Aylesbury Grammar School

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Aylesbury Grammar School
Aylesbury Grammar School Logo.jpg
Established 1598
Type Academy Grammar School
Headmaster Mr Mark Sturgeon[1]
Founder Sir Henry Lee
Location Walton Road
HP21 7RP
England Coordinates: 51°48′50″N 0°48′05″W / 51.8139°N 0.8014°W / 51.8139; -0.8014
DfE URN 136884 Tables
Ofsted Pre-academy reports
Students 1291
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses Denson, Hampden, Lee, Paterson, Phillips, Ridley
Colours Maroon, Black and White             
Website www.ags.bucks.sch.uk

Aylesbury Grammar School is a single-sex male grammar school in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, which educates approximately 1,250 pupils.[2]


As a selective state school, its entry requirements are dictated by the Eleven plus. The school's catchment area inflates house prices,[3] although the school also takes pupils from outside the catchment area and even out of county locations such as Thame and Milton Keynes, based on eleven plus performances.

The school educates boys from the age of 11, in year 7, through to the age of 18, in year 13 (Upper VI). The school has its largest intakes at Year 7 followed by Year 12 (Lower VI). On completing GCSEs, most pupils stay on to complete their A-levels at the school's sixth-form.[4]

It is situated east of the town centre on the southern side of the A41, between Walton (to the west) and Victoria Park (to the east). This site was built and opened in 1907, replacing an earlier building at St. Mary's in the town centre, which now forms part of the Buckinghamshire Museum.[5]

Specialist status[edit]

In September 1997 the school was awarded specialist school status in Technology, which it kept until Summer 2007, when it was decided that a more academic specialist subject would be more appropriate for AGS and the school successfully gained Science College status as its primary specialism. In April 2006 AGS gained a second college status as a Language College and then gained a second secondary college status in Maths and Computing in January 2008.[6]

Academy status[edit]

In July 2011 the school became an Academy.[7]


Aylesbury Grammar School main building on the former site

Founded, 1598 in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire by Sir Henry Lee, Aylesbury Grammar School celebrated 100 years on the current site in Walton Road in 2007. It is commonly referred to by its students,staff and others in the local area by the abbreviation 'AGS.[8] Aylesbury Grammar School was founded in 1598 by Sir Henry Lee, the Champion of Queen Elizabeth I. It developed as a Grammar School in the centre of Aylesbury until 1907, when it moved to its present site. For many years the school was independent and its intake was co-educational. In 1952 it became voluntary controlled and in 1959 the girls moved to a separate site to become Aylesbury High School. Links with the girls’ school are retained through joint activities such as school plays, orchestral concerts, dances and theatre visits. The school now has some 1260 boys, of whom 350 are in the Sixth Form.[2]

Single sex school[edit]

The school was previously a mixed sex school but then parted in 1959 after a fire (in 1953[9]) which destroyed part of the old school buildings. The girls' school became Aylesbury High School and is across the road from Aylesbury Grammar School. The current headmaster is Mark Sturgeon who took over from Stephen Lehec at the start of the 2014-15 academic year.[10]


The Geography (left) and Maths (centre) blocks by the school field

The table below shows the current timetable of Aylesbury Grammar School. The timetable has been like this since the 2009/10 school year, before which the timetable was split into eight rather than five periods, each alternating 35 or 40 minutes long, with breaks after periods four and six.

Aylesbury Grammar School Timetable
Period From To Length (minutes)
Registration 8.45am 8.50am 5
Assembly/ Form Period 8.50am 9.10am 20
1 9.10am 10.10am 60
2 10.10am 11.10am 60
BREAK 11.10am 11.35am 25
3 11.35am 12.35pm 60
4 12.35pm 1.35pm 60
LUNCH 1.35pm 2.35pm 60
5 2.35pm 3.35pm 60

Current Senior Teaching Staff[edit]

There are currently five members of the school's Senior Leadership Team:[11]

  • Headmaster- M Sturgeon
  • Deputy Headteacher - P Venning
  • Assistant Head - G Dallas
  • Assistant Head - G Singh
  • Assistant Head - K Smith

There are currently seven Heads of Year at the school, one for each Year Group:[11]

  • Year 7 - O Josephson
  • Year 8 - R Rooney
  • Year 9 - R O'Driscoll
  • Year 10 - L Pollard
  • Year 11 - C Jiggins
  • Year 12 - E Treherne
  • Year 13 - G Ramsbottom


Each pupil is placed into one of six houses upon starting at the school. The six houses are:[12]

House Colour Current House Leader Significance
Denson      Sky Blue E Hill Named after the first President of the Old Boys’ Association, Thomas Denson. He was also the first to leave a bequest to the school.
Hampden      Green C McGill Named after John Hampden, leader of the victorious Parliamentarian forces in the Battle of Aylesbury in 1642
Lee      Yellow P Dean Named after the founder of the school, Sir Henry Lee, Bart of Ditchley
Paterson      Purple K Chalk Named after Mrs. Paterson, a long serving member of the Governing body. The newest house, founded in 1981 
Phillips      Red M Goodchild Named after Henry Phillips of London, influential in the founding of the school
Ridley      Dark Blue J Barrie Named after the Reverend Christopher Ridley, the last Headmaster of the Old School before it became a mixed school in 1903. Reverend Ridley arrived at AGS in 1893 when there were just 130 boys in the school and his annual salary was just over £100[citation needed]

House trophy competitions[edit]

Each year, the school houses compete for the Brodie Trophy for sports and the Watson Trophy for all other activities (including art, music and public speaking). The awards are named after former pupils who have made a great contribution to the school's life. The competitions have been taking place for over 300 years, when the 'houses' were groups of boarders living in one building.[13] There is also a defunct trophy called 'Merit Marks', which was abolished due to imbalances in the willingness of various teachers to distribute them.

Boys are encouraged throughout the year to take part in house events, as well as some individual events. Most of the encouragement comes from their heads of house, who are in charge of 210 pupils on average (or 7 tutor groups, each consisting of 30 pupils).[14]

At the end of each event the houses gain points for their placements in these events; and at the end of the year, these points are totaled up and a winner is declared for each trophy.[citation needed]


There are various levels of prefects at AGS.[citation needed]

  • A Junior Prefect badge
    In Year 10, boys can apply to become a junior prefect. Appointment to this role is generally based on contribution to school activities and behaviour. The position acts as a level of recognition rather than extra responsibility. They can be recognised by a gilt-edged red effect badge with the words, printed in gold, 'JUNIOR PREFECT' on the front. Junior Prefects do duties such as managing the lunch queue, managing lost property and conducting tours of the school.
  • In the lower sixth, boys get their first chance to apply to become a school prefect. This is the first level of prefects where successful applicants are assigned extra responsibility within school. For example, school prefects can work in the school refectory, library, etc. They can also be assigned a tutor group to look after lower down the school prior to morning registration and during break times. School prefects are identified by a yellow stripe above each of their blazer pockets.
  • At the end of the lower sixth, school prefects can apply to become senior prefects. This role is an advanced version of the school prefect role where students will be required to take on extra responsibilities. They are also relied on more by staff members to do tasks around school. They can be identified by maroon stripes above each of their blazer pockets.
  • Each house also assigns three senior prefects in the upper sixth to become head and deputy head boys of house. They have the same responsibility as senior prefects but also are involved in organising house activities and house assemblies. They aid the staff head of house in the running of the house. They can be identified by "Head/Deputy Head Boy of House" badges.

Head Boys[edit]

The school appoints three members of the Upper Sixth to the positions of Head Boy and two Deputy Head Boys. The boy's are picked for these roles by staff and members of the senior leadership team based on maturity, behaviour, attitude, academic achievements and contribution to school and house events. They are identified by maroon stripes around the cuffs of the blazer.[citation needed]

Teaching system[edit]

In the first three years of the school, pupils are almost exclusively taught in their houses (with the exceptions of Maths and Physical Education, in which pupils are streamed by ability in year 8-9, and by their second Foreign Language choice in year 8-9; until the 2008/9 academic year, where year 7s are now assigned two languages - French and either German or Spanish according to the house (Denson, Hampden and Lee do German; Paterson, Phillips and Ridley do Spanish) and then start learning Latin in year 8). Tutor groups are also split up into groups of 20 for Design Technology lessons, as well as Latin in year 9 where they are also streamed by ability.[citation needed]

In Year 10 and above, the year group is reshuffled into different classes for each subject depending on their GCSE options these different GCSE choices mean they may not see others from either tutor group or form. From this point onwards, the houses play a lesser role in the day-to-day life of students but continue to organise teams for the Watson or Brodie trophies as well as taking house assemblies and supporting a particular house charity. Additionally heads of house prepare their sixth formers for university and write all UCAS references.

The teaching staff at Aylesbury Grammar School includes Dr. Carol Blyth, who has received a 'Teacher of the Decade' award[15] as well as Dr Kevin Bond, author and Chairman of Examiners for Computing. Dr Bond retired from AGS in December 2009, followed by Dr Blyth in December 2011.[16]

Academic performance[edit]

In 2009, the school received the best A-level results in Buckinghamshire LEA, and some distance better than the girls' school, which also receives good results. Buckinghamshire LEA (the county council) is based in Aylesbury.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Photos of the school[edit]


  1. ^ Aylesbury Grammar School Website
  2. ^ a b http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/node/4
  3. ^ Telegraph 2003
  4. ^ http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/node/19
  5. ^ http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/node/30
  6. ^ http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/node/18
  7. ^ "Open academies map and schools submitting applications". Department for Education. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Website is called AGS
  9. ^ "Devastating fires that are still remembered". Bucks Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  10. ^ The High School can be seen on the map, just to the southwest of AGS, on this website: http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/node/30
  11. ^ a b http://www.ags.bucks.sch.uk/sites/default/files/Staff%20list%202012-2013.pdf
  12. ^
  13. ^ Mead, W.R. (1997). Aylesbury Grammar School 1598-1998: a Commemorative Volume. The Peterhouse Press. ISBN 978-0-946312-06-1. 
  14. ^ 7 times 30 equals 210, 1 tutor group per year
  15. ^ "Ten years of Researchers in Residence". SEB Bulletin March 2005. Society for Experimental Biology. 
  16. ^ One of Dr. Kevin Bond's Books
  17. ^ Adams, Tim (22 April 2001). "Guardian.co.uk". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ "LSE staff biographies". 
  19. ^ "Parliamentary record". 
  20. ^ "Rutland Broughton". 
  21. ^ a b "Andy Riley blog". 
  22. ^ Sale, Jonathan (2006-08-03). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Tim Harford, writer and economist". The Independent (London: The Independent). Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  23. ^ http://www.wasps.co.uk/PlayerDisplay.ink?skip=15&season=12/13&squadno=8838&seasonl=2012/2013&Playertype=p Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Daniel Tatarsky IMDB". 
  25. ^ "Daniel Tatarsky Amazon Profile". 
  26. ^ Who's Who 2007. A & C Black. ISBN 978-0-7136-7527-6. 
  27. ^ Theo James

External links[edit]

News items[edit]