Windermere School

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Windermere School
Crest of Windermere School
Patterdale Road

Windermere, The Lake District
LA23 1NW

TypeIndependent day and boarding school
MottoLatin: Vincit qui se vincit
(One conquers who conquers oneself)
Established1863; 156 years ago (1863)
FounderElizabeth Hall and Catherine Sharpe
ChairmanAndrew Chamberlain
HeadmasterIan Lavender
Age3 to 18
Enrolmentapprox. 350
HousesCavendish, Flemyng, Lonsdale and Strickland (red, blue, green, yellow)
Colour(s)Navy and cyan         

Windermere School is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school in the English Lake District. It has approximately 350 pupils between the ages of 3 and 18, around half of whom are boarders; this day and boarding school was established in Windermere in 1863. The School is split across three campuses on over fifty acres of land; the Elleray Campus is the Infant and Junior site (ages 3 to 11) and the Browhead Campus is the Senior School and Sixth Form site (ages 11 to 18). These sites are approximately 2 miles apart; the School also has its own Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Watersports Centre on the shores of Lake Windermere. In 2018, Hodge Howe Watersports Centre became a British Youth Sailing Recognised Club by the RYA for its race training, becoming the first school in the UK to earn this status. In 2010, the school changed its name from Windermere St Anne’s School to Windermere School, it was named as the Sunday Times International Baccalaureate School of the Year for 2017-2018 and is a member of Round Square and the Society of Headmasters & Headmistresses of Independent Schools. The Good Schools Guide describes Windermere as 'a school which revels in a hearty approach to everything from academia to friendships'.[1] In the latest inspection report by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (February 2018), Windermere School received the highest grades for the quality of the education provided; it was recognised as ‘Excellent’ for both categories: academic and other achievements, and personal development. [2]


The school was founded in 1863 in the Lancashire coastal town of Lytham, by the young schoolmistresses Elizabeth Hall and Catherine Sharpe, its first premises were rooms in Hall's parents' house, 'The Coppice', near the Lytham seafront. The school moved into its own house on Agnes Street two years later, it was named 'The School for the Accomplished', and catered for the daughters (and a few sons) of wealthy Lancashire industrialists. Hall and Sharpe later moved it to Belgrave House on St Anne's Road West in the new town of St Annes-on-Sea, two miles up the coast. Boy pupils were phased out during this time and the ever-expanding girls' school eventually moved again to a purpose-built house at 40, North Promenade, St Annes, in 1887, as 'St Anne's High School for Girls'.

The biggest upheaval came in 1924, when the school left Lancashire for the Browhead Estate in Windermere, Westmorland; the then vacant house had been acquired by joint headmistresses Helen Leigh and E.M. Morrison, possibly with financial assistance from Leigh's husband; the name was altered to 'St Anne's School, Windermere' and it has remained, and expanded, at Browhead ever since. The neighbouring estate of Elleray was acquired in 1944 to house the school's Infant and Junior department.

Young boys had been educated at Elleray since the 1970s, and boys were finally admitted to the senior school in 1999. Boys now make up half the school roll across all ages.

The school's name was simplified to 'Windermere School' in 2010, which refers to Browhead campus (the Senior School and Sixth Form) and Elleray campus (the Infant and Junior site).

Headmistresses and Headmasters[edit]

  • Catherine Sharpe (1863 - 1899)
  • Elizabeth Hall (1863 - 1907)
  • Helen Leigh (née Fulstow) (1899 - ?)
  • E. M. Morrison (1907 - 1944)
  • Vera Crampton (1944 - 1972)
  • Michael Jenkins (1972 - 1996)
  • Ross Hunter (1996 - 1999)
  • Wendy Ellis (1999 - 2005)
  • Allan Graham (2005 - 2010)
  • Ian Lavender (2010–)


The National Curriculum is followed at all levels. Sixth form students may pursue the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme.[3]Students also have the opportunity to take BTEC courses in the Sixth Form.


Browhead Campus[edit]

Browhead Campus photographed in Summer 2017

The Senior School is based at the Browhead Campus — a wooded, fellside estate, a mile from the village of Windermere. At its heart is a large Victorian mansion, which houses the school's administrative centre, library, and girls' boarding accommodation on the upper floors. Crampton Hall was added in 1967. Other buildings on site include the Westmorland and Langdale boarding houses for Sixth Formers and boys respectively, a science complex, additional classrooms, Jenkins Centre (for the Music, Performing Arts and Languages departments, plus dining hall and kitchens), the Art and Technology department at South Lodge, additional staff accommodation at North Lodge, the Headmaster's house (Brow Wood), the newly refurbished Astroturf hockey pitch, tennis courts, sports hall and sports field. Much of the landscaping and planting date from the nineteenth century, and the estate is home to a variety of rare plants and trees.

Elleray Campus[edit]

Windermere School Elleray Campus occupies the neighbouring estate of Elleray, on the outskirts of Windermere. A large Victorian house forms the centre of the school, and more recent extensions house its infant and nursery departments. Elleray has its own football/rugby pitches and tennis court, and the surrounding fields serve as a large playground. Three eco-friendly 'pod' classrooms were built in 2009.

Hodge Howe Watersports Centre[edit]

Hodge Howe Watersports Centre on the shores of Lake Windermere. Photographed in July 2018.

The school's third campus is its watersports centre, Hodge Howe, on the shore of Windermere. There is a central pavilion with changing facilities, a boathouse, harbour and extensive wooded grounds. Hodge Howe is an RYA Teaching Centre. In 2018, Hodge Howe Watersports Centre became a British Youth Sailing Recognised Club by the RYA for its race training, becoming the first school in the UK to earn this status.


Boarding has been a central tradition since the school's foundation. Today, boarders account for approximately half the senior school pupils, and there are a small number from the Elleray Campus. Boarders live in one of three houses, all at the senior school site:

Westmorland House[edit]

Westmorland Boarding House for students aged 16 to 18.

Westmorland House is the Sixth Form centre, acting as both boarding house and study centre for students aged 16 to 18. Boarders live in single-sex flats of five, complete with kitchenette and a common room. Day students are also assigned to a flat. There are also central common rooms and computer facilities; the Houseparents have their own flat in the building, as do other house staff.


Browhead houses girl boarders from the ages of eight to 16, it comprises the two upper floors of the main school building, Browhead. The girls sleep in dormitories until Year 9 (ages 14/15), after which they transfer to double or single study bedrooms for their two GCSE years. Many of the Browhead rooms retain original Victorian features, such as sash windows and cast-iron fireplaces.

Langdale House[edit]

Langdale houses boy boarders from the ages of eight to 16. Purpose-built in a wooden Scandinavian style in 2001, it operates the same sleeping arrangements as Browhead.


The school is divided into four houses, they are Cavendish (red), Flemyng (blue), Lonsdale (green) and Strickland (yellow).


Girls wear a navy kilt and jumper worn over a white and navy striped blouse. In addition, girls still wear the striped 'deckchair' blazer — one of the few reminders of the school's seaside past. Boys wear a plain navy blazer and grey trousers, with a white shirt and navy school tie. Sixth formers wear dark suits of their own choosing.


Former Windermere pupils are known as 'Stannites', a word derived from the school's original name; the Stannite Association organises annual reunions and other events. Notable Stannites include:


  1. ^ "Windermere School, Windermere - The Good Schools Guide". The Good Schools Guide. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  2. ^ "Windermere School :: Independent Schools Inspectorate". Archived from the original on 2018-09-26. Retrieved 2018-09-26.
  3. ^ Henry, Julie (2006-06-25). "A-level decline prompts switch to baccalaureate". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2018-07-26. Retrieved 2018-04-02.

External links[edit]