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 James Sinclair
Location Finborough Hall
Great Finborough
IP14 3EF
England 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 Derek Slade, with the financial support of various others, 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.

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 2008, John Sinclair retired and his son James Sinclair took over as Principal.[4]

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 [5] 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, through Roger Pettiward. 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.[6] 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.[7] The school also sponsor Bury Rugby Club.[8] 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[9] and the Suffolk Festival of Music, Dance and Speech.[citation needed] Drama is available as a GCSE option.[10] In February 2013, Finborough performing arts club performed their version of the popular Rent (musical) at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.[11]


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 Red
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 School building (July 2008).


• After an inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2005, the school was described as 'a Gem of a school'.[12]

Derek Slade conviction[edit]

Slade's use of corporal punishment came under close scrutiny after a BBC Radio 4 Checkpoint investigation in 1982[13] 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.[14]

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. ^ "Principal follows in father's footsteps". EADT24. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "St Georges School, Finborough". British Listed Buildings. 
  6. ^ "Organisation". Finborough School. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Finborough golfers take the title". Finborough School. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Last weekend Bury Minis, Sponsored by Finborough School, travelled to Shelford" (DOC). Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sudbury Festival". Finborough School. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Senior School Curriculum". Finborough School. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection report on Finborough School". ISI. October 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Pervert headmaster faces jail for years of sex abuse of boys". Daily Mail. 3 September 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Pervert boarding school headmaster jailed for 21 years for abusing pupils". Daily Mail. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2014.