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School Life

Academic excellence is at the heart of life at Harrogate Ladies’ College, with small class sizes, committed teachers and a value added score for public examinations that puts us in the top 5% of schools nationally.  Life at College also gives students the opportunity to excel outside the classroom in a wide range of specialist fields including sports, drama and music.

At this important stage in their lives pupils are encouraged, supported and nurtured to achieve the best they possibly can – we believe that Harrogate Ladies’ College truly is a place where girls achieve more.

College Year Groups

In College we have our own terminology for our Year Groups. It’s a tradition that we’ve maintained for a long time – mainly because our girls insist that we do! It can be a bit confusing at first, but as pupils and parents settle into life at College, it soon becomes second nature. Here’s a quick guide to our terminology and how it relates to the national curriculum and age groups.

National Curriculum Phase

College Terminology

National Curriculum Terminology

Age of Pupils

Key Stage 3

Upper 3

Year 7

11-12 years


Lower 4

Year 8

12-13 year


Upper 4

Year 9

13-14 years


Lower 5

Year 10

14-15 years


Upper 5

Year 11

15-16 years

A Level

Lower 6

Year 12

16-17 years


Upper 6

Year 13

17-18 years


The House System

During their life at College all girls (day and boarding) are assigned to one of four Academic Houses, which are named after inspirational women each of whom achieved extraordinary things in a particular field – just as we hope our pupils will go on to do!

  • Austen – named after the English novelist, Jane Austen

  • Franklin – named after the pioneering molecular scientist, Rosalind Franklin

  • Nightingale – named after the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale

  • Pankhurst – named after the leader of the British Suffragette movement, Emmeline Pankhurst

The Academic Houses are a key feature of life at College and girls enjoy a healthy rivalry in inter-house sport, music and drama competitions, as well as the much sought after House Cup awarded at the end of each term. The Academic Houses are also the focus of much of our charity work with each House supporting and running its own charitable events throughout the year.

Prep (Homework)

As part of College life, every girl is expected to undertake homework (or Prep as well call it), alongside their classroom lessons. The amount of homework increases as students progress through their school career. We build some time for Prep into the timetable at each phase of the curriculum and we also have supervised Prep Sessions at the end of each school day. Many of our students like the fact that they can stay at school and have a quiet, supportive place to complete their homework before returning home or to their boarding house. The parents of our day girls also tell us that this really helps when juggling busy family lives – just one of the benefits of being a day girl in a boarding school.