The Nelson Thomlinson School

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The Nelson Thomlinson School
The Nelson Thomlinson School crest.jpg
Motto Fide et Opris (Faith and Works)
Established 1714
Headmaster Mr David Samuel Northwood
Location High Street
Coordinates: 54°49′18″N 3°09′21″W / 54.82172°N 3.15576°W / 54.82172; -3.15576
Local authority Cumbria
DfE URN 112397 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1414
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18

The Nelson Thomlinson School is a comprehensive secondary school located in the market town of Wigton, Cumbria, England. The school's motto is the Latin phrase Fide et Operis, "Faith and Works". The position of Headteacher has been occupied by David Samuel Northwood since September 2012, after the former head, Janet Downes, retired at the end of the previous academic year.


As with many older British Secondary schools, The Nelson Thomlinson School has a prefect system drawn from the Sixth Form. However, instead of one Head Prefect or a Head Boy & Girl pair, there are five Head Prefects who each take charge on a particular day of the week. Former pupils of the school include TV presenter Melvyn Bragg and BBC newsreader Anna Ford.

There were approximately 1400 pupils aged 11–18 attending Nelson Thomlinson as of the 2014-15 academic year.[1]

Catchment area[edit]

Most pupils at Nelson Thomlinson are from Wigton and the smaller communities within a few miles of the town which fall within its catchment area.[2] However, some pupils come from further afield, including smaller settlements like Allonby, Bowness-on-Solway, Hesket Newmarket, and Mawbray, and also from larger towns such as Aspatria, Maryport, Silloth, and the city of Carlisle, which all have their own secondary schools.[3][4] Prices for the 2014-15 academic year on a bus from Carlisle to Nelson Thomlinson we £16.50 per week, and from Dalston the price was £13.50 per week.[5]

The Sixth Form[edit]

Since 1997 their results have placed them in the top fifty comprehensive school Sixth Forms in the country and 5 times have been in the top 10. The school also has an excellent record of students going on to study at Oxbridge, with 5 students taking up places in 2011, and 6 taking up places in 2012.


The school enters students in the GCSE and A-Level examinations. Around 70% of pupils achieve 5 or more A*-Cs each year in GCSE examinations[citation needed], and in terms of A-Level results, the school has been rated in the country's top 40 comprehensive school since 1997[citation needed]. In a 2006 Ofsted inspection the school was judged to be an Outstanding school. In the most recent Ofsted inspection, May 2013 the school was deemed outstanding [6]


The school recently organized its own production of Charles Dickens "Oliver Twist", directed by drama teacher Mrs. R. Carroll. The play included a full cast and a small orchestra (Musical Director: Ms. R. Raven).[7]

Young Enterprise[edit]

The school's Young Enterprise teams have performed well in the Young Enterprise competition over the past few years.

In 2003/04, the company "Panacea" won the Young Enterprise Carlisle Area Board prize for the first time in the school's history. Their awards included Carlisle Area Board Champions 2004, Best Trade Stand at the Easter Trade Fair, Best Company Report, Best Presentation, and First Place at the Exhibition Evening. A Panacea company member, Adam Scott, also won the Individual Achiever of the Year award. The team's gross revenue was £1610.58, which was the highest gained by all known competitors that year.

Panacea then progressed to the Cumbria County Finals in Kendal, but did not progress to the next round.

In the 2006/2007 academic year, the Young Enterprise team "Eläin" won three awards in the North Cumbria round: "Best Company Report", "Best Trade Stand", and "Best Overall Company" as well as second place for "Best Company Presentation". In the county round, the team won "Best Company Presentation", the "ICSA Good Governance Award", and won third place for "Best Trade Stand". The team came second for "Best Overall Company" in Cumbria. Eläin focused primarily on personalised goods for families and pets and was the largest team the school has yet entered into the competition, with eighteen members.

In the 2007/2008 academic year, NTS entered "Bagcycle" as the Young Enterprise entry. The team won first place at the December trade fair, and second place at the Cumbria Area award ceremony.

The Young Enterprise team for the 2008-2009 school year was Veg-Eco, the team performed well at the regional finals.

In the 2012/2013 academic year, NTS entered "KickStart" as the Young Enterprise entry. The team reached the North West finals, which took place at the Concorde Conference Centre in Manchester Airport.

The School's most successful NTS Young Enterprise to date is Digi-Pi, which was set up during the 2013/2014 academic year. This team of 10 progressed through three rounds to get to the National Finals, in which they achieved third place- a record for the school and for the county.[8]


The Thomlinson Girls School (formed from Westmorland House owned by Isaac Pattinson and named after the cotton manufacturer John Thomlinson, and now known as the Thomlinson Junior School on The Goose Market) and The Nelson School for Boys (formed from Floshfirld House), which were both grammar schools and had opened in 1899, merged in 1953 to form the Nelson Thomlinson Grammar School. This school merged with Wigton Secondary School (a secondary modern school) in 1969 to form the Nelson Thomlinson Comprehensive School.


In 2004, anti-social behaviour in the town centre by under-18s, many of whom were pupils at Nelson Thominson School, prompted authorities to impose a curfew on youths in Wigton. The curfew ran through the 2004 Easter holidays and prohibited any unaccompanied children under the age of 16 from being out on the streets between 21:00 and 06:00. During the curfew, instances of anti-social behaviour, such as intimidation and broken shop windows, dropped by as much as 75%. However, the curfew was not repeated after 2004.[9][10][11]

In 2014, Hayley Southwell, a teacher at Nelson Thomlinson, was arrested and pleaded guilty to charges of having sexual activity with a girl aged between 16 and 18 while in a position of trust. Her victim was a pupil at the school, and the crimes took place between May 2013 and January 2014. She was handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence and had to sign the sex offenders register for a period of ten years. During sentencing, the judge said that Southwell's relationship with her victim showed "a degree of grooming".[12][13][14][15]

The Professional Development Room/Department[edit]

Arising from a successful bid for Mathematics and Computing College Status, the school has included a room specifically designed for lesson observation. It might look like an ordinary classroom; the only apparently unusual feature is a large mirror set into one of the walls. What appears to be a mirror, however, is actually a piece of one-way glass, Behind the glass is an observation booth, from which a teacher, or group of teachers, can observe the lesson and quietly discuss what is happening.

Notable former pupils[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Parliamentary Review - Nelson Thomlinson School". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nelson Thomlinson School prospectus, page 7: Admissions" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Nelson Thomlinson School Travel Plan 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Nelson Thomlinson School - Home to School transport". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Reays - 500 Service - Carlisle to Nelson Thomlinson School Prices" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Ofsted Report, November 2006
  7. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Digi-pi place 3rd in national final". Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Cumberland News - Police hail Wigton's curfew on teenagers". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Telegraph - "The clock struck 9pm, the curfew started but still the teenagers taunted the police"". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "CBBC Newsround - Wigton Easter curfew "cut crime"". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "BBC News - Cumbria teacher Hayley Southwell admits sexual activity with girl". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "BBC News - Cumbria teacher Hayley Southwell sentenced for affair with schoolgirl". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Telegraph - Woman teacher who had sexual relationship with female pupil walks free". 
  15. ^ "News & Star - Cumbrian teacher admits sexual activity with girl". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Why do some schools produce clusters of celebrities?". BBC News. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.