Queen Elizabeth's High School

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Queen Elizabeth's High School
The school crest
Motto Tradition, Achievement, Opportunity
Established 1589 (1589)
1983 (merger)
Type Community grammar school
Headmaster David Allsop
Deputy Headmaster Peter Russell
Chairman of the Governors D. S. Holmes
Founder Sir Robert Somerscale
Location Morton Terrace
DN21 2ST
53°24′38″N 0°46′39″W / 53.410664°N 0.777519°W / 53.410664; -0.777519Coordinates: 53°24′38″N 0°46′39″W / 53.410664°N 0.777519°W / 53.410664; -0.777519
Local authority Lincolnshire
DfE URN 120655 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff c. 100 teaching, 28 support
Students c. 1200
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Austen, Brunel, Churchill, Darwin, Elgar and Scott
Colours      Red (Elgar),      Gold (Austen),      Blue (Churchill),      Purple (Brunel),     Silver (Scott),      Green (Darwin),
Publication The Q.E. News
Former Pupils Old Ganians
Website QEHS Website

Queen Elizabeth's High School (QEHS) is a grammar school in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire in the East Midlands of England. It was established by Sir Robert Somerscale in 1589. During the last 400 years the school site has moved from a small setting in the local All Saints Church, to Cox's Hill (where the Hickman Hill hotel is now located) and finally settling on the Morton Terrace Technical College site towards the north of the town, where the boys' grammar (Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School) merged with the girls' school (Gainsborough High School) to form the current set-up of QEHS in 1983.

The school annually admits 180 students into Year 7 and 150 into Year 12; around 1000 students make up the lower school (of those aged 11–16) and another 250 make up the sixth-form (16–18). Approximately 700 of those attending are girls and 500 are boys. The current headmaster of the school, David Allsop, was a former student. He took over from David Smart in 2009 who himself took over from John Child in 2006.

Along with the majority of British secondary schools, students at QEHS will usually take ten or eleven GCSE examinations in Year Eleven and provided that they achieve satisfactory grades will be allowed to enter the sixth-form to take four A-Level qualifications. A number of external students are also admitted to the sixth-form each year. An Ofsted inspection in 2008 described the school as "outstanding".[1] League tables released by the BBC also rank the school highly; ratings based on English Baccalaureate results place QEHS joint ninth, for A/AS-level points per pupil third, and adjusted for Value Added nineteenth, in Lincolnshire.[2] The BBC A-Level league tables rank QEHS second best in Lincolnshire, second only to Caistor Grammar School. The majority of sixth-form students at QEHS go on to higher education with many gaining Medicine places and a number each year getting offers from Oxbridge.



Although the details are unclear, Gainsborough appears to have had a small grammar school from the 15th century provided by the local clergy, where possibly several of the Pilgrim Fathers received their early education; among its alumni was John Robinson. Lessons were first held in a room above the porch of the original All Saints church. Many of the school's early records were lost during the reign of Charles I, owing to the prominent Puritan sympathies of many associated with the school who sought to avoid detection, and so had the incriminating records destroyed.[citation needed]

Queen Elizabeth's High School formally originates however in 1589, when Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to Sir Robert Somerscale to establish Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School for boys, with the express purpose of providing an education in the Classics and Divinity for the sons of the emerging middle class in the town. In 1828, the Chartist poet Thomas Cooper sought to set up a rival grammar school, but failed, and saw his school absorbed by QEHS. Gainsborough High School, a grammar school for girls, was founded in 1920.


From 1795 until 1940 QEGS was located on Cox's Hill, at what is now the Hickman Hill Hotel. In 1940 both schools re-situated to the present Morton Terrace site, on which the local technical college was also based. Under the Tripartite System they became fully state grammar schools, having been fee-paying before then. The schools merged to form the current setup of QEHS in 1983.

Recent history

John Child MA (Cantab.) served as Headteacher from 1995 until 2006. The school grew during this period, particularly the sixth form. David Smart took over between 2006 and 2009. Peter Russell took over as Acting Headteacher during April to September 2009 and at the start of the new term David Allsop started as Head teacher and Peter Russell returned to his Deputy Headteacher role.

On 7 December 2012, the school was host to the BBC Radio 4 show 'Any Questions?', which was held in the Upper School Hall.[3]

In 2013, following a lack of funding which affected most Grammar Schools, a £2 million grant from the Local Authority and a £500,000 grant from central government was given in order to expand and renovate the school. This enabled the construction a new sports hall, a two-storey teaching block and the refurbishment of College House. This was the result of much lobbying by the Headmaster, David Allsop.[4][5]

On 7 March 2014 the Sixth Form Centre was relocated to the College House building, with the previous centre becoming crowded[6] College House had previously fallen into disrepair following the amalgamation of the Girls School, which had previously used the building.[7] College House was built in 1872, becoming part of the Girls School in 1920.[8]

School administration and structure

Each year from 7 to 11 has approximately 180 students, and each year is divided into 6 forms (the Sixth Form years generally contain approximately 145 students and are divided into six smaller forms – however, from 2011, cohorts of 180 were accepted into the Sixth Form due to high demand).

The House system

There are six houses at the school: Austen, Brunel, Churchill, Darwin, Elgar and Scott; all named after notable Britons. The houses compete in sporting events as well as art and music competitions.

The house system was changed in 2008 and they were previously known as Frobisher, Drake, Raleigh and Grenville. During this change, form rooms were moved into house blocks instead of year blocks, in order to promote the new house system. This aimed to mix the year groups together and create a strong house community.

Prior to amalgamation, the boys had 4 houses – Cox (red), Elliott (white), Hickman (Blue) and Marshall (green).

Subject departments

Music and drama at the School

Members of Queen Elizabeth's High School and Gainsborough Choral Society perform in an annual Christmas carol concert, "Carols for All." Phillip Ainsworth (previous Head of Music) conducts.

Music has a long history at QEHS, with the Anglican choral composer W. Stanley Vann being head of Music during the 1930s. Phillip Ainsworth served as Head of Music at the school for 35 years, before retiring in 2008, when Stephen Burnage replaced him for a three-year period, before moving on to other things. The current head of music is Rebecca Lawrence, a former pupil of the school. Recent drama productions have included Return to the Forbidden Planet, Godspell and Disco Inferno.

Languages at the school

All students in year 7 take 4 periods of French, Spanish or German. At the end of year 7 students take up an additional language from French, German or Spanish. They must then take a GCSE in either French, German or Spanish, and students may take either Spanish, French or German at A-Level.

Latin has been phased out of the curriculum in favour of Spanish. In the academic year starting September 2016, French has been phased out, leaving only Spanish and German at a KS3 level.

Technology at the school

The school has a modern technology suite situated in the middle school, opened by Prince Charles the Prince of Wales in 1999.[citation needed]

Sport and other extracurricular activities

Cricket, rugby, football and athletics are the main boys sports, and hockey, netball, tennis and athletics the main girls sports.

Inter-school matches are played against other grammar schools in Lincolnshire, and a few public schools and secondary modern schools. In recent years cricket has proved a success, with several sides winning the county schools' competition, and several Ganians representing Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire at county level.

Pupils are encouraged to serve the community, and several do volunteer work in the local area. Many Sixth-Formers have taken part in Young Enterprise.

Debating teams have won local competitions, including the Youth Speaks Competition, and have competed in a national competition.[9]

Old Ganians

Former pupils are known as Old Ganians (O.G.s).

Academia and Science


  • Jason Carter- actor, best known for his appearances in sci-fi series Babylon 5
  • Stanley Vann- Head of Music (1933–9), Anglican choral composer and organist[11][12]
  • Karl Salsbury Wood- Head of Art (1933–1948), British artist known for his pastoral works often featuring windmills.[13]

Public Service



See also


  1. ^ "The Queen Elizabeth's High School, Gainsborough". Ofsted. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Secondary school league tables in Lincolnshire". BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  3. ^ BBC iPlayer – Any Questions?: Queen Elizabeth High School, Gainsborough Archived 11 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 13 Jan 2015 (pt 0001)". www.publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  5. ^ "Gainsborough: New building opens at QEHS". www.gainsboroughstandard.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  6. ^ "VIDEO: Ex-pupil of Queen Elizabeth's High School officially opens newly renovated College House". www.gainsboroughstandard.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  7. ^ "'Unfit' school has £2.5m makeover". Lincolnshire Echo. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  8. ^ Council, Lincolnshire County. "North Sandsfield House, now College House at Queen Elizabeth's High School, Gainsborough|Lincs to the Past". www.lincstothepast.com. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  9. ^ "This is Lincolnshire – Students speaking up on issues that matter". This is Lincolnshire. Archived from the original on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Brian J. L. Berry, Dean" Archived 28 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine.; University of Texas at Dallas. Retrieved 27 June 2012
  11. ^ Brown-Hurst, Tim; "William Stanley Vann"[permanent dead link]; Kings.peterborough.sch.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2012
  12. ^ "Stanley Vann" Archived 15 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.; The Telegraph, 1 April 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2012
  13. ^ Shaw, Tony (Dr); "Windmill Wood: A Biography of Midlands Artist Karl Salsbury Wood" Archived 19 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine.; 29 October 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2012
  14. ^ "From bobby on the beat to assistant chief constable"; The Grantham Journal, 27 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Gordon, Alexander; "Knollys, Hanserd"; Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900, Volume 31

External links

  • Queen Elizabeth's High School – Official Website
  • QEHS on google maps
  • QEHS on Microsoft Virtual Earth (higher resolution than Google Maps)
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