Taunton School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Taunton School
Taunton School - geograph.org.uk - 79881.jpg
Motto Ora et labora (senior school); Carpe diem (preparatory school)
Established 1847
Type Independent school
Day and boarding school
Headmaster John Hunt Newton
Location Staplegrove Road
England Coordinates: 51°01′35″N 3°06′56″W / 51.026282°N 3.115493°W / 51.026282; -3.115493
Gender Co-educational
Ages 0–18
Houses Fairwater, Wills East, Wills West, Weirfield, Woodyer, Evans, Bevan, Goodland, Besley, Marshall, Jenkin
Colours Blue     , Red     
Alumni Old Tauntonians
Tel 01823 703703
Website www.tauntonschool.co.uk

Taunton School is a co-educational independent school in the county town of Taunton in Somerset in South West England. It serves boarding and day-school pupils from the ages of 13 to 18.

The current headmaster is John Hunt Newton, appointed in the autumn of 2005 replacing Julian Whiteley.

The school campus also includes Taunton School International for overseas students; Taunton Preparatory School, serving boarding and day-school pupils aged 7 to 13; Taunton Pre-Prep School, serving day-school pupils aged 4 to 7, and Taunton Nursery, serving pupils aged 2 to 4.


Taunton School was founded in 1847[1] as a boys-only school for dissenters - those who were not members of the Church of England.[2] Right from its founding, it was in direct competition with the other schools in Taunton: King's College and Taunton Grammar School (both Church of England) and Queen's College (Methodist). Its first site was at the southern end of the town.

In the 1870s, the school's governors purchased a site at the northern end of Taunton, on Staplegrove Road. They had built, by Joseph James, a gothic-influenced building, in the prevailing style of the period. The school is constructed in a C-plan, with a 50-foot (15 m) high tower. Grey stone came from Somerset's Mendip Hills. This large building still dominates the school's 90-acre (36 ha) campus today. It is a Grade II listed building.[3]

The school was a founding member of the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships and has hosted the tournament numerous times.[4]


A chapel was built in 1907[5] in contrasting style to the rest of the school. Its sponsor was the wealthy Sir Henry Wills, later Lord Winterstoke. Wills was a director of Bristol-based family firm, Wills Tobacco. This company later joined with several others to become Imperial Tobacco. Two features in the chapel are especially of note: the organ and the mosaics. In 2007 on the centenary of the founding of the Chapel the original pipe organ was removed, it being replaced by a new digital organ which was funded in part, by donations from Old Tauntonians.


In 1976 Taunton School merged with the senior section of Weirfield School, an independent boarding- and day-school for girls, which was also situated on Staplegrove Road. This became one of the earliest fully co-educational independent schools in England. Additional buildings were erected on the original Taunton School campus, and Weirfield continued as a girls-only junior school.

In 1990, in order to create closer links between the two junior schools and Taunton School, Taunton Junior School (originally known as Thone) and Weirfield were renamed Taunton Junior Boys School and Taunton Junior Girls School, respectively. As both Junior Schools needed modernisation, building began in 1993 on the boys' site (Thone) to create a new joint boys and girls school, which was partly financed by the sale of the Weirfield site. In 1994 both schools were located at the Thone site and they were renamed Taunton Preparatory School.[6] A classroom block in the Preparatory School is called Weirfield, as is the main Senior Girls' Boarding house.

Notable Old Tauntonians[edit]

Former pupils of Taunton School are known as Old Tauntonians.

Special notes[edit]

John Rae (Headmaster, 1966-1970) was a prominent educator and novelist who went on to become headmaster of Westminster School.[24] His legacy lives on at the school in the form of the John Rae Society, which hosts many lectures and public events.

Academic Results[edit]

A Level Overall Pass Rate: 2009 - 98%

International Baccalaureate The first cohort of students sat the IB Diploma in 2009. All 15 students passed with an average Diploma score of 34 points (4 points above the World average). 5 students achieved at least 37 out of 45 points including one student who achieved 43 out of 45 points. This result ranked the school as the highest IB newcomer in the UK by the Financial Times.[25] In 2010, one student achieved the highest possible mark of 45 points.

GCSE Percentage of pupils who gained at 5 grades A* - C 2009 - 98%

Oxford and Cambridge Places In the past 7 years, at least 42 Taunton School pupils have been accepted for Oxford or Cambridge. Approximately 96% of all Sixth Form leavers take up University or College places.

Sporting Success[edit]

The School's Boys 1st team hockey were unbeaten through the seasons of 2011 and 2012 in competitive Saturday Fixtures including a 7-1 win over Milfield.

In 2010 Taunton School reached Boys National Finals at U16 level in both Indoor and Outdoor Hockey. In 2012 they reached National Finals at U18 level in Indoor where they reached the semi-finals.


  1. ^ "Taunton School International". UK Boarding Schools. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  2. ^ "Inspection report on Taunton School". Independent Schools Inspectorate. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Taunton School". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  4. ^ "Debating". Bishops Blue. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  5. ^ "Independent Schools". Folm and TV locations. Movie Makers Guide. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  6. ^ "Taunton Preparatory School : Middle School Building". Steel Coleman Davis. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  7. ^ "John Cameron". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  8. ^ Foot, David (2000-03-02). "John Cameron". Obituaries (London: The Guardian). Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  9. ^ "The MT interview: Mark Getty". Management Today. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  10. ^ "Alan Gibson". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  11. ^ Boulger, Demetrius Charles (2009). The Life of Gordon, Volume I. The Echo Library. ISBN 978-1406893458. 
  12. ^ "Aftab Habib". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  13. ^ "John Jameson". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  14. ^ "Player profile: Thomas Jameson". CricketArchive. Retrieved 14 July 2012. 
  15. ^ 'MALPAS, Sir Robert', in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2012)
  16. ^ "Peter Redgrove". Obituaries (London: The Independent). 2003-06-18. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  17. ^ "Peter Redgrove". London: The Telegraph. 2003-06-18. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  18. ^ "J.M. Roberts". London: The Independent. 2003-06-03. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  19. ^ "Ian McNeice". IMDB. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  20. ^ Kay, Richard. "Will Osborne be at Nat's 1m party?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  21. ^ "Sir Peter John WESTMACOTT KCMG LVO". HEC. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  22. ^ "John White". Wisden. Cricinfo. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  23. ^ "Tim Wilcox". Perfect People. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  24. ^ "John Rae". Obituaries (London: The Independent). 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  25. ^ "Taunton School's IB success". Dickinson British School Consulting. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 

External links[edit]