Robert Smyth Academy
|Motto||Innovation & Excellence|
|Type||Academy - Converter Mainstream|
|Headteacher||Mrs Sue Jones|
|DfE URN||120237 Tables|
|Houses||Bragg, Moseley, Pickering and Wartnaby|
|Website||Robert Smyth Academy|
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.
Houses and forms
The school is the largest in Market Harborough consisting of four 'houses', Bragg, Moseley, Wartnaby and Pickering. 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 form who attend fortnightly meetings. Currently, Student Voice is Co-Chaired by three pupils, and the Committee has three members. They all have the common aim of making the school a better place for the pupils and suggesting positive changes for the school. The school council also has a blog and twitter account for pupils to provide suggestions.
There were previously three houses (Wartnaby, Bragg and Hammond) and pupils were divided into house determined by the area that the pupil lived within the catchment ares - Bragg for the centre of Market Harborough, Wartnaby for the outlying villages and the other for the in between area.
Each house is 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. Forms meet daily and take part in activities such as organising assemblies.
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.
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, but this rule has since been relaxed to allow the wearing of tailored shorts, but only when the school decides to let them (currently, this seems to be whenever year 11 are not in school i.e. during exam leave). 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, 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 t-shirts and jumpers with the school badge. However, pupils can wear a white polo shirt, a shirt with a collar and a plain black jumper. Black 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, not dangly earrings.
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.
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 the CAIRS committee, which is comprised of 1 chair and various members from all year groups.
The school recently 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.
The school's website recently went under construction and its new look was unveiled in June 2007. It now has more information and a friendlier appeal. On the opening couple of weeks of the new website, ex-headteacher Colin Dean had written the following statement talking about the redesigning:
As you will have noticed if you’ve visited before, our website has been redesigned. Part of this development involves a greater emphasis on you, the users of the site. Over the summer months new features will be added, partly prompted by you if you submit your ideas using the form below. Students should be a central part of any development within school so we’re particularly keen to hear your ideas. It’s your school and your school website; make your voice! - Colin Dean
There is also an introduction about the school, from Colin Dean, on a different page.
The school's online magazine, RS Magazine, is found on a separate site and features a diverse range of articles varying from critical student insights into school life to very comical and often highly incredulous short stories.
- Martin Johnson - manager of the England rugby union team.
- Allison Pearson (née Judith Lobbett) - Daily Mail columnist
- Matthew Cornwell - Northampton Saints player, Ex Exeter player, Ex Leicester Tigers player and England U21 Captain
- Dan Cole (rugby union) - Leicester Tigers player and England Saxon
- Ben Smith - Leicestershire and Worcestershire county cricketer and batting coach
- Steven Evans - Played the part of Ewok "Teebo", the Chairman of the Council of Elders, in the 1983 Film "The Return of Jedi"
Market Harborough Grammar
- Sir William Henry Bragg KBE, Nobel prize-winning physicist and inventor of the X-ray spectrometer
- Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Keith Williamson (1939–44) Chief of the Air Staff 1982-85
- Prof Dame Rosemary Cramp (1940-7), Professor of Archaeology, University of Durham (1971–90)