Bournemouth School

School badge

Aerial view of Bournemouth School
East Way

, ,

Coordinates50°44′55″N 1°51′30″W / 50.7486°N 1.85844°W / 50.7486; -1.85844
Type11–18 boys Grammar school;
MottoPulchritūdō et Salūbritas (Latin)
Beauty and Health (English)
FounderE Fenwick
Local authorityBournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Department for Education URN137452 Tables
HeadmasterDorian Lewis
Staff72 full-time teachers, 32 auxiliary staff
Age11 to 18
Enrolment1,088 boys (lower school)
388 (Sixth form)
Houses  Darwin
Chairman of GovernorsMike Jones
WebsiteBournemouth School

Bournemouth School is an 11–18 boys grammar school, with a co-educational sixth form, located in Charminster, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, for children aged 11 to 18. The school was founded by E. Fenwick and opened on 22 January 1901, admitting 54 boys.[1]



The school was founded by Dr. E. Fenwick and opened on 22 January 1901, admitting 54 boys.[2] The 1906 syllabus included natural science, drawing, vocal music, drill, and gymnastics alongside history, geography, shorthand, and book keeping. During World War I, at least 651 young men who had been or were attached to the school served, and 98 of those died, while 95 were wounded.[3] The roll of honour for the former students who died in service can be found inside the school's main entrance.[4]

The original Victorian school buildings occupied a plot in Porchester Road. Adjacent to the main school was the purpose-built boarding house (pictured), in which the headmaster and a select number of boarders lived (at an annual fee of 12 guineas). As the number of students increased (200 in 1904, 306 in 1914, 479 in 1925), so too did the accommodation; the school encompassed a former Royal Victoria Hospital in 1925 for lower school classes, which was situated in the nearby Lowther Road. The two sites were known within the school as "Porchester" and "Lowther".[5]

During World War II

The school moved to the present East Way site in 1939, formerly occupying buildings in Porchester Road and Lowther Road. From 1939 to 1945, the school housed over 600 members from Taunton's School, Southampton (then a grammar, now a sixth form college), due to evacuation from large cities.[6] Among the Taunton staff was English master Horace King, later Lord Maybray-King, Speaker of the House of Commons. On 2 June 1940, about 800 French soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk were temporarily billeted in the school. Additional gas cookers were installed in the kitchen (now Languages Office) and staff were involved in preparing food and drink for the soldiers who occupied corridors and form rooms. One form room was used a temporary hospital for the more seriously wounded. Two days later, a further 300 arrived and remained in the school for about a week. On 19 June, after the French had been moved elsewhere, 400 or so British soldiers arrived, having been rescued from Cherbourg by the Royal Navy. It was agreed they would occupy the ground floor, leaving the senior school to carry out their summer examinations in the rooms above. Normal education resumed on 26 June.

In 1935, planning for new school buildings on the northern fringe of Charminster began. Various proposals were considered and the Council decided to allocate 10 acres for the new school in East Way. Building operations were begun early in 1937 and the Foundation Stones were laid on 25 May. They were erected from the designs and under the supervision of W. L. Clowes, Borough Engineer and Architect from 1936 onwards. They opened in 1939 and were first occupied by the boys from Porchester and Lowther and evacuees from Taunton's School in Southampton. Soon after, HORSA huts were erected to the north of the main buildings to house more classrooms. Further extensions to the buildings were made in subsequent years, with the canteen (previously above the Old Gym) built in 1957, a new physics laboratory built in 1958, Rooms 40 and 41 (now 9 and 10) in 1959, a new chemistry laboratory in 1961, a steel-framed structure above the single-storey north-eastern section (at the time of building, notorious for rocking in the wind) in the early 1990s and office space for Housemasters and admin staff later in 1992 (at the time the present House system was introduced). Larger scale building works include the Sixth Form Block in 1968,[7] the Art & Technology blocks in the 1990s (replacing the HORSA huts), the Maths Blocks, which at the time of construction (between 2005 and 2007) was used for religious studies and mathematics but now the eight classrooms are exclusively purposed for the latter and the Sir David English Centre in 1999 (replacing the increasingly neglected, vandalised and subsequently demolished pavilions that were used for physical education and sports events). The Sixth Form Block made no provision for social space, and so the Sixth Form Memorial Hall (now an unused drama studio) was opened in 1974 to provide a common room for use by the students. What was formerly a bike shed beneath the Junior Playground, and then a woodwork room, now forms the Sixth Form common room.

Modern history, 1973–

Bournemouth School in the evening sun.

In 1973, the school hall burnt down.[4] Evidence of the fire can be seen in the wooden flooring tiles in the doorway of Room 21. The new hall was opened in 1975. Its floorpan encompassed what had previously been two corridors running along either side of the old hall, thereby making much better use of space. Furthermore, the old hall had no electricity supply or dressing rooms, meaning that despite the short-term disruption, Bournemouth School now has a larger and much better-equipped facility for assemblies, productions and other events.

The old sites in Porchester Road and Lowther Road were used by Portchester School from 1940 until 1989, when it moved to Harewood Avenue. The boarding house was demolished to make way for the Wessex Way, "Lowther" was demolished in the 1980s, the site being redeveloped into the new Malmesbury Park Primary School, and "Porchester" was redeveloped in 1990 into Fenwick Court, a housing estate. Nothing, therefore, of the pre-East Way buildings remains.

In mid-2021, the school started work on a new building,[8] planned to accommodate the increasing number of pupils. It was completed in January 2023, with the headmaster opening it alongside former pupil Alex James.[9] The three-storey building contains six new language classrooms alongside a new Modern Foreign Languages office, a canteen entitled Le Bistro, and a new sixth-form study centre.

Head Teachers

Grammar school status

The architect's illustration of Bournemouth School's former (and original) buildings in Porchester Road.

From the mid-1950s, 'grammar streams' were introduced in all Bournemouth secondary modern schools, and they effectively became bilateral schools. This idea was pioneered by the Chief Education Officer of the County Borough of Bournemouth from 1956 to 1972, Walter Smedley (who died aged 98 in June 2006) who was a former technical college lecturer, and allowed easier movement between the 'grammar streams' in these schools and the grammar schools. The system was nationally recognised, as it allowed greater flexibility, as is possible in comprehensive schools, but allowed academic standards to be maintained - people's ability was still recognised. Movement was down as well as up.[10] The system was well supported by parents.[11] The rate of pupils staying on at school in the sixth form was 50% higher than the national average in the 1960s. Selection to the grammar schools from 1965 was not assessed by a single exam, but continuously. In the late 1960s, Bournemouth's schools were producing GCE results 250% better than comprehensives in London's ILEA.

However, in 1969, Edward Short, Baron Glenamara, the Labour education secretary, condemned Bournemouth's education system. Once Smedley left in 1972, the bilateral schools later became comprehensives. The last school of this type was Oakmead College of Technology. Entrance exams for the grammar schools were also reintroduced. Bournemouth LEA still gets very good exam results, especially at A level. Dorset County Council took over from 1974 to 1997.

In 2011, Bournemouth School ceased to hold its "selective grammar school" status, as it became an academy. The school kept its original name as well as its uniform and entrance examination through the change, but is now directly funded and overseen by the government rather than a local education authority.


The school shares playing fields with Bournemouth School for Girls and co-operates with them in theatre productions. Sixth form students often visit local primary schools to aid with teaching.

All Bournemouth School students use the Sir David English Sports Centre for physical education lessons. It has an indoor sports hall, four tennis and netball courts and three artificial turf football pitches.

The annual sports day, acting as the climax of the House Competition, takes place at the King's Park athletics stadium.

Girls in the sixth form

Bournemouth School accepted 15 female applicants to the sixth form for the first time in September 2012, and this number has risen since and in September 2013 37 female students joined the school.[12]

Notable former pupils

See also: Category:People educated at Bournemouth School


  1. ^ "Our History". Bournemouth School. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  2. ^ "Our History". Bournemouth School. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  3. ^ "Our History". Bournemouth School. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  4. ^ a b Parker, Ross (22 January 2001). "The first centenary: 100 years of Bournemouth School | The Old Bournemouthians' Association". Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Our History". Bournemouth School. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  6. ^ "School move for war effort (From Bournemouth Echo)". 31 August 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  7. ^ "100 today, Bournemouth School looks to the future". Dorset Echo. Newsquest. 22 January 2001. Archived from the original on 25 June 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2007. In 1966 the biggest transformation took place with the building of the sixth form block -known colloquially as "The John Gibbons Politics Block" by past alumni - including a lecture theatre and a rather limited library
  8. ^ "Our New Building". Bournemouth School. 7 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 November 2021. Retrieved 7 March 2020. The latest artist's impressions of the building that we are planning to accommodate our increased numbers.
  9. ^ "Alex James Opens New Building". Retrieved 24 February 2023.
  10. ^ Peter Preston (20 September 1999). "Politicians don't get results in education. Schools do | Education". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Girls allowed at Bournemouth boys' grammar school for first time". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Mark Austin" (PDF). University of Bournemouth. Retrieved 24 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Christian Bale Biography". The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Awford, Jenny (28 January 2014). "12 famous people who have lived in Bournemouth". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Dennis Curry". The Telegraph. London. 17 April 2001. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  17. ^ [2] Archived 24 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Geological Society - Dennis Curry, 1912 - 2001". Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  19. ^ Lancaster, TERENCE (12 June 1998). "Obituary: Sir David English". The Independent. London. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Youth sport - rugby: Ex-Bournemouth junior Charlie Ewels stars in England's world triumph (From Bournemouth Echo)". 25 June 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  21. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2005 (18th ed.). Debrett's. 2005. p. 561. ISBN 1-870520-10-6.
  22. ^ "Bournemouth's own Bond villain". Dorset Echo. 6 February 2001. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  23. ^ "Jasper Dodds on film". oldbournemouthians. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  24. ^ Sir Raymond Streat (1987). Lancashire and Whitehall: The Diary of Sir Raymond Streat. Manchester University Press. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-7190-2390-3. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  25. ^ David Hilliam (26 December 2010). Little Book of Dorset. History Press Limited. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7524-6265-3. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Blur bassist back in Bournemouth for honorary degree (From Bournemouth Echo)". 6 November 2010. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  27. ^ "Wisden - Obituaries in 2002". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  28. ^ "Miles Reid". University of Warwick. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  29. ^ Samuel Hines, entry on Michael Roberts in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition October 2009.