Colchester Royal Grammar School
|Colchester Royal Grammar School|
6 Lexden Road
|Motto||Vitae Corona Fides (Faith is the Crown of Life)|
|Founders||John and Joseph Elianore|
|Department for Education URN||137814 Tables|
|Chair of Governors||Janet Perry|
|Deputy Head||Darrell Chart-Boyles|
|Gender||Male (Mixed Sixth Form, but male boarders only)|
|Age||11 to 18|
As of January 2014, the school's sixth form has been ranked 1st in terms of A-Level results in the country every year since 2006 and was 27th in the country in terms of Oxbridge admissions as of 2007. On 1 January 2012 the school converted to an academy.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Academic
- 3 Intake and classes
- 4 Facilities
- 5 School houses
- 6 Uniform
- 7 History
- 8 Old Colcestrians
- 9 School song
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The main school buildings are located in the Lexden area of Colchester, with the school's playing fields located nearby on Queens Road / Athelstan Road. It is situated just south of Lexden Road (A1124) in the west of Colchester near Essex County Hospital. The Colchester Garrison is not far to the south.
The school has around 950 pupils aged 11–18, with girls admitted in the two upper years only. The school features extensive gardens, incorporating Gurney Benham House (named after a former Mayor of Colchester) and Elyanore House, as well as playing fields in Lexden.
The school has specialisms in science and languages.
The school has consistently achieved high results, coming first in the A-level league tables every year since the 2006 results. The school is also successful at GCSE level. In 2004, it was named as the top state school in the country by the BBC. Headmaster Ken Jenkinson has explained this success by saying that "although as a grammar school the academic success of our students is our principal priority, I tend to see the results as the by-product of an ethos where we encourage students to aim high in all that they do and approach challenges with confidence."
The school's success was recognised by Prime Minister Tony Blair who in 1999 invited the then headmaster of CRGS, Stewart Francis, among other heads of the country's top schools, to a meeting to discuss the improvement of education in Britain.
The school's 'value added' score is higher than the national average.
Subjects studied at the school are:
For year 8 pupils get a choice between studying German or Classical Greek. It is then offered for GCSE and A-Level. Between 1994 and 2004 the Greek government funded teaching of the subject, in an effort to halt its decline in the United Kingdom state sector. This was the result of a pupil-led campaign following a decision by the governors to cease teaching the subject following financial difficulties caused by becoming a grant maintained school. All students take Latin lessons for their first three years. The school was also the first in the country to teach Classical Civilisation at A Level, as the subject was drawn up at CRGS, indeed "arose from a conversation between Arthur Brown Head of Classics, and the Headmaster one afternoon in 1970."
Intake and classes
Being a selective school, in the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex ("CSSE"), entrants are required to pass the eleven-plus exam.
The eleven-plus exam has a variable pass rate of 3% to 20% depending on the set of students.
The new intake in year 7 consists of now 120 (since 2015, old intake was 96) pupils, split into four classes of 30. The four forms are given the initials of 7C, 7R, 7G and 7S. At the end of the year, when pupils are asked to choose between Greek and German as a language, the groups of pupils are changed around. This changing around of forms continues until year 10, when students are placed in permanent forms for their GCSE courses, unless an express wish of a student, his parents or a teacher cause a particular student to be moved forms. However this is extremely rare.
The sixth form has a separate admissions policy, and its forms are not labelled C, R, G and S but instead 12Aa where Aa is the two letter teacher code of the form tutor. All applicants must achieve 4 A grades and 1 B grade at GCSE to be accepted, whilst external applicants are subject to a competitive admissions process.
Classrooms and other buildings
The school has the following facilities:
(numbers in brackets show rooms that are shared between two subjects, e.g. English and Mathematics share a room)
The school Archives are based in several places round the school. Their rooms are:
- Main Archives Office - Gurney Benham house
- Often use Careers interview room
- Another office in Gurney Benham
- A classroom in Gurney Benham
- A storeroom in the main school building
One of CRGS's defining characteristics is its boarding house, which is home to 30 sixth form male students, predominantly from overseas (most are from Hong Kong and elsewhere in the European Union); some students are also from the home nations, including London and East Anglia.
The school is noted for the large number of overseas students, primarily from Asian countries, who come to the school in its sixth form and stay either at the boarding house or under the care of host families.
The Boarding Managers are Mr R Neale and Mr D Ratcliffe.
Named after William Dugard
Head of House: Mr Wayne Hill
Motto: Dieu Garde ([May] God protect [us])
Named after Samuel Harsnett
Head of House: Mrs Drake
Motto: Perge (Forward)
Named after Samuel Parr.
Head of House: Mr Robert Heard
Motto: Tout Prêt (All Prepared)
- Shaw Jeffrey's (Jay's)
Named after Percy Shaw Jeffrey
Head of House: Mr Ross Neale (OC)
Motto: Dex Aie ([May] God help [us])
The house competition occurs each year, with the winner of the 2012–13 competition being Parr's, the 2013–14 competition again being Parrs's , and the 2014–15, 2015–16 and 2016–17 competitions being Shaw-Jeffrey's and the 2017-2018 winner is Parrs .
Awarding of points
There is an annual house competition, with points awarded with reference to Houses' performances in various competitions, including::
- House Quiz (Junior, Middle School and Senior)
- Sport (including rugby, cross country running, football, swimming gala, year eight cricket day, sports day, tug-o-war)
- Commendations (awarded for a high standard of behaviour and work, counted at the end of the Autumn term and the Summer term)
- Song Competition (a recent event that has been running for the past few years, based on various themes (including ABBA, Queen, the 1960s, boybands/girlbands and musicals)
- 24-hour famine (an event won by the house donating the most money)
Points are distributed with the winners of each contest getting 4 points, the next house with 3, the next house with 2 and the losers with 1 point. The points are doubled for the Summer commendations and the Song Competition. At the end of the year the house with the most points wins the house trophy.
Pupils in the main school wear a distinctive uniform comprising a purple blazer and tie with house badge, as well as a white shirt and black trousers and socks. Various 'custom' ties are available, recognising achievement or dedication to the school. Students in the Sixth Form do not wear the uniform, but must instead wear smart clothes, typically a suit. The removal of the need to wear uniform in the Sixth Form happened in 1971 after a campaign by students. Until 1908 the school blazer had been green - but the same colour was adopted by other schools in the area. Wanting the school to be recognisable, the then Headmaster (Shaw Jeffrey) approached the main local tailor and asked what the most expensive dye was. Having been told that it was purple, he decreed it to be the colour used in future.
Past headmaster Shaw Jeffrey attributed the founding of the school to two key people prior to the granting of its charters:
- Master John, burgess of Colchester and later rector of Tendring, who founded the chantry of St Helen's Chapel in Colchester, in 1322, and
- Joseph Elianore, MP for Colchester in 1312 and later Bailiff of Colchester, who founded the chantry of St Mary's, Colchester, in 1348.
With the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII, the Royal Charter of 1539 ensured revenues were granted to the bailiffs and commonality of Colchester on the condition that they founded a school; this was then enacted by the Charter of Queen Elizabeth in 1585, on condition that at least £13 6s 8d be set aside annually for the schoolmaster. Revenue from other property was also granted, but this was later challenged in court during the reign of King William III, and the arrangements were legally reconfirmed. By 1750, under the stewardship of Philip Morant, these revenues were worth £45 per annum, as well as providing scholarships for two boys to go up to Cambridge University.
The school was small and run mainly out of the headmaster's house for most of its early life, with only minor changes until 1852 when the "Big School" was built. At this time there was very little secondary education in this part of Essex, and difficulties were exacerbated through friction between the then headmaster of the school and the town's Corporation. Pupils numbers dropped although the school took in a few "parlour boarders" to prepare for Army or University entry. This changed with the appointment of Shaw Jeffrey to become headmaster in 1900. He took over a school with 29 boarders, and barely any staff. Shaw Jeffrey's reforms rapidly turned the school about; he introduced day boys and a prep school, a cadet corps, orchestra, bugle band, school entertainments and theatrical performances. He was a national pioneer of the teaching of modern European languages through phonetics, employed language teachers from Germany and France, and set up arrangements for foreign study during holidays. He also founded the Old Colcestrian Society to reconnect the school with its old boys, with Councillor William Gurney Benham chairing its inaugural meeting on 23 June 1901.
Acquisition of main school buildings
The resulting academic success, scholarships and local goodwill that followed thus enabled Shaw Jeffrey to expand the school buildings, inspired by the designs of rival Ipswich and Earls Colne Grammar Schools. Firstly Mansfield House was bought in 1903 and renamed Gilberd House. In 1908 he convinced the Governors and local Education Board to expand the Big School and build a New School building for £4000 on land that was previously the kitchen gardens. This was designed by architects Newman, Jaques and Round, and was opened by Lord Rosebery with Colchester Corporation dignitaries in May 1910. In 1911 the school was gifted 12 acres (49,000 m2) of playing field, and opened tennis courts and a small rifle range.
By 1912 numbers had grown to 144 pupils in the main school, split into four houses (School House, Parr's House — formerly North Town — Harsnett's House — formerly South Town — and Dugard's House), and 169 younger boys in an attached preparatory school that the headmaster also started as a private venture. Pupils wore different coloured caps depending on their house, until Shaw Jeffrey noted that other local elementary schools were copying the colours. To confound this, he asked the local hatter "what was the most expensive colour and most hard to get", and hence chose purple and gold, which established the colour of the school uniform.
New buildings and expansion in the 1960s
This growth continued through the world wars until, in 1947, under headmaster A S Mason, there were 700 boys, and five scholarships for pupils to pursue university education. An outdoor swimming pool was constructed in the 1920s and remains in use. In 1966 Labour-controlled Colchester Borough Council put forward proposals to close the school and Colchester County High School and move to a comprehensive system but this was rejected by Essex County Council. The educational expansion of the 1960s allowed the construction of new classrooms and gym; but the scholarships were no longer required with the introduction of free university education. The 1960s buildings have mainly been replaced; a new art building was opened in 2003 and the technology block was upgraded. In 2006 a new extension to the science building was completed and two new chemistry laboratories were opened.
In the late 1970s, under legal pressure from the Secretary of State for Education Shirley Williams, all counties with selective schools were made to submit plans to turn them into comprehensives or remove them from the state system. School pupils marched through the town centre in protest. The Labour Party lost the 1979 election, Shirley Williams lost her seat and the relevant part of the Education Act was repealed. Essex County Council's plans were said to have been designed to delay the requirement until a change of government could remove the threat.
The school became grant maintained in the 1980s.
Until 2000 the headmaster resided in School House, but this has since been converted into boarding facilities. As a result of this change, in 2001 the school was able to sell Lessenden House in Lexden Road (previously the residence of the boarding master).
An Old Colcestrian is a person who formerly attended the school. They are also known as 'Old Boys'.
The Old Colcestrian Society of the School has over 1,200 members. Its objectives are to help members to stay in touch with each other and the school through a variety of events, to support the school and to support past and present students of the school with their studies and their careers. The society was founded during Shaw Jeffrey's term as headmaster. People who taught or currently teach at the school are also eligible to membership. Honorary memberships can be given to people who dedicate a portion of their lives to preserving the school's rich history. The society raises a cricket team who annually plays against the school's 1st XI.
Some notable OCs include (by order of surname):
- James Acheson, Oscar-winning costume designer
- George Biddell Airy (1801–92), Astronomer Royal
- Mike Baker, BBC journalist and BBCi Education Correspondent
- William Gurney Benham (1859–1944), mayor of Colchester, author, and local notable
- Charles Benham (1860–1929), inventor of Benham's disc and published amateur scientist
- Dr Laurie Bristow, Ambassador to Russia from 2016
- Peter Currell Brown, novelist
- David Clary, theoretical chemist and President of Magdalen College, Oxford, and President from 2006-9 of the Royal Society of Chemistry
- David Clouter, broadcaster and founder of TotalRock and Cam FM
- Tim Congdon, economist and former member of the Treasury Panel of Independent Forecasters (the so-called "wise men") which advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer on economic policy
- Nick Elam CMG, Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1994-8
- John Eldred MP, an early MP for Harwich
- Alan Evans (born 1985), Guardian journalist
- Rev. Canon Prof. Leslie Francis, Professor of Religions and Education at the University of Warwick and Canon Theologian of Bangor Cathedral
- Benjamin Furley, an early Quaker and founder of Towamencin Township, Pennsylvania in 1703
- William Gilbert (1544–1603), physician to Queen Elizabeth I and King James I of England and natural philosopher
- Charles Gray (1696–1782), lawyer, antiquary, and MP for Colchester
- Paul Handley, Editor since 1995 of Church Times
- Francis Hauksbee (1660–1713), natural philosopher and scientist
- Henri Herbert (1985 -), piano player in garage rock band The Jim Jones Revue
- Robin Hewes, Finance Director (2000–2001) and then Chief Executive (2001) of the New Millennium Experience Company, worked as a civil servant and then for Lloyd's of London (nominated member of the Lloyd's of London#Council of Lloyd's (1993–1994); awarded Lloyds Silver Medal in 1996)
- Sir Tom Hickinbotham (1903–1983), Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Aden (1951–1956)
- Nick Hodges, Chief Executive from 1993-9 of London International Group (became SSL International in 1999)
- Philip Jones, television sales executive - sold The Muppet Show to Australia
- William St Lawrence, 12th Baron Howth, enrolled 1639.
- Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, best-selling author of "Attack State Red", an account of combat in Afghanistan, and former commander of British forces in Afghanistan
- Vic Keeble, footballer, who played for Colchester United, Newcastle United (won FA Cup 1955), and West Ham United
- Prof Geoffrey Martin CBE, Keeper of Public Records at the Public Record Office
- William Miller, Courtauld Professor of Animal Husbandry from 1935-46 at the Royal Veterinary College
- Dr Jeremy Mynott, Chief Executive from 1999-2002 of Cambridge University Press, ornithologist, author.
- John Napier, Chairman since 2003 of RSA Insurance Group, and Aegis Group since 2008
- Liam Neale rugby player for Northampton Saints and England School Boy Rugby.
- Matthew Newcomen, nonconformist churchman 
- Philip Norrey, Chief Executive since 2006 of Devon County Council, and its Director of Education from 2003-6
- Ven. Leonard Olyott (1926–2005), Archdeacon of Taunton (1977–1992), then Archdeacon Emeritus
- Prof Robin Osborne, Professor of Ancient History since 2001 at the University of Cambridge
- Louis Pegler (1852–1927), surgeon and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vice-President of Laryngological Section of that organisation; collection of fossil plants donated to the Natural History Museum
- Prof John Percival OBE (1937–2007), Professor and Head of School of History from 1988-96 at Cardiff University
- Maj-Gen Sir Farndale Phillips CBE CB (1905–1961), Commander from 1951-2 of 3 Commando Brigade, and Chief of Amphibious Warfare from 1954-7.
- Jan Pinkava, film director and writer
- John Pluthero, Executive Chairman since 2006 of Cable & Wireless, Chief Executive from 2002-5 of Energis, and founder of Freeserve plc and its Chief Executive from 1998–2002
- William Samuel Powell (1717–75), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University
- Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay RN (1883–1945), commanded the 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk
- Ian Reid (1958 - 1963), founder and manager of influential rock band XTC
- Denys Rendell, founder member of Colchester Quaker Housing Association 
- Kenneth Riches (1908–1999), Anglican Bishop
- John Edgell Rickword (1898–1982), war poet and writer
- Andrew Sanger, travel writer
- P.E.G. 'Gerry' Sayer, first British person to fly a jet aircraft
- David Sexton, Literary Editor since 1997 of the Evening Standard
- William Ashwell Shenstone (1850–1908), chemist and schoolmaster
- David Smith, rugby player for Northampton Saints
- Giles Smith, Guardian writer
- Paul Smith, Chief Executive since 2006 of Swansea Council, and Gloucester City Council from 2001-6
- Peter Snow (1940 - ), President, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand (2007–2009)and Chair Mission to Seafarers, Wellington, Melvin Jones Fellow (Lions Clubs International Foundation).
- Albert Charles Sparrow (1925–2005), leading member of the Chancery Bar with a strong interest in archeology which led to his campaign for reform of treasure trove law
- Andrew Strathern, Andrew Mellon Professor of Anthropology since 1987 at the University of Pittsburgh
- John Sutherland (author), Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London
- Thomas Twining (1735–1804), Classical scholar and cleric
- Peter Wright (footballer), voted in 2000 as "Colchester United's Player of the Century"
- Derek Murray Wyatt, Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey from 1997 to 2010
- There are many staff members who are Old Colcestrians currently working at the School: Mr M Walsh (Head of Mathematics), Mr J Longshaw (Head of Geography and Year 10), Mr S Pancaldi-Loxely (teacher of Mathematics and Physics), Miss K Zaborsky (teacher of Mathematics), Mr S Carbonero (teacher of Music) and Mr R Neale (teacher of Chemistry, Head of Shaw Jeffrey's House and Boarding Manager).
Composed by Cuthbert H. Cronk.
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The school song greatly resembles that of The Skinners' School, Tunbridge Wells, with Shaw Jeffrey writing the lyrics to both. It was introduced within his first year at the school and remains sung today, though infrequently, picking up on themes such as the Tudor history of the school and the popularity of the Old Colcestrian (OC) society.
Carmen Colcestriense by Shaw Jeffrey
Now hands about for Colchester
By mullioned panes the ivy climbs,
An alternative chorus and third verse were provided in the first issue of the old series of The Colcestrian which also explained that the "Tudor masks and faces" referred to the busts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in the mullions of the entrance to Big School (now the Library). The chorus had "Vivat Academia!/Demia Majorum!" in place of the "Floreat Sodalitas" refrain. The third verse was almost entirely different and was closer to that of The Skinners' School:
Then here's a toast before we part,
To Henry's old Foundation
And may its friends be stout of heart
To win your approbation.
So we will pledge our noble selves
To use our best endeavour
That, as the merry world goes round,
Our school may stand for ever.
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Essex proposes converting 12 Southend schools into comprehensives by 1982 and reorganising Colchester Royal Grammar School and Girls High School by 1980 at the earliest. Gilberd Grammar School, Colchester would go comprehensive by 1980 instead of next year as expected locally. King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, would pull out of the State system. But Essex begs Mrs Williams to reject its proposals because of the high cost of carrying them out and "the strong expression of opinion of parents from public meetings."
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