Dr Challoner's Grammar School

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Not to be confused with Dr Challoner's High School.
Dr Challoner's Grammar School
Dr Challoner's Grammar School.png
Mottoes Ad Astra Per Aspera (Latin: to the stars through difficulties)
Excellence with Integrity
Established 1624
Type Academy Grammar
Headteacher Dr Mark Fenton
Chairman of Governors Mrs Jane Penton-Hauchard
Founder Dr Robert Chaloner
Location Chesham Road
Coordinates: 51°40′34″N 0°36′35″W / 51.67622°N 0.60982°W / 51.67622; -0.60982
Local authority Buckinghamshire
DfE URN 136419 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 150
Students 1,300 pupils
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses      Foxell
Publication Ad Astra
House Competitions Results Former Pupils
Old Challoners Headmasters
Website www.challoners.com

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 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 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.[1]

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".[2] In January 2011 the school became an Academy.[3]


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.

House Colour
Year House
2004-5 Rayner
2005-6 Pearson
2006-7 Holman
2007-8 Holman
2008-9 Holman
2009-10 Thorne
2010-11 Holman
2011-12 Pearson
2012-13 Foxell
2013-14 Holman
2014-15 Pearson


Dr Challoner's has a strong reputation as one of the country's top performing schools.[4] 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[5] and named the country's best grammar school in 2011.[6] In the 2011 GCSEs, boys achieved a 100% pass rate with 50 of the 183 candidates earning all A*-A grades.[7]

School buildings[edit]

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[edit]

Notable former students include:


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

Dr. M. A. Fenton, MA, MSc, 2001-2016[10]

Mr D. Atkinson 2016- [11]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. The Leagrave Press Ltd, Luton. ISBN 0-85236-051-7. 


External links[edit]