Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School

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Sir Joseph Williamson's
Mathematical School
Address
Maidstone Road

, ,
ME1 3EL

Coordinates51°22′13″N 0°29′55″E / 51.3703°N 0.4987°E / 51.3703; 0.4987Coordinates: 51°22′13″N 0°29′55″E / 51.3703°N 0.4987°E / 51.3703; 0.4987
Information
TypeGrammar School;
Academy
MottoLatin: Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum
("Beneath the shadow of thy wings")
Established1701
FounderSir Joseph Williamson
Department for Education URN136662 Tables
OfstedReports
Head teacherMr Eliot Hodges
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1250
HousesBridge, Castle, Gordon, Pitt, River, Thetford, Tower
Colour(s)Yellow, Blue, Navy and Black
AlumniOld Williamsonians
Alumni Networkhttp://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3723046
TrustLeigh Academies Trust
Website


The school after it was rebuilt in 1895.
The oldest known photograph of the Mathematical School. Free School Lane is in the distance. Taken c 1880.

Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School (SJWMS) is a boys' grammar school with academy status in Rochester, Kent, also referred to either as Rochester Math or The Math School.

The school was founded by the 17th-century politician Sir Joseph Williamson, who bequeathed £5,000 to set up the school and another at Thetford in Norfolk. The school was termed a mathematical school because it specialised in teaching navigation and mathematics to the sons of Freemen of the City of Rochester, the Chatham Naval Dockyard being nearby.[1][citation needed]

History[edit]

The first building was in 1708 when a "schoolroom" was built in part of the filled up moat outside the city walls.[2] In 1840 additional rooms were built and in both 1882 and 1893 additions were made.[2] In the late 1960s the buildings were demolished and the site is now a car park next to a nightclub. It is said that the local authority did not know part of the old city wall with a small tower ran through the school buildings, and as a result no further development of the site was allowed. The school's playing fields and swimming pool were originally by the River Medway off Rochester Esplanade; they are now off Maidstone Road, Rochester, next to the area known as Priestfields (not to be confused with Gillingham FC's stadium, Priestfield). An annexe (now known as P block) was built at the Maidstone Road site in the 1950s, housing the second and third years only. In autumn 1968, the whole school moved to a new building the site. Initially this featured a main block, hall, sports hall, gymnasium, 25-metre indoor swimming pool and science block. The school's music block was expanded in 2005 to include a new teaching room and several new practice rooms.

In the 1990s a sixth-form centre was constructed and at the turn of the century a maths block was created upon the old staff car park. The sixth-form centre houses a series of classrooms for the use of pupils throughout the school. There are still two sets of temporary classrooms. The school also has extensive sports facilities, including an artificial turf pitch for hockey, two cricket pitches, tennis courts, football and rugby pitches as well as the swimming pool, gym, and sports hall.

A new mathematics centre was opened in 2002, in line with the Math's new status as a specialist school for maths and computing. The incorporation of a computing discipline contrasted markedly with the school's attitude towards computing as an educational discipline in the late 1980s, where it was stated that "there's no future in software". In 2006 the school scrapped its A-level computing course, this despite having received specialist funding to teach the subject. After a six-year gap A-level computing was reinstated as an 11-pupil pilot subject in 2011. After positive results achieved by the pilot group, the option to take computing at A-level and GCSE was reintroduced for 2013.

In 1992, girls were admitted to the school for the first time, but only to pursue sixth-form education.[citation needed] The school was granted an "outstanding" status in its Ofsted report in 2006 and then again in 2008, and was given specialist status for humanities, focused on history and geography.

The school is a National Support School and Dr Holden, the executive principal, a National Leader of Education. The school was also one of the first 100 schools in the country to have been designated a National Teaching School. The school became an academy in April 2011[3] which has led to some website misleadingly marking it as closed.[citation needed]

Former pupils are known as Old Williamsonians and there is a thriving Old Williamsonian Club.

Founder's Day is held on the first Saturday of July: pupils attend Rochester Cathedral for a morning service and in the afternoon return to the school for sports and other activities. The following Monday is a school holiday.

An art and design technology block – called the Da Vinci Block after a competition to decide its name – opened in 2012. Food Technology became a part of the curriculum but has since been removed. The English department has since been rehoused in the old art and technology classrooms opposite the hall.

In January 2019 the Williamson Trust was merged with Leigh Academies Trust and all Williamson Trust academies, including Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, joined Leigh Academies Trust[4].

House system[edit]

Originally there were five houses; Bridge, Castle, Gordon, Pitt and Tower. Bridge House was named after Rochester Bridge (to which all boys who crossed Rochester Bridge on the way to school would belong, and whose colours were to be black and white). Castle House was named after Rochester Castle (whose members were Rochester boys, and whose colours were to be black and red). Gordon House was named after Major General Charles Gordon (to which the boys from Old Brompton and Gillingham would belong, and whose colours were to be blue and white). Pitt House was named after William Pitt the 1st Earl of Chatham (for boys from Chatham and Luton, and whose colours were to be red and white). Lastly, Tower House was named after the Tower of Jezreels (for boys from Gillingham High Street and Chatham Hill, and whose colours were to be green and white). Boys were told to group themselves so as to get some idea of the numbers in each house and to appoint officers.[5]

At the start of the Second World War the School had disbanded the House System. In Autumn 1945 new interest had been added that year to all forms of athletic sports by the revival of the House System. There were now four Houses instead of five Houses; Bridge, Castle, Gordon and Pitt. Tower House no longer existed. The Old Tower House included almost entirely boys from Gillingham and Rainham, and very few boys from those districts attended the School. The Houses no longer contained boys from definite areas; the arrangement for drafting boys to the various Houses ensured that any group of four new boys one should be allotted to each House, although the rule was modified in the case of brothers and of sons of former members of the School Houses. As there were likely to be few such sons, and as four Houses was easier to deal with than five, it was thought not desirable to revive Tower House.[6]

When the House System was created the original Houses had different colours from today. Bridge changed from black and white to green. Castle changed from black and red to red. Gordon changed from blue and white to dark blue. And finally Pitt changed from red and white to Yellow. When this change happened is not confirmed.

More recently, River House was created in 1994 (named after the River Medway, and whose colours were to be purple) and Thetford House in 1996 (named after the sister school in Norfolk, and whose colours were to be light blue). Tower House will be reintroduced in 2019.

Cock house Cup[edit]

All houses compete for the Cock House competition, a scholastic and athletic annual contest.

Events in the Cock House Cup include, but are not limited to:

  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Cricket
  • Table Tennis
  • Hockey
  • Swimming
  • Athletics
  • Music
  • Art
  • Creative Writing
  • Chess
  • Computing
  • Merits (for academic achievements)[7]

Founder's Day[edit]

Founder's Day takes place on the first Saturday of July, to honour the founder and other school benefactors. Attendance is compulsory and the next Monday is taken off as a day in lieu. The day begins with a service in Rochester Cathedral, followed by inter-house sports in the afternoon.

The Rochester Math School Association (RMSA) puts on a variety of stalls at the school and a cricket game is played between the school's first XI, and Old Williamsonians' first XI.

Notable former pupils[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Williamson Trust 2016, "History of the School" page.
  2. ^ a b Smith 1976, pp. 88–89.
  3. ^ The Williamson Trust 2016, "Academy status" page.
  4. ^ "The Williamson Trust". Leigh Academies Trust.
  5. ^ History of the Mathematical School Rochester D.E.L Flower
  6. ^ The Williamsonian Autumn 1945
  7. ^ Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School 2016, p. 5.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]