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Abbots Bromley School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abbots Bromley School
Abbots Bromley School for Girls - Chapel - - 928125.jpg
, ,
WS15 3BW

Coordinates52°49′03″N 1°52′46″W / 52.817438°N 1.879474°W / 52.817438; -1.879474
TypeIndependent day & boarding
MottoThat Our Daughters May Be as the Polished Corners of the Temple
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderCanon Nathaniel Woodard
ClosedSummer 2019
Local authorityStaffordshire
Department for Education URN124470 Tables
Staff21 full time, 16 part time[1]
Age3 to 18
Enrolment250 [1]
Colour(s)Red & Blue
AffiliationWoodard Corporation

Abbots Bromley School (formerly known as the School of S. Mary and S. Anne, Abbots Bromley before becoming "Abbots Bromley School for Girls") was a coeducational boarding and day independent school located in the village of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, England.[2] It was one of the original Woodard Schools[3] — and the first Woodard School for girls — and was therefore an Anglican foundation that historically reflected the Anglo-Catholic ethos of the Woodard Foundation. It was affiliated to the Girls' Schools Association.

Due to financial problems extending over many years, the school closed in the summer of 2019.[4][5]


The School of S. Anne

With the foundation of the School of S. Anne, Nathaniel Woodard's project to provide education for the middle classes was extended to girls. Woodard had been reluctant to start a school for girls, but some of his closest friends strongly disagreed. Edward Clarke Lowe, in particular, believed that university education should be open to women. These friends eventually prevailed upon Woodard and secured his blessing and his enormous fund-raising skills to found the School of S. Anne in 1874. Even after its opening, Woodard continued to express the view that his foundation might be wasting its efforts in promoting the education of women.

The school was established at Abbots Bromley partly because it was near Denstone College, another Woodard school which had been founded a few years before. Its location in the Anglican diocese of Lichfield also helped to secure for it the goodwill of Bishop Selwyn.

Alice Mary Coleridge, Lowe's sister-in-law and adopted child, played a central role in the evolving vision that led to the foundation of the school. Alice Coleridge, who had been greatly influenced by Anna Sewell and her godmother, Charlotte Yonge, became Lady Warden of S. Anne's in 1878 and instituted a spartan regime and a broadly based curriculum.[6]

The School of S. Mary

Given the missionary ethos of the school's foundation, Alice Coleridge also tried to make some educational provision for girls from families who were unable to afford the fees required by the School of S. Anne. As a result, the School of S. Mary was founded in Abbots Bromley in 1880 to educate more cheaply 'the daughters of clergymen and other professional men of limited means and of the agricultural and commercial classes generally'. The School of S. Mary was built on a site immediately opposite the School of S. Anne.

S. Mary's did not prove to be viable, so the schools were amalgamated in 1921.

S. Mary's was later reopened for the Upper Six Boarders of Abbots Bromley School of Girls, as a Boarding House. The Upper Sixth used the upper floor of the Building, which was refurnished in summer 2010, this was meant to give them a closer feeling of what their lives are going to be like at university.


In March 2019, the school announced that it would be closing at the end of the 2018-19 school year.[7] This was due both to falling pupil numbers[8] and longstanding financial problems,[4] requiring the parent Woodard Group to inject £2 million of emergency funding to prevent bankruptcy.[9] Subsequently talks were held with investors in Beijing[10] and Hong Kong[11] to see if the school could be sold as a going concern, but no agreement could be reached. As a result, in September 2019 the Woodard group announced the land would be sold by Savills and no further talks would be held on reopening the school.[12]


At the time of its closure the school had around 271 pupils,[4] of whom over eighty five were boarders.[13]

The school was not academically selective but achieved academic results that are generally regarded as outstanding for a non-selective school.[14]

Its academic, social and sporting provision was normal for most independent schools for girls in the UK. However, it did have two specialities in addition to the norm: it had a well-developed equestrian centre, and it incorporated a dance school (Alkins School of Ballet).

The school occupied 53 acres (210,000 m2), split between two sites on either side of the village High Street.


Historically, the school was a boarding school,[15] but for some time before closure the majority of pupils had been day pupils. However, the school had restored its boarding ethos to offer a range of boarding alternatives – full, weekly, flexi and occasional boarding. The School took boys and girls from Reception through to Year 6 and then girls Year 7 till Year 11. The 6th form was co-educational and possessed a new facility for its International College.

Roch House Preparatory School opened in (date and ref. needed), then in 1991 took on additional staff (Mrs Spratt) based upstairs corridor near Reed Hall with an extra classroom for UII girls. A couple of years later Roch expanded again to include girls between three and eleven years of age.[16]


In the 1990s the houses were

St Mary's side = Roch (red), KSB (bright green), Selwyn (light blue/grey). St Mary's and St Anne's but next to the road = Coleridge (yellow) St Anne's = Heywood Rice (light purple/lilac), Meynell Lowe (red/blue stripe), Talbot aka Crofts (Dark green), these houses recently got change to four houses: Saint Anne’s (blue), Saint Mary’s (red), Saint chads (Burgundy) and Saint Greg’s (grey)

Abbots Bromley Prep School:

House Colour
Argyle Green
Benets Red
Duttons yellow
Stretton Blue

Abbots Bromley Senior School:

House Colour
St Anne Blue
St Chad Burgundy
St Gregory Steel Grey
St Mary Red

Commemoration Day: "Jerusalem Heights"

Perhaps one of the most enduring images of the school — and one of its most public manifestations — is that of its traditional Commemoration Day Procession, which takes place every Summer Term. The pupils process from the school to the Parish Church of St Nicholas, down the centre of the high street, in height order wearing white veils (officially called "hoods", unofficially called "tea - towels") fringed with light blue, carrying beautifully embroidered banners and singing (unaccompanied) the hymn "Jerusalem my happy home". Members of the school choir wear an additional ankle-length white veil (officially known as "cloaks" and unofficially as "tablecloths"). The service traditionally concludes with the singing of "Forward be our watchword".

Notable former pupils

See also


  1. ^ a b "ABBOTS BROMLEY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS". Independent Schools of the British Isles. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  2. ^ "Contact Us". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  3. ^ Woodard. "A-Z of Woodard Schools". Independent, Academy and Maintained Education | Woodard Schools. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Top East Staffordshire school to shut". derbytelegraph. 21 March 2019. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  5. ^ Pridding, Beth; Parker, Hayley (5 July 2019). "Top Staffordshire school to close for final time today". stokesentinel. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  6. ^ V. E. Chancellor, ‘Coleridge, Alice Mary (1846–1907)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 22 December 2017
  7. ^ "Top East Staffordshire school to shut". derbytelegraph. 21 March 2019. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. ^ Castle, Richard (27 March 2019). "Top school which announced closure may be saved by mystery investor". derbytelegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  9. ^ Woodard (28 June 2019). "Abbots Bromley School". Independent, Academy and Maintained Education | Woodard Schools. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  10. ^ Castle, Richard (27 March 2019). "Top school which announced closure may be saved by mystery investor". derbytelegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Hong Kong businessman bids to save school from closure, parents claim". derbytelegraph. 5 July 2019. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  12. ^ Woodard (28 June 2019). "Abbots Bromley School". Independent, Academy and Maintained Education | Woodard Schools. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Abbots Bromley School for Girls". Current information on schools. Independent Schools Council. Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  14. ^ "Abbots Bromley School for Girls". League Tables. BBC News. 19 October 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  15. ^ "Boarding". Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Nursery Education Inspection Report: Roch Pre-preparatory School; Inspection Number: 1156173". Ofsted Reports. Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). 2000. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2006.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 November 2020, at 17:09
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