Knights Templar School
|Motto||Courage & Courtesy|
|Headteacher||Mr Timothy Litchfield|
|DfE URN||136608 Tables|
|Students||1350 in September 2013|
|Houses||Bennett, Crellin, Hancock, Hine, Knights, Pembroke, Templar|
Knights Templar School is a co-educational secondary school with academy status located in the market town of Baldock in North Hertfordshire, England. In a February 2006 Ofsted report, the school was described as "outstanding", one of only eight secondary schools in Hertfordshire to be so recognised. It retained its "outstanding" status following a further Ofsted inspection in February 2009. The Knights Templar School gained academy status on 1 April 2011. Following an Ofsted inspection in October 2012 the school was categorised as "good" against a newer, far more demanding Inspection framework.
In September 2014 the school celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The school claims no connection with the Masonic order of Knights Templar or with The Da Vinci Code – rather, it is named after the chivalrous medieval order of the Knights Templar, who founded Baldock and built the original 12th-century parish church of St. Mary the Virgin in the town. The motto of the Knights Templar School is "Courage and Courtesy".
The school opened the day after the start of the Second World War in 1939 as the Baldock County Council School and within a week of opening had welcomed evacuee children from Stratford in London; in 1944 a photographer from the Ministry of Information took a series of pictures of students at the school to show the positive way that a typical country school was adjusting to life during wartime. These images showed students having medical examinations, taking part in sports and domestic science lessons, cooking over open fires and cultivating the school's playing field to grow food.
By 1949 the school was known as Baldock Secondary Modern School, at which time His Majesty's Inspector for Schools (HMI) found it to be flourishing under the 'dynamic personality' of the Headmaster, Mr Frank Hancock MBE, who had created a 'very happy and active school' with overseas trips, school camps, Sports Days and strong links with the local community. However, the inspectors found the syllabuses to be too ambitious with the school moving forward too quickly, with teaching staff confused by arrangements which were complicated and difficult to manage.
Since that time the school has been greatly extended with several new buildings and ever increasing pupil numbers, leading to oversubscription every year. As of September 2013 there are 1350 pupils, with 103 teachers and 60 support staff.
In September 2013 the school opened a new purpose-built Sixth Form block with specialist classrooms, tutor meeting rooms and computer suites, and a new Science Centre was opened in 2016 by Lord Robert Winston. As a former specialist school in sport the Knights Templar School also has a million-pound sports centre with fitness suite and a floodlit all-weather sports pitch.
The school Houses are Crellin, Hancock, Hine, Pembroke, Bennett, Knights and Templar, named after former Headmasters of the school (Hancock and Crellin); local educationists (George N. Bennett, who taught at the Pond Lane (Council) School in Baldock for over 40 years) and Alderman Neville Hine who for many years was Chairman of Managers of Baldock County Council School and worked for the building of the Knights Templar School; 'Strongbow', the Earl of Pembroke (the school is built on land owned by the Earl in the medieval period), and the Knights Templar who built the parish church St. Mary the Virgin c.1125.
Music at the school
The school has a strong musical tradition, with about a third of all pupils taking extra tuition in an instrument or voice. The Big Band and Senior Chamber Choir perform locally and the school organises a music tour bi-annually, geared mainly towards these two groups (though anyone is welcome). Recent tour locations include Budapest in Hungary during July 2006 and Liguria in Italy in July 2008. A former pupil, Frances Balmer, won the 2004 BBC Proms Young Composers' Competition.
Recent Sixth Former and Royal College of Music Junior Department student Ben Goldscheider played the french horn with the National Youth Orchestra and in 2013 was the joint winner of the Toddington Music Society Young Musician of the Year Competition. In 2014 he won The Marlowe Young Musician Of The Year Competition, and in May 2016 he won the Brass Final in the BBC Young Musician competition, going on to the Semi Finals and then the Finals. From October 2016 he began four years music study at the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin and performs internationally.
The Knights Templar School received coverage in the national media  in 2002 over the 'fixing' of 'A' level grades by examination boards. The school was the first in the country to appeal the grades awarded to its students in GCE Psychology.
From 2005 to 2013 it was a specialist school for Sport and the Performing Arts. In 2005 students from the school appeared as extras in the television film Tom Brown's Schooldays starring Alex Pettyfer and Stephen Fry.
Guest speakers at the school have included former politician Edwina Currie, film and television composers David Arnold and Debbie Wiseman, Cardinal Basil Hume, academic Professor Lord Soulsby, IVF pioneer Peter Brinsden, scientist Professor Sir John Polkinghorne, Professor Mick Aston from Time Team, former Cabinet Minister Lord MacGregor, two-times Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Glanfield, journalist and author Quentin Letts, musician, journalist and priest Richard Coles and businessman and civil servant Sir Peter Gershon.
The Hoosiers performed an acoustic gig at the school in March 2011, and actor and performer Gerald Charles Dickens has made several appearances at the school in his one-man shows, including A Christmas Carol, based on the works of his great-great-grandfather Charles Dickens.
In June 2012 a group of students from the school met the Duchess of Cornwall as they had volunteered to help apply SmartWater to Baldock's war memorial in order to protect it from theft by metal thieves.
In February 2014 it was announced that the school's Headteacher from September 2014 would be Mr Timothy Litchfield, formerly Deputy Headteacher of Bishops Stortford High School and a specialist musician.
On 14 June 2014 Mr John Glover, the then Head of the Humanities Faculty and Co-ordinator for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, was appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to Education. The award was in recognition of the more than 30 years voluntary service Mr Glover gave to running the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme at the school. Under his supervision over 2000 students from the Knights Templar School received awards from the scheme.
- Mr Frank Hancock MBE (1939-1951)
- Mr John Tyler (1952–55)
- Mr Lennox (1956-1959)
- Mr Vivian Crellin (1960-1984)
- Mr Peter Chapman (1984-2006)
- Mr Andrew Pickering (2006–2014)
- Mr Tim Litchfield (2014 – present)
Notable former pupils and staff
- Keith Milow, artist, Harkness Fellow
- Leanne Wilson, actress
- Claire Slater, actress
- Elizabeth Hall, international athlete
- Deborah Turness, Editor of ITV News from 2004 to 2013 and President of NBC News since August 2013
- Sydney Gregson, winger in the U20s England women's national rugby union team.
Views of the school
- Guardian Unlimited, "Inspectors name outstanding schools"
- Ofsted report, February 2006
- Performance as reported on BBC website
- Ofsted Inspection Report February 2009 Archived 27 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
- Knights Templar School OFSTED report - published November 2012
- Hertfordshire Genealogy: Baldock
- 'Country School: Everday Life at Baldock County Council School (1944)- the Imperial War Museum Collection
- Parker, David John Newsom - A Hertfordshire Educationist University of Hertfordshire Press (2005) pg 130 Google Books
- PRO ED109/8828 HM Inspectors' report on Baldock County Secondary Modern School; Inspected 16-18/11/49
- Vivian Crellin, Baldock's Middle Ages
- The Guardian, Amazingly composed, 22 June 2004
- National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain - Meet the Orchestra page
- Goldscheider on the Toddington Music Society website
- Ben Goldscheider Wins The Marlowe Competition - The Canterbury Index Magazine, Issue 31
- Ben Goldscheider in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition 2016 - BBC website
- Ashwell teen, Ben Goldscheider, wins BBC Young Musician Brass Category - Hertfordshire Mercury - 29 April 2016
- 'Ben into the last three for coveted music title' - The Letchworth and Baldock Comet - pg 13 - 12 May 2016
- 'Ben Goldscheider through to BBC Young Musician Final' - Royal College of Music website - 9 May 2016
- 'BBC Young Musician finalists announced' BBC Music Magazine - The official website of BBC Music Magazine - 11 May 2016
- Ashwell French horn player and Knights Templar School student Ben Goldscheider ‘a true ambassador’ in BBC Young Musician 2016 final - Royston Crow - 15 May 2016
- The Observer, Angst Levels, 10 August 2003
- The Observer, Timetable of a fiasco, 22 September 2002
- The Independent, A-Level Crisis: Student's hopes rise and fall as coveted place slips, 21 September 2002
- Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian, Whistleblower's mark of approval, 15 August 2003
- CBBC Newsround, Kids paint way into record books, 18 July 2007
- 'Olympian Joe Glanfield visits sports college to award young prize winners' - the Youth Sport Trust website
- 'The Duchess of Cornwall visits the Royal Artillery Memorial' - The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall website - 14 June 2012
- 'Camilla joins memorial crusade' - Daily Express 15 June 2012
- Award of the MBE to John Bruce Glover - The London Gazette 14 June 2014 Issue:60895 Page: b19
- Award of the MBE to John Bruce Glover - Queen's Birthday Honours - the British Government website
- Award of the MBE to John Bruce Glover - Hertfordshire Mercury - 13 June 2014
- Mr John Glover MBE on the Knights Templar School website
- 'Deborah Turness: 'News is the best drama on television' The Guardian 5 July 2012 Retrieved: 24 April 2012
- 'It’s Official: Deborah Turness Named President of NBC News' - TVNewser - 20 May 2013
- Sydney Gregson on the England Rugby website[dead link]