Robert Smyth Academy

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Robert Smyth Academy
Robert smyth School.jpg
Motto 'Respect, Succeed, Aspire'
Established 1607
Type Academy - Converter Mainstream
Headteacher Mr D. Cleary
Location Burnmill Road
Market Harborough
LE16 7JG
52°29′11″N 0°55′25″W / 52.48637°N 0.92356°W / 52.48637; -0.92356Coordinates: 52°29′11″N 0°55′25″W / 52.48637°N 0.92356°W / 52.48637; -0.92356
DfE URN 120237 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1258
Gender Mixed-sex education
Ages 11–19
Houses Bragg, Logan, Hammond
Website Robert Smyth Academy

Robert Smyth Academy is an upper school in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England for 11- to 19-year-olds. It is situated in the north of the town, on Burnmill Road, close to St Luke's Hospital.


Around 1570, Robert Smith, from the town, walked to London. By 1598, he had become comptroller of the City of London. In 1607 he founded Market Harborough Grammar School. The building still exists in the Market Place. For the first 150 years, it was only open to boys who were of the Anglican faith. In 1909, Leicestershire County Council built a new school, called the County Grammar School of Edward VII, on the present location on Burnmill Road. In 1944, the school fees were stopped and it became known as Market Harborough Grammar School. In 1978, it became Robert Smyth School, and in 2011, it became Robert Smyth Academy

It used to be known as Market Harborough Upper School, being one of the few remaining upper schools in England. It is one of two secondary schools in the Harborough district, the other being Lutterworth College. They both consistently get some of the best exam results in Leicestershire. The middle school in the town is the Welland Park Academy, to the south of the town.

With around 100 staff and more than 1,300 pupils, it provides a comprehensive education for pupils in Key Stage 4 (KS4), for GCSE and Post-16 (A-levels). It is a Technology College and has been awarded both an Investors in People award and an Artsmark Gold award. In 2006 a successful application was put forward for the school to become a dual status technology/arts college. The catchment area of the school covers both the town of Market Harborough itself and the surrounding South Leicestershire villages, primarily Kibworth, Fleckney, Great Glen, King's Norton, Foxton, the Langtons, Gumley and Laughton.

The school converted to academy status in September 2011.[1]

In September 2017, the Academy became a member of the Tudor Grange Academies Trust (TGAT) following previous financial trouble. Since then, many changes have taken place, such as the new tutor groups, houses, lesson times, uniforms, dress code, IT infrastructure and more. Much of this was met with resistance by the students from all year groups, particularly from Sixth Formers losing the ability to leave school during the day (before lunchtime). TGAT are again making several more changes in September 2018, with six 50-minute lessons changing to five 60-minute lessons, including different lunch times for Y7-8 and Y9-13. Additionally, bells will no longer be used to signal lesson times and instead students will need to rely on their own timekeeping to get to lessons on time. [2]

Houses and Forms[edit]

The school is the largest in Market Harborough consisting of three 'houses', Bragg, Logan and Hammond. The houses are named after historical figures from the town and are mainly in existence for administrative purposes (main school lessons are timetabled by house group and house assemblies are held weekly) but inter-house sports are also popular activities. Two Year 12 pupils from each house are nominated by staff annually to become school prefects and each house has a number of house prefects depending on the intake that year. The school also has a school council, namely Student Voice, which consists of two pupils from every tutor group who attend fortnightly meetings. Currently, Student Voice is Chaired by two Year 13 students, and the Committee has two members. They all have the common aim of making the school a better place for the pupils and suggesting positive changes for the school.

Previously there were four houses: Bragg, Mosely, Pickering, and Wartnaby. This was changed to the current three houses in September 2016 when the academy began taking in KS3 students (only starting with Year 7), this was at the same time Welland Park Academy began taking in KS4 students. As a result, both schools are shrunk temporarily until all years are filled up. This is why Robert Smyth stepped down to three houses.

Before this, there were three houses (Wartnaby, Bragg and Hammond) and pupils were divided into house determined by the area that the pupil lived within the catchment area - Bragg for the centre of Market Harborough, Wartnaby for the outlying villages and the other for the in between area.

Previously, each house was split into tutor groups of 20 to 30 pupils, from all four school year groups. This arrangement of vertical tutoring was put into place in the academic year 2005-06, as per the suggestion of former headteacher Colin Dean, and it was hoped it would encourage peer mentoring and a greater sense of school community. This has since been changed back to horizontal tutoring from the 2016/2017 academic year, following the take-over from Tudor Grange Academies Trust the same year. Forms meet daily and take part in activities such as organising assemblies.

Sixth Form[edit]

Post-16, or sixth form as it's commonly known, is housed in the 'Sixth Form Centre', a separate building to the lower school, providing a cafeteria, computer suite and quiet work areas. Sixth form lessons are held throughout the school - the Sixth Form Centre has a few classrooms, but the majority of classes are still taught in the main buildings.

Both sixth form and main school pupils have access to the library, which also contains a small number of computers. Lower school pupils have a separate canteen. Main school pupils are not permitted to set foot in the Sixth Form Centre but often do for many reasons.

Dress code[edit]

In sixth form, pupils are requested to make appropriate choices and avoid extremes of fashion. In the past, shorts for Sixth Form boys were not permitted, this rule has since been relaxed to allow the wearing of tailored shorts, during high temperatures of the 6th and final term of the year. The wearing of shorts by sixth form boys and, as of 2009, girls, has proved contentious at the school. Following a letter sent in to the local newspaper by Oliver Langmead, a sixth form pupil, media interest has arisen, with articles appearing in the Harborough Mail,[3] Leicester Mercury and a radio interview that took place on BBC Radio Leicester.

For those who are in year 10 and 11, there is a dress code. The school provides shirts and blazers with the school badge. However, pupils can wear a white shirt, a shirt with a collar and a black blazer. Grey trousers must be worn. Also, girls can wear knee-length black skirts, with either black or flesh-coloured tights. Black shoes are to be worn. Only studs can be worn in the ears. The school has also come under fire recently for not adopting a unisex dress code, currently girls can wear either trousers or skirts, however boys are only permitted to wear trousers. The school has been criticised for its sexism towards boys as a result, however they continue to deny such allegations.


Other notable facilities of the school are the Main Hall - an assembly hall, in which assemblies are held, as well as concerts, proms and other large-scale events. The Old Gym, which previously allowed pupils can take part in activities such as trampoline and table tennis, has been converted into a performing arts hall - "The Max", named after governor Maxwell Corney (to the distress of many pupils, the school decided against calling the new hall 'the Corney'). This has a highly flexible format with space for dancing classes, acting and small offset theory classrooms. A new/extended sports centre has been built adjacent to the existing one (in which indoor football, netball, basketball and other sports can be played) to modernise the sports facilities at the school. There is also a large school field, on which football, hockey and rugby are played, an outdoor basketball court and two tennis courts. The library offers the usual reference facilities plus a thriving lunch time chess club. The school has a number of IT rooms, all networked with internet access and several science labs.

A new canteen for years 10 and 11 opened on 18 February 2011. The £1 million facility was built to replace a Nissen hut style structure and contains a kitchen, dining room and new food technology classroom. Pupils voted for the name of the canteen, selecting 'Sixteen07' in honour of the school's founding date.[4]


The school holds a number of expressive arts events each year – an annual dramatic production, a rock concert involving local bands whose members attend the school, an annual leavers’ concert and concerts in the spring and Christmas involving all school ensembles. Every year the CAIRS (Charity Action In Robert Smyth) committee organises the CAIRS concert – which is a talent showcase and usually involves singers, dancers, musicians and sometimes drama or stand-up comedy. The proceeds of this, as with all activities organised by CAIRS, are split between a number of nominated charities. These events are organised by CAIRS, which is led by 1 chair and the committee is built up of various members from all year groups.

The school celebrated its 400th anniversary with a weekend of special events. On Saturday 19 May 2007, there was an evening meal in which deputy head Philip Pope's band performed. Whilst on the following Sunday, the 20th, there were many tours around the school.


Market Harborough Grammar[edit]


External links[edit]