very best.
Today, Woodard Schools have a sense of ‘faith, unity and vision’ that has never been stronger. A Woodard education values both the spiritual and moral development of each person, giving strength, confidence and respect for others. Young people from all faiths and traditions or none at all, flourish in the rich, diverse culture of our schools, enabling them to lead full and creative adult lives.
The Woodard family of schools provides many inter-school opportunities, the sharing of best practice and a strength and expertise within education. Our pioneering heritage places much emphasis on leadership and management. From attractive, welcoming environments to modern facilities, Woodard Schools offer a rich variety of extra-curricular activities, professional teaching and effective pastoral care.
Woodard Schools offer a twenty-first century education rooted in the vision of the founder. A vision which challenges those who believe education is simply a matter of teaching and learning certain skills. The education of the whole person, to foster the unique potential of each individual, is the Woodard way. Woodard Schools are forward thinking, well respected, dynamic places of learning with excellent facilities, dedicated staff and a warm and open culture.