History of The Gryphon School

The Gryphon School opened in September 1992 as a Dorset County Council voluntary controlled Church of England School. It replaced three former schools – Foster’s, Lord Digby’s and St Aldhelms which had served Sherborne for many years. Lord Digby’s began in 1743 and Fosters in 1640. The new Headteacher was Mr Chris Shepperd (MA Oxon) and the School opened with 853 students.

The foundation stone for the new school buildings and campus were laid by The Right Reverend John Baker, Lord Bishop of Salisbury on July 23 1993 on the site of St Aldhelms School.

The new school was formally opened by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester GCVO on 15 November 1994.

In 2004 the School became a Specialist School for Business and Enterprise – the first in Dorset. As part of this development The Gryphon Conference Centre was added and opened by HRH The Earl of Wessex KCVO on 28 April 2006. Whilst the specialist school system has ended the School has maintained considerable links with the local community and businesses.

The School is at the heart of the community including a large and outstanding Nursery provision – Little Gryphons – judged to be outstanding in both of the last two OFSTED Inspections in 2010 and 2013.

In January 2007 Mr Steve Hillier (MA Cantab) became Headteacher following Chris Shepperd’s appointment as Director of Education for the Diocese of Salisbury.

In November 2010, The Gryphon was judged by OFSTED to be an outstanding school for the first time in its history. There were 35 separate grades in the report, including those for the Little Gryphon’s Nursery, and 22 were judged to be outstanding. In the previous Inspection in 2007 only 3 of the grades were outstanding. The Statutory Inspection as an Anglican School also judged the school to be outstanding in the same year.

In 2017 The Gryphon School became a founding member of the Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust (SAST), with Steve Hillier taking on the role of Executive Head.  Nicki Edwards became Headteacher of The Gryphon.

The Gryphon School now serves Sherborne and a wide area of North West Dorset and South Somerset. Since 2007 the School has grown significantly from 1400 to 1645 students. There are 9 principal partner primary schools – children come from over 30 schools in total.  The Sherborne Schools Partnership is well established to develop cross-phase academic collaboration and transition. There is considerable SEN expertise with a County Dyslexia Base for 20 students.

We are very highly regarded by the community with over 25% of students coming from outside the catchment area. In the Sixth Form, which has grown to 430+ students, 36% are external. The School is usually oversubscribed and has a pupil admission number of 240 in each year group.

The School took academy status on 1 August 2012 with a strong commitment for the core features of the school to be unchanged with the capability and capacity to continually develop and improve further.

The Gryphon name and emblem has particular significance. The Gryphon is the most decorative and symbolic of creatures. Half lion and half eagle it combines the attributes of the king of the beasts and the king of the birds. In ancient times the Gryphon was an animal of the sun and of justice. It was said to guard great treasure – in our case the treasure of education.

The Gryphon is used in the Sherborne town coat of arms and the arms of Roger de Caen, Bishop of Sarum, who built the first Sherborne castle. The lion represents the town’s royal associations and is depicted in the arms of Dorset County Council.

The crozier represents our Church of England status. The colours recreate the colours of the three previous schools – red in the crozier from St Aldhelms, silver in the feathers from Lord Digbys and the gold in the body of the lion from Fosters.


Praise for our Gryphon firefighters

The recent wildfire in Wareham Forest made headline news across the country. It burnt for almost two weeks before being fully extinguished, and damaged approximately 550 acres of land. Firefighters from across...


DofE 2021 has launched!

The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme is the world’s largest youth achievement award, giving millions of 14-24 year olds the opportunity to be the very best they can be.  From volunteering to physical...


Are you eligible for Free School Meals?

If your family's circumstances have changed during these difficult times you may be entitled to apply for Free School Meals. Who can get free school meals? Your child may be able to...