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School Life Through the Years


During the school’s first decades, it was common practice for each teacher at Guildford High School to teach a range of subjects.  Miss Morton, for example, took every form for Religious Studies and some forms for French.  History teachers were often entrusted with teaching Arithmetic. Some subjects differed from those we know today, such as English. Grammar held its own as a subject for 60 years before becoming part of English Language and Literature. Shakespeare and Milton ranked as separate subjects for the first 20 years. Until WWII, Arithmetic was for the masses and Mathematics was only taught to the elite.  The school has a long tradition of curriculum-related trips and records of a trip to Paris in 1937 bring to mind today’s annual visit to Paris by Sixth Form economics and politics students.

Read more about the curriculum at Guildford High School today.  


In sport, hockey rivalled lacrosse for many years but finally was dropped as lacrosse became the main sport. Today it has been re-introduced as a club in both Junior and Senior School. Netball was originally a Cinderella sport played only by those who failed to make the hockey or lacrosse teams; a fact which is hard to believe today when our netball teams are frequently county champions and achieve success at national level.  Girls also took ‘calisthenics’ which eventually gave way to gymnastics.

Read more about sport at Guildford High School today. 


Until 1921 the girls wore no uniform, since young ladies were expected to come to school dressed like gentlewomen. There were various kinds of sports clothes but these were fairly cumbersome; ‘Leaping’ was done in long skirts. A uniform was introduced in 1921, probably in response to the rise in casual clothing amongst women. From then until the 1960s, all forms wore berets except the Sixth Form, who wore boaters. Daringly, tennis socks replaced white stockings in 1935. During the 1970s the uniform for the Sixth Form was abolished. Today, there is still no uniform for the Sixth Form and games kit has developed to accommodate modern textiles, appropriate for undertaking sport comfortably and competitively.