Haberdashers' Adams

Coordinates: 52°46′11″N 2°22′52″W / 52.7697°N 2.381°W / 52.7697; -2.381
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Haberdashers' Adams
(Adams' Grammar School)
Coat of arms of the Haberdashers' Company

, ,
Coordinates52°46′11″N 2°22′52″W / 52.7697°N 2.381°W / 52.7697; -2.381
TypeGrammar school
Boarding school
MottoTraditional Values, Modern Approach'
Established1656; 368 years ago (1656)
FounderWilliam Adams
Department for Education URN137446 Tables
Chair of GovernorsJames Penney
HeadmasterGary Hickey
GenderBoys and Girls (11-18)
Age11 to 18
PublicationThe Novaportan;
The Eighth-hour
Former pupilsOld Novaportans
School hymnsJerusalem
TrustHaberdashers' West Midlands Academy Trust

Haberdashers' Adams Grammar School is a selective state grammar school for high-achieving boys and girls aged 11–18 with boarding for boys, located in Newport, Shropshire, offering day and boarding education.[1] Current (2021) boarding fees are £12,144 per year and £13,644 per year for overseas students[2] It was founded in 1656 by William Adams, a wealthy member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers (one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London). In January 2018, in the face of opposition from significant stakeholders,[3] the school changed its name to Haberdashers' Adams, replacing the previous name, Adams' Grammar School. From 2024, Haberdashers' Adams has announced that it will be fully co-educational admitting girls into Year 7, the first time in its 400 year old history.[4]


Adams' Grammar School, Newport Act 1660
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act for the incorporating of the Master and Wardens of the Company of Haberdashers, London, to be Governors of the Free School and Almshouses at Newport.
Citation12 Cha. 2. c. 12
Royal assent13 September 1660
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, granted permission to Alderman Adams for the school's foundation

Haberdashers' Adams was founded in 1656 by Alderman William Adams,[5] a wealthy City of London merchant and haberdasher, who was born in Newport. Adams had no children and never married, so therefore decided to leave a bequest for the foundation of the school, which was first opened on 25 March 1656, during the politically unstable and volatile period of the English Interregnum. Having received permission from Oliver Cromwell to found the school, Adams sought to further ensure the school's continued existence by appointing the Master and Wardens of the Haberdashers' Company as governors in perpetuity.[6] As one of the few schools founded during the Interregnum period, the school's articles of foundation were reconfirmed by Act of Parliament in 1660 (12 Cha. 2. c. 12), upon the Restoration of the Monarchy; a copy of which is held in the school archives.

Haberdashers' Adams endowed the school with a large agricultural 900-acre (3.6 km2) estate at Knighton in Staffordshire,[7] providing income for future generations; as a result of this, Knighton was exempt from all land taxes until 1990.[citation needed][8] The school was endowed with 1,400 books soon after its foundation, which at the time represented one of the largest school libraries in England. Only seven of these books are still in the school's ownership, with the rest having been sold at various times when the school has suffered financial hardship.[citation needed]

The Knighton estate was eventually sold off in several portions over the course of the twentieth century, and the proceeds of the final sale were used by the Haberdashers' Company to purchase Longford Hall as a boarding house for the school.[citation needed]

Haberdashers' Adams developed slowly, and did not expand beyond its original building, now known as Big School, until the turn of the last century, when Main School (also known as the S-Block) was built in the 1920s. Over the course of the next 90 years Adams' expanded rapidly, acquiring a number of buildings on Lower Bar in Newport for use as boarding houses; this in turn greatly expanded the school's town centre site. In the 1960s a new science block, connected to Main School was built, whilst a senior boarding master's house was created on land adjacent to Big School. During this period the school also built a new gymnasium, which was subsequently converted into a theatre in the mid-2000s.

During the First World War, 362 Old Novaportans (former pupils) served in the Armed Forces, of whom 45 died and 77 survived wounded. After the War a memorial fund was set up to assist the sons of the deceased, and an appeal raised £1,000. A tablet listing those who died was unveiled in the Main School building in 1921. In 1948, the Old Boys' Club erected another tablet alongside this to those who died in the Second World War. Both memorials are now displayed in the School Library.[9]

In the modern era, the Haberdashers' Adams school's status has been expressed in a number of statutory arrangements. In 1950 the school became a voluntary aided school[10] then after a brief spell as a grant-maintained school in the 1980s, Adams again faced threat of closure or conversion to co-educational comprehensive status in the early 1990s; this was avoided by a successful campaign, organised by parents and governors, against the wishes of Shropshire County Council. In the late 1990s and 2000s Adams again enjoyed voluntary-aided status; throughout its history the Haberdashers' Company has been key in supporting the school's vision and offering financial support for some of the more ambitious construction projects.

In 1993, girls were admitted to the sixth form for the first time, bringing to an end Adams' long tradition of educating boys only. The 1990s also saw the construction of the Wood and Taylor Centres for the study of design technology and maths, reflecting the school's status in the later 1990s as a technology college. In the early 2000s, the school began to raise funds for he construction of a new state-of-the-art sports hall and fitness suite to replace dilapidated facilities.

In 2002 a history of the Haberdashers' Adams school by former headmaster David Taylor and his wife, Ruth, was published.

Longford Hall
The oldest known sketch of Big School by Francis Perry (d.1765)

The late 2000s saw the school celebrate its 350th anniversary (in 2006), completion of a new science block and conversion of the former gymnasium into a performing arts centre (this, in turn, was converted into a Sixth Form Centre, which opened in 2013). The dilapidated music department was condemned for health and safety reasons in 2006; The Coach House, on Salters Lane, which backs onto the school grounds, was acquired by the Haberdashers' Company and converted into a new music department, which opened in 2013 alongside the new Sixth Form Centre.

In June 2008, a new funding agreement was signed, which provided that monies would be provided to Telford & Wrekin Council to build a new school on the Abraham Darby site under the Building Schools for the Future scheme. The Governors were heavily involved in the approval of the plans and selection of the builders and architects.[citation needed]

Following the passing of the Academies Act in 2010, the directors of the Adams' Federation, in conjunction with the Haberdashers' Company, agreed to apply to the Department for Education for Adams' Grammar School to be converted into a "new style" academy and to amend the Federation so that the two schools became combined into the ownership of the Haberdashers' Adams Federation Trust.

In 2011 Haberdashers' Adams became an academy in the Federation with another Haberdashers' school Haberdashers' Abraham Darby. As of 2018 the school changed its name from Adams' Grammar School to Haberdashers' Adams. This was reportedly done in order to reflect the school's historic links with the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.[11]

Admissions and performance[edit]

Haberdashers' Adams is a selective school which admits both boarding and day pupils.

Academic performance[edit]

Haberdashers' Adams was rated by Ofsted as a Grade 1 outstanding school during 2013.[12] More recently, the school has been scored as average with a Progress 8 score of −0.02 by the Department for Education.[13] In 2022, Adams was downgraded from Outstanding to Good by Ofsted. Ofsted noted that the "effectiveness of leadership and management requires improvement";[14] the "management of complaints is weak";[15] staff "are not receiving effective regular supervision".[16] The school was not compliant with regard to a number of safeguarding principles, including failure to fulfil the basic safer recruitment of staff and volunteers.[17] In relation to the boarding provision, Ofsted noted that the school "does not meet the national minimum standards for boarding schools relating to staffing and supervision and complaints.[18]

School life[edit]

Big School and its front lawn as seen from the High Street, Newport

As of November 2016 the headmaster is Gary Hickey, who was previously deputy headmaster of the school.[19]

House system[edit]

Haberdashers' Adams operates an extra-curricular house system and is the basis of inter-house sports competitions, traditionally a source of pride for pupils of their respective houses (all named after Shropshire-born notables):

Throughout the academic year there are many house events at Haberdashers' Adams, revolving around the arts, sports or academic subjects. These include the House Music Competition; Dixon Cup, which covers drama and public speaking; Smedley Cup and House 7s, which are both rugby competitions; and other sports competitions such as House Cross Country and House Swimming. Intra-house geography, history, poetry and languages competitions also take place.

Boarding houses and student leadership[edit]

Adams' GS Longford Hall site viewed from the 1st XV rugby pitch

The school owns a number of dedicated boarding houses. The present junior hall (Longford Hall) is located by the school's playing fields about a mile away. In 2017 the Haberdashers' enabled the school to purchase and re-furbish Beaumaris Court, a former care home, to become the school's new senior boarding house, Beaumaris Hall. This new facility replaced the three senior boys' boarding houses which were situated in large Georgian townhouses facing the High Street.

Longford Hall was built in 1785 for Colonel Ralph Leeke, political agent to the British East India Company; the building was designed by Joseph Bonomi, who was an associate of Robert and James Adam.

AGS' Georgian-era senior boarding houses near Big School on Lower Bar (in use until September 2017)

The hall is located on top of a low rise and overlooks farmland towards the Lilleshall Monument. As with many such buildings, the first 100 feet in front of the hall comprises manicured grass, bordered by a ha-ha to prevent animals from entering; today the ha-ha is best known amongst pupils for forming a part of the school's annual house cross-country course. There are a small series of formal gardens, including a "Quad". Behind the hall is a selection of buildings around a central square including a dovecote, once part of the estate's home farm.

Upon entry into the school in year 7, boarders are assigned to dormitories; upon moving to Beaumaris Court boys are assigned to double or, in some cases, single rooms, when these are available.

Combined Cadet Force[edit]

The Haberdashers' Adams CCF is available to year 8 students and above, as a result of which the school sends many officer candidate students to Sandhurst, Royal Air Force College Cranwell and the Britannia Royal Naval College.[citation needed] The CCF also plays a role in Newport civic life, parading every year on Remembrance Sunday. The CCF recruits each January from the Second Form and with cadets passing out in May of the same year.[citation needed]

The CCF has its own building where its stores are housed and NCO meetings and some lessons take place. The CCF occasionally holds Overnight Exercises where battle drills and fieldcraft are practised; these are held either at Longford Hall, Nesscliffe Training Area or ROF Swynnerton. Until 2017, when the Sixth Form went on study leave, the CCF prepared for the Annual House CCF Competition, known as The Thompstone Trophy, named after the eccentric former leader of the CCF Lt-Col Brian Thompstone; this entailed a Drill Competition, Shooting, Command Tasks, Memory Games, Forces-related Quizzes, Section Attacks, CQB and an OBS course. The CCF is inspected every two years (the Biennial Inspection) by a senior Army or RAF officer.

Both the Army and RAF sections of the CCF hold Summer Camps every year, visiting working military bases such as RAF Cranwell and Barry Buddon Training Area. Cadets can also attend Adventure Training Camps held annually at Llanbedr and Windermere, Easter Camps at RAF Akrotiri, Summer Camps at Ramstein Air Base and Leadership Courses at RAF Cranwell, Nesscliffe Training Area or at Frimley Park. Additionally, cadets also have the opportunity of attending special events such as the 65th D-Day Landing Commemorations and the Cadet 150 Celebrations.[22]


Haberdashers' Adams has traditionally been a rugby school, and as such requires all boys play rugby through years seven and eight during the autumn and spring terms. Upon entry into year nine, pupils are presented with the option of continuing to play rugby, or switching to field hockey. Cricket and athletics are the main sports disciplines undertaken during the shorter summer term. In year 11 and the sixth form, boys are often presented with the opportunity to take part in any sport of their choice, provided they can receive permission for such an activity. With the exception of those activities not provided by the school, all sporting events, and training therefore takes place at the school's Longford Hall playing fields; for this reason, few visiting sports teams ever see the Main School site. Adams operates a system of games afternoons, a system by which each individual year group is assigned a specific day of the week to attend afternoon physical activity sessions at Longford (for this purpose the sixth Form is combined with year 11).

In the early 21st century, football was reintroduced to the school after an absence of almost 100 years.[citation needed]

Haberdashers' Adams organises biennial summer tours abroad for its senior rugby, hockey and girls netball teams. Recent tours have included rugby tours to South Africa, South America, Australia and Singapore, and a hockey and netball tour to Barbados. The school is reported to be keen on further developing its cricket provision, and widening opportunities for pupils.[citation needed]

International links[edit]

Lyceum No. 1 in Bydgoszcz is one of Adams' European partner schools

Haberdashers' Adams currently runs student exchange programmes with the following schools in France, Germany and Poland:

School City
Germany Oberschule zum Dom Lübeck
France Collège Roqua[23] Aubenas
Poland I Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Cypriana Kamila Norwida Bydgoszcz

Haberdashers' Adams also corresponds with Ringwood Secondary College in Melbourne, Australia.

Old Novaportans[edit]

Coat of arms long-used by AGS and latterly adopted by the Old Novaportan Club (date unknown)

The School supports the Old Novaportans' Club which organises reunions, dinners and sporting events throughout the year to which its members are invited.

Former pupils are known as "Old Novaportans" (initialised as "ON").



Media and arts[edit]

Politics & business[edit]



Former staff[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "adamsgs.org.uk". Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  2. ^ "StackPath".
  3. ^ https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/telford/newport/2017/12/06/petition-launched-against-school-name-change/
  4. ^ Tooley, David. "Here come the girls: 400 year old grammar school in Shropshire decides to go fully co-educational". shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  5. ^ www.british-history.ac.uk
  6. ^ "haberdashers.co.uk". Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  7. ^ www.haberdashersarms.com
  8. ^ Taylor, David & Ruth (2002). Mr Adams' Free Grammar School. Phillimore & co Ltd. p. 15. ISBN 1860772218.
  9. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-909644-11-3.
  10. ^ "Haberdashers Company". Haberdashers.co.uk. 1 September 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Haberdashers' Adams". Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 17 January 2018 – via Facebook.
  12. ^ Ofsted Report
  13. ^ "Adams' Grammar School – GOV.UK". compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  14. ^ https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50186891
  15. ^ https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50186891 p. 4
  16. ^ https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50186891 pp. 3-4
  17. ^ https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50186891 p. 5
  18. ^ https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50187410
  19. ^ "adamsgs.org.uk". Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Newport Haberdashers' Adams School to drop Clive House name". BBC News. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  21. ^ Daily News of Open Water Swimming (25 December 2013). "Landmarks, Monuments, Memorials of Open Water Swimmers".
  22. ^ AGSNewsletter Archived 21 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ www.ac-grenoble.fr
  24. ^ www.independent.co.uk
  25. ^ "Blue Peter's Radzi goes back to school in Newport". Shropshire Star. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  26. ^ Tooley, David (25 January 2024). "How drumming with spoons put a Market Drayton lad on the road to Oscar nomination". shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  27. ^ Jones, Megan (9 January 2024). "From Newport grammar school to Golden Globes: Former Shropshire schoolboy nominated for blockbuster score". shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  28. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn congratulated by former Shropshire school". Central – ITV News. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  29. ^ "My first million – Nick Jenkins". Financial Times. London. 10 July 2015. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022.
  30. ^ Jones, Ted (2000). "The Story of Lord and Lady Ashburnham Part II". The Officers' Quarters. 16 (1 & 2): 23–26.
  31. ^ Percival, Tony (1999). Shropshire Cricketers 1844-1998. A.C.S. Publications, Nottingham. p. 32. ISBN 1-902171-17-9.
  32. ^ a b "Kitchener Lords it at Sixways". BBC News. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  33. ^ "Dan Redfern | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  34. ^ www.bbc.co.uk

External links[edit]