Sandbach School

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Sandbach School
Motto Latin: Ut Severis Seges
As you sow, so shall you reap
Established 1677 (1677)
Type Free School
Headteacher Sarah Burns
Founders Richard Lea and Francis Welles
Location Crewe Road
CW11 3NS
Coordinates: 53°08′34″N 2°22′15″W / 53.14282°N 2.37078°W / 53.14282; -2.37078
DfE URN 137491 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 170
Students 1,167 pupils[1]
Gender Male (Girls in the Sixth Form)
Ages 11–18[2]
Houses Craig, Lea, Ward and Welles
Colours Green, Red, Yellow and Blue
Publication The Sandbachian

Sandbach School is a free school in Sandbach, Cheshire, north-west England. It was established in 1677 by local philanthropists, including Richard Lea, who donated the land for the school, and Francis Welles, who helped to fund the schoolhouse. It was located at Egerton Lodge, Middlewich Road, before moving into a new set of buildings designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1851. It became an independent school in 1945, and a state-funded independent grammar school in 1955. It became a state-funded independent school accepting boys of all abilities in 1979. In 2011, it became one of the country's first free schools.

There are 1220 pupils in the school, aged 11-18. The lower school, years 7 to 11, is entirely boys, however, the sixth form is coeducational. The current headteacher is Sarah Burns, who assumed the role in 2008. In 2011, 96.7% of the students identified as White British, and 6.9% of students had some form of Special Educational Need. Two-thirds of pupils are from the Sandbach and Haslington area, with the remaining third coming from the Crewe area.[3] The school is the largest provider of adult education in the area.[4]


A school existed in Sandbach as early as 1578, when the York visitation returns referred to a schoolmaster in the town. In 1606, the parish register also mentioned a schoolmaster in the town. However, it was not until 1677 when the grammar school proper was founded by Richard Lea, after he gave a piece of land for the schoolhouse. Francis Welles and others paid for the construction of the schoolhouse. In 1718, a deed was drawn up that demonstrated how the school should be managed and gave instructions for the appointment of governors and a master. 20 poor boys of Sandbach were to be educated at the new school, and the second master was likely to have also been the parish curate.[5]

By 1816, the school had 60 pupils and was located at Egerton Lodge, Middlewich Road. In 1848, a private Act of Parliament was passed that set out how the school should be better managed. An annual salary of £140 was set for the schoolmaster, and of £60 to the second master. From 1849, the school's buildings were replaced by buildings designed in the early English style by George Gilbert Scott. It entered these new buildings in 1851. By 1890, the school had a laboratory, gymnasium and swimming bath. In 1909, the school acquired eligibility for the Board of Education grants, however, in 1945, the government decided that the school should no longer have direct access to these grants. The governors chose independence rather than becoming a local education authority (LEA) school.[5][6]

The school operated as an independent school until 1955, when it entered into a unique agreement with Cheshire County Council that it would maintain its independence and charitable status but operate as the boys' day grammar school in south-east Cheshire.[7] In 1957, to help to alleviate the shortage of grammar school places in south-east Cheshire, the governors agreed with the local education authority to provide 60 places for boys based on residence, not ability. In 1976, these were increased in 180.[5] In the same year, Sandbach School was first listed as a Grade II Listed building.[8] 1979 saw the school enter into a new agreement with the LEA that it would have an all-ability intake of boys from a defined area of south-east Cheshire.[7] In September 2011, Sandbach School became one of the first 24 free schools to open in the country.[9]

School House the original part of the school

School structure[edit]

At the last Ofsted inspection, in 2008, the school had 1167 students. In 2011, it was reported the school had 1220 students and was likely to rise to its capacity of 1265 by 2012/13 as a result of "organic growth due to rising demographics".[3] The main primary school feeders to Sandbach School are Sandbach Primary, Wheelock Primary, Haslington Primary, The Dingle Primary, St John’s Primary, Elworth Hall Primary, Elworth C of E Primary and Offley Road Primary. There are six other secondary schools and sixth forms in a five-mile radius: Sandbach High School and Sixth Form College, Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, Alsager School, Sir William Stanier School, Middlewich High School and Congleton High School.[3]

Lower school[edit]

In year 10 and 11, a range of GCSEs and vocational subjects are offered.

Sixth form[edit]

At sixth form, the school offers AS-Levels, A-Levels and BTECs.

Plaque for War dead of Sandbach School.JPG

Adult education[edit]

Sandbach School Adult Education Department is the largest provider of adult education courses in South Cheshire, offering up to 100 courses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Sandbach School Cricket Pavilion

Extra-curricular activities[edit]

The school has a wide range of extra-curricular activities including international mentors, reading club, war games club, languages club, many musical ensembles, drama/theatre, Duke Of Edinburgh, rock climbing and many sports clubs.

There is also a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) contingent based at the school, which offers the vocational qualification of BTEC First Diploma in Public Service, which is worth four GCSEs in conjunction with the school.[10] The contingent is run by Lt Col R.J. Ayres,[11] a former teacher at the school.


Sports teams include rugby, football, hockey, badminton, athletics, cricket, swimming, cross county and golf.

In 2015 the U13 Table Tennis squad were County Champions. In 2015 the U12 Cricket Squad were County Champions. In 2015 2 Yrear 13 students were selected for the England U18 Rugby Squad. The Junior Boys Cross Country squad have qualified for the National Finals for the last 3 years. In 2014 the 1st XI Hockey squad were County Champions. In 2012 the 1st XI and U15 XI footballers were both Cheshire Cup winners whilst the senior Rugby Sevens team became the first ever non-selective team to win the Birkenhead School Invitation Sevens and they then went on to win the Plate competition at the Cheshire 7s Tournament.

In 2009/10, the school 1st XV rugby team became the first Cheshire School to win both the Daily Mail Vase (14-3 vs Norwich School) and the Cheshire Cup (28-25 vs Lymm HS).

The Orienteering Club were winners of the Cheshire and Merseyside Schools League in both 2008 and 2013.[12]

Drama and performing arts[edit]

Sandbach School has an international reputation for drama and music, touring to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Brazil, and performing shows in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The school was awarded specialist arts college status in 2006. The school's theatrical director is John Lonsdale (awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queen's New Years Honours list); music is led by John Barber (principal trombonist with Foden's Band).[13] The school's theatrical success led to the founding of a separate theatre group, the Ut Severis Seges Theatre Company (named after the school motto).

In Edinburgh, the school's 2006 performance of Oedipus was given a 4-star rating in the magazine Three Weeks. They also performed Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ut Severis Seges also toured to the Edinburgh Fringe alongside the school theatre group in 2006, with a production of Amadeus.

A second tour of the Edinburgh Fringe took place in 2008, costing £20,000, with a new production of Oh! What A Lovely War, which gained a 5-star review, and 4-star performances by the school's Big Band.[14][15][16]

The Sandbach School Big Band was formed in 2003. It has toured to Boston, USA and Berlin, and also performed at the finals of the National Jazz Festival ‘Music for Youth’, at Birmingham Conservatoire, and was a finalist at the 2007 National Festival of Music for Youth. In recent years the group has worked with many of the country’s leading musicians including Georgie Fame. The Big Band have been winners of the Cheshire East Schools' Music Competition for the past 3 years (2010 to 2012).


In 2007 the school hosted the British Youth Film Academy's production of the film The School That Roared,[17] allowing school students a chance to work with film professionals and star in a feature film.

International links[edit]

The school is linked to schools across the world. Sandbach School gained the International Schools Award from the British Council, it has been granted from September 2007 to September 2010.[18][19] In October 2007 the senior rugby squad toured Italy.


The school band toured in Germany in October 2005, and formed a partnership with Leibniz Oberschule in Berlin.[20] Since 2005, an exchange visit to Berlin and regular contact via e-mail and video conferencing has helped Sandbach pupils in their German studies.

Hong Kong[edit]

The school also has a long term partnership with Fukien Secondary School in Kowloon, Hong Kong where some pupils performed in October 2006 and again - with a performance of "The King of Denmark" - in 2013.[21][22] The schools collaborated at the Edinburgh Fringe in an event at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh,[23] where a 50-strong group from Fukien met over 100 Sandbach pupils and staff.[15] Former Sandbach pupils have visited Fukien and taught there during their gap year, and a former Sandbach School teacher has also taught at Fukien.[24]

United States[edit]

Sandbach School has toured to Dover High School in New Hampshire, sending football tours to Dover to play them and other schools in the area. In October 2004 and October 2007, joint football and music tours were arranged.[25]

New Zealand[edit]

The school has a link with the National Youth Drama School, New Zealand.[26]


The school has a link with Hugh McRoberts High School, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada[27][28]

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Secondary School achievement and attainment tables 2007". DCSF. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  2. ^ "Cheshire Secondary School Tables 2009". The Independent. UK. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sandbach School Impact Assessment" (PDF). Department for Education. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  4. ^ "Sandbach School, Independent School, Inspection Report" (PDF). Ofsted. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c "Sandbach School". National Archives. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  6. ^ "History". Sandbach School. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Sandbach: Free Guide" (PDF). Sandbach Town Council. August 2015. p. 37. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  8. ^ "Grammar School, Sandbach". Historic England. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  9. ^ "The free schools set to open in 2011". BBC News. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "First Diploma in Public Services". Retrieved 17 January 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "INSTRUCTOR EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE". 7 January 2009. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Schools League" (PDF). Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Sandbach School, The Arts, Sandbach Theatre". Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "Students set for the Fringe". 30 July 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  16. ^ "Group details". Retrieved 28 June 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ Halewood, Simon (4 March 2009). "Stars turn out for the Manchester premiere of the British Youth Film Academy's The School That Roared". Crewe Chronicle. Retrieved 7 April 2009. 
  18. ^ "Sandbach School". Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  19. ^ "ISA recipients 2007". Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  20. ^ "Sandbach School". Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  21. ^ "Sandbach School". Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  22. ^ "Distinguished Performance in NSW Examinations". Distinguished Performance in NSW Examinations. Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "Chinese Music and Dance Showcase". Retrieved 28 June 2008. [dead link]
  24. ^ "February Newsletter" (PDF). Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Sandbach School". Retrieved 5 June 2008. [permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Shakespeare The National Youth Drama School, New Zealand" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  27. ^ /GroupRenderCustomPage.asp?GroupID=174543&ResourceID=911736 "Sandbach School" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 5 June 2008. 
  28. ^ "Richmond Review – Your Best source for Local Community News delivered in print or online". Retrieved 5 June 2008. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Staff Retirements" (PDF). 2002. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  30. ^ Sleeman, Elizabeth. The International Who's Who 2004. Retrieved 17 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "John Waite". BBC Radio 4 People. BBC. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  32. ^ UPDATED Former Students News March 2015, retrieved June 27, 2015 

External links[edit]