Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate

Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate is an independent boarding and day school for girls and boys from 3 months to 19 years old, located in Thorpe Underwood, near Little Ouseburn, northwest of York, England. It is a member of the Independent Schools Association. It is named after Æthelburh of Kent.

Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate
Thorpe Underwood

, ,
YO26 9SS

Coordinates54.02800°N 1.29325°W / 54.02800; -1.29325
TypeIndependent Boarding & Day School
MottoTo be the best that I can with the gifts that I have
Established1912 (1912)
FounderNathaniel Woodard
TrustThe Collegiate Foundation
Chair School BoardAmy Martin
PrincipalSteven Jandrell
Age3 months to 19 years
  • Cantwara
  • Derwent
  • Eoforwic
  • Lyminge
Colour(s)Blue & Gold

The school is administered under The Collegiate Foundation, which oversees the school as two separate entities. The first, Queen Ethelburga's College, comprises three sections: the Chapter House preparatory school, King's Magna middle school, and a GCSE and Sixth Form section.[1] The second is The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's and is purely GCSE and Sixth Form.[2] Notably, the academic performance of the College and the Faculty differ.[3][4]


20th century

The school originally belonged to the Woodard Corporation, founded by Nathaniel Woodard. The sister senior school was Queen Margaret's School at Escrick and the Junior School was Queen Mary's at Baldersby Park near Thirsk.

The School foundation stone was laid on 21 October 1910 by Viscountess Mountgarret, its inscription was 'Pro deo et ecclesia' – For God and the Church. It was laid on the right hand side of the school door facing the building.

The school was opened on 27 September 1912 by the Duchess of Albany, with Derwent and Lyminge opened by Lord Halifax on 18 June 1932. The Chapel was given by Lord Mountgarret and dedicated to St Aiden. Its foundation stone was laid on 8 May 1911 by the Archbishop of York and its inscription is 'Jesus himself being the chief corner stone'.


In 1991 Queen Ethelburga's School left the Woodward Corporation, became independent and came to exist in the trust arrangement, renamed Queen Ethelburga's College. At this time, at the behest of the new owner Brian Martin, it moved from Harrogate to the present campus at Thorpe Underwood, the Martin family home, and a huge investment programme was commenced fuelled by the family's business fortune, being the owners and proprietors of E&L Insurance Group.[5]

The senior school has been co-educational since 1999 and draws pupils from over 30 countries.[6]

Pupil numbers of Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate rose from a total of 550 in 2007 to 1,590 in 2015. In the same period a large £80m investment had been made in a new sports village, new boarding houses and new classrooms, and other facilities.[7][8]

In 2016, pupils raised £5,500 over the span of a week for the Chinese earthquake appeal.[9]

The E&L group of insurance companies is based on the school site, owned and managed by the Martin family who feature prominently on the school governing board.[10]


Queen Ethelburga's College was ranked 10th by the Daily Telegraph, for A*/A A-Level Results, in their 2015 UK Independent School League Tables. The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's was ranked 11th in the same League Table.[11]

In the Daily Telegraph 2013 Top 100 Secondary Schools in the UK, including all State and all Independent Schools, Queen Ethelburga's College was ranked 44th. The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's did not make it to the Top 100.[12]

The 2016 pass rate at Queen Ethelburga's College was 100%, with 98% of its A-Level grades A* to B. The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's on the other hand had achieved 91% Distinction or Distinction Star grades in all BTEC subjects, the two highest possible grade classifications.[13]

The school ranks as the most expensive mainstream boarding school in England.[14][15]


Queen Ethelburga's rugby union first team secured the 2015 British Colleges National Cup.[16]

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has agreed a partnership with the school. This includes the creation of a joint cricket academy for 16 to 19-year-old players.[17]


It has been awarded the Healthy School of the Year in the 2016 TES Awards[18], as well as the Independent Schools Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport 2015[19] and the Outstanding Progress Award at an Independent School at the Education Business Awards.[20]


School worker injury

In 2002 Care & Recreation Holdings, the company servicing the schools' campus grounds, was fined for failing to ensure employee safety after a worker fell two storeys from a temporary boardwalk while stacking mattresses and bed frames in the school dormitory block, suffering minor injuries.[21]

Planning contravention and apology

In 2008 the school's then senior trustee Brian Martin had to apologize to the local community after Harrogate Borough Council had issued a planning contravention notice to the school owners and further suspected the school of 16 breaches of planning controls. The School had submitted retrospective planning applications for the new buildings and those that were in progress.[22] A number of school estates staff were fired some months after the building works were halted.[23] This came after Brian Martin was fined £6,000 in 2001 for breaching planning law when altering a Grade II listed building on the school grounds. These works on the listed building had many retrospective planning applications lodged, which worsened the degree of culpability in that case according to the council.[24]

Department of Education inspection and notice

In 2015 the school was given notice to improve after an inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, conducted at the request of the Department of Education, uncovered a large CCTV network on the school site which was allegedly used to monitor student behaviour, such as kissing and queue skipping.[25] The CCTV network counted 700 cameras at the time of inspection.[26]

Chair of governors indecent assault crimes

In November 2015 North Yorkshire Police reported that former chair of governors Brian Martin, 66, had been arrested on 20 October in Harrogate on suspicion of indecent assault on a child and on conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and voyeurism. Martin was replaced by his daughter, Amy Martin, as the Chair of The Collegiate Board.[27] He was later charged with 10 counts of indecent assault, three counts of attempted buggery and one count each of possessing indecent images and buggery. All charges related to two children between 1982 and 1995. He was due to stand trial at Leeds Crown Court on 10 July 2017.[28] In January 2018 Martin appeared at Harrogate Magistrates Court on further charges which were alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2010. He pleaded not guilty to seven sexual offences against children, allegedly committed at Queen Ethelburga's College, include inciting a boy aged 14 or 15 to engage in sexual activity. Martin was given unconditional bail and the prosecution told the court that he would face trial for these, and other linked offences, at Leeds Crown Court on 29 May 2018.[29] As of 10 July 2018, Martin was still facing three charges, two charges of indecently assaulting a girl and one of sexually assaulting a boy, all three alleged crimes against pupils at the School.[30]

Money laundering

In May 2016 The Guardian reported that, in March 2012, $20,792 (£14,350) was sent via Lloyds Bank in Harrogate to Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate. This was said to be money laundered from the Russian Hermitage Capital Management fraud.[31]

In September 2017 The Guardian reported that £89,800 was transferred to Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate. The money was reportedly connected to the Azerbaijani Laundromat scandal, in which the Azerbaijani government is supposedly involved.[32]

Teacher ban after relationship with Sixth Form pupil

In 2017 a teacher misconduct panel banned Howard Britton from teaching for life due to a sexual relationship with a pupil that developed in early 2005 when Britton taught Economics at the school.[33]

Charity Commission investigation of school-linked charities

In August 2018, the Charity Commission had begun an investigation into two charities linked to the Queen Ethelburga's College and Queen Ethelburga's Faculty schools based on the same site. The charities are The Collegiate Charitable Foundation and The Martin Foundation. The primary activity of these charities is to "...provide bursaries to enable students to attend independent primary and secondary schools; provide advertising, facilities and equipment for the schools, and assist the local community". The Commission had established that there are serious regulatory issues present, including trustee conflicts of interest, improper charity asset accounting, unauthorized benefit of the trustees and questions over whether the charities operated exclusively for charitable purposes. The issues are serious enough that the Commission has taken over the management of the two charities.[34] The Collegiate Charitable Foundation receives rent from both the Faculty and the College schools on the site, and the chair of governors of the schools Amy Martin is the chair of both charities, her having replaced her father Brian Martin as the chair of governors of the schools in 2015. The contact details for both charities go direct to the website of the College.[35]


  1. "Queen Ethelburga's College - GOV.UK". www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  2. "The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's - GOV.UK". www.get-information-schools.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  3. "Queen Ethelburga's College - GOV.UK". Find and compare schools in England. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. "The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga's - GOV.UK". Find and compare schools in England. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  5. "Queen Ethelburga's School former chair of governors Brian Martin on trial". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  6. "Queen Ethelburga's | Junior and Senior Mixed Independent School | Yorkshire | Guide to Independent Schools". guidetoindependentschools.com. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  7. "Queen Ethelburga's | Independent Boarding School for Boys and Girls aged 3 to 19". qe.org. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  8. "New facilities in UK Schools - Study Travel Magazine". www.studytravel.network. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  9. "College students' fundraising boost for earthquake victims". Harrogate Advertiser. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  10. "ENTERTAINMENT & LEISURE GROUP LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  11. "A-level results 2013: Independent schools results table". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  12. "Top 100 secondary schools by A-level results 2013". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  13. "Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate – QISAN". www.qisan.com. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  14. "Private school fees 'now top £30,000'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  15. "Private school slammed by inspectors over hundreds of CCTV cameras". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  16. "Best of British triumph for Queen Ethelburga's". York Press. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  17. "Yorkshire teams up with leading independent school Queen Ethelburga's". Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  18. "TES Schools Awards 2016". www.tesawards.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  19. "The ISA Awards 2015 | The Independent Schools Association". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  20. danny. "Winners announced at 2014 Education Business Awards". ebawards.co.uk. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  21. "Firm fined after school worker plunges 19ft". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  22. "School's apology for expansion bid". Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  23. "Estate staff axed at private school". Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  24. "School governor fined over alteration". Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  25. "Private school slammed by inspectors over hundreds of CCTV cameras". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  26. "Queen Ethelburga's school given notice to improve by Government". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  27. "Former Queen Ethelburga's chair of governors arrested over historic sex offence". BBC News. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  28. "Ex-boss of top school near York to stand trial on sex charges". York Press. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  29. "Former chair of governors, 68, in court accused of sex offences". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  30. "Brian Martin, ex-chair of governors at Queen Ethelburga's School, cleared of 21 sex crimes". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  31. Harding, Luke; Townsend, Mark (3 May 2016). "Russian embezzlers went on $30m spending spree in UK, MPs told". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  32. "UK at centre of secret $3bn Azerbaijani money laundering and lobbying scheme". The Guardian. 4 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  33. "Ex-Queen Ethelburga teacher banned for pupil relationship". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  34. "Commission announces class investigation into two independent school charities". Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  35. "Commission investigates independent school charities over catalogue of concerns". Retrieved 5 July 2019.
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