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Sharnbrook Upper School

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Sharnbrook Upper School
Motto Stronger Together
Established c. 1975
Type Academy
Executive Principle Mr Iain Denning
Chair of Governors Hugh Carr-Archer
Location Odell Road
MK44 1JL
Coordinates: 52°13′24″N 0°33′26″W / 52.22320°N 0.55720°W / 52.22320; -0.55720
Local authority Bedford Borough
DfE number 822/5402
DfE URN 136470 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff c. 300
Students 1934[1]
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13–18
Houses Grange, Ouse, Templar, Colworth, Parentines, Loring
Colours Yellow and Grey (formerly with Emerald Green)          
Website SUS Website
Front entrance to Sharnbrook upper School, leading to the reception and Head of House offices.
An aerial photograph from 2006 of the school site. The Astroturf and new science centre are not visible.

Sharnbrook Upper School, commonly referred to as Sharnbrook Upper School or simply Sharnbrook, is a large, rural academy school located in Sharnbrook, a village in the English county of Bedfordshire. Built in 1975, the school now has over 1900 students and around 300 staff, and includes a large sixth form of around 650 students.

The school is very popular and is currently oversubscribed, with some parents resorting to moving house into Sharnbrook's catchment area to guarantee their children a place at the school. Quite a sizeable proportion of sixth form students join the school in Year 12, having completed their compulsory education at other schools.

Age range of students[edit]

Most students join the school in Year 9, when they are aged 13–14. They take GCSE exams, in year 11 (ages 15–16), after which some students will leave to attend a technical college or an alternative sixth form. Most, however, stay and join the sixth form (Years 12 and 13, ages 16–18+), where they are joined by a large number of students who have completed their GCSEs at other schools and have moved to Sharnbrook for their final two years at school.

Vertical tutoring[edit]

House Letter Colour

At the beginning of the 2003-4 academic year, Sharnbrook introduced vertical tutoring, a pastoral system in which each tutor group has students from each year group, from Year 9 to Year 13 (Upper Sixth). In contrast, almost all UK secondary schools organise their tutor groups horizontally, with the school population divided primarily into National Curriculum year groups, and each form or tutor group has students from only one year group. The school's senior management now share their expertise in running a vertical system by running workshops and seminars for headteachers, senior managers and pastoral leaders from around the UK.

To accommodate the new vertical tutor groups, a House system was devised, comprising six houses, one of which every student is a member. Most of the staff are also assigned to a house. Each house contains fourteen tutor groups and is led by a Head of House and an Assistant Head of House, titles which are sometimes abbreviated to HOH and AHOH, respectively. Traditional Heads of Year still exist, although their role has greatly diminished with the arrival of Heads of House.

Various ideas were considered when deciding how to name the houses, including the suggestion that they be named after members of the Simpson family. The houses were, however, eventually named after medieval manors of Sharnbrook village. The houses and their associated colours are displayed in the adjacent table.


In late 2009 plans were confirmed for the construction of a new science centre, with construction due to begin early 2010. .[2] The centre was completed in November 2010. In 2011 there was a large project which included, but was not limited to, a new library (the Learning Hub), dining room (Dining 1) and another refurbished dining room (JDs). There were originally plans for one of them to be called 'The SHED' and the other 'The Stack', but these were quickly dismissed.

Broadcast team[edit]

Sharnbrook Upper School Media Department offers students the role of studio hands in the "Broadcast Team". The group is responsible for the running of the school broadcast system, which replaces the traditional whole school assembly. The broadcast is filmed, live, in a special television studio and gallery, situated in the heart of the media department.

Specialisms and academy status[edit]

Sharnbrook is a Training School, a Partnership Promotion School, a Beacon School and has received the Artsmark Gold and Sportsmark awards from the Arts Council England and Sport England, respectively. Previously Sharnbrook was granted specialist school status as a media Arts College.

On 1 February 2011, Sharnbrook Upper School formally gained academy status.

School day[edit]

The school day begins at 8.30 am and ends at 3.15 pm. The 2015/16 academic year saw the introduction of a reduced Tuesday (starting 8.30 am and finishing 2.45 pm) to allow teachers to cope with changing specifications.

Catchment area[edit]

The catchment area for Sharnbrook Upper School includes the parishes of Bletsoe, Bolnhurst and Keysoe, Carlton and Chellington, Clapham, Dean and Shelton, Felmersham and Radwell, Harrold, Knotting and Souldrop, Little Staughton, Melchbourne and Yielden, Sharnbrook, Stevington, Milton Ernest, Oakley, Odell, Pavenham, Pertenhall, Podington, Hinwick and Farndish, Thurleigh, Turvey, Riseley, Swineshead and Wymington.

North Bedfordshire Schools Trust[edit]

Sharnbrook Upper School, along with its feeder middle and lower schools, form part of the North Bedfordshire Schools Trust (which itself was created out of the former Learning Community 7).[3] 7 of the schools were awarded school trust statuses in April 2007, with further schools in the Sharnbrook catchment were also awarded trust status later in 2008.[4] The schools in bold are middle schools, whose pupils move to Sharnbrook after Year 8. Underneath each feeder middle school are the lower schools that feed them. This pyramid of schools constitutes NBST of Bedford LEA.

Notable former pupils[edit]

  • Jack Collison, Footballer (West Ham United & Wales)
  • Jane Elliott, sociologist and academic
  • Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing Driver
  • Cal Henderson, Flickr chief software architect and web developer[citation needed]
  • Matt Jackson, professional footballer (Luton, Everton, Charlton (loan), Norwich, QPR (loan), Birmingham (loan) Wigan)
  • Sean Longden, historian and author of To The Victor The Spoils, Hitler's British Slaves and Dunkirk, The Men They Left Behind
  • Paula Radcliffe, marathon runner and world record holder
  • Nick Tandy, Porsche Factory Racing Driver & outright winner of the 2015 24 Hour of Le Mans
  • Giles Scott, Sailor. Rio 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Finn Class and 4 time World Champion.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Sharnbrook School" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]