Rochester Grammar School

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Rochester Grammar School
Rochester Grammar Shield 2.png
The Rochester Grammar School Shield
Maidstone Road

, ,

Coordinates51°22′17″N 0°30′03″E / 51.3714°N 0.5009°E / 51.3714; 0.5009Coordinates: 51°22′17″N 0°30′03″E / 51.3714°N 0.5009°E / 51.3714; 0.5009
TypeGrammar school;
MottoSub umbra alarum tuarum
("'Neath the Shade of Thy Wings")
Department for Education URN136313 Tables
Executive PrincipalMr. G. Bassan
Head teacherMrs C. Brinklow
Age11 to 18
EnrolmentOver 1,000
HousesByron     , Cassidy     , Fitzgerald     , Hildegard      Somerville      and Tomlinson     

Rochester Grammar School (known as Rochester Grammar School for Girls until 2006) often abbreviated to RGS is a grammar school for the education of girls between the ages of 11 and 18. It has academy status. Pupils are expected to perform highly throughout the school. It is now known as just "Rochester Grammar School" following the introduction of boys into the sixth form.[1]

Rochester Grammar School is located on Rochester Maidstone Road, opposite the Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School. Their sixth form is mixed but the rest of the school is single-sex. Last year's[when?] results moved them into the top 50 grammar schools in Kent. The school does sometimes take children who are under the age of eleven.


The school teaches a wide variety of subjects including Art, Maths, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), English, Geography, History, IT, RS, PE, German, Classical Civilisation, Spanish, French, Philosophy, Psychology, Product Design, Drama, Music, Sociology and Exel (PSHE). At the beginning of Year 9 students start to study for their GCSEs. All pupils aim to achieve grades of a very high standard in every subject, the school is well known for its high GCSE and A level results.


Front view of part of the school

The Rochester Grammar School has a unique history. It was opened in 1888 under the Endowed School’s Act of 1869 which allowed the charitable trustees of the Bridge Wardens to donate the necessary funds for a girls’ grammar school. It was progressive even then, pioneering higher education for girls and its reputation has grown over the years. It is characterised by high expectations and the pursuit of personal excellence. Each year they celebrate their founding with a special service at Rochester Cathedral.

In 1990 the school moved to a new site and since then it has grown in size to over 1100 students. The school is a combined Mathematics/ICT and Music specialist school, the first nationally. There are nearly 300 in the sixth form, including (since 2004) male students. The school’s mission statement is “Furthering Excellence through support, encouragement and achievement”.

In November 2010 the RGS became an “Academy of Excellence” under the Government’s academy programme for outstanding schools. The school has facilities including interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, network and wireless ICT, a sixth form centre, a newly built and hi-tech teaching and training suite named after one of the school’s famous ex-students – Evelyn Dunbar. Evelyn was the only female commissioned war artist. Pictures illustrating her famous sense of the home front during World War II decorate the suite.

The RGS has a flexible and unique curriculum, which includes early entry to advanced level studying and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.[2]

League tables and examination results[edit]

GCSEs & A-Levels

A 2010 BBC report ranked the school as having the best GCSE and second best A/AS-Level results in the south east.

In 2012 99% of students studying GCSEs attained 5 A*-C grades, including maths and English, and 99% of those studying A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) received at least three.[3]

International Baccalaureate (IB)

In 2011, The Rochester Grammar School was the top performing state school for IB nationally. 41 of their students completed the IB diploma and a third achieved a score of 40 or more, which is equivalent to 4 A* grades at A Level. One student achieved the maximum possible score of 45 in their International Baccalaureate examinations, which is achieved by less than 1% of students globally.[4]


There are six school houses and colours associated with each — Byron (red), Cassidy (yellow), Fitzgerald (blue), Hildegard (black/white), Somerville (light blue) and Tomlinson (green)They are named after famous females who have achieved great things in music, mathematics, sports and literature. Each pupil wears a house flash with the colours of their house above the school badge on their blazer, showing which house they belong to. Sixth form have pin badges with their house colours. Each form consists of a wide variety of different year 7-11 pupils that each belong to the same house, known as vertical tutor groups. This plan was put in place in September 2007. This system was overhauled in September 2010, with vertical tutor groups including all year groups (i.e. years 7-13). These groups were changed again in 2013 to include only years 7-12 with separate forms for all students in Year 13.

The houses compete against each other in events throughout the year, including inter-house year tournaments such as netball, speed-stacking, benchball, dance and football. For Harvest festival, each house has a specific theme allocated and each form creates a box that incorporates this theme. At the end of the year the houses compete in sports day, Olympiad and house arts day (competitions involving a variety of performances ranging from solo singing to creating art in a certain time).

Originally, there were only four houses, named after the patron saints of the four countries of the British Isles: Andrew (purple), David (yellow), George (red) and Patrick (green), the colours being taken from the flower emblems thistle, daffodil, rose and shamrock.

Sixth form[edit]

In 1999 a new sixth form block, the Peggy Saxby Suite, was opened, with a large common room, a silent study area and several classrooms. This has recently changed and the common room is now home to a large silent study, the Independent Learning Centre, and the silent study has been transformed into a music technology room. During study periods, pupils must stay in the Independent Learning Centre. The common room is now in the Mary Matthews Studio. The sixth form now includes a number of male pupils from other schools. The current year twelve has the largest number of male pupils the school has ever seen.


The school has many girls and a few boys (in sixth form) who represent the county and even the country in a range of sports, including football, skiing, sailing, netball and athletics.

All years take part in Physical Education with a different sport every term. These include Netball, Gymnastics, Football, Hockey, Athletics, Dance, Rounders.

The school has a gym which boasts two climbing equipment and a large store cupboard for the wide variety of sports equipment. Outside the school they have 2 full netball courts, an astro-turf hockey pitch and an athletics track.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in the Sports Day which is normally held at the end of the school year which is one of the many ways to gain house points and win the house cup.


The school is known for the musical abilities of its pupils. There is an orchestra, a flute choir, a main (voice) choir, a gospel choir, a chamber choir, a year seven choir and Nchant a choir formed of Year 9's to Year 11's who audition to get in. Year 8 students also are able to reach a bronze Arts award.

Notable former pupils[edit]


In May 2016 it was revealed that the Chief Executive Officer of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust and former Headteacher Denise Shepherd had been suspended the previous month due to allegations of snooping on staff emails, bullying staff, and doctoring parts of an external inspection report.[5] In July 2016, the Thinking Schools Academy Trust Chairman, Peter Martin paid tribute to Ms Shepherd, who had since resigned,[6] and stated that: "The Trust undertook a formal investigation, into allegations of misconduct made against Ms Shepherd. This has now concluded, with no further action required to be taken. It is extremely regrettable that these allegations were leaked to the press by an unknown source."[7]

In July 2017 it was disclosed that the teachers of the History Department was teaching Year 8 pupils about the African Slave Trade in the 19th Century. However they were teaching them on how to “sell” slaves using stereotypical qualities about different African people, mostly negative. This was posted on Facebook and became viral. It became so popular that is the BBC News decides to report a story upon it. Due to this, The Head of the History Department stated an apology on behalf of the school and apologised to the students as well.

In June 2018 it was exposed that the school had lost an unencrypted memory stick containing data of more than 1,000 pupils.[8][9]


  1. ^ The Rochester Grammar School for Girls, BBC News.
  2. ^ "History of The Rochester Grammar School - About RGS - Rochester Grammar School (RGS)". 27 December 2011. Archived from the original on 27 December 2011.
  3. ^ "BBC News - School league tables".
  4. ^ "Kent school gets top International Baccalaureate results". 12 July 2011 – via
  5. ^ "Academy chief 'snooped on teachers' emails'".
  6. ^ Dickens, John. "Accounts Watch: Academy trust chief gets £85,000 severance pay-out". Schools Week. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  7. ^ Acres, Tom. "Thinking Schools Academy Trust appoints new interim CEO to guide its seven Medway schools". Kent Online. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^