Soham Village College

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Soham Village College
Soham Village College - - 269552.jpg
Mottoes Non nobis sed omnibus
Established 1958
Type Academy
Principal Dr Carin Taylor
Location Sand Street
Coordinates: 52°19′47″N 0°20′21″E / 52.32964°N 0.33904°E / 52.32964; 0.33904
DfE URN 136610 Tables
Ofsted Pre-academy reports
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16
Houses King, Churchill, Radcliffe, Turner, Nelson
Colours Black with Red & Black Tie (Yrs 7–10), Black with Blue Tie (Yr11)

Soham Village College is a secondary school with academy status located in Soham, Cambridgeshire, England. It has around 1350 students, aged 11 to 16. Although its wide catchment area which does not include Ely, some students from Ely and the neighbouring villages attend the school. The college is split between two adjacent sites, Beechurst, formerly a large house, and Lodeside, built more recently.


The College has its origins in Soham Free School, established in 1686. It became known as Soham Grammar School from 1878 and occupied a site on Churchgate Street. In 1925 the Grammar School moved to Beechurst House (built in 1901 and located in Sand Street, which had formerly been the home of the late Newmarket jockey, Charles Morbey.[1] The Grammar School took boys aged 11–18 from surrounding villages, and also had a few weekly boarders.

The name Soham Village College comes from the former secondary modern style Village College, which was established in 1958. The original village college took boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 15, and was built on a 17-acre (69,000 m2) site next to the Soham Lode known as Moat Fields. It took in senior children from a number of "national schools" which were converted to junior or primary schools.[2] The village college system was the brainchild of Henry Morris, the Chief Education Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council. The College was officially opened by the Baronet and MP Sir Edward Boyle, a former Minister for Education. Morris's emphasis was on a community-based establishment, and the College was equipped with a public library and a youth leader.

The present village college emerged in 1972 when the modern co-educational Village College and the long-established Grammar School. The merger was a direct result of the government raising the school-leaving age to 16.

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, building work was carried out under the headships of A.E. Lawrence (1972–85) and Dr A.W. Bullock (1985–99). This included the construction of the Ross Peers Sports Centre, a music block, and a science and technology block.

In 1993 the College gained grant-maintained status. This allowed for generous donations, such as the funds donated in the mid-1990s by Simon Gibson to extend the Mathematics and English departments (known as the Gibson Block in his honour).

In June 1998, "M Block", which contains science, humanities, ICT and languages rooms, was opened by Princess Margaret.

In August 2002 the school became infamous as the place where a double child-killer, Ian Huntley, worked as school caretaker. Clothing from the murdered children was found in the school grounds, leading to Huntley's arrest and eventual conviction in the Soham Murders case. Huntley's house on the school site, and the storage hangar where the clothing was found, were later demolished.

The school was previously a specialist Technology College and Language College before converting to academy status on 1 April 2011.

Academic reputation[edit]

In the school's 2010 public exam results, 73 per cent achieved at least five grade A–C GCSEs. The school still attracts students from many schools within and outside the catchment area. Many take the opportunity of obtaining extracurricular GCSEs, including Astronomy and Statistics.

However, students wishing to continue onto sixth form studies must change schools, usually attending establishments in nearby Ely or Cambridge.

New and future developments[edit]

New Inclusion Facility[edit]

In April 2010 the 'The Lode Centre' was refurbished to incorporates a new inclusion facility and is now known as 'The ISLE'. The centre will continue to house the Youth Development Team as well as being used for after school clubs.

New Performing Arts Block[edit]

On 6 April 2010, the school began the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre. It will be used for lessons (and activities) in music, dance and drama. The centre was finished in mid-2011 and opened by Mr D.Schunmann from Viva Arts & Community Group on the 3 November 2011. This new facility will be the last building to be built in this shape.

Proposed New Sixth Form and College Green[edit]

During April 2010, East Cambridgeshire District Council issued the final draft of the Soham Masterplan Vision, a proposed improvement/redevelopment of the town over the next 20 years. The plan included a Sixth Form college and a new college green. The Sixth Form would be built at the current location of Soham's playing fields and the College green would be between St Andrew's Church of England Primary, the new Performing Arts Centre and Beechurst.[3]

New Multi-Purpose Tennis Courts[edit]

In March 2011 the construction of improved tennis courts began, to replace the original tennis courts which were demolished in order for the new performing arts block to be built. They were built on what was the Lodeside playground and opened in July 2011.


The Village College has received many awards. Currently the school has specialisms in technology and languages. The college has been awarded the Artsmark – Bronze Award, International School Award, School Achievement Award, Sport England SportsMark Award, Basic Skills Quality Mark, and the ICT Mark for excellence in ICT.

The school awards students awards for various achievements, such as outstanding attendance, distinctive progression, and extra-curricular activities out of school such as sport. Scarlet ties are awarded to students who excel in sport, both in school and at county level; emerald ties are awarded to students in the performing arts, in school or in county-level performance organisations. Tri-coloured ties are awarded to students in either the performing arts or sports at a national level.

Catchment area[edit]

The school has a wide catchment area, owing to its rural location. Students come mainly from the following areas:

However, some students come from other nearby settlements outside of the catchment area including:

The principal feeder primary schools are:

  • St Andrew's Church of England Primary (Soham)
  • The Weatheralls (Soham)
  • The Shade School (Soham)
  • Fordham Church of England Primary
  • Isleham Church of England Primary
  • Kennett Primary
  • Burwell Village College (Primary)
  • Ely St. John's (Primary)
  • Ely St. Mary's (Primary)

50th Anniversary Celebrations (1958–2008)[edit]

A weekend of celebrations was staged to mark the 50th anniversary of Soham Village College. Between 23 and 25 January 2009, displays of memorabilia and personal souvenirs provided a chronological account of past events and life at the Village College.

Former pupils[edit]

Soham Grammar School[edit]

Pupils of the former grammar school are known as Grammarians.


External links[edit]