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Our History

Founded in 1895

The School was founded in 1895, as a girls’ school, by a Miss Hill and was originally situated in Park Road in Peterborough.  There it remained until 1936, when it moved out from the city to spacious new premises with ample grounds at Westwood House, Thorpe Road.

At the time of the move, when Miss Somerville was Headmistress, there were just 24 pupils, aged 7 to 14; the preparatory department became co-educational at this time.

1937 to 2000

In the August of 1937, a new Head, Miss Helen Mattock (later Mrs Belgion) was appointed, with only 7 pupils in the school. Her leadership must have been dynamic because by the end of 1937, there were 33 pupils.

In September 1938, there were 64 pupils and Mrs Belgion was determined that the School would continue to grow and by 1949 there were 200 pupils, mostly day girls but with some weekly and termly boarders.

Mrs Bowis presided over the School’s gradual growth between 1961 and 1973. In 1968, the School was incorporated into the Woodard Corporation.  A new boarding house and a science and art block were built and the first storey was added to the West Wing.  The old gymnasium in the stables was made in 1971 into the Chapel of St. Hugh of Lincoln.

As the city of Peterborough grew in the 1970s, the School expanded further.  Miss Angela Brown (later Mrs Storey), Headmistress from 1977 to 1999, continued the development, particularly of the Sixth Form. Several buildings were added, including the Home Economics block.  The final development of the 90s was a new building to house the Library and Sixth Form Common Room, adjacent to the boarding house.


2002 Onwards

The opportunity to buy 110 Thorpe Road from the Newington family arose a few years ago; it has been converted into a luxuriously appointed Nursery which opened in September 2002.  In September 2006, under the leadership of Mrs Sarah Dixon, the School opened the first phase of the Creative Arts Centre development with the completion of the new Refectory gallery, providing luxurious dining facilities as well as gallery space for the School’s artwork. In September 2007, Phase 2 of the Creative Arts Centre Development was completed with the redevelopment of the East Wing entrance, which now includes a new Music Technology Classroom, new backstage area and redeveloped cloakrooms for our pupils. In addition, the state-of-the-art new ‘black-box’ Drama studio was completed and the Hall was re-developed to include tiered, retractable seating.

In September 2007, the School’s first Headmaster, Mr Adrian Meadows, was appointed and in November 2009 the School Council announced the expansion of the School from September 2010 to allow the admission of boys into Years 7 and 12, becoming the City’s only independent co-educational school for pupils aged 4 to 18. To reflect this change the School’s name was changed to ‘The Peterborough School’.

The School has seen many changes since its Victorian beginnings: Westwoodians can be assured that throughout them all, we aim to “Be valiant” and to continue to provide “education with character”.


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. 

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