Brentwood School, Essex
Middleton Hall Lane
Independent day and boarding
|Mottoes||Virtue, learning and manners|
Latin: Make a good start
|Religious affiliation(s)||Church of England|
|Founder||Sir Antony Browne|
|Department for Education URN||115429 Tables|
|Chairman of Governors||Sir Michael Snyder|
|Headmaster||Mr M Bond |
|Gender||Coeducational (Diamond Model)|
|Age||3 to 19|
Hough (male boarders)
|Publication||The Brentwoodian (student produced)|
Brentwood School Times
The Chronicle of the Society of Old Brentwoods
|Campus size||72 acres (29 ha)|
|School years||Preparatory–sixth form|
Brentwood School is a selective, independent day and boarding school in Brentwood, Essex, England. The school comprises a preparatory school, senior school and sixth form, as well as boarding provision for both boys and girls. The school is coeducational, and employs the "Diamond Model". The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, the IAPS, the AGBIS, and the AMDIS.
Founded in 1557 and opened in 1558, the school has a Tudor schoolroom, a Victorian chapel and several Grade II listed buildings. Situated on Ingrave Road, astride Middleton Hall Lane and Shenfield Road, the school is set in over 72 acres (29 ha) of land in the centre of Brentwood. The current headmaster is Michael Bond.
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The licence to found the school as The Grammar School of Antony Browne, Serjeant at the Law, in Brentwood was granted by Mary I to Sir Antony Browne on 5 July 1558 and the first schoolmaster, George Otway, was appointed on 28 July 1558.
In 1568 the school moved to a purpose-built schoolroom, which is extant. The commemoration stone was laid by Browne's stepdaughter, Dorothy Huddleston, and her husband Edward, Browne himself having died in 1567.
The school room is beside the site of the execution of nineteen-year-old William Hunter, who was burned at the stake for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation. The Martyr's Elm grew, allegedly, on the spot of his immolation. It was Browne who, as a Justice of the Peace under Queen Mary, had sentenced Hunter. Some believe the school was founded as Browne's penance for Hunter's martyrdom when Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne; however, the school was already in operation under Mary's licence when Elizabeth succeeded.
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60 Old Brentwoods were killed on active service during the First World War and 173 during the Second World War. Their names are listed in the school chapel, and commemorated by the Memorial Hall for the first war and the pavilion for the second.
The school was a direct grant grammar school from the 1960s until the abolition of the scheme in 1977.
Brentwood was originally a boys' school, but the Governors made the decision to allow a small number of girls to enter the sixth form in 1974. By the early 1980s there were 23 girls in the sixth form. Initially based in Newnum House, the girls' school opened in 1988, admitting girls from ages 11 to 18.
In 2007, Brentwood School celebrated its 450th anniversary with a commemorative service in St Paul's Cathedral.
The school's Combined Cadet Force (CCF) celebrated its 150th anniversary on 8 October 2011 by holding a special afternoon of events featuring a Guard of Honour by Lt General Brown CBE. The Royal British Legion Youth Band of Brentwood played at the start and end of the afternoon.
In 2012, The Earl of Wessex visited the school to open the new sixth form centre, featuring a 400-seat auditorium, named The Wessex Auditorium in his honour.
In 2016, work finished on a new academic centre in the heart of the School, named the Bean Academic Centre after former Headmaster Edwin Bean, quadrupling the size of the original library.
The school has two mottoes: Virtue, learning and manners, derived from the school statutes of 1622, and the latin Incipe (English: to begin) added in the 19th century. The school promotes Incipe as make a good start, especially to first year senior school pupils and in the preparatory school, which has a publication named after it. It is recognised, though, that Virtue, learning and manners is the official whole school motto.
The arms of Brentwood School are derived from those of the founder, Sir Antony Browne, and his wife.
As part of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the school's founding, a special variant of Sir Antony Browne's Coat of Arms was granted by the Honourable Sir George Rothe Bellew, Garter Principal King of Arms and Sir John Dunamace Heaton-Armstrong, Clarenceux King of Arms on 19 July 1957. A red border was added to the arms to distinguish them as the school's, as opposed to those of Browne.
There are five-day houses, named North Town, South Town, East Town, West Town, and Weald, and two boarding houses, Mill Hill for girls and Hough House for boys. The boarding houses together make up a sixth house, School house. The school was entirely boarding until the 1940s, but as Brentwood grew into the large commuter town that it is today, demand for day education increased and the number of boarding houses was reduced accordingly. The boarding houses are home to c.60 pupils, many from countries such as Hong Kong, China, Russia, India, Germany, Italy and South Korea.
Competitions in sport, music, drama, debating and other activities are held on a regular basis between the houses. Pupils' house membership can be determined by the style of their tie; yellow for North, red for South, light blue for East, dark blue for West and claret for Weald. The boarding boys wear a maroon tie with a double silver stripe and boarding girls wear green ties with a double silver stripe.
The school elects a group of sixth form students to become praepostors (praes) each year. These are usually students with academic or sporting strengths and those involved in the local community. Being appointed a praepostor means increased responsibility in the school. Praes return to school outside normal school hours to help organize and facilitate events, and they are the main representatives of the pupil body throughout the school. Senior praes are praepostors with a greater level of responsibility and are typically asked to contribute more. They are also expected to delegate work to other praes and students. The Head of School is elected by the staff.
The school today
The school is separated into three sections: the preparatory school (ages 3 to 11), the senior school (ages 11 to 16) and the sixth form (ages 16 to 18). Brentwood operates in a diamond school format, in which the preparatory school and sixth form are co-educational while the senior school teaches boys and girls separately.
Brentwood Preparatory School teaches children aged 3–11, from Nursery through to Year 6. Classes are usually small, with an average size of 20 per class. The prep school follows the National Curriculum but teaches some supplementary subjects such as French and Latin. There is also a broad extracurricular programme, which all pupils are encouraged to follow, featuring dance, drama and music, as well as sports such as hockey and golf.
The senior school teaches pupils from the age of 11 until the end of GCSE courses at 16+. Many pupils move into the senior school from the preparatory school, but others are drawn from other local primary and preparatory schools; around 1/3 of pupils join the school from the maintained sector. Admission to the senior school is by entrance examination. In addition to core subjects (English, mathematics, sciences, MFL), pupils' GCSE and IGCSE options include computer science, drama, DT, food technology, geography, Greek, history, Latin, music, RS
The sixth form is for pupils aged 16‑18 who are studying for 'A' levels and the International Baccalaureate. There are currently c.300 pupils in the sixth form. 'A' level options include classics, computer science, DT, economics, English literature, history, mathematics and MFL.
The school has a strong sporting tradition, in both intra- and extramural terms. Sports offered include Association football, cricket, fencing, gymnastics, hockey, netball, rifle shooting, Rugby football, squash, swimming and tennis. School teams have met with some success over the years, for example winning the Essex Schools FA Cup three times in four seasons. Historically, the school has been successful in the Public Schools Fencing Championships, winning the overall title 34 times since 1962. In netball, the girls' U13 netball team won the 2015/6 national finals to be crowned National Champions.
Improvements to sporting facilities in recent years have included a 25-metre indoor swimming-pool and learner pool, a fitness suite, 4 additional squash courts and an indoor rifle range. The school is set in 72 acres (29 ha) of grounds and has two playing-fields; one is situated directly on the school site and another, The Heseltines, adjacent to the school. These contain football, rugby, cricket and hockey pitches, an all-weather AstroTurf pitch, tennis and netball courts, an athletics track and field, and woods used for cross-country runs. In 2013, an additional AstroTurf was completed for the preparatory school. Ex-England test cricketer Geraint Jones is the school's cricket coach.
Drama and music
The school hosts various theatrical performances and shows. In any academic year the theatrical line-up will include a winter/spring play/musical, a sixth-form comedy charity show and a dance show. Recent shows have included My Fair Lady and Habeas Corpus, Les Misérables and West Side Story and into the Woods also. Every year the school holds inter-house music and drama competitions, often with guest adjudicators.
The school has a long musical tradition, and a close association with Brentwood (Roman Catholic) and Chelmsford (Anglican) cathedrals; a number of pupils and staff sing in the choir of each cathedral. The music department has 4 full-time teaching staff and 20 visiting teachers. In 1996, Brentwood was the first school in the country to use Sibelius software and ever since has been an integral part of the Music departments GCSE, A-level and IB music courses. A Sibelius suite is available in the school's music department for student and staff use.
There is a range of musical opportunities with a symphony orchestra, brass and string ensembles, a junior choir, a choral society (known in the school as Christmas Choir) and a barbershop group. Recent choral performances have included Belshazzar's Feast (Walton), the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi and Fauré, and Gloria by Poulenc. The Brentwood School Big Band, which is now in its 34th year, often performs concerts for charity outside school and tours European every other year. The Big Band has released a number of albums, most recently "Music to Drive By" in 2013. In 2008, the year of Brentwood School's 450th Anniversary, the school took part in a service in St Paul's Cathedral, in which the choir performed various English choral works. In the same year, a cantata The Old Red Wall, composed by the former Director of Music David Pickthall, was premiered at the 450th Anniversary Festival at the Brentwood Centre. The cantata was based on the school song The Old Red Wall and featured new text by David Dunn.
Model United Nations
Since 2013, Brentwood has hosted an annual Model United Nations (BMUN) conference. In the past it has been a one-day conference, however in 2015 it lasted for two days (5 and 6 December). Students from schools across the south east attend and it has a capacity of approximately 200 students.
Sir Antony Browne Society (SABS)
SABS is a society that focuses on furthering the education of sixth formers through a series of guest speakers and debates. Junior SABS is available for the younger pupils. Regular meetings are held in Old Big School, at which students are able to experience lectures on societal issues or topics to concerning science, the arts and sport, or a members' debate. Old Brentwoods such as Jack Straw and Griff Rhys Jones are regular speakers. Other speakers have been political figures, such as George Galloway and Vicky Pryce, and the philosopher A. C. Grayling.
Royal visits and connections
The licence to found the school was granted by Queen Mary to Sir Antony Browne on 5 July 1558. Her Majesty The Queen visited the school in 1957 to open the new science department, now named The Queens Building, the foundation stone of which had been laid by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Col. Sir Francis Whitmore. The Earl of Wessex visited the school in 2011 for the opening ceremony of the new sixth form centre and the naming of the Wessex Auditorium, and later to inspect a Combined Cadet Force Guard of Honour. Princess Anne visited the School in November 2012.
In 2012, Brentwood School's sixth form centre was winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) East of England Award. The institute described the development as having drawn "inspiration from the existing Victorian vicarage" and that "the new design is expressed in a language that is both contextual and contemporary. The sculpting of the roofs creates non-standard, domestic-scaled classrooms filled with natural light, reminiscent of the gabled roofs of the Victorian vicarage, but with an added measure of playfulness."
Sexual abuse allegations
In 1997 Gareth Stafford-Bull, who taught fencing at the school (and was also an under-20s coach for the England fencing team), went missing and was sacked by the school in his absence following allegations that he had indecently assaulted pupils. The 41-year-old was later found dead in his car at Brighton.
Notable former pupils
Old Brentwoods are those who have attended the school (preparatory, senior school or sixth form) for any length of time. The logo used to represent Old Brentwoods and the Society of Old Brentwoods is the wing and claw, derived from the arms of Sir Antony Browne. A crown was added to the logo in 1957 to celebrate The Queen's visit to the school.
The colours of Old Brentwoods are dark blue, light blue and gold. Light blue and dark blue were traditionally featured as stripes on the blazers of Old Brentwoods and are still used today to represent the alumni community. The colours were carried across to the alumni logo, with the addition of gold on the inclusion of the crown in 1957.
Also see the school's own list of Old Brentwoods at
- David Acfield (born 1947), cricketer and Olympic fencer
- Douglas Adams (1952–2001), author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- Keith Allen (born 1953), comedian, actor, singer and writer (father of the singer Lily Allen)
- Peter Allen (born 1946), BBC broadcaster and journalist,
- Sir Hardy Amies (1909–2003), Couturier and Dressmaker by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen
- Peter Barker (born 1983), squash player and influential member of winning English team in European Team Championships 2006
- Charles Bean (1879–1963), historian of Australian Forces in World War I.
- Charlie Bean (born 1953), Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Bank of England
- Guy Black, Baron Black of Brentwood ( (born 1964), former Press Secretary to Michael Howard, and Director of PCC
- George Cansdale (1909–1993), zoologist and broadcaster
- Patrick Carter, Baron Carter of Coles (born 1946), politician and life peer
- Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain (1856–1944), army officer, Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary and inventor of snooker
- Roger Cowley (born 1939), professor of experimental philosophy at the University of Oxford
- Sir Robin Day (1923–2000), broadcaster (attended the school 1934–1938)
- George Dobson (born 1997), association footballer
- Sir David Eady (born 1943), High Court Judge
- David Eldridge (born 1973), playwright
- Noel Edmonds (born 1948), disc jockey and broadcaster
- Stephen Fleet (1936–2006), Master of Downing College, Cambridge
- Howard Flight (born 1948), Conservative politician
- Sir Roderick Floud (born 1942), academic, Vice-President of the European Universities Association
- Fabian Hamilton (born 1955), Labour politician
- Neil Harris (born 1977), association footballer
- Eddie Hearn, sports promoter
- Keith Hopkins (1934–2004), influential historian and sociologist, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge
- David Irving (born 1938), writer and Holocaust denier
- Chris Jarvis (born 1969), television presenter
- Paul Neil Milne Johnstone (1952–2004) poet and butt of Douglas Adams' jokes in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- Nic Jones (born 1947), musician
- Frank Lampard (born 1978), association footballer
- Andrew Lansley (born 1956), Conservative politician, former Leader of the House of Commons 2012–2014 and former Secretary of State for Health, current member of the House of Lords
- Elliot Lee (born 1994), association footballer
- Olly Lee (born 1991), association footballer
- Frank Godbould Lee (1903–1971), civil servant and Master of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge
- Sir Ralph Murray (1908–1983), diplomat
- Jodie Marsh (born 1978), glamour model
- Ian Martin (born 1948), Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN & Secretary-General of Amnesty International
- Derek Martinus, TV director
- Jake Maskall (born 1971), actor
- Robert Andrew Muter Macindoe Ogilvie (1853–1938), England international association footballer
- Hal Ozsan (born 1976), actor
- Nigel Paterson (musician) (born 1947), guitarist, educator, composer
- Michael Peppiatt (born 1941), writer and art historian
- Eric Peters (born 1969), rugby player
- Ian Pont (born 1961), professional cricketer, international coach and author
- Penny Rimbaud (born Jeremy Ratter 1943), drummer, poet and founder of punk band Crass
- Griff Rhys Jones (born 1953), comedian and actor
- Stewart Robson (born 1964), association footballer
- Sir John Rogers (1928), Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force and member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council
- Vivian Rosewarne (1917 – May 1940) Wellington bomber pilot memorialised in the 1941 film An Airman's Letter to His Mother
- Duncan Sanderson (born 1948), musician
- Sir Nick Scheele (born 1944), former President of the Ford Motor Company
- Daryl Selby (born 1982), professional squash player
- Asad Shan model and actor
- Bob Simpson (1944–2006), BBC journalist
- Sir Peter Stothard (born 1951), former editor of The Times
- Jack Straw (born 1946), Labour politician, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain 2007–2010
- Charles Thomson (born 1953), founder of the Stuckists art movement
- Michael Francis Tompsett (born 1939), inventor of CCD imagers
- Paul Wickens (born 1956) musician, usually known as "Wix", for many years, Paul McCartney's musical director on tour.
- Teerathep Winothai (born 1985), Thai footballer
- Sir Denis Wright (1911–2005) ambassador and author
- Stephen Yardley (born 1942), actor
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