Dr Challoner's Grammar School
Latin: Ad Astra Per Aspera|
(to the stars through difficulties)
Excellence with Integrity
|Chairman of Governors||Mrs Jane Penton-Hauchard|
|Founder||Dr Robert Chaloner|
|DfE URN||136419 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
Boys (Year 7-11)Co-educational Sixth Form
|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, with a co-educational Sixth Form, 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 Robert Chaloner (spelt with only one "l"). Chaloner, a Doctor of Divinity, was Rector of Amersham from 1576 to 1584, when he took up office as a Canon of Windsor, Berkshire, a post he held until his death in 1621.
In his will, Robert Challoner 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.
Since the school founded its robotics team back in 2015, Challoner's has hit the spotlight on the international stage. In 2017, the school competed in the Student Robotics competition led by University of Southampton and won two awards. In 2018, a team entered into PiWars, a competition involving Raspberry Pi computers hosted at the University of Cambridge. The competition consisted of autonomous and remote controlled challenges with difficult tasks requiring computer vision. The team came out winning the whole competition and having podium finishes on the majority of the challenges.
Model United Nations
The school has had large amounts of success with its Model United Nations society. Almost entirely student-led, teams have traveled to attend multiple international conferences including HABSMUN and LIMUN. The teams have been very successful: at LIMUN 2017 over half of the 16 Year 12 students attending won awards and the Challoner's team won the conference overall. In March 2018 the society competed at SPIMUN (St Petersburg International Model United Nations) where five students won awards. In 2017, the society won the 'We Made a Difference Award' in the 2017 Speaker's Schools Council Awards.
In January 2018, the school hosted its first conference, Challoner's MUN. With over 130 students from 11 schools,the conference was one of the largest student-led activities to have ever been undertaken, having been organized by an executive team of 13 students.
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. The three storey building houses a new 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
- Greg Hands – Conservative MP for Chelsea & Fulham and Minister of State for International Trade
- Elizabeth Laverick (1925-2010) - engineer
- Dave Legeno – actor (Fenrir Greyback in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
- Margaret Mee – botanical artist
- Roger Moore – actor
- John Mousinho – footballer
- 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 Neville 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
- Dr Mark A. Fenton, MA, MSc, 2001–16
- Mr David Atkinson 2016–
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