Finborough School

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Finborough School
Finborough School Logo.jpg
Motto Ad Summa Nitimur (Strive for the Highest), previously "Be Of Good Courage"
Established 1978
Type Independent day and boarding school
Principal Mr Clarke
Founder John Sinclair
Location Finborough Hall
Great Finborough
IP14 3EF
Coordinates: 52°11′03″N 0°56′47″E / 52.1841°N 0.9464°E / 52.1841; 0.9464
Students c.270[1] pupils
Gender Coeducational
Ages 2–18
Houses 3 (Churchill, Nelson and Marlborough)
Colours Maroon and navy and white               
Publication Highlights (no longer running)

Finborough School (previously St. George's School) is a small co-educational independent school. It is situated in and around Finborough Hall, in the village of Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, Suffolk, England.


The former school buildings in Wicklewood. Now housing.

The original school, named St. George's School, was founded in 1978 by John Sinclair and his family with Derek Slade as Headmaster in Wicklewood near Wymondham, Norfolk[2] and was set up as a military boarding school for boys whose parents were in the armed forces. After failed efforts to purchase the facilities of the HMS Ganges establishment, the school was moved to the current site at Great Finborough in 1980. The former Wicklewood school was retained for several years and operated as the St George's School for Girls until this too moved to Finborough and the original site was redeveloped into private apartments and homes.

John and Sue Sinclair, as owners, took over running of the school following Slade's departure, and it was renamed Finborough School.[2] The school merged with Hillcroft Preparatory School in 2006.[3] In 2003, John Sinclair was convicted of assaulting a walker after the man kicked his pet labrador on the school grounds [4] In 2008, James Sinclair took over as Principal after his father retired.[5]

On 15 May 2014 The High Court appointed Grant Thornton as Liquidators for one of the companies (Anglemoss limited) associated with the directors and owners of the school.[6] what is interesting is that John Sinclair, the founder, was the only director at the time of the liquidation despite the fact that his son James, the current Principal, had been a director from Sept 2003 to March 2011. Shortly after the liquidation of Anglemoss a new company was established by James and Louise Sinclair to run the school, and judging by the assets on its balance sheet this new company, Finborough School Limited, also acquired the land and buildings. (all info freely available via companies house

Finborough Hall[edit]

The school is based in Finborough Hall, a Grade II listed stucco-faced Tuscan-style country house, originally built in 1795 for Roger Pettiward [7] on land previously owned by William Wollaston MP. Finborough Hall, once owned by the Pettiward family, subsequently gave its name to Finborough Road in London, developed as part of the Pettiward Estate in north-west Chelsea, London SW10, still owned by the Pettiward family. This led to the name of Finborough Theatre. The Hall's original c1700 staircase was moved to Rougham Hall in 1878.


The school includes Nursery, Pre-Prep, Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form.[8] This means that the school has pupils ranging from ages 2 to 18. The Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School are all based in the old Finborough Hall building. The Senior School uses some parts of that building, but mainly uses a classroom block located nearby. Assemblies and prizegiving ceremonies are often held in the nearby Great Finborough church. The school offers a number leadership positions to older pupils, including Head of School, Deputy Head of School, School Council Chair, Prefects, House Captains and members of the school council.

Three school houses form the basis of many events throughout the academic year. Annual events include Sports Day and the Cross Country Run.

An U16 rugby match at Finborough School, the Finborough team is in red and blue.


The whole school uses extensive sports fields for both sport and other events. Girls play netball, hockey, athletics, tennis and rounders. Boys play football, rugby, athletics, cricket and tennis. Most age groups play matches against other local independent schools. House matches are played every year, house points are awarded to the winning house. Churchill house won in 2012.

Finborough School has made a number of notable links with local sports clubs. It has successful partnerships with Stowmarket Tennis Club and the Stowmarket Golf Centre.[9] The school also sponsor Bury Rugby Club.[10] Rugby has long been an important and celebrated part of school sport since the 1980s.

Music and drama[edit]

The school has a choir and various ensembles, with regular performance nights being held in the drama studio. The school choir perform regularly at festivals and community gatherings in St Andrews Church, Great Finborough. The school regularly participates in the Sudbury Festival[11] and the Suffolk Festival of Music, Dance and Speech.[citation needed] Drama is available as a GCSE option.[12] In February 2013, Finborough performing arts club performed their version of the popular Rent (musical) at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.[13]


There are three school houses: Churchill, Marlborough and Nelson named after Winston Churchill, the John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Horatio Nelson respectively. The different houses compete in various different activities, relating to sport as well as performing arts, throughout the year in order to win house points.

House House colours
Churchill White
Marlborough Maroon
Nelson Navy blue

Originally, the school was primarily for boarders and a large percentage of pupils came from military families, hence the names of the houses. The original plan for the houses was to put children of army families into Marlborough house, children of air force families into Churchill house and children from naval families into Nelson house. However, so few children came from naval or air force backgrounds that many of the army children filled in the spaces in the other houses. This plan is no longer used today; pupils are assigned a random house as soon as they join the school.

The back of the Finborough Hall, the school building (July 2008).


• After an inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2005, the school was described as 'a Gem of a school'.[14]

Sexual abuse scandal[edit]

Headmaster Derek Slade's use of corporal punishment came under close scrutiny after a BBC Radio 4 Checkpoint investigation in 1982[15] and, although he escaped charges at the time, Slade left the school in 1983. The case resurfaced in 2010 and Slade was convicted of over 50 offences relating to physical and sexual abuse, sexual assault and child pornography and sentenced to 21 years in jail. He died in 2016. [16]

Two other men, Gerard Singer, a former language teacher, and Alan Brigden, a former maths teacher, have also been convicted of sexual offences against children for attacks at the school in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[17] A third man, Alan Williams, a music teacher who worked at the school during the same period, killed himself following his arrest in relation to the inquiry.[18]

School Shields and Trophies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Finborough School 2012 Crested Report" (PDF). CReSTeD. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "History". Finborough School. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "School merger plan gets go-ahead". EADT24. 10 October 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "History". Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Principal follows in father's footsteps". EADT24. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "St Georges School, Finborough". British Listed Buildings. 
  8. ^ "Organisation". Finborough School. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Finborough golfers take the title". Finborough School. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Last weekend Bury Minis, Sponsored by Finborough School, travelled to Shelford" (Doc). Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sudbury Festival". Finborough School. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Senior School Curriculum". Finborough School. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Pupils of Finborough School put on Jonathan Larson's musical Rent at Bury St Edmunds' Theatre Royal.". Bury Free Press. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection report on Finborough School". ISI. October 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pervert headmaster faces jail for years of sex abuse of boys". Daily Mail. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]