IT is 100 years since the first pupils of Bournemouth School for Girls donned their straw boaters and proudly walked through its doors.

The fashion, range of subjects and chosen careers of the students may have changed over the years but the basic principles of its grammar education remain unaltered.

"My aim always is for girls to be able to leave this place ready to make a difference" said head teacher Alistair Brien.

"If they can make a difference, that is what I'm about. This school offers a world of opportunity."

Bournemouth School for Girls opened for business on January 30 1918 in buildings which are now part of Bournemouth and Poole College at the Lansdowne.

The school was the first non-fee paying selective school for girls in the town and opened 17 years after Bournemouth School for Boys was established in East Way.

The intention was to move to a new site within a few years but it was 1961 before it moved to its current site in Castle Gate Close, down the hill from the boys' school.

On opening day, BSG's 160 pupils enjoyed an opening ceremony before marching out of the hall "with soldierly precision and rhythm."

It was remarked that students could prepare for jobs such as secretaries.

The school has grown gradually over the years and has seen students go on to a massive range of careers.

Alumni work in medicine, science, law, television production, teaching and even the European Space Agency.

Well-known former students include West End actress Lisa Dillon, Call the Midwife star Victoria Yeates, Peaky Blinders' Sophie Rundle and choirmaster Gareth Malone, who took A level drama at the girls' school.

The school currently takes 166 pupils per year, set to rise to 180 in September next year to accommodate large year groups moving up from the town's primary schools.

The first 130 places are offered to those with the highest scores in entry tests with the rest offered to students who pass the test, with preference to those who live in the conurbation.

A wide range of celebrations are planned throughout the school's centenary year, including a special netball rally on March 3, a centenary ball on March 10 and a huge reunion afternoon tea on Saturday July 14.

Mr Brien hopes to see hundreds of students at the event, which will include tours of the school, entertainment and the chance to catch up with former classmates.

He said: "The centenary marks a wonderful opportunity to reflect on a great tradition of girls’ education in the town, but also to look forward to a very different world which are current and future pupils will face.

"I think the great thing about BSG is the enormous range of opportunities we are able to offer girls in addition to providing top class teaching. I want girls to be able to leave us, prepared and able to make a real difference in the world."