Bromsgrove School

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Bromsgrove School
Bromsgrove School arms.jpg
Motto Deo, regi, vicino
(For God, for King, for Neighbour)
Established 1553 (established)
1476 (first recorded)

Public School

Independent day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Peter Clague M.B.A. B.A.
Chaplain Revd. Paul Hedworth B.Ed. B.A.
Chairman of the Governors Stewart Towe CBE
Founder Sir Thomas Cookes
Location Worcester Road
B61 7DU
Coordinates: 52°19′43″N 2°03′48″W / 52.328611°N 2.063333°W / 52.328611; -2.063333
Local authority Worcestershire
DfE URN 117012 Tables
Staff 599
Students 1,660
Gender Coeducational
Ages 2–18
Houses 11 (Senior School)
4 (Preparatory School)
3 (Pre-Preparatory)


Former pupils Old Bromsgrovians
Maps School Grounds
Website bromsgrove-school

Bromsgrove School, founded in 1553, is a co-educational independent public school in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, England. The school comprises kindergarten, primary, and secondary sections for a total of around 1,600 boarding and day-school pupils and a teaching staff of 200. It is a founder member of the Headmaster's Conference.


The school was first recorded in 1476 as a chantry school now 540 years old, and was re-established as a Tudor grammar school between 1548 and 1553. The financial endowment of Sir Thomas Cookes in 1693 produced the first buildings on the present site and the historic link with Worcester College, Oxford which shares the same coat of arms and motto, based on those of Thomas Cookes of Norgrove. John Day Collis became head-master in December 1842. The tercentenary of the grammar school was celebrated on 31 March 1853. In 1856 Collis had the chapel and new school rooms built, and existing buildings enlarged and improved.

In 1869 Bromsgrove was one of the fourteen founding schools of the Headmasters' Conference. During the Second World War the school was moved temporarily to Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, and its buildings used by British government departments. In 2002 the school established Bromsgrove International School Thailand (BIST) in Thailand.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[1] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[2]

In 2007, the school was granted the Freedom of Llanwrtyd Wells.[3] At the end of each summer term, a commemoration day takes place (known colloquially as Commem), in which a wreath is laid beneath Sir Thomas Cooke's portrait, followed by a service at St. John the Baptist church in Bromsgrove, with the day ending in pupils shaking hands with the headmaster and heads of school.


Bromsgrove School has boarding and day students and consists of three schools, Pre-Prep Nursery School (ages 2–7), Preparatory School (ages 7–13) and the Senior School (13–18). The School has a total of 200 teaching staff, with 1,660 pupils, including 220 in the Pre-preparatory School, 500 in the Preparatory School and 940 in the Senior School, of whom 60% are male and 40% female, 60% boarding and 40% day. As well as British students, there are more than three hundred from 49 different countries, especially Russia, Germany, China and Hong Kong.

The school website states that the pass rate at grades A* to C (exams at age 16) is 96%.[4] Bromsgrove also started teaching the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) in 2009, with 6th form students having the choice between them and A-Levels. A Rugby match against King Edward's School, Birmingham, that has been played annually since 1875,[5] is thought to be the oldest continuous Rugby fixture between two schools in England.[6]


The preparatory school houses of Boulton (Matthew Boulton), Darby (Abraham Darby), Telford (Thomas Telford), Watt (James Watt), are named after famous British industrialists.
The senior school is divided into eleven houses; 6 for boys, 4 for girls and one mixed. Thomas Cookes and Hazeldene are two girls day houses that are situated in the original and oldest building on the school's site. Mary Windsor, named after the daughter of Thomas Windsor Windsor, 1st Earl of Plymouth and his wife Anne Savile is for girl boarders. In 2012, Mary Windsor was moved into a new building as part of the new developments around the south gate. Oakley House is for both boarding and day girls, and is currently undergoing refurbishment. Housman Hall for Sixth Form girls and boys was opened in 2005, after the school bought the Ramada Perry Hall Hotel for 3 million pounds. The building was formerly the home of A.E. Housman, an old Bromsgrovian, and was expanded in 2009 into the neighbouring building, subsequently renamed Haywood. Lupton, named after Lupton House, Sedbergh School, and Lyttelton, named after the school's links with Baron Lyttelton, a local Lord are houses for day boys located in the centre of the campus. Walters, named after the school's wartime headmaster, and School House are also day boys houses. School House leads the final call over during the end of year Commemoration Day ceremony as it is the senior house of the school. Wendron Gordon with over 100 pupils in 2009-2010 due to merging with School House, (Formerly the original Gordon House combined with the "out house", Wendron), is for boy boarders. Elmshurst is also for boy boarders and was named after the original house that was located at 17 New Road. Elmshurst was sold in the mid-1970s and the students relocated within the school campus to the current building which was refurbished in 2009.

Notable students[edit]

There have been many notable alumni, called Old Bromsgrovians, including five Victoria Cross recipients, and one George Cross holder. They include AE Housman, David Arculus, Digby Jones, Ian Carmichael,[7] Richard Wattis (of Hancock's Half Hour, Sykes, Father Dear Father), Trevor Eve (of Shoestring), Nick Miles (of Emmerdale) and Arthur Darvill (of Doctor Who). The author Nicholas Evans who wrote The Horse Whisperer and journalist Chris Atkins, while in music, John Illsley of the band Dire Straits (who got their name from Mr Gunton, John's housemaster), and Guillemots member Fyfe Dangerfield and jazz saxophonist Soweto Kinch. Well known sports people including Matt Neal the motor racing driver, who attended during the 1980s. Andy Goode, Ben Foden and Matt Mullan who have since played Rugby Union for England. Peter Spence an English journalist and writer perhaps best known for creating and writing the British sitcom To the Manor Born, Benjamin John Key Vice-Admiral Ben Key CBE is a Royal Navy officer who currently serves as Fleet Commander.

Medals for gallantry[edit]

Five Old Bromsgrovians won the Victoria Cross for valour in the face of the enemy:[8]

One old Bromsgrovian won the George Cross:[9]

Rear-Admiral Sir David William Haslam (1923–2009) was educated at Bromsgrove School, had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, returned to Bromsgrove School as a governor and lived opposite the school in Worcester Road until his death.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees, The Times newspaper, 10 November 2005 (subscription site) Alternative site
  2. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 10 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Unique Honour For Town School (from Bromsgrove Advertiser)
  4. ^ Isbi staff, Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire, Which School Ltd., archived from the original on 3 April 2009  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ Bromsgrove & KES Birmingham.
    • Thomas Winter Hutton, King Edward's School, Birmingham, 1552-1952, Blackwell, 1952. p. 148 "The first Bromsgrove game was in 1875, and 121 games have been played—two in a season at one period."
    • Henry Icely, Bromsgrove School through four centuries, Blackwell, 1953. pp. 69,99. "Rugby football, hitherto an unregulated and unsatisfactory game, was by 1875 a far better occupation for October half-holidays than wooding." "In the seventies the Rugby game was still twelve a side. There were School matches. KES, Birmingham, was an early fixture; SES, Oxford, was played for the first time in 1882."
  6. ^ School staff, Senior School Sports Rugby, Bromsgrove School, archived from the original on 21 November 2008, retrieved 7 August 2008 
  7. ^ Barker, Dennis (6 February 2010). "Ian Carmichael obituary". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  8. ^ Lovell, Nicholas (1996). V.C.s of Bromsgrove School: The Stories of Five Victoria Crosses Won by Old Bromsgrovians. Bromsgrove: Bromsgrove School Enterprises. ISBN 0-9521362-3-6
  9. ^ Ashcroft, Michael (2010). George Cross Heroes. London: Headline Review. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-7553-6082-6

External links[edit]