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Our Story

The fascinating and, by independent schools’ standards, remarkably short history of The Grange School holds many of the keys to its success. It is one in which real vision, a willingness to take risks and a focus on the future has combined with huge energy and dedication to make The Grange arguably the greatest success story in the recent history of independent education. These facets continue to drive the school today.

In brief (and thus not doing it justice), The Grange was founded as a Preparatory School in 1933, and flourished under the tenure of its founder, Mrs Helen Perry, from small beginnings in her house in School Lane, Hartford. By 1961, when Mrs Perry retired, the school roll stood at over 200 on what is now the Senior School site, and it was at that point that ownership passed from its founder to a Trust set up by parents, many of whom had links with ICI. Two further Heads oversaw the development of the school through to 1977, when Mr Scott Marshall, an Ulsterman, was appointed to be Headmaster.

He inherited a school at something of a crossroads, still somewhat unsure of its place in the rapidly changing and undoubtedly challenging educational world of that time. At the urging of parents, who loved the ethos of The Grange and wanted for their children a secondary education of a similar nature, Mr Marshall and the Governors took the inspired but nevertheless risky decision to open a secondary section of The Grange, known at the time as the Grammar School.

The Grammar School opened its doors (those of two temporary classrooms which stood in the current school car park) to twenty-seven founding pupils and three-and-a-half very versatile full-time staff. Through their dedication, the commitment of the parents, the endeavours of the pupils and the visionary leadership of the Headmaster, the school's growth proved spectacular. Important landmarks were passed: the first O-levels taken (a year early) in 1982; the founding of the Sixth Form in 1983; the first university-bound students in 1985. By that point, the school roll as a whole stood at over 700 and the school's name was becoming firmly established in Mid-Cheshire and beyond. The steady rise of new buildings improved the school’s facilities and that, together with the pressures caused by steadily rising numbers, necessitated a number of changes to the housing of the Junior School, eventually leading to the development of a purpose-built school off the Weaverham Road which was opened by Princess Margaret in April 1996, a year after the school - or more accurately the Headmaster - was admitted to membership of the Headmasters' Conference, taking an equal place alongside the other great independent schools of the region and the nation.

Mr Marshall’s retirement in 1997 saw him leaving behind a school the growth and success of which had fully justified the faith of the governors in supporting his vision, and which spoke eloquently of the wisdom and skills of the man himself. He was succeeded by Mrs Jenny Stephen, already an experienced Head, and one of equal character and vision, which she applied with passion and great determination to the further development of the school. Under her tenure the number, quality and attractiveness of the Senior School’s buildings grew strikingly, with state-of-the-art science laboratories and ICT suite, a new library and enviable facilities for the performing arts (including a 350-seat theatre). All of those were the first visible signs of a comprehensive ten-year development plan. Her legacy was most immediately apparent in the Autumn following her departure to a further Headship in London at the end of 2004, when, for the first time in the Senior School’s history, all lessons were taught in permanent buildings.

Under Mrs Stephen’s tenure, the school saw the level of its public exam results rise to the point of regular appearances in the top 100, even the top 40, in the government's and major newspapers' league-tables, thus challenging even the most long-established and overtly academic of the region’s schools. That that was achieved without losing anything of the traditional values and atmosphere of the school was a vital part of the growing reputation of The Grange.

The most recent chapter of the school’s history opened in January 2005 with the appointment of the present Headmaster, Mr Christopher Jeffery. Under his leadership the school has continued to add strongly to its reputation both locally and nationally, improving results still further and (through projects such as the Curriculum 2020 research programme) renewing and expanding its vision of providing a forward-looking education to equip its pupils to truly flourish in the fast paced, rapidly changing world of the 21st Century.

Built on the vision of its successive Heads, the wise judgment of its Governors, the support and commitment of its parent body, the hard work and inspiration of its staff and the talent of its pupils, the brief history of The Grange School explains its present dynamism, confidence and conspicuous success.

Those things that have guided it through its first seventy-five years also provide a secure foundation for the future.