Arnold Hill Academy
|Established||18 December 1959|
|DfE URN||137536 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
Arnold Hill Academy is a mixed secondary school and sixth form located in the county of Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands. It teaches children from 11 to 18 - Years 7-13. It is located in Arnold but it serves children from various nearby areas including Killisick, Daybrook, Woodthorpe, Mapperley, Carlton, Sherwood and many other area's of the County. It is split into two sites ("Main School" and "Lower School") and has around 1800 pupils and over 100 teachers. It is one of the largest comprehensive schools in Nottinghamshire.
Grammar school to Comprehensive
The original designation was the Arnold County High School, which was opened in 1959 as a grammar school. Pupils came from about a ten-mile (16 km) radius and at that time, the county was in an extensive school building programme, to cope with the post-war baby boom. The lack of university places also limited the number of pupils able to progress to a university education.
Third year pupils from Arnold Girls Secondary School and Robert Mellors secondary School in Arnold in 1975 heralded the schools new Comprehensive status.
Initially, on the 45-acre (180,000 m2) site, there was a lower school for first and second year pupils (formerly the girls secondary modern school building), the first batch of 120 third year pupils moved straight into the middle school, which consisted of 6 classrooms, six large house rooms, used for dining and house activities, and between them, three kitchens.
Early PE teachers, as they were known, soon established the school as one with strong sporting credentials, yet allowed those of a lesser physical stature, not suited to rugby, for example, to develop an interest in badminton.
The first headmaster was Dr J H Higginson, who wrote a book on the establishment of the school, entitled A School Is Born, (ISBN 0-86332-199-2 - published 1987) which covered many aspects of the school. The first deputy head was W T N Thompson. Several of the younger initial teaching staff remained for many years. Thompson was known as "Bill Dynamite" and well known for beating students with sports shoes.
The school operated a house system where the 'names' were then living international identities - clockwise around the three sided middle school, these were:
Gladys Aylward, Ryder-Cheshire (Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder), Pandit - Anton Makarenko, Eleanor Roosevelt and Albert Schweitzer. Pupils were encouraged to forge links with the countries represented by those houses.
A new school was built in the mid-1960s on the same site. In 1974, the separate schools occupying these premises were amalgamated to form Arnold Hill Comprehensive School.
Lower School Fire (2004)
In September 2004 the school was forced to close for several months when a large fire destroyed 16 of the recently refurbished classrooms in the Lower School building. The school quickly allowed sixth form students and GCSE pupils (Years 10 & 11) to return, but the reduced number of classrooms - smoke and structural damage meant that the entire Lower School building was uninhabitable, except the reception and hall area - prevented pupils from years 7, 8 & 9 from returning for several weeks. Their return was delayed and rescheduled several times because of delays in the construction of the Portakabins, but eventually they were returned to school. The large array of Portakabin buildings were known officially as "The Village".
Controversy Surrounding "Stripper" (2007)
On 6 November 2007, a stripper performed at the school for a student's birthday. According to The Daily Telegraph, the student's mother hired the stripper as a birthday gift for her 16-year-old son as a mistake, intending to order a man in a gorilla suit. The stripper undressed to her undergarments before being asked to stop by a faculty member. A spokeswoman has said "There was an incident, we are aware of it, and it is being dealt with."
Sixth Form Centre Fire (2010)
On Wednesday April 28, 2010 at 11:30pm a fire broke out in the Sixth Form block. Fire crews spent six hours tackling the fire but the Sixth Form block was completely destroyed by the blaze. Consequently, the building was demolished. As of June 2010 a new Sixth Form building has been constructed using Portakabins. The construction of a new centre began in early 2011, which is now complete.
As of June 2014, Arnold Hill Academy announced they had been awarded funding by the EFA (Education Funding Agency) to rebuild the Upper School Site. The building is estimated to be complete by Spring 2016, replacing the crumbling 1959 site. The total cost of the building has yet to be confirmed, but new school buildings often run into the tens of millions. The former principal, Mr Fugill said: “We are delighted that the Education Funding Agency (at the Department for Education) has agreed that we need this new build. “It means the whole of the upper school will get a new building, which is great news for us all. Everyone is thrilled. We hope it will all be ready by spring 2016.” Work will now start on designing the new building, which will be closer to the academy’s lower school. The existing building will continue to be used until its replacement is finished, when it will be knocked down to make way for sports pitches. Temporary classrooms brought in to replace the condemned science block over the Easter break will remain in place until the new building is ready.Mr Fugill added: “Our upper school building is past its best and the new school will mean less money being spent on repairs and so it can be spent on better equipment to support learning instead. The plans have moved at an astonishing pace. I am sure the community will share our excitement that a building fit for 21st Century education will grow on this site over the next two years and the building will provide an inspirational learning environment.”
- BBC (8 September 2004). "Fire closes comprehensive school". BBC. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
- The Nottingham Evening Post (2007). "Birthday Stripper Shock at School". Nottingham Post Group Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
- Emma Henry (8 November 2007). "Mother sent stripper to school as treat". London: The Daily Telegraph Media Group. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
- Fiona Hamilton (8 November 2007). "Gorilla surprise turns out to be a stripper in school". London: Times Newspapers Ltd., The Times Online. Retrieved 8 November 2007.