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History & Ethos

Founded in 1866, Alexandra College set out to provide advanced education to young women at a time when the prevailing system did not provide them with any such opportunities. 

Initially founded as a separate university and a feeder high school, Alexandra College is now a Junior and Senior School providing high academic achievement and a cross-disciplinary curriculum to girls drawn from around Ireland and internationally. From days when women had to strive for the right to education, to days of equality for women in careers and public life, Alexandra College has always aimed to educate girls with a balance of knowledge, experience and values that makes them ready to enjoy their lives and careers.

Our Mission and Ethos

Alexandra College is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all areas of education. Our aim is to generate and maintain an inclusive climate of learning within which every pupil is enabled to develop and fulfil her own unique potential.

It is our hope that every student who leaves this College will be equipped not only to make her own way in the world but also to make her particular contribution to society and at the same time to continue her lifelong learning process.

Our history as an institution for women's education as well as the Quaker inspiration of our founder Anne Jellicoe has shaped our ethos and educational philosophy. 


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The Foundation of the College

Alexandra College was founded by Anne Jellicoe in 1866, a Quaker educationalist who advocated for third level education for women when no such option existed at the time. Taking inspiration from her own female role models, Anne first set up a number of vocational schools so that women could join the workforce. She then founded Alexandra College to provide foundational third level education to those seeking vocational training.

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The Nine Graces

The education of trailblazing women is not a new development to the College. In 1884, six of the first nine women to be awarded degrees in the UK and Ireland, dubbed “The Nine Graces,” were Alexandra College alumnae. Isabella Mulvany, who was simultaneously headmistress at the time of receiving her degree, continued to advocate for women’s education throughout her life.

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Alexandra College School

Later, in the early 1900’s, the Alexandra College School was founded to provide more support at secondary level to students so that they may suitably prepare for university; this and the original Alexandra College later merged to form the secondary school that exists today. Our Senior Cycle students do not wear a uniform as a way of marking that they are now on their way to being independent third level students, as a nod to this distinction.

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The Foundation of the Guild

The Alexandra College Guild was founded in 1897, a charity with an aim 'to form a bond of union among past and present students’. It marked the beginning of an era of involvement in the life of the city of Dublin by the women of Alexandra College, the great of work of whom is still flourishing today.


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Charitable Work of the Guild

At the inaugural meeting of the Alexandra Guild, it was suggested that the Guild should invest in tenement houses, repair and let them out in good order. This, and later developments in charitable work supporting women, formed the basis for the Alex Women’s Charity. The Guild’s charitable works included the founding of the Social Service Union, the Women’s Employment Bureau, and the Alexandra Hostel for working girls.


Our Values


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