Woldingham School today celebrates its 180th anniversary, as one of the oldest schools in the UK for girls. It is a school that is looking forward to a bright future with exciting plans to further develop the grounds and facilities in its stunning 700-acre site in the Surrey Hills.
This year’s Foundation Day, 8 December 2022, commemorates Woldingham’s establishment at the first Sacred Heart school in the UK in 1842 with six sisters and two pupils. At the start of the 2022-23 academic year, Woldingham had its largest ever enrolment with over 620 students.
On 8 December, following a Feast of the Immaculate Conception Mass of Thanksgiving with Principal Celebrant Rt Rev Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, students and staff took part in a range of ‘180 themed’ activities as part of 180 Giving Day to fundraise for bursaries that will enable future generations of students to take a place at Woldingham, students who in other circumstances wouldn’t be able to join the school.
‘As we reflect and thank the Sacred Heart Sisters who had the foresight and bravery 180 years ago to establish Woldingham, we are also looking forward as we plan the next stages in the school’s exciting future. Earlier this year, with the support of a generous benefactor, we opened a new Outdoor Education and Adventure Centre to make the most of our amazing outside space. In the coming years, we are planning to start construction of our new Sixth Form Centre and Library, which will be a sector-leading facility for modern teaching and learning, while we also plan to reinstate the school’s historic kitchen garden and enhance our sport facilities with a new sports pavilion. We are also potentially looking at a new swimming pool and at a new cookery school, which will continue our delivery of Leiths courses on-site. In the words of our founder, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat: Courage and confidence must be our battle-cry. We cannot repeat these words too often,’ said Dr James Whitehead, Woldingham Head.
‘It seems appropriate, as we celebrate our first 180 years, that we continue to seek to raise money to expand our bursary provision and offer transformational bursaries, which have already changed the lives of so many girls and young women and their families,’ Dr Whitehead added.