Acland Burghley School

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Acland Burghley School
Type Community school
Location Burghley Road
Tufnell Park
Coordinates: 51°33′27″N 0°08′24″W / 51.5574°N 0.140°W / 51.5574; -0.140
Local authority Camden
DfE number 202/4285
DfE URN 100053 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Filming outside of Acland Burghley School for the documentary for the DVD release of Chalk. This part of the school is seen on the show's opening titles.

Acland Burghley School is a mixed comprehensive secondary school in the Tufnell Park area of the London Borough of Camden, in London, England. The school received specialist status as an Arts College in 2000 and is a part of the LaSWAP Sixth Form Consortium.

The 2013 Ofsted report summarised the school as follows: ‘The school is larger than the average secondary school. Approximately two-fifths of students are White British. A significant proportion of students are from other White backgrounds, White and Black Caribbean and other Black backgrounds. Several other minority ethnic groups are represented in the school. Over 50% of students speak English as an additional language. An above average proportion of students are known to be eligible for the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for children in local authority care, students known to be eligible for free school meals and those from families in the armed forces. A similar proportion of students are entitled to the Year 7 catch-up premium. The proportion of students supported through school action is below average. The proportion of students supported through school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is above average. The most common needs are behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and speech, language and communication needs. There are also students with physical disabilities. The school has specialist arts status and has gained the Arts Mark Gold Award.’[1]

The school has a successful Anti-bullying Campaign known as ABC. The Good Schools Guide said that the school was "remarkable for its art and for the egalitarian effects of its anti-bullying and peer mentoring programme.'[2] The school attained 47% A* to C GCSE scores last year (when?). The school has also twinned with Chianna Primary school from Ghana, and during the year donations are collected and sent to the school in Ghana, who are in need of basic educational supplies.

In 2008 three men armed with a sawn-off shotgun burst into the grounds looking for a man said to be unrelated to the school. Parents voiced concerns that the incident was triggered by tensions between a group known as the Tufnell Park Boys and rivals from neighboring Islington.[3]

Previous headteacher Michael Shew hit out at a supply teacher for secretly filming pupils misbehaving in class. He confirmed that the school had featured on Channel 5’s hidden camera documentary Classroom Chaos after he was contacted by the Camden New Journal. The documentary, which has received widespread media coverage, showed pupils eating chocolate and crisps in lessons, swearing, telling a teacher to “take a nap” and appearing to search the internet for pornography during a media studies class. Mr Shew argued that the programme’s makers used underhand tactics to film children without their permission and had opened up the possibility of legal action.[4]

The school was constructed in the 1960s. In 1984 and 1985, the school was closed to allow asbestos to be removed. The executive headteacher is currently Sue Higgins, the successor of headteacher Jo Armitage whom Ofsted inspectors praised as having a significantly positive impact on the school in their 2010 report.[1] This was less positive in the 2013 inspection where the school was inspected and given notice to improve. Since then the head has resigned.

LaSWAP Sixth Form[edit]

The LaSWAP Sixth Form is the sixth form consortium of four North London schools: Acland Burghley School, La Sainte Union Catholic School, Parliament Hill School and William Ellis School. It is one of the largest sixth form consortia in the Greater London area offering some 42 different AS and A2 courses, AGCEs, BTECs, NVQs and GCSE courses. The name was formed from the first three letters of La Sainte Union and the first letter of the other three schools.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Depiction in Fiction[edit]

The exterior of the school was used as the fictional Galfast High in Steven Moffat's 1997 sitcom Chalk.[9]

The school was featured on the first episode of the third series of the Channel 4 show Balls of Steel.

The exterior of the school was used again in 'Supernova' a 2006 story in the BBC drama series Silent Witness

The school is revealed as Peter Grant's old school in Whispers Under Ground and to have a ghost haunting the railway tracks under its playground.

The science lab in Robert Muchamore's first book Cherub was based on the Acland Burghley science labs.


  1. ^ a b "Acland Burghley School". Ofsted. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Acland Burghley School | London | LEA:Camden". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Camden News: Acland Burghley School | Tufnell Park | Shotgun | Armed Men | Michael Shew". 4 December 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Rik Henderson, Made by Michael (6 May 2005). "Camden New Journal". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Henderson’s Boys author, Robert Muchamore, returns to inspire youngsters at old school". Camden New Journal. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Why Shakespeare inspires rapper Akala". London Evening Standard. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ Savage, V. (13 December 2011). "Grange Hill Behind the Scenes (1987)". YouTube. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  9. ^ After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD,, prod. & dir. Craig Robins

External links[edit]