DH Lawrence’s former school opens its doors to girls for the first time in 500 years

The Telegraph, 03.09.15, Nottingham High School, which taught writer DH Lawrence, Ed Balls and Ken Clarke, takes its first female students. HMC member Kevin Fear, headmaster of the leading independent school features.

A school which has only taught boys for more than 500 years has opened its doors to girls for the first time.

Nottingham High School welcomed 41 girls in the sixth form as the new term started on Thursday.

The school, which taught writer DH Lawrence, Jesse Boot of Boots fame, and politicians including Ed Balls and Ken Clarke, had only accepted male students since it was founded in 1513.

There was also be a mixed intake of pupils in reception, year one and two.

Lucy Stansfield, 16, of Newark, is studying drama, economics, history and English, and is among the first girls to start at the school.

She said: "It's really exciting - I know everyone says that - but I am one of the first girls and it's like we're making history.

"I'm intrigued. It will be interesting to see how the school make us feel welcome, but they seem to have done a really good job so far.

"It's really important in sixth form to have a mixed environment and the contribution from both girls and boys is really key. It helps with discussion and more accurately reflects how things will be in later life."

Alex McConachie, 16, of Wysall, is able to join twin sister Grace after the entrance policy changed.

He said: "We haven't been in school together since primary school and we get on really well so it's quite fun having her and all the new people here.

"I wasn't expecting it to be so sociable between the boys and the girls."

Grace said: "I was a bit scary at first, I thought it would be hard being one of the few girls, but it's been fine."

Jamie Ellis, 16, from West Bridgford, said: "It didn't feel like school at first because you are not used to having girls around, but it slowly has become the norm. You get used to it relatively quickly because you know that's how it's going to be from now on."

The school has just under 1,000 pupils and headmaster Kevin Fear said he would like to eventually have an equal mix of male and female students.

He said: "Education has to prepare young people for real life and in real life men and women work together.

"It was our 500th anniversary two years ago and we had a look at where we wanted to be in five, ten, even 20 years time and decided it was right to become a school for both men and women.

"We have attracted many more girls than we expected and I think that shows the reception to the plans has been very positive."

Students have to pass an entrance exam to gain a place and fees start at £3,048 per term for the infant school and rise to £4,452 per term at the senior school.

The school, in the Arboretum area of Nottingham, had a 99 per cent GCSE and A-level pass rate this year.

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