Dr Challoner's Grammar School
|Mottoes||Ad Astra Per Aspera (Latin: to the stars through difficulties)
Excellence with Integrity
|Headteacher||Dr Mark Fenton|
|Chairman of Governors||Mrs Jane Penton-Hauchard|
|Founder||Dr Robert Chaloner|
|DfE URN||136419 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|House Competitions Results||Former Pupils|
Dr Challoner's Grammar School (also known as DCGS, Challoner's Boys or simply Challoner's) is a selective grammar school for boys in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England. It was given academy status in January 2011.
It was founded in 1624 in accordance with the last will and testament of Dr Robert Chaloner (spelt with only one ‘l’). Chaloner, a Doctor of Divinity, was Rector of Amersham from 1576-84, when he took up office as a Canon of Windsor, Berkshire, a post he held until his death in 1621.
In his will, Robert Chaloner left money to establish a grammar school in Amersham. The school was situated in Old Amersham for almost three centuries before moving, with the support of Buckinghamshire County Council, to its present buildings in Amersham-on-the Hill in 1905. At this time, the school embraced the principle of co-education for the first time which, according to the school’s first prospectus in 1906, was "practically universal in America". Each year the boys at Challoner's celebrate Founder's Day where they attend St Mary's Church in Old Amersham where Robert Chaloner was rector.
By 1937, Challoner's was incorporated into the state system of education and by the early 1950s the school had about 350 boys and girls on roll. However, plans for expansion to 550 pupils were overtaken by rapid population growth in the area and the decision was made to establish a separate school for girls in Little Chalfont: Dr Challoner's High School, which opened in 1962. The two schools continue to maintain relatively close links, collaborating especially in music and drama productions, whilst the Dr Challoner's Debating Society has staged numerous collaborative events.
The continued expansion of the grammar school to its present size of over 1,200 boys saw major building projects in the 1950s, 1980s and 1990s, followed by the construction of a large astroturf pitch and improvements to the sports fields. Another floor has been added on top of the old library and the new library was reopened in early 2013.
In 2002, Challoner's became one of the first Science Colleges in the United Kingdom. The school started a second special focus as a Language College in April 2007. In 2005, the school celebrated the 100th anniversary of the move to the current site on Chesham Road, also building the Centenary Sports Pitch. The school was commended by the 2007 Ofsted inspection team and rated outstanding in all 51 criteria.
On 1 September 2008, the school officially changed its status from a Voluntary Controlled school to a Foundation school, on the basis that "the additional autonomy which foundation status offers will enabled the school to provide an even better standard of education in the future". In January 2011 the school became an Academy.
The house system was re-established in 2004. An earlier house system with four houses named for those listed in the original school song as "Buckinghamshire's four mighty men"- Challoner, Hampden, Milton and Penn - was abandoned in 1976. The chorus of that song appears below.
England of shires has a good two score
Each of them brags of her mighty men
Bucks she can boast of her famous four
Challoner, Hampden, Milton and Penn
There are currently six houses, each named after a previous headmaster. The second table shows which house has won the re-instated house competitions.
Dr Challoner's has a strong reputation as one of the country's top performing schools. It was one of two schools named by the Department of Education (the other being Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe) as the best performing schools nationwide in the 2003 GCSEs and named the country's best grammar school in 2011. In the 2011 GCSEs, boys achieved a 100% pass rate with 50 of the 183 candidates earning all A*-A grades.
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The school accommodation comprises a number of major buildings. The West Court area (Music, History and Religious Studies). 'A' Block (Business Studies and Economics, Graphics and Art). Admin Block (School offices and Information Technology), Loarridge Centre and Language Block. 'Q' Block (English and Library). New Court (English and Geography).
The Tower Block (Mathematics and Modern Languages) and Science Block (Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Electronics). The School Hall and Drama Studio is directly above the canteen. Finally, there is a sports hall with PE classrooms. Work on a new sixth form centre and library in 'Q' Block began in January 2012 and was finished in February 2013. It is three floor building with a sixth form centre, study room and library.
Notable former pupils
Notable former students include:
- Peter Atkins - physical chemist and textbook author
- Steve Chandra Savale - guitarist with Asian Dub Foundation
- Chris Cleave - author
- Dame Sandra Dawson - Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University
- Graham Fitch - concert pianist
- Roger Hammond – professional racing cyclist
- Immad Akhund - entrepreneur; CEO of Heyzap
- Greg Hands – Conservative MP for Chelsea & Fulham and Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- Dave Legeno – actor (Fenrir Greyback in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
- Margaret Mee – botanical artist
- Roger Moore – actor (attended Challoner's for a short time while an evacuee during World War II)
- John Mousinho – professional footballer for Preston North End F.C.
- Kenneth Page Oakley - anthropologist
- Alexis Petridis - music critic
- Dominic Raab - Conservative MP for Esher & Walton
- Arthur Reynolds – missionary and author
- Justin Robertson - DJ and remixer
- John Shepherd - scientist
- David Wands - academic and educator
- Rick Warden – actor
- Matt Watson - cricketer
- Mr Edward Rayner 1624-1640
- Dr Angell 1640-1650
- Mr Humphrey Gardiner 1650-1676
- Mr John Hughes 1676-1697
- Mr Crowfoot 1697-1702 (Dudley Penard officiated – 1698)
- Rev Benjamin Robertshaw, MA 1702-1706
- Not Known 1706-1790
- Rev Richard Thorne, BA 1790–1822
- Rev Henry Foyster 1822-1826
- Rev Matthew Stalker, BA 1826-1849
- Rev W.S. Newman, BA 1849-1850
- Rev Edmund J Luce, BA 1850-1862
- Rev W. H. Williams, BA 1862-1880
- Rev Frederick Weller, MA 1881-1883
- Rev W.J. Foxell 1883-1886
- Rev Colin J. Creed 1886-1888
- Rev Lewis H. Pearson, BA 1888-1889
- Rev E.P. Cooper, BA 1889-1897
- Mr E.H. Wainwright, BA 1897-1908
- Mr R.E. Yates, BA 1908-1935
- Mr J.E. Simpson, BSc 1935-1937
- Mr T.P. Oakley, BSc (Acting) 1937-1938
- Mr N. Harrow, MA 1938-1956
- Mr R. Simm, BA (Acting) 1941-1945
- Mr W.C. Porter, BSc 1956-1964
- Mr D Holman, MA 1965-1972
- Mr J.A. Loarridge, RD, BA, OBE 1972-1992
- Mr G.C. Hill, MA 1993-2001
- Oliver Gill
- Dr M.A. Fenton, MA, MSc, 2001-16
- Mr D. Atkinson 2016-
- F. R. Treadgold, B.A (1973). Dr Challoner and his school. Amersham.
- F. R. Treadgold, B.A (1974). "Challoner's" 1624 - 1974: The story of Dr. Challoner's Grammar School, Amersham. Luton: The Leagrave Press Ltd. ISBN 0-85236-051-7.
- "Full marks for Dr Challoner's". Bucks Free Press. 5 December 2007.
- "The Challoner: July 2008" (PDF). Dr Challoner's Grammar School.
- "Open academies map and schools submitting applications". Department for Education. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Challoner's pupils among country's top performers". Bucks Free Press. 19 September 2003.
- "RGS and Dr Challoner's named among the best schools in country". Bucks Free Press. 23 January 2003.
- "Dr Challoner's named England's best grammar school". Buckinghamshire Examiner. 17 January 2011.
- "Triumphant GCSE results for Dr Challoner's Grammar School". Buckinghamshire Examiner. 25 August 2011.
- DCGS - History; accessed 18 November 2012.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 2004.