Sutton Grammar School for Boys

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Sutton Grammar School for Boys
SGS crest.JPG
Mottoes Keep Faith /
Floreat Suttona
Established 1899
Type Grammar school, academy
Headmaster Gordon Ironside
Location Manor Lane
England Coordinates: 51°21′54″N 0°11′23″W / 51.36509°N 0.18974°W / 51.36509; -0.18974
DfE number 319/5404
DfE URN 136787 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 839
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses Blue, Brown, Green, Red
Colours Maroon and Black          
Publication The Suttonian

Sutton Grammar School is a selective, single-sex Victorian grammar school for pupils aged 11–18 inclusive. Located in the south of Greater London, the School's main site is in Sutton and its playing fields are in the neighbouring Cheam Village.


Early life[edit]

The School opened in 1899 with an intake of only 19 boys. It has always been an all-boys school, selective in nature, and began life charging fees of £2 10s per term. The School has undergone several name changes; it used to be known as Sutton County Grammar School, and later Sutton Manor School (owing to its proximity with the old Sutton Manor).[1]

The first Headmaster of the School was Mr E H Hensley, who read Mathematics at Cambridge University and achieved a first class degree.[2] The first Deputy Headmaster (or Second Master) was Mr L A Valencia, who read Classics at Cambridge University.[2]


Since 1 June 2011, the School has had academy status, and its name formally changed from "Sutton Grammar School for Boys" to "Sutton Grammar School".

The current Headmaster is Mr G D Ironside, who read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University. The current Deputy Headmistress is Mrs I Sutherland, who read Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

The School operates a prefect system with a Head Boy, two Deputy Head Boys, Senior Prefects and part-time Prefects from the Sixth Form.


Date Headteacher
1899–1925 E H Hensley
1925–56 J A Cockshutt
1956–76 F A Walch
1976–84 A P W Collins
1985–90 N P O Green
1990–present G D Ironside
Date Deputy Headteacher
1899–1934 L A Valencia
1934–50 H Morris
1950–66 A M Lorimer
1966–77 G Scott
1977–89 R G Disley
1989–2007 G G Gibson
2007–present I Sutherland


In 2011, the School placed within the top 1% of secondary schools in England in academic league tables, and it is consistently ranked amongst the top schools in England.[3]

The School was ranked as the best school in the country for Physics in the Good Schools Guide 2005.[4]

The School admits pupils from the ages of 11 to 18, or Years 7 to 13 (Upper Sixth) in the English academic system. The School is selective, requiring pupils to pass an eleven plus examination in order to gain admittance. There are approximately 120 pupils in each year for the main school (Years 7 to 11) and slightly fewer for the Sixth Form, varying year-on-year.

Entry requirements for the Sixth Form are a minimum of 4 'A' grades, 2 'B' grades and specialist grade requirements at GCSE in relation to the subjects that pupils wish to study at A level.[5] Pupils who wish to join from other schools are also required to achieve higher grades and pass an admissions interview.

School grounds[edit]

Exterior view of Sutton Grammar School for Boys in 2014, showing the school sign, staff car park and main school entrance.
The main entrance

The School's main site is located in Sutton and its playing fields are located in Cheam Village.

The School was founded in 1899 on a site between Throwley Way and the High Street. Since 1928, it has been located in central Sutton, directly opposite Manor Park. There has recently been extensive building work carried out to expand the main site.

Main site[edit]

The main site consists of the following:

  • Main building: Oldest School building, until recently featuring original Victorian panelled windows. Includes the School hall, multiple science laboratories, English and mathematics classrooms, two secondary IT suites and a drama studio.
  • Library: Large building containing fiction, non-fiction and reference books. Overseen by a full-time adult librarian (Miss Taylor) and some students who wish to be a part-time librarian.. Contains computers for academic use and not for games.
  • Dining hall: Recently completed in 2006 to replace the old canteen.
  • Sports hall: Opened in July 2005 by Sir Bobby Robson CBE, who helped fund part of the hall and whose grandson attended the School. Contains numerous sports facilities and modern foreign language classrooms (first floor).
  • Swimming pool: Outdoor semi-heated pool.
  • Humanities building: Contains IT, history, geography and religious education classrooms, as well as one of the School's two art studios.
  • Music and design technology building: Contains a music classroom, soundproof music practice rooms and two DT rooms (containing an IT suite, practical workshop with heavy machinery and design suite).
  • Dramatic Music building (also called the 'Suicide block' by students as it has doors on the top floor leading to outside, but they are locked.): Contains two classrooms upstairs and a larger single room downstairs.
  • Mathematics building: Newly built for the school year commencing 2012, housing six new classrooms primarily being used for mathematics.

Walch Memorial Playing Fields[edit]

Located off Northey Avenue, Cheam Village, these extensive off-site grounds consist of the following:

  • Pavilion: Overlooking the playing fields, this building contains the School bar and an events room on the top floor (predominantly used for Old Suttonians Association events, leavers' events and Sports Day) and sports changing rooms and a small shop on the bottom floor.
  • Sports fields: Contains football and rugby pitches, cricket fields, long/triple jump sandpits and a cross-country course.


The School currently offers the following sports:[6]

  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cricket
  • Cross-country
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing (indoor)
  • Rugby
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis

Sports take place at the on-site sports hall, main School hall, swimming pool, Walch Memorial Playing Fields in Cheam Village and Sutton Junior Tennis Centre. When playing sports at the Walch Memorial Playing Fields, pupils are transported a short distance in the School coach or minibuses.

The most widely played sport at the School is currently football, followed by cricket. In Years 7–10, there are 'A' and 'B' football teams for each year group. Then, there are four further teams covering Years 11–13 (referred to as the 1st XI, 2nd XI, etc.).


Upon entry to the School, pupils are allocated to one of four forms, each form being associated with one of the four houses.[7] In Year 7, pupils are taught within their forms. From Year 8 upwards, pupils are often taught with their peers from other forms.

House Shield[edit]

The House Shield is based on house points, awarded for academic and sporting achievement.[7] As part of the House Shield competition, the following events are held each year:

  • House Football
  • House Dodgeball
  • House Trade Fair
  • House Spelling Bee
  • House Photography
  • House Gymnastics
  • House Music
  • House Poetry
  • House Chess
  • House Cross Country
  • House Badminton
  • House Rugby
  • House Humanities
  • House Physics Olympiad
  • House Table Tennis
  • House Cricket
  • House Art
  • Junior House Drama
  • House Public Speaking/ Debating
  • House Athletics
  • House Swimming
  • House Charity
  • House Raffle Ticket Sales
  • House Points/House Effort

House Captains[edit]

Each year, the House Masters appoint House Captains, who lead pupils in pastoral activities throughout the year. Many address pupils during assemblies, help to organise sports teams, lead the warm-up lap in opening the annual House Athletics Championship and, at the end of their tenure, help to select their successor. They are assisted by a Secretary and occasionally a Vice-Captain.

Combined cadet force[edit]

The School has one of the most highly respected training programmes of all cadet forces in the country.[8] It was raised in early 1915 and officially recognised by the War Office in June 1915.[9] Over the years, boys from the School’s CCF have both served and fought for their country in successive campaigns and wars.[10]

In the late 1990s, sponsored by the Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry, the Army section of the CCF began to admit girls from Nonsuch High School for Girls and, in 2007, the RAF section followed suit.

The officer team of the CCF is headed by Wing Commander Hobbs, an ex-Head Cadet and ex-Head Boy. The CCF is under the leadership of this officer team and an annually appointed Cadet Corporal Major (Army section) and Cadet Flight Sergeant (RAF section) from the ranks of the Sixth Form cadets. The head of the RAF section has long been Giles Marshall, a current teacher at the School.

The Old Suttonians Cadet Association (OSCA), which is affiliated to the Old Suttonians Association (OSA), allows ex-cadets to stay in contact with each other.

The Old Suttonians Association[edit]

The Old Suttonians Association (OSA) is the membership group for Old Boys of the School. The OSA was originally founded as the Old Suttonians Football Club in 1906, and soon after as the Old Suttonians Association in 1909. Both were formed by a master of the School, Mr S A Birks. 2006, therefore, saw the one-hundredth anniversary of the Old Suttonians Football Club, whilst the OSA itself celebrated its centenary in 2009. The Old Suttonians Cadet Association marked its 10th anniversary in the same year.

Today, there are seven clubs affiliated to the Association:

  • The Cowdray Club
  • The Old Suttonians Basketball Club
  • The Old Suttonians Cadet Association
  • The Old Suttonians Cricket Club
  • The Old Suttonians Football Club
  • The Old Suttonians Rugby Football Club
  • The Old Suttonians Scuba Club

In its lifetime, the OSA has had a very diverse range of affiliated activities attached to it. A literary and debating society, a cycling and rambling club, chess and bridge clubs, and a very strong swimming club were all in evidence at some point during the period 1909—1970.

The OSA runs an annual reunion dinner in September of each year and, on a more intermittent basis, reunions for the various year groups, most recently for those at the School under the headmastership of Mr E H Hensley or Mr J A Cockshutt.

Notable staff[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]






Further reading[edit]

  • Heater, Derek. Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School. Ian Allan Printing Ltd. 
  • Jones, Arthur Edward (1975). A Small School in the Great War: The Story of Sutton County School and Its Old Boys in World War I. ISBN 0-9502933-1-8. 


  1. ^ Heater, D: "Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School", p12
  2. ^ a b Heater, D: "Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School", p13
  3. ^ School league tables 2011, BBC, 26 January 2012
  4. ^ The London Borough of Sutton: Press release, 30 June 2005
  5. ^ Official school website
  6. ^ Sutton Grammar School PE Department website.
  7. ^ a b Official School website
  8. ^ Heater, D: "Always Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School", p178
  9. ^ Heater, D: "Always Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School", p30-31
  10. ^ Heater, D: "Keeping Faith: A History of Sutton Grammar School", p29 & p70

External links[edit]