Channing School For Girls

Channing School For Girls

Channing School is an independent day school for girls aged 4–18 located on Highgate Hill in Highgate, London. The school was founded in 1885 and is affiliated with the Unitarian faith although it is open to all girls of various faiths and backgrounds. Channing currently enrols approximately 560 girls. It scores highly in GCSE and A levels. Channing School is a member of the Girls' Schools Association and a MyDaughter school.

The Good Schools Guide called the school "A sheltered, isolated school in a beautiful setting, less pressured than many London girls' schools but still getting excellent results and producing self-assured young women."[1]



Channing School, originally called Channing House, first opened in 1885 in Sutherland House under the Revd. Robert Spears and was endowed by the Misses Matilda and Emily Sharpe, the daughters of Samuel Sharpe, primarily for the daughters of Unitarian ministers, and named after William Ellery Channing. Robert Spears later became the first minister of Highgate Unitarian Church. There was assistance for six pupils by private benefactions. After a year, numbers had risen to about 90 pupils and by 1925 to about 125.
Ivy House, higher up the hill, was leased for dormitories and offices in 1885. In the same year the school also leased the semi-detached West View, immediately below Sutherland House and extended the frontage of both in 1887. In 1901 West View was bought, the other half of the semi-detached property, Slingley, was bought in 1921. The neighbouring building, Hampden House was acquired in 1925 and in 1930 the adjacent Arundel House; these two forming another pair of semi-detached houses. Fairseat, leased with two acres of land, was used from 1926. A hall was opened in 1927 and from 1931 the school became known simply as Channing.
Channing was badly damaged by a parachute mine during World War II. Haigh House was built in 1954 to replace the damaged and bombed out buildings. In 1943 a Junior School opened at 12 Southwood Lane which was sold in 1955 when the junior school moved to Fairseat. There were 250 girls in 1950 and 390 in 1975.[2]


Channing Junior School (also known as Fairseat) was the home of Sir Sydney Waterlow Bt, who donated the park next door to the public after he died. There is a statue of him on the highest point in the park (just behind Fairseat's Tennis Courts) which shows him holding a key which is said to be the key to the park which he is offering to the public.

Channing Senior School has four buildings: Brunner House, Haigh House, the New Hall and Founders Hall. Founders Hall, once the Old Hall, was re-opened in February 2008 after renovations split the hall into two floors in order to extend the Sixth Form Centre. An upper floor was added to Brunner House in 2003, and constitutes staff offices and classrooms which double as the form rooms of year groups 7 to 9. Haigh House has the science department, music department, art department, ICT department, and changing rooms. The music department takes the place of the old dormitories, as the school was once a boarding school. In the New Hall, assembly and gym take place. It also has a new, fully equipped fitness suite built next to the New Hall.


Fairseat's Grounds are extensive and beautiful. They are part of Sir Sydney Waterlow's park, and there is a Cedar tree which is over 100 years old, and is the sign of Fairseat. It also has a cottage ( It is called ' the Fairseat Cottage') and adventure playground and tennis courts.

The Senior School has a Rounders pitch, tennis courts, two ponds and a cricket pitch. It also owns a large expanse of grass down the road where summer sports are played and the Channing Fireworks take place; they are supposed to be the best in London.

School life

When new students join in Year 7, they are paired with a Year 8 girl who is there for support and guidance during the first year. This develops a strong bond between the girls and the year groups.

Recently, the school has followed in the footsteps of Fairseat and introduced the "House" system. The girls are placed in one of four houses:

  • Sharpe
  • Spears
  • Waterlow
  • Goodwin

Throughout the academic year, the girls participate in numerous activities within these groups including Sports Competitions.

Years 7-9 are referred to as the Middle School, with Years 10 and 11 comprising the senior school, and Years 12-13 the Sixth Form.

Students are encouraged to participate in an extensive range of extra-curricular activities. From Year 9, they are offered the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.


  1. ^
  2. ^ A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6: Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey with Highgate (1980), pp. 189-199.

External links

Coordinates: 51°34′13″N 0°08′39″W / 51.570220°N 0.144178°W / 51.570220; -0.144178

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