The Thomas Cowley High School

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The Thomas Cowley High School
Established 1719 (1719)
Type Academy
Headteacher Mr Ian Dawson
Location School Lane
PE11 4TF
Coordinates: 52°54′18″N 0°11′57″W / 52.90506°N 0.19913°W / 52.90506; -0.19913
DfE number 925/4507
DfE URN 138755 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–16
Website School homepage

The Thomas Cowley High School is a mixed secondary school with Academy status, in Donington, Lincolnshire, England.[1]


Landowner Thomas Cowley by deed in 1701, and by will in 1711 and 1718, bequeathed his estate to endow an almshouse, and a charity school to teach twenty poor children to read English and write.[2][3][4] A pupil of the Cowley's charity school was Matthew Flinders, who at age 12 then attended Horbling Grammar School where his father expected him to learn Latin.[5][6] The free school established by Thomas Cowley evolved into a grammar school, with the Cowley charity providing significant funding.[7] By 1858 the school, which was governed by a scheme approved by the Master of the Rolls, John Romilly, also provided for an upper girls' school, an elementary boys' and girls' school, and an infants school. The grammar school held 80 pupils, with an average attendance of 40. At the time a new scheme was proposed to develop the Girls' department with a yearly endowment of £25 to provide minor scholarships and accommodation for resident pupils, with the inclusion of teaching of the "art of cookery." The Grammar and Girls' Upper School were not exclusive to Donington, but were open to pupils from the whole county, with fees being £4 yearly for boys, and £3 for girls. The school covered 5 acres and included a residence for the masters and mistresses, a house for the headmaster, a recreation ground, cricket field, gymnasium, and playgrounds.[3][4]

In 1871 the Grammar school's football team entered the first FA Cup, but did not complete a game.[citation needed]

Grammar school status was held until 1949. A secondary modern school was then established in its place using the Thomas Cowley name, which in 1995 became a comprehensive secondary school. In September 2006 the comprehensive school was designated as specialist Technology College, and in September 2012 it converted to Academy status.[8]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Donington Free School (est. 1718):

Donington Grammar School:

The Thomas Cowley (secondary) School (est. 1949):


  1. ^ "Welcome", The Thomas Cowley High School. Retrieved 9 January 2015
  2. ^ Cox, J. Charles (1916) Lincolnshire, Methuen & Co. Ltd., p. 118
  3. ^ a b Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire 1855, p. 380
  4. ^ a b Donington, Lincs; White’s History, Gazeteer and Directory of Lincolnshire 1882
  5. ^ a b Welbourne, Dave; "One of Lincolnshire’s famous sons is Matthew Flinders, the explorer. In 2014 we commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death", Lincolnshire Life, January 2014 issue. Retrieved 10 January 2015
  6. ^ "Matthew Flinders", Retrieved 10 January 2015
  7. ^ "Administrative correspondence relating to the governance of Donington Grammar School, Lincolnshire, 1919", JANET (, accessing archives GB 159 MS 81 (1919) of Professor Henry Hurd Swinnerton of the University of Nottingham. Retrieved 27 July 2015
  8. ^ a b c d "Our History". The Thomas Cowley High School. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 

External links[edit]