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Bournemouth School

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Bournemouth School

Bournemouth School
Motto Pulchritūdō et Salūbritas (Latin)
Beauty and Health (English)
Established 1901
Type Grammar school;
Headmaster Dr Dorian Lewis
Founder Dr E Fenwick
Location East Way
DfE URN 137452 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 72 full-time teachers, 32 auxiliary staff
Students 1,088 (lower school), 388 (Sixth form, though this is set to increase)
Ages 11–18
Houses Darwin (Yellow), Elgar (Light Blue), Newton (Dark Blue), Scott (Red) and Turner (Green)
Colours Blue, Grey, White, Brown
Chairman of Governors Colby Capron
Official ethos Hard Work, Smart Appearance, Discipline, Respect
Website .org.bournemouth-schoolwww

Bournemouth School is a boys' grammar school and co-educational sixth form in Charminster, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, for children aged 11 to 18.


  • History 1
    • Grammar school status 1.1
    • Affiliations 1.2
  • Houses 2
    • Prefects 2.1
  • Language specialism 3
  • Student Voice 4
  • Combined Cadet Force 5
  • Sixth Form 6
    • Girls in the sixth form 6.1
  • Academic 7
  • Notable former pupils 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The school was founded by Dr Fenwick, and opened on 22 January 1901, admitting 54 boys. The 1906 syllabus included natural science, drawing, vocal music, drill and gymnastics alongside history, geography, shorthand and book keeping. During the First World War, at least 651 young men who had been or were attached to the school served, and 98 of those died, while 95 were wounded.[1]

Bournemouth School's original building on Porchester Road. The school was moved to its current site in 1939.

The old site was used by Portchester School from 1940 until 1989, when it again moved to another site. The old school building was then demolished and the houses built and named Fenwick Court, after the founder.

From 1939 to 1945 the school housed over 600 students from Taunton School, Southampton, due to evacuation from large cities.[2]

A new library and sixth form block was built in 1966, housing a lecture theatre, language laboratory, library and smaller rooms for sixth forms classes.[3] It is now home to the business studies department. The school hall was destroyed by a fire in 1973.[1]

In the early 1990s, the science department of the school was expanded with two new rooms at the northern end of the main school building (Rooms 41 and 42). These rooms were built over the previously single-storey north-eastern wing of the main building and are suspended by steel beams over the original building. At the initial point of building, the suspended floor was notorious for rocking in the wind and even today, the flooring is noisy. The narrow northern stairway that originally served the drama room and Biology Room 40 was pushed into service as a through corridor for the rest of the first floor (via the suspended corridor) and as such carries far more footfall than it was ever designed to. This causes congestion at lesson moving times. In 1995 the Sir David English centre was built.

The school has been expanded in recent years, including a new Technology & Art block featuring CAD and CNC machinery and the Sir David English Sports Centre, the legacy of former headmaster Alan Petrie. A new maths block was opened in February 2007, and is now used for maths and religious studies. From September 2012, the sixth form admitted girls for the first time.

Grammar school status

From the mid-1950s, 'grammar streams' were introduced into all Bournemouth secondary modern schools, and they effectively became bilateral schools. This idea was pioneered by the Chief Education Officer of the County Borough of Bournemouth from 1956–72, Walter Smedley (who died aged 98 in June 2006) who was a former technical college lecturer, and allowed easier movement between the 'grammar streams' in these schools and the grammar schools. The system was nationally recognised, as it allowed greater flexibility, as is possible in comprehensive schools, but allowed academic standards to be maintained - people's ability was still recognised. Movement was down as well as up.[4] The system was well supported by parents.[5] The rate of pupils staying on at school in the sixth form was 50% higher than the national average in the 1960s. Selection to the grammar schools from 1965 was not assessed by a single exam, but continuously. In the late 1960s, Bournemouth's schools were producing GCE results 250% better than comprehensives in London's ILEA.

However in 1969, Edward Short, Baron Glenamara, the Labour education secretary, condemned Bournemouth's education system. Once Smedley left in 1972, the bilateral schools later became comprehensives. The last school of this type was Oakmead College of Technology. Entrance exams for the grammar schools were also reintroduced. Bournemouth LEA still gets very good exam results, especially at A level. Dorset County Council took over from 1974-97.

In 2011, Bournemouth School ceased to hold its "selective grammar school" status, as it became an academy. The school kept its original name as well as its uniform and entrance examination through the change, however the school is now directly funded and overseen by the government rather than a local education authority.


The school shares playing fields with Bournemouth School for Girls and co-operates together with theatre productions. Sixth form students often visit local primary schools to aid with teaching.

It has close links with the neighbouring St Francis of Assisi Church.

All students use the Sir David English centre for physical education lessons.

Bournemouth School in the evening sun.


Bournemouth School has five houses, named after famous Englishmen: Elgar, Darwin, Newton, Scott and Turner. Until September 1993, there were six houses, named Avon, Forest, Hambledon, Portchester, Romsey and Twynham. All forms are delineated by house affiliation and as such pupils from year 7 to year 11 remain in the same form, in the sixth form the pupils from each house are distributed between three forms to encourage a better relationship between lower and upper sixth. Although their 'form tutor' and 'form room' usually changes every year, their house remains the same for the entirety of the school. It has become convention for siblings to be placed in the same house, although this is not always possible/desirable. The houses compete in school competitions ranging from sports to educational competitions.


Students can first apply to be a prefect at the end of year 10. House masters normally choose six of the applicants from each form to become house prefects. Students can also apply at the beginning of lower sixth, typically the number of prefects doubles during this process. Students remain house prefects until they can apply to become a full school prefect or a senior prefect during year 12. The senior prefect team has an application process consisting of an interview with the headmaster, a "Dragon's Den task", a pupil vote and a teacher vote.

Language specialism

From the late 1990s until the school became an academy in September 2012, Bournemouth School was designated a specialist Language College (such accreditation is not available to schools with Foundation status). Languages offered to both pupils, and communities at large, included French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. In 2012 all but three of these were cut for financial reasons as the status was renounced.

To allow pupils to extend their language skills there is a student exchange programme. The language college has two computer suites, interactive whiteboards and extra staff. The school also provides services for primary schools in the area, teaching languages to their pupils.

Student Voice

Students can voice their own opinion on how their school is run through the medium of a Student Voice (formerly School Council). The committee is run and chaired by one of the deputy school captains with one council member from each form of the school. All students are free to stand for student voice elections and, once the particular person has been chosen (However this process is not always Democratic.), they will then attend various meetings, discussions and conferences where they will represent their particular group of the pupils at the school. During the annual selection of the senior prefect team, the senior leadership staff interview candidates concerning various areas of the school which could be subject to change and improvement. Some of the notable changes have included the installation of a new water fountain in 2006 and the purchase of a set of bins at the back of the school.

Combined Cadet Force

The school also has an active Combined Cadet Force (CCF), a rarity for a state-funded school. The CCF has over 200 members (split into the three sections of Royal Navy, Army and RAF), the largest it has been for many years, from both Bournemouth School for Girls and Bournemouth School. The CCF is open to pupils in year 9 (age 13) upwards with an annual recruitment usually in late November.

There is also a Band section that rehearses every week, also run by sixth form cadets, with each member choosing which uniform they wish to wear according to the section they want to be affiliated with.

Activities that cadets are able to take part in include gliding, flying, shooting, Ten Tors walk, national exchanges and camps including a Central Camp in the summer term. The RAF section also enter the Ground Training Competition every year; this year they were ranked as the third best section in the south-west and best mixed-sex section in the south-west.

Cadets can also go on many camps and courses provided by the Royal Navy for little expense. These are well received with a large number of cadets taking the opportunity to get away for a week and gain useful qualifications

The school also has an armoury, containing between 20 and 30 rifles for the cadets to use. Most are SA80 L98A2 rifles (Cadet GP Variant), but a handful are Lee–Enfield rifles. All are bolt-action, and are used to train cadets how to load, cock and clean a rifle. These are fired on the school's on-site firing range, located in a bunker in the copse behind the main building. Ex-cadets are invited to join the COMPO mailing list.

Sixth Form

Bournemouth School has a sixth form with both pupils who attended the lower years and a number of pupils from surrounding schools. The sixth form year groups are larger in size than the lower years. The sixth form currently numbers 377 students, though this is set to increase.

Girls in the sixth form

Bournemouth School accepted 15 female applicants to the sixth form for the first time in September 2012, and this number has risen since and in September 2013 37 female students joined the school.[6] Jacqui Chandler was the first girl to attend the school in 1987 to study Drama at A-level as the girls' school did not offer the subject.


Bournemouth School is the third best out of the six schools offering A-Levels in Bournemouth.[7]

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ a b [4]
  2. ^ [5]
  3. ^ "100 today, Bournemouth School looks to the future".  
  4. ^ Guardian
  5. ^ Walter Smedley
  6. ^ "Girls allowed at Bournemouth boys' grammar school for first time". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  7. ^ [6]
  8. ^ "Christian Bale Biography". The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Brian Taylor (29 June 1993). "Obituary: Professor George Bell - People - News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Professor Peter Campbell". London: Telegraph. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Dennis Curry". London: Telegraph. 17 April 2001. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Geology
  13. ^ Geological Society
  14. ^ Lancaster, TERENCE (12 June 1998). "Obituary: Sir David English". The Independent (London). Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2005 (18th ed.).  
  17. ^
  18. ^ George Evans (9 July 1999). "Obituary: Professor Roy Knight - Arts & Entertainment". London: The Independent. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Majestic Wine
  21. ^ Peter Fonagy (25 March 2008). "Obituary: Phil Richardson | Science". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Samuel Hines, entry on Michael Roberts in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition October 2009.

External links

  • Bournemouth School
  • Bournemouth School CCF
  • Old Bournemouthians
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