St Leonards has been at the forefront of education in Scotland and the United Kingdom since its foundation in 1877. Throughout its life, St Leonards has demonstrated a progressive spirit, stretching from its inception as a pioneering school for girls through to its rebirth as a fully co-educational school offering modern qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate. Dame Louisa Lumsden was appointed the first Headmistress.


In 1883 the school became St Leonards and moved to the site which it still occupies today, an expansive piece of land within the town’s medieval priory walls. The campus is rich in history, having served as a place of education almost continuously since it was first used as St Leonards College for poor clerks in 1512. One of the two founders of St Leonards College was the Prior John Hepburn whose motto Ad Vitam – For Life – was adopted by the School in the 1880s.

Malory Towers

St Leonards is widely held to have been the inspiration for Enid Blyton’s famous Malory Towers series of novels. Blyton never revealed if this view was correct but we still believe that St Leonards could have contributed to the creation of a classic!

Famous alumni

It’s no surprise that many of our pupils have gone on to make significant contributions to a global society. Our list of alumni includes:

Betty Archdale – early barrister and pioneer of women's education in Australia
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham – leading abstract painter, based in St Ives, Cornwall
Hazel Byford, Baroness Byford DBE – former Shadow Minister for Food and Rural Affairs
Louisa Garrett Anderson – medical pioneer, social reformer, suffragist
Kitty McKane Godfree – Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Champion, 1924 and 1926 and winner of five Olympic tennis medals over the course of the 1920 and 1924 Games.
Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda) – founder of political magazine, Time and Tide
Betty Harvie Anderson (Baroness Skrimshire) – Conservative politician and peer
Anji Hunter – former Director of Government Relations, 10 Downing Street
Kristin Linklater – vocal coach to many well-known actors, based at Columbia University
Max McElligott, lead singer of Wolf Gang
Kathleen Ollerenshaw DBE – mathematician and educationalist
Rosabelle Sinclair – honoured in U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Baltimore
Dr. Alice Stewart (née Naish) – pioneering epidemiologist
Penny Thomson – film producer and former Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival
Audrey Withers – editor of Vogue from 1940 to 1960

Visit St Leonards

Come and see our vibrant school, and meet our friendly pupils and staff More

International Baccalaureate

St Leonards School is recognised as Scotland’s International Baccalaureate leader More

Golf at St Leonards

Our pupils can learn and play golf in its most revered location More

Open Morning 2017

Our next St Leonards School Open Morning is Saturday, 7 October 2017, 9.00am More