Schools' Challenge

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Schools Challenge is the national general knowledge competition for schools in the United Kingdom. It uses the same quiz bowl rules as University Challenge, although it is affiliated with neither the game nor the television show.[1]

Schools Challenge was founded by Colin Galloway in 1978, and is divided into Senior and Junior sections. Senior Schools Challenge is for students aged up to 18, with no lower age restriction. In practice the teams tend to draw on Form III to Upper VI (Year 9 to Year 13 in maintained schools in England & Wales). Each team comprises four members, two of whom must be no older than the normal age for a Form IV (Year 10) student (in 2016/17, born on or after 1 September 2001, or 1 August 2001 in Northern Ireland). The other two can be of any age. Junior Schools Challenge is for students up to and including the normal age for a Form II Year 8) student, or preparatory school pupils: in 2016, born on or after 1 September 2003(1 August 2003 in Northern Ireland). Again, there are four members in each team but there are no restrictions on the numbers of any students from a particular age group in this competition.

The competition is divided this way because of the incongruence between the independent school system and grammar or comprehensive schools. In some independent school systems students attend a preparatory school until the age of 13, after which time they transfer to another school. Schools Challenge has had to work around this so that no school has an unfair advantage in terms of age.

Both Senior and Junior competitions are divided into a maximum of 15 regions. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales each comprise a separate region. Each region has a coordinator, the Regional Organiser, who in turn answers to the National Organisers.

The 15 regional winners play an inter-regional round, the winners of which participate in the national finals to contest the Schools Challenge shield. Teams who lose in the first round of the national final contest enter the repechage contest for the Schools Challenge Plate. Finals are contested in a single day, normally the last Sunday in April for the Senior competition and the third Sunday in June for the Junior competition, at a central venue.

The most successful team in the competition's history are Westminster School, who won each year from 2005-2009 and in 2016. In addition, they were beaten finalists in 2004 and 2011, semi-finalists in 2010, and won the Plate competition in 2015. The only team to have won the Senior and Junior competitions in the same season (2014) is The Perse School, Cambridge. Other consistently successful teams in both Junior and Senior competitions are The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Hereford Cathedral School, King Edward's School, Birmingham, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Nottingham High School and Calday Grange Grammar School; in the Junior competition only, Dulwich Prep London.

The national competition is organised by Paul and Sue Sims, assisted by regional co-ordinators.

Rules[edit]

The game is played to similar rules to University Challenge. Starter questions are asked to all contestants and the first to buzz must answer immediately (or the full question is passed to the other team). The team that correctly answers a buzzer question is then asked three 'bonus' questions which they may confer on and which may be passed to the other team. The main differences between Schools Challenge and University Challenge are:

  • No points are deducted for incorrectly interrupting a starter question on the buzzer.
  • Bonus questions are worth 10 points each and are passed across to the other team if answered incorrectly.
  • A team answering the starter and all three subsequent bonuses correctly gains an extra bonus of 10 points: thus 50 points are available per round.
  • There are no picture rounds or music rounds at present.

Equipment[edit]

8-player lockout buzzers, common in quizzes of this type are used and are supplied by tournament organisers if a hosting school cannot supply the equipment. While tournament rules do not specify a manufacturer, the Jaser Quizmaster system is the de facto standard in many regions. An electronic scoreboard, which can be projected onto an IWB or screen has been used in a number of Regional Finals and National Finals in recent years.

Competition History - Senior[edit]

Competition History - Junior[edit]

Year Winners Runners-up Plate winners
1980 King Edward's School, Birmingham unknown unknown
1981 Monmouth School unknown unknown
1982 Brentwood School unknown unknown
1983 King Henry VIII School Abergavenny unknown unknown
1984 Monmouth School Bury Grammar School unknown
1985 Norwich School unknown unknown
1986 Royal Grammar School, Guildford Stamford School unknown
1987 Dean Close School unknown unknown
1988 The Grange School unknown unknown
1989 Aylesbury Grammar School unknown unknown
1990 King Henry VIII School unknown unknown
1991 Nottingham High School unknown unknown
1992 Bryanston School unknown unknown
1993 Maidstone Grammar School unknown unknown
1994 Maidstone Grammar School unknown unknown
1995 Maidstone Grammar School Lancaster Royal Grammar School Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby
1996 King Edward's School, Birmingham Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby unknown
1997 Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby unknown unknown
1998 The King's School, Canterbury unknown unknown
1999 Devonport High School for Boys Royal Grammar School, Guildford unknown
2000 Colchester Royal Grammar School Royal Grammar School, Guildford Devonport High School for Boys
2001 The King's School, Canterbury King Edward's School, Birmingham Royal Grammar School, Guildford
2002 Abbey Christian Brothers' Grammar School Royal Grammar School, Guildford Woodbridge School
2003 King Edward's School, Birmingham George Heriot's School Woodbridge School
2004 King Edward's School, Birmingham Westminster School The King's School, Worcester
2005 Westminster School Bedford School unknown
2006 Westminster School Solihull School unknown
2007 Westminster School unknown unknown
2008 Westminster School Manchester Grammar School Abingdon School
2009 Westminster School Lancaster Royal Grammar School Solihull School
2010 Lancaster Royal Grammar School The King's School, Worcester Abingdon School
2011 King Edward's School, Birmingham Westminster School Lancaster Royal Grammar School
2012 Lancaster Royal Grammar School Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School Devonport High School for Boys
2013 Lancaster Royal Grammar School Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School Monmouth School
2014 The Perse School Hereford Cathedral School King Edward's School, Birmingham
2015 Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School King Edward's School, Birmingham Westminster School
2016 Westminster School King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys Lancaster Royal Grammar School
2017 The Perse School Lancaster Royal Grammar School Hereford Cathedral School
Year Winners Runners-up Plate Winners
1980 Port Regis Prep School unknown unknown
1981 Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe unknown unknown
1982 unknown unknown unknown
1983 Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School unknown unknown
1984 King's Hall School, Taunton unknown unknown
1985 Eagle House unknown unknown
1986 Nottingham High School unknown unknown
1987 King Edward VI High School for Girls unknown unknown
1988 Millfield Preparatory School unknown unknown
1989 Bablake School unknown unknown
1990 Exeter School unknown unknown
1991 St Peter’s School, Lympstone unknown unknown
1992 Hutchesons' Grammar School unknown unknown
1993 Dulwich College Preparatory School unknown unknown
1994 Hutchesons' Grammar School unknown unknown
1995 Lancaster Royal Grammar School unknown unknown
1996 King Edward VII School Dulwich College Preparatory School Holmwood House
1997 Devonport High School for Boys unknown unknown
1998 King Edward's School, Birmingham unknown unknown
1999 King Edward's School, Birmingham unknown unknown
2000 Prebendal School unknown unknown
2001 Bourne Grammar School unknown The King's School, Rochester
2002 George Heriot’s School unknown unknown
2003 Manchester Grammar School The King's School, Rochester unknown
2004 Milbourne Lodge Preparatory School unknown unknown
2005 The Cathedral School, Llandaff unknown unknown
2006 The Cathedral School, Llandaff The Junior King's School, Canterbury King Edward's School, Birmingham
2007 Lancaster Royal Grammar School Prebendal School Queen Mary's Grammar School
2008 Lancaster Royal Grammar School Queen Mary's Grammar School Milbourne Lodge Preparatory School
2009 Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby Magdalen College School Devonport High School for Boys
2010 Dollar Academy The Pilgrims' School, Winchester The Cathedral School, Llandaff
2011 The Perse School The Pilgrims' School, Winchester Lancaster Royal Grammar School
2012 The Perse School Dragon School Hutchesons' Grammar School
2013 Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School The Perse School Dulwich College Preparatory School
2014 The Perse School Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School Dulwich Prep London
2015 Dulwich Prep London The Perse School Nottingham High School
2016 The Perse School George Heriot's School Nottingham High School
2017 Royal Grammar School, Guildford King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon George Heriot's School

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Schools Challenge - General Knowledge Quiz". Retrieved July 26, 2014.