Nottingham High School

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Nottingham High School
Waverley Mount
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG7 4ED
Coordinates 52°57′45″N 1°09′33″W / 52.96253°N 1.15912°W / 52.96253; -1.15912Coordinates: 52°57′45″N 1°09′33″W / 52.96253°N 1.15912°W / 52.96253; -1.15912
Type Independent day school
Motto Latin: Lauda finem
(Praise to the end)
Established 1513; 505 years ago (1513)
Founders Dame Agnes Mellers, Sir Thomas Lovell & King Henry VIII
Local authority Nottingham
Department for Education URN 122915 Tables
Chairman of Governors David Wild
Head Headmaster of the Senior School:
Kevin Fear
Head of the Infant and Junior School:
Clare Bruce
Staff <130
Gender Coeducational since 2015;[1] previously boys
Age 4 to 18
Enrolment Senior School:
Infant and Junior School:
Houses Senior:
Publication Senior School:
The Nottinghamian
Former 'Junior School':
Young Nottinghamian
Former 'Lovell House':
The Squirrel
Alumni Old Nottinghamians[2]

Nottingham High School is an independent, fee-paying[3] day school for boys and girls in Nottingham, England, comprising the Infant and Junior School (for ages 4–11) and Senior School (for ages 11–18). Approximately 1,000 students attend the school, including around 800 in the Senior School (an average of around 110 in each of years 7–11 and around 120 in each of the two years of the Sixth Form).[citation needed]

Located on Waverley Mount,[4] the school's main building is close to local amenities and public transport. The main building is in the style of Gothic Revival architecture; other buildings include: the Founder Hall building (in which the school's swimming pool and drama studios are situated); the Sir Harry Djanogly Art and Design Technology building; the Lady Carol Djanogly Music School; the Sports Hall; the Simon Djanogly Science building; the Old Gymnasium; and the Player Hall. The Junior School has its own buildings on the same campus.[5] The playing fields are some 3 miles (4.8 km) from the school and are located at Valley Road.


The original 1512 charter approving the foundation of a free grammar school in Nottingham

In 1513, the school was founded as the "Free School" by Dame Agnes Mellers,[6][7] after the death of her husband, Richard, partly in his memory, but also as an act of atonement for his several wrongdoings against the people of Nottingham. In order to do this she enlisted the help of Sir Thomas Lovell, who was both the Governor of Nottingham Castle and Secretary to the Treasury. As a result of their combined efforts, King Henry VIII sealed the school's foundation deed on the 22 November of that year. It is not clear whether this was a new institution or a refoundation or endowment of an existing school, of which records exist as far back as 1289.[6] 19,940 boys are estimated to have attended the school between 1513 and 2013.[8]

Coat of arms

1949 saw the granting of the school's coat of arms by the College of Arms,[6] the full blazon being:

Ermine, a lozenge argent charged with three blackbirds rising proper. On a chief gules, an open book also proper, garnished or, between two ducal coronets of the last. And for the crest, on a wreath argent and gules, a squirrel sejant gules holding between the paws a ducal coronet or. Mantling, argent and gules. Motto "Lauda Finem".

The arms incorporate those of the school's founder: the arms of the Mellers family were three blackbirds (or merles – an example of canting arms) on a white field; Dame Agnes, being a woman, would have displayed these on a lozenge rather than a shield. In 2007 the school introduced a new logo for more general use, a modified version of the shield which omits the lozenge and the ermine field. Whilst this breaches laws of English heraldry, action is rarely taken in such matters.[citation needed]


The Latin inscription on the School Arms is Lauda Finem which translates as “Praise to the end”.[9]

Founder's Day

In the Foundation Deed, Mellers provided that a Commemoration Service should be held in St Mary's Church in the Lace Market “on the Feast of The Translation of St Richard of Chichester, namely 16 June” each year,[6] although the service “is now held on the nearest Saturday to that date”.[10] With the exception of the Goose Fair, it is the most ancient ceremonial event still held in the City of Nottingham,[11] and the oldest which is still largely in its original form (the Goose Fair is now a funfair rather than a livestock fair), although there seems to be no record of it being held between the middle of the sixteenth century and its modern revival in 1923.[6] The formal procession is an important part of Founder's Day and seeks to symbolise the ancient links the School has with the Crown, the City and the Church. The Foundation Deed also provides for the distribution (out of a total sum of 20 shillings) of certain monies to the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Vicar and others and for the purchase of bread, cheese and ale for consumption by the officials attending the Service. Any balance remaining is required to be given to the poorest scholar but now is given to a representative scholar of the school.[citation needed]

Remembrance Day service

War Memorial Inscription

An annual Remembrance Day service on 11 November is attended by the whole school with the Headmaster, President of the Old Nottinghamians and the School Captain placing wreaths at the war memorial. School members attend a special assembly (in which a minute's silence is observed) during the morning in the Player Hall. Representatives of the school's Combined Cadet Force mark their respect with a parade around the main school building.[12]


Location of the school

Since 1868, the school has been located high on Waverley Mount to the north of the city centre,[13] looking down towards the site of its foundation in St Mary's Church and its continuance in Stoney Street. There has subsequently been a long programme of building and development, resulting in the modern site.

Main Building
War memorial at the south gates

An example of Gothic Revival architecture, the original school building—which was built between 1866 and 1867—on the current site was designed by Thomas Simpson[14] and consists of the tower and three wings: the West Wing, Middle Corridor and the East Wing. The West Wing houses classrooms for mathematics, English and geography. Housed in the Middle Corridor are the learning support department; two ICT centres; two language laboratories; religious studies classrooms; two multi-purpose lecture theatres; the library; and staff offices. The East Wing contains: the old gymnasium; the Player assembly hall; and classrooms for modern languages; history; and classics. The front of the school and other features are Grade II listed.

Player Hall
The south side of the School showing the war memorial

Overlooking the city centre is the school's tower, which is used as a staff office. A school standard and the Union Flag are raised on the tower on special occasions, such as Founder's Day and the Queen's official birthday.

Later additions

To the west, the Founder Hall building was built in 1963 to commemorate the school's 450th anniversary. This complex includes the school's swimming pool and the Founder Hall itself. It acts as a performing arts venue and supplements the Player Hall. A drama studio was added in 2013 to commemorate the school's 500th anniversary.[15]

The Simon Djanogly Science Building dates from 1984. It is situated to the south west with 13 laboratories for all three sciences. A 25-yard CCF shooting range is still present in the basement.[16] The building was officially opened on 2 March 1984 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.[7]

In front of the science building is the music school which was completed in 1997. This complex houses the Lady Carol Djanogly Recital Hall, the Jones Trust Music Room, a music technology studio, a resources centre, seven instrumental teaching rooms and a larger brass teaching room, a percussion studio and a classroom for Infant and Junior School pupils.[17]

Lady Carol Djanogly Music School

In 1989 a sports hall was built on land to the north east of the site that was formerly occupied by fives court and a shooting range.[18] It contains an multi-purpose exercise hall, and a fitness room which is available for older pupils.

In the north-west corner is the Sir Harry Djanogly Art, Design and Technology Centre. The ground floor of this building was built in the mid-1990s and a first floor was added in the 2003/2004 academic year to accommodate modern facilities for the Art Department.

A new dining hall and sixth form centre were constructed in the West Quad in 2009.

Lovell House Building

Waverley House School to the west of the main site was purchased in 2008. The site was refurbished and renamed the Lovell House Infant School. In 2013, this single-sex establishment was combined with the Junior School to form Nottingham High Infant and Junior School.

Playing Field

The school's games field is not on the main site but instead at Valley Road, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north. The Valley Road sports field features a number of rugby pitches and posts during winter, which are converted for athletics in the spring, with a running track as well as shot put, javelin, discus, pole vault, hurdles and high jump areas. During the summer, the ground is used for cricket, with nets and squares created for the season. Tennis courts and an archery range are also located at the playing field. The pavilion features a number of changing rooms on the ground and first floors, and a refreshment area for staff and guests.[19] Until 1897, pupils took their PE and games lessons at the Forest Recreation Ground.[8]

School organisation

There are four houses each in the Junior and Senior School, each named after a person with connections to the school. The house system plays an integral role in the pupils' school life. House tutors provide pastoral care and support for the pupils.[20]

Junior School Houses

In the Junior School, there are four Houses, all named in memory of former pupils or staff at the school who served with distinction during the First World War and were either killed in action or died of their wounds.[21] Ball's House is named for Captain Albert Ball VC DSO MC, a renowned fighter pilot in the RFC and pupil at the school between 1907 and 1909; Hardy's House is named after Rev Theodore Hardy VC DSO MC, Assistant Master at the school between 1891 and 1907, and a Chaplain in the British Army from 1916 to 1918; Tonkin's House after Lt FC Tonkin DSO MC, a former pupil who served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps; and Trease's House after Lt Reginald Trease DSO MC, a pupil at the school between 1898 and 1905. The houses compete annually for the General Efficiency Cup, donated in 1927 by Mr William Crane.[21]

Senior School Houses

There are four houses in the Senior School: Mellers' was named after the school's founder; Cooper's, after Frederick Cooper, an artist who in 1872 donated almost 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land to the school; Maples', after Samuel Maples, a former pupil who bequeathed £3,000 to fund scholarships in 1892; and White's, after Sir Thomas White, who endowed a charity to provide interest-free loans to "young men of good name and thrift" in the Midlands (some money from this fund was lent to the school in slightly questionable circumstances during the middle of the 19th century).[6]

Wheeler Cup

Houses compete for the Wheeler Cup which is awarded on the cumulative performance in competitions throughout the school year. These include athletics, chess, hockey, cross country, rugby, bridge, shooting, swimming, cricket, general knowledge, verse speaking, singing, and individual music.


Nottingham High School offers a wide range of subjects at GCSE level, Advanced Subsidiary-Level (AS-level), and General Certificate of Education Advanced-Level (GCE A-level). Many of these subjects are also studied by the younger pupils between Years Seven and Nine at the school.[22][23]

Sixth form subjects include Ancient Greek, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Classical Civilization, Design and Technology, Drama, Economics, English Language, English Literature, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), French, Further Mathematics, Geography, Government and Politics, German, History, Latin, Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physical Education, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Statistics, and Spanish.

All sixth form students are required to undertake the EPQ.

Extra-curricular activities

Pupils are encouraged to take part in extra-curricular activities including: a variety of sports played at county, regional and national levels;[24] Young Enterprise; music;[25] bridge;[26] first aid; drama;[27] photography;[28] Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme;[29] Combined Cadet Force;[30] shooting;[16] Global Footprints expeditions;[31] World Challenge expeditions;[31] public speaking; Young Engineers;[32] debating; Eco-Schools;[33] chess;[34] and science (with national Olympiads, competitions and camps for biology, chemistry and physics).

Expeditions abroad have taken pupils to a number of places, including: Bolivia (expedition, 2013, 2017);[35] Sri Lanka (cricket tour, 2013);[36] Stowe, Vermont (skiing trip, 2011); New York (Big Band/Cutting Harmony, 2010); South America (rugby tour, 2010); Barbados (cricket tour 2009); Siberia (World Challenge Expedition 2009); New Zealand (rugby tour, 2008, 2016); South Africa (rugby tour, 2006); Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands;[37] Morocco; Malawi; Indonesia; India; Ireland; Belize; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Russia;[38] Vietnam; Norway; Tanzania; France;[39] Germany;[40] Egypt; Greece; and Italy.[41]

Locally, school trips have included those to: Hadrian's Wall;[42][43][44] Verulamium;[45] Twycross Zoo;[46] the National Space Centre;[47] the Science Museum; Lunt Roman Fort; the Royal Armouries;[48] Lincoln Cathedral; Snowdonia; RAF Cranwell;[49] East Midlands Helicopters;[50] Hucknall; Burbage Brook; Yorkshire Sculpture Park; the Lake District;[51] Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre;[52] Nottingham Magistrates' Court; the Nottingham Theatre Royal; Nottingham Royal Concert Hall; and the Nottingham Playhouse, among many others.


In Years 7 to 11 the uniform consists of: a black blazer with a badge bearing the arms of Dame Agnes Mellers (displayed on a lozenge); black or charcoal grey trousers; a white or grey shirt; black leather shoes; a house tie; and black, grey or navy blue socks. It is also possible to wear a jumper under the blazer. This is usually grey with white and black around the neck, or if the pupil has represented the school in sport, it may be black and bear the school coat of arms.

In the sixth form students wear a black, grey or navy blue suit with a shirt of any colour except black.[53]

Junior School tie, House tie (Whites), Lovell Order tie

Ties are a major feature of the school uniform[18] and are used to signify awards pupils' status within the school.

House ties.

Special ties include:

  • Foundation – A black tie bearing a red squirrel holding a ducal coronet (the crest from the school's coat of arms). Presented on Founder's Day to any pupil who has attained high performance in public examinations (at least ten grade As at GCSE or three As at A-Level), and to teachers upon completion of ten years' service.
  • Lovell Order – Black, bearing the arms of Sir Thomas Lovell, is awarded to those who have performed some special service, such as librarians, the choir, orchestra and band secretaries, society officials and the stage staff; also to teachers who have completed twenty years' service.
  • Sports Colours – White with narrow diagonal black and yellow stripes. Awarded for high sporting achievement, such as first team level (usually for sports, and occasionally the chess, bridge and general knowledge teams).
  • Music Colours – Similar to sports colours. First awarded in 2007, in recognition of outstanding contributions to school music.
  • Third XV – Black with orange stripes. Awarded to members of the school rugby third XV.
  • Prefects (no longer awarded) – Silver (actually very fine silver and black checked). Awarded to prefects, but not to House (assistant) Prefects.
  • Officers – Black with red stripes, bordered by white bands with the school coat-of-arms at top. Presented, since 2005, to Officers of the School (School Captain, School Vice-Captains and House Captains).
  • Quincentenary – Black with diagonal stripes and school coat-of-arms. Designed by Young Enterprise Team Sterling, it was sold to pupils and Old Nottinghamians to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the School.

Prefect system

Prefects are the School's principal representatives of its values. They perform a number of duties which include supervision of the dining Hall, for example, and assist on days of importance to the school, including Founder's Day, Speech Day, Taster Day and entrance examinations. Since 2014, all pupils of the lower Sixth have been required to perform prefect duties.


The school charges admission fees. About a tenth of pupils are supported by bursaries or scholarships that enable a reduction of between around 10 and 100 per cent.[54]


Parts of a 1990 episode of the television series "Boon", starring Michael Elphick, were filmed at the school, and featured a number of pupils as extras. The story in question was titled "Bully Boys", the sixth episode of the fifth series, and was broadcast on 30 October 1990. The main playground, the Bridge Library (now the library reception), and the Valley Road playing fields, in particular, were shown.

The front steps of Nottingham High School were used as a location for the 2002 film "Anita and Me" and are shown for a short time within the film.[citation needed]

The front steps were also used, along with a select number of students from the Junior School, for a short documentary used on BBC One's "The One Show".[citation needed]

Kevin Fear (the school's current headmaster) as well as certain boys, were filmed by ITV for a news story shown as part of the news programme "ITV News Central".[55] Filming took place at an assortment of locations around the school, including: the headmaster's office; various classrooms; and the Lower School Library. The news story regarded the fact that the school had announced it would admit girls – for the very first time in its 500-year history – from 2015/2016.[55]

List of Masters

* Resigned or retired
† Died in office
‡ Never assumed post[6]:71

Brian Garnet (headmaster 1565–c. 1575) is notable for being the father of the Jesuit priest Henry Garnet, who was executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.[6]:30, 90

Notable alumni

Every former pupil and member of staff of Nottingham High School is granted the title Old Nottinghamian.[2][56] For more than a century, the Old Nottinghamians' Society has existed continuously, with its origins dating back to 1897, at which time it was called the NHS Dinner Committee.[56] Between 1902 and 1961 it was known as the Nottingham High School Old Boys' Society.[56]

Science and Technology

Ben G Davis is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford


Academia and Religion

Armed Forces

Albert Ball, the first Royal Flying Corps winner of the Victoria Cross


Kenneth Adam, Controller of the BBC

Civil and Diplomatic Service




Ed Balls, Labour MP



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