Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
|Type||Grammar school, Academy|
|Chairman of the Governors||Jeff Downes|
|DfE URN||137235 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Houses||Orion, Cygnus and Ursa as of September 2011 (formerly Austen, Brontë and Eliot)|
The school has been consistently recognised as one of the top twenty state schools in England, became a Specialist Language College in 2002, and was recently awarded the status of a Specialist Science College. Entry is by examination at 11, although entry may be made in later years or most commonly at sixth form level.
The school opened in 1958. Before this time, academically able girls in Stratford had no hope of an education beyond comprehensive level, unless their parents could afford to send them to the King's High School For Girls in nearby Warwick. Thanks to the sustained efforts of several women, including the first Headmistress Miss E.B. Williams, Shottery (as the school is often known) was created. The first pupils were taken from the A stream of nearby Hugh Clopton School, known today as Stratford High School. Today, the school admits around 75 new Year 7 pupils per year. Competition for places is high, with more than seven applicants per place.
The original school was centred on the historic Shottery Manor, parts of which date from the 14th century. The Manor still stands today, and is used as a sixth form centre. Three additional buildings were added before the school opened, in what were originally the Manor orchards and flower gardens.
- A priest hole (in the attic). To find the priest hole, go up the stairs into the attic (leading from the landing in the oldest part of the Manor) and across to the opposite wall, just to the right of the staircase.
- The butler's pantry (just off the Lower Common Room)
- Alice in Wonderland tiles in the AV room, formerly a children's nursery (there are also bars on the windows).
- The Common rooms:
- The Lower Common Room is used by the Upper Sixth. Located on the ground floor, it is a large room with wood panelling and an enormous (no longer functional) fireplace.
- The Upper Common Room was formerly used up until 2006 as the Lower Sixth's common room, but is now a second staff room. This room is actually four rooms, set in the roof, looking over the centre lawn. The staircase leading up to the common room is steep and narrow and in previous years most Year 12s spend the first few weeks of term falling up and down it. The first room is long and narrow. The second is rather smaller and contains two alcoves. The third and fourth rooms (a defunct toilet and a drama costume store) lead off the second room. There is also a hatch in the floor, used as the fire escape in case of emergency; a drop-down ladder leads down to the Careers Library on the floor below.
- The Sixth Form kitchen: Although not a common room, the kitchen is used by sixth formers, especially lower sixth. There are cooking facilities of sorts, including a kettle and a microwave.
- The Smaller lower common room is a recently converted room into a common room, used primarily by the Lower Sixth.
- Stained glass windows on the first floor, including in the room used, until recently, as a music room (Now Geography room). This room also has a large fireplace - Rumor has it that a tunnel leads from behind this fireplace.
- That Shakespeare was betrothed in the chapel (the Geography Room). There is no official record of where Shakespeare's betrothal took place, although the chapel at Shottery Manor would certainly have been the closest chapel to the nearby home of his bride, Anne Hathaway.
The balcony on the outside of the manor is the very balcony that inspired Shakespeare to write the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juilet.
Various tunnels and secret passages have been attributed to the Manor. These include:
- A secret passage from behind the Geography Room fireplace, apparently leading to Sheep Street in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Although this seems very, very unlikely, it is true that a passage of some sort does exist. Each year, when the Manor is inspected and tested against various Health & Safety criteria, this tunnel is temporarily unblocked, checked for fire hazards and sealed again.
- Another passage, from an unspecified location, leading about five miles and coming out in the countryside. It is claimed that this passage was built at the same time as the priesthole, and for a related purpose. Again, although the length of the tunnel seems extremely unlikely, it is known that there are two tunnels which are checked annually by the fire brigade.
The school known locally for its warm and nurturing environment. With the academics almost taking care of themselves in this supportive and intelligent community, much time is available to be spent enjoying the many extra-curricular activities available. From its inception the school has placed a great emphasis on encouraging the girls to be the best version of themselves they can be and providing the opportunities to help this development. The pupils take great pride in such schemes as Student Leadership and Mentoring. It is regarded as a great privilege by all who are able to take a leading role in the school through either becoming a prefect, representing their house in music competitions or being captain of a sports team. The role of Head Girl in particular is a highly prized position due to both the many stages of the election process (which culminates in a pupil vote) and the great responsibility the school gives to the Leadership Team. The Student Leadership Team work alongside the staff for the benefit of the whole school community in a way which symbolises the mutual trust and respect between the girls and the staff.
- 2008/09 - Jila Bahri, with two deputy head girls Hafsa Zayyan and Abby Cockayne
- 2009/10 - Hattie Beaumont, with two deputy head girls Catie Barnes and Charley Burman.
- 2010/11 - Beth Ferguson, and the two deputies were Helen Ormrod and Olivia Bonner-Evans.
- April 2011 to 2012 - Libby Atkinson and the deputies Ellie Richardson and Ellie Drabble.
- April 2012 to 2013 - Sarah Hardy and the deputies Olivia Coldicutt and Imogen Beebee
- April 2013 to 2014 - Anne Devereux and the deputies Holly Thompson and Suzie Barnes
Notable former pupils
- Captain Helen Allkins, Matron-in-Chief of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, and Director of Naval Nursing Services since July 2008
- Corrie Corfield, Radio 4 continuity announcer and news reader
- Karen Dotrice, actress