Old Swinford Hospital

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Old Swinford Hospital
Heath Lane

, ,

Coordinates52°27′03″N 2°08′39″W / 52.4507°N 2.1442°W / 52.4507; -2.1442Coordinates: 52°27′03″N 2°08′39″W / 52.4507°N 2.1442°W / 52.4507; -2.1442
TypeVoluntary aided comprehensive
Day and boarding school
MottoUt prosim, vince malum bono
FounderThomas Foley
Local authorityDudley
SpecialistsBusiness and Enterprise, Science
Department for Education URN103870 Tables
ChairMr Malcolm Wilcox FRICS FRSA
HeadmasterMr Paul Kilbride
GenderBoys; Coeducational Sixth Form
Age11 to 18
Houses7 Senior Boarding Houses, 1 Junior Boarding House, 1 Day Student House
PublicationThe Foleyan
Former PupilsOld Foleyans

Old Swinford Hospital is a secondary boarding school in Oldswinford, Stourbridge, West Midlands, England[1] that has been in continuous operation since the 17th century. It is one of 36 state boarding schools in England, meaning school fees are funded by the LEA and pupils only pay boarding fees. Girls are admitted into the sixth form as day pupils.


Old Swinford Hospital opened in the late summer of 1667. Originally called Stourbridge Hospital,[2] it was founded by Thomas Foley, an ironmaster and prominent local landowner, whose main estate was at Great Witley, west of Stourport in Worcestershire, but with strong Stourbridge connections. It was to educate 60 boys from “poor but honest” families nominated by specified parishes in Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. The school was sometimes named as Foley's blue coat school or hospital, or Oldswinford Hospital Endowed School.[3] The school had increased to 70 boys by 1868.[4][5]


The school consists of eight boarding houses:

House Colour Built Namesake
Baxter Grey 1990 Richard Baxter, a 17th-century Puritan minister
Dudley Purple 1984 the Earls of Dudley, the family who bought the Foley's estate of Witley Court
Foley Green 1982 Thomas Foley, the founder of the School
Foster (Year 13) Red A prominent local family (see James Foster)
Potter Sky Blue 2009 Chris Potter, headmaster from 1978 until 2001
Prospect (Year 7) Prospect Hill, the house's location
Witley Yellow 1983 Witley Court, the Foley family mansion

There is one junior boarding house, Prospect House, which is for Year 7 boarders and one senior boarding house, Foster House, which is for Year 13 boarders. Foster was previously a boarding house for years 8-13 and reopened in October 2016 following extensive redevelopment. The other six houses (Baxter, Dudley, Foley, Maybury, Potter and Witley) house boarders from year 8 to year 12.

The Senior Housemaster of OSH is Mr A Hannah, previously housemaster of Potter House and Baxter House.

Before the houses were associated with buildings, there was also a Lyttelton house, named after the Lyttelton family who built nearby Hagley Hall. Katherine Lady Lyttelton and her son Sir Henry Lyttelton, sold the manor of Old Swinford to Thomas Foley in 1661.[6] In the mid-20th century, when day boys outnumbered boarders, there were also day houses called Stone and Chance. Stone and Lyttleton are now the names of teaching blocks at the school.


There is no catchment area and admission is non-selective except for Flexi-Boarders in Year 7. Boarding fees and day student facilities are charged but not tuition.[7]

Sixth Form[edit]

The school also offers a Sixth Form to which girls are admitted. Applications externally were subject to an entrance exam, which was dropped for students entering September 2015, and GCSE grades equivalent to 7 'A' grades. Boarding places are guaranteed for previous boarders, there is a minimum standard of 7 'C' grades at GCSE expected, this requirement can be wavered if the pupil is a clear benefit to the school through other contributions such as sport or music.


The school subject choices remain largely traditional, with many courses being offered as minor specifics to senior students. Mathematics is offered as Mechanics, Statistics, Pure, Core and Further. All 3 Sciences are offered, and for English you can take Language, Literature or both. History is split between standard History and Classical Civilisation. Latin is also an option which can be taken from Year 7.

Old Swinford Hospital is a specialist Business and Enterprise School, a Specialist Science School and has recently been awarded with an Artsmark and Sportsmark.

Foreign Language lessons are also compulsory and are offered as options to sixth form students as Spanish, French and German. Old Swinford Hospital benefits from foreign language assistants, who come as native speakers of the language to teach and help at the school. In return they get to live in one of the boarding houses, and also get the opportunity to better their own English language skills. In the past foreign language assistants have come from as far away as Argentina.

GCSEs are taken in Year 11. Lower Sixth take AS Levels, and Upper Sixth take A-Levels. Most Lower Sixth take 3 courses, and Upper Sixth take those same 3 Courses. For Upper Sixth students General Studies is an optional extra course, with untaught lessons, as well as many open university and finance courses open to the whole of the sixth form.

Old Swinford Hospital is placed in the top 5% of all schools at GCSE and with a strong record at A level.[citation needed] In October 2006, OFSTED rated the school as Outstanding. The most recent judgement, in 2017, judged the school as Good.[8]

Upon publication of the 2007/2008 academic year results tables, Old Swinford Hospital were the best school in the Dudley local area for pass and success rates in GCSEs with 89% of pupils gaining 5 or more A*-C grades. A Level students also performed well with 99% of examinations taken passed, and an average point score per pupil of 805.8; significantly higher than the Dudley local average of 733.1[9][10] For 2010, it remained the highest performing school in the Dudley borough with 94% of GCSE students gaining 5 or more GCSEs at grade C or above.[11]


Old Swinford Hospital has a large history of high level sporting achievement. Some Old Foleyans have gone on to play top level and international games in their sporting fields.

Sport is compulsory, during the Wednesday Afternoon sessions for the Senior Students, in line with the time university sports fixtures are played.

The main school sport is rugby, and it has been highly successful reaching the Semi-Finals in the U15 and U18 Daily Mail Cup, reaching the final in the U18 cup in 2012, and winning many other cups. From Michaelmas term the sport is played, with Sevens being played late in the Lent term. Other top level sports include Hockey and Cross Country. Cross Country had a successful 2007/2008 season, winning trophies in both 1st and 2nd team categories. The school runs 3 senior football teams which are coached by former professional footballer Dale Rudge.

In Summer the main school sport is cricket. This is played on front field cricket pitch, with Founders as the backdrop. The 1st team are usually very successful, in 2008 hardly losing a match. Teams throughout all of the year groups compete. A highlight of the season is the Senior teams match against the Old Foleyans played in the summer. David Banks, the former Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire cricketer is one notable member of the teams coaching staff.

Basketball is fast becoming the schools second most popular sport. In 2011-2012 the team suffered only 2 defeats in the entire season. The juniors are coached by former England basketball guru Barrie Mann.

Other sports include Golf (Old Swinford Hospital owns Stourbridge Golf Club), Squash, Tennis, Rounders, Athletics, Volleyball, hockey and Mountain Biking.

Shooting is a sport also enjoyed at the school, with it more recently being involved in competitions. It is one of the most successful sports in the school with the shooting team coming 3rd in the nationals in 2010.

International links[edit]

Old Swinford Hospital has international links with schools and educational establishments abroad. The three most notable are in the table below. Old Swinford has a history of raising money, and assisting in many ways with St. John's Secondary School in Nandere, Uganda through various charitable events and days and through the Uganda Link society. When the school had power issues in 2007, Old Swinford managed to raise the money needed to get power supplies back within one day.

School City
Uganda St. John's Secondary Senior School[12] Nandere
Argentina St. George's College North[12] Buenos Aires
Australia St. Joseph's Nudgee College[12] Brisbane

Old Foleyans[edit]

Former students of the school are called Old Foleyans after the founder of the school, Thomas Foley.







Headmasters since 1883[edit]

  • Mr WJ Maybury (1883–1928)
  • Mr HC Stone (1928–1951)
  • Mr Lawrence Sheppard MBE (1951–1978)[13]
  • Mr Christopher Potter OBE (1978–2001)
  • Mr Melvyn Roffe (2001–2007)
  • Mr Peter Jones (2007–2014)
  • Mr Paul Kilbride (2014–current)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "about-the-school". Old Swinford Hospital. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Thomas Foley after William Trabute, line engraving, late 18th to early 19th century". Home / Collections / Large Image - NPG D30030; Thomas Foley. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  3. ^ The lancet London: a journal of British and foreign medicine, surgery, obstetrics, physiology, chemistry, pharmacology, public health and news, Volume 2. 1852. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  4. ^ OLD SWINFORD - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868
  5. ^ Hopkins, Eric (June 1969). "A Charity School in the Nineteenth Century: Old Swinford Hospital School, 1815-1914". British Journal of Educational Studies. 17 (2): 177–192. doi:10.2307/3119259. JSTOR 3119259.
  6. ^ British History Online: History of the parish of Old Swinford
  7. ^ "Admissions and Fees". Old Swinford Hospital.
  8. ^ Owen, Dan. "Short inspection of Old Swinford Hospital" (PDF). Ofsted. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  9. ^ http://www.oshsch.com/2009/01/old-swinford-hospital-top-of-league-table/ Old Swinford Hospital Top of League Tables
  10. ^ http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/cgi-bin/performancetables/group_08.pl?Mode=Z&Type=LA&Begin=b&No=332&Base=g&Phase=1&F=1&L=50&Year=08 DSCF Dudley KS4 result tables
  11. ^ "Secondary schools in Dudley". BBC News. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
  12. ^ a b c "Housemaster Job Description". Old Swinford Hospital. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  13. ^ Sheppard, L W (1953). "From charity foundation to residential technical school". The Vocational Aspect of Secondary and Further Education. 5 (10): 37–42. doi:10.1080/03057875380000041.