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St Crispin's School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Crispin's School
St Crispins School Wokingham logo.jpg
London Road

, ,
RG40 1SS

Coordinates51°24′39″N 0°49′20″W / 51.41083°N 0.82222°W / 51.41083; -0.82222
MottoExcellence for all
Local authorityWokingham
TrustThe Circle Trust
Department for Education URN145286 Tables
Head teacherMiss G Rhodes[1]
Age11 to 18
Colour(s)Green and yellow    

St Crispin's School, founded in 1953, is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form located in Wokingham, Berkshire, England. There were 1,164 students at the school in 2017, of whom 234 were in the Sixth form.[2] The school is on the London Road, just outside Wokingham town centre.


A view of St Crispin's from the London Road
A view of St Crispin's from the London Road

St Crispin's School was the first of the Ministry of Education's prototype prefabricated schools. It was built between 1951 and 1953 by the Ministry of Education's own team of researchers into rational school building (David Medd and Mary Crowley) under the direction of S. A. W Johnson Marshall. The work was inspired by that of the Hertfordshire Architect's Department.[3] In the post-war years, with an increasing demand for school places, the government was under pressure to reduce costs but without compromising the school building programme. The aim was to establish new levels of cost efficiency for both erection and running costs. The building is of light steel construction with components of modular sizes. The classrooms were all originally located in a four-storey block above the main entrance with a central courtyard and a rambling series of inter-connected mostly single-storey buildings which provided accommodation for a hall, a gym and specialised teaching spaces for arts and crafts. The new techniques speeded up the building process so much that the school was able to open five months ahead of the planned schedule. It is widely believed that the school tower was designed with the potential to be modified to a hospital in times of national emergency, though no records have been found to substantiate the claim.[4] The informal layout and unassuming architecture influenced the layout and construction of schools across the country.[5] St Crispin's was classified as a Grade II listed building by English Heritage on 30 March 1993.[6]

The original school site consisted of 29 acres (120,000 m2), of which 4 acres (16,000 m2) were gardens to be tended by the students. The gardens have long gone but the school still has extensive playing fields and also benefits from the use of the adjacent St Crispin's Sports Centre.

The artwork on the walls was a particular feature of the school in its early years. The composition slabs by the main entrance featured paintings of a modular girl by the mural artist Fred Millett (1920–1980).[3] He also painted four murals depicting the seasons of the year, the most striking of which was a large mural at the east end of the dining hall depicting apple picking.[7] These pictures were removed or painted over in a redecoration programme in the 1970s but was restored in the summer of 2011.

A recent addition to the school is the brand new information and communications technology (ICT) block, built in 2005, which contains four rooms, each with around 30 computers. Many of the local primary schools come to St Crispin's for special ICT days where they have the chance to try out the new system. Recently, the school has upgraded its computer system, implementing better and faster computers with more educational software, available for the students' use. Also, Cisco has provided the school with servers and switches which are being set up in a "Networking Lab" to set a base for practical networking and server running for Cisco Students in A-Level.[citation needed]

In 2012, work was started on building a new Science Block on the area where the current tennis courts are located. A new Multiple Use Games Area was then built in another location on the existing school field. The existing science block will be refurbished and the English Department will then move to this location. The Music department also relocated to the area vacated by the biology department. The whole project was completed in 2013 and cost £5 million.


The Martyrdom of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, oil painting at Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, Poland
The Martyrdom of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, oil painting at Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, Poland

The school was named after St Crispin, the patron saint of cobblers, tanners and leather workers. The choice of name was perhaps inspired by the famous St Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V, a rousing battle cry from the king before the Battle of Agincourt which was fought on 25 October 1415 (St Crispin's Day).

St Crispin's was officially opened on 14 October 1953 by the Right Honourable Florence Horsbrugh, the then Minister of Education. It featured in a BBC Schools Current Affairs broadcast on 16 October 1953. There were 360 pupils aged between 11 and 15 on roll on the first day with 19 members of staff. By the end of the first full academic year there were 580 pupils at the school. The numbers rose rapidly and by 1958 there were 856 pupils on roll. As of the 2006/2007 academic year, there were 1050 students at the school.

In 2003 the school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and was featured as a "School in Focus" on the Teachernet website.[8] In the same year the school received a substantial addition to its funds by gaining a School Achievement Award from the Department for Education and Skills.[9]

St Crispin's was awarded specialist maths and computing status with effect from September 2004.[10] The award was accompanied by additional government funding of £600,000 spread over four years to allow the technology to be used across all areas of the curriculum.[11]

In July 2008 St Crispin's became the first secondary school in the Wokingham Borough to be awarded the prestigious ICT Mark from Becta, the (now-defunct) Government-funded agency for promoting ICT in schools and colleges.[12]

In the summer term of 2008 St Crispin's was recognised as a High-Performing Specialist School by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The status was granted as a result of the school's overall performance and, in particular, for its high-level GCSE results and good OFSTED report. As a result of this recognition the school was invited to apply for a second specialism.[13] A plan for a specialism in Leadership was submitted in January 2009 and approved on 14 February. The school was formally designated as a Leadership Partnership School with effect from April 2009.[14]

In 2010 the school was inspected by OFSTED. As a result of the inspection, the school achieved the status of being an 'Outstanding' school. Later, in 2013, the school was again inspected by OFSTED and had its rating changed to 'Good'.[15]

Previously a community school administered by Wokingham Borough Council, in February 2018 St Crispin's School converted to academy status. The school is now sponsored by The Circle Trust.

The school in film

Pupils from the school have on two occasions been required to act as extras in films. In 1957 the school's playing fields were used to show scenes of a sports day in the eight-part cinema/TV thriller The Great Attraction. The shooting took place over three days and a number of pupils were used in the film.

In 1989 around 150 pupils from the school acted as extras in Back Home, a television feature film starring Hayley Mills and Hayley Carr. The film was set in an English school in 1946 and told the story of an English girl returning home after spending the war years in the US. The students were selected if they had the appropriate look for the period, and they were paid £5 each for their contribution. Bearwood House was used as the location for many of the school shots and other scenes were filmed in Midhurst in West Sussex.[16]


Subject GCSE A level
Art and Design Yes Yes
Biology Yes Yes
Business Studies Yes Yes
Chemistry Yes Yes
Health and Social Care Yes Yes
Computer Science Yes No
Design and Technology Yes Yes
Drama Yes Yes
Economics - Yes
English Language Yes -
English Literature Yes Yes
French Yes Yes
Further Mathematics - Yes
General Studies Yes -
Geography Yes Yes
German Yes Yes
History Yes Yes
ICT Yes -
Mathematics Yes Yes
Media Studies - Yes
Music Yes Yes
Psychology - Yes
Physical Education Yes Yes
Physics Yes Yes
Religious Education Yes Yes
Science (double award) Yes -
Sociology - Yes
Spanish Yes Yes
Statistics Yes -

In Years 7, 8 and 9 (Key Stage 3) students study the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science plus the following foundation subjects: French, Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), History, Geography, Religious Education, Art, Music and Physical Education. In addition lessons are offered in Personal, Social and Health Education, Citizenship and Drama. Pupils are taught in sets for English, Maths, Science and French. German is offered as a second foreign language from Year 8 onwards to those in the top French sets.

The subjects offered at GCSE are shown in the table (right). St Crispin's is one of a small number of state schools which still offer the three separate sciences at GCSE. The following Design and Technology options are offered at GCSE: Food and Nutrition; Graphic Products; Resistant Materials; Systems and Control; Textiles.

The subjects offered at A level are also shown in the table (right). St Crispin's participates in the Cisco Networking Academy Programme and is one of the relatively few schools in the UK to offer this globally accepted professional course in networking. Pupils on this course have networked the computers in the school's IT suite and also those of the neighbouring primary school Westende.

St Crispin's has pioneered an innovative science buddy scheme, which was featured on Teachernet, the website for teachers and educators.[17] The scheme involved around 30 pupils from the top three sets in Year 11 helping the younger children in Year 7 to conduct experiments and investigations in a lunchtime club. The buddies also visited local primary schools during National Science Week and led practical sessions with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils.


Pupils at the school participate in the following sports: athletics, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, health-related fitness, hockey, netball, rounders, rugby, tennis and trampolining. There are school teams which play regular fixtures with other local schools in rugby, football, hockey, netball and basketball. Pupils also participate in the Reading Cross Country League. A number of pupils play at county level.[18]

Extracurricular activities

6th form Christmas Party

Every year at Christmas the students at the school's sixth form host a Christmas Party for members of the public that is entirely charity-funded. This helps the students give something back to the local community, and also helps students develop planning and people skills.


Pupils participate in the Economics Challenge, Young Enterprise, the Mathematics Olympiad, and the Wokingham Schools' Debating Competition. In 2004 St Crispin's School, represented by Ella Dolan and Joe Rogers, were the winners of the John Redwood Cup in the inaugural Wokingham Schools' Debating Competition.[19] In 2014, St Crispin's went through to the national finals of Mock Trial Competition (a school record) and were one of the two schools that represented Berkshire in the national finals, held in Birmingham.


Music tuition is provided by Berkshire Maestros at discounted rates. Pupils can learn to play woodwind, brass, percussion, violin, viola, guitar and keyboard.[20] On 23 October 2008, the school hosted the REME wind and soul band for an all day music workshop with the St Crispin's students. During the first two periods of the day, the students who played wind and percussion instruments were invited to take part in a wind band workshop alongside the REME wind band. pieces played included=- Children of Sanchez, El Cumbanchero, King Kong and Here's That Rainy Day. During the third period, all music students were invited to listen to a presentation given by the REME band on life as an army musician. During the fourth and fifth periods, students who played instruments such as percussion, guitar and brass were given the opportunity to play with the excellent REME soul band, along with many St Crispin's students providing vocals on the songs Valerie (Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson version) and Lady Marmalade. A string workshop also took place during this time. Later that evening, a concert took place in the school hall, which displayed all the work that the students had done during the day. All students, members of the REME band and audience enjoyed the evening. Both the day and the evening were a huge success.

St Crispin's School performs a large production every summer. These are usually well known musicals (schools editions) which involve all of the arts departments to create the show. The shows are directed by the drama and music staff, and performed almost exclusively by St Crispin's Students, although some musicians have been known to have performed in some of the shows. The shows get progressively better each year with the performances of Les Misérables and Sweeney Todd arguably being both the most ambitious, yet most successful shows. Recent performance history:

Year Production Type
2005 Grease Musical
2007 A High School Musical Musical
2008 Fame Musical
2009 Les Misérables Musical
2010 Abigail's Party Play
2011 RENT Musical
2012 We Will Rock You Musical
2013 Chicago Musical
2014 Hairspray Musical
2015 Les Misérables Musical
2016 Our Estate Musical
2017 Sweeney Todd Musical
2018 Grease Musical
2019 We Will Rock You Musical

School clubs

A range of clubs are available both at lunchtime and after school. There are clubs for music, drama, dance, art, Warhammer, various sports, computing (including a computer club specifically for girls) and Christian Union.

School trips

The school provides a regular programme of school trips to enhance the curriculum. Pupils have visited Warwick Castle, Lulworth Cove, Cheddar Gorge, HMS Belfast and the Black Country Museum. Lower school pupils have the opportunity to participate in a residential team building weekend. Overseas trips have included visits to the First World War battlefields, the art galleries in Barcelona, trekking in Thailand and Mexico, ski-ing in Aprica, Italy, and the US, and trips to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A Level Historians are taken on an annual trip to the Houses of Parliament. German Exchange also takes place in the school.

Achievements and specialisms

St Crispin's is a specialist school in mathematics and computing and a Leadership Partnership School.[14] It is both a Microsoft Academy and a Cisco Systems Networking Academy. The school has Investor in People Status and also holds the Sportsmark Award and the ICT Mark.[21] St Crispin's has strong links with the local community and has a special link with Costain through its building awareness programme.[22] The school celebrated its best ever GCSE results in 2011 with 89.1% of pupils achieving five or more passes at grades A* to C and 74.5% receiving five or more grades A* to C including maths and English.[23] At A level 51% of papers were awarded an A*-B grade.


In common with all other schools in Wokingham Borough, school places are allocated by the LEA based on designated catchment areas and feeder primary schools. Around 190 places are available at St Crispin's every year.[24] The feeder primary schools for St Crispin's are:

  • Gorse Ride Junior School
  • Hatch Ride Primary School
  • Keep Hatch Primary School
  • Nine Mile Ride Primary School
  • Oaklands Junior School
  • All Saints Primary School
  • St Theresa's Primary School
  • Bearwood Primary School
  • Westende Junior School
  • St Sebastian's Church of England School

In addition the school receives a significant number of students from the primary schools in Bracknell Forest Authority. The 2006 intake was made up of 180 students from 26 different primary schools.[25]


Eric Bancroft (1953-1971)

The first headteacher of St Crispin's was Eric Bancroft who joined the school in 1953. He moved to Wokingham from Yorkshire where he was formerly the headteacher of Sheffield County School. Drama was one of Bancroft's particular passions and the school has always had a strong tradition in the subject. Bancroft retired from teaching in 1972 and continued to live in Wokingham. He died on 13 July 1981.[26]

John Cole (1972-1992)

John Cole was selected as headteacher designate on 10 July 1971 and formally took over from Eric Bancroft in January 1972. He was responsible for overseeing the change to comprehensive status and the extension of the facilities to create new science, maths and sixth form blocks. Originally trained as a French teacher, he had a deliberate policy of teaching every pupil in their first year so that he knew every child in the school.[27] He retired in 1992 and died of cancer on 4 January 2007 at the age of 75.[28]

Alex Biddle (1992-2012)

Alex Biddle was appointed as headteacher in November 1991 and took office on 27 March 1992. He has presided over a significant growth in the school roll from a low of 701 in 1993 to 1050 in the 2005–2006 academic year. He retired at the end of the 2011–12 academic school year.[29]

Ginny Rhodes (2013-)

Miss G Rhodes started in Spring Term 2013.

Notable alumni

Further reading

  • St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003.


  1. ^ Headteacher's Welcome
  2. ^ DFES statistics
  3. ^ a b Pevsner, N. The Buildings of England: Berkshire, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, pp.309-310.
  4. ^ 'The site and buildings of St Crispin's'. St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, p25.
  5. ^ Building the Post-War World: Modern architecture and reconstruction in modern Britain by Nicholas Bullock. London and New York: Routledge: p 223. ISBN 0-415-22178-1 accessed February 2008
  6. ^ Historic England. "St Crispin's School (1238550)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  7. ^ St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, p26.
  8. ^ School in Focus - Celebrating Success: St Crispin's School, Wokingham
  9. ^ School Achievement Award Scheme
  10. ^ The Standards Site. List of Maths and Computing Colleges. Archived 21 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ St Crispin's Opens Its Doors To Celebrate Its Specialist Status. Wokingham Borough Council online news archive, 24 September 2004 accessed September 2007
  12. ^ 'Top marks for technology!' Wokingham Times, 2 July 2008, p11.
  13. ^ St Crispin's School Specialist Maths and Computing Newsletter July 2008
  14. ^ a b St Crispin's School, March 2009 newsletter
  15. ^
  16. ^ 'Back Home'. St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, pp20-21.
  17. ^ 'Science buddies'. Teachernet Case Studies
  18. ^ County representation 2006-2007.
  19. ^ Wokingham Schools' Debating Competition
  20. ^ Music tuition provided by Berkshire Maestros at St Crispin’s School accessed August 2007
  21. ^ St Crispin's School listing on Becta website
  22. ^ Costain Building Awareness Programme
  23. ^ 2007 GCSE results for comprehensives and academies from The Guardian accessed August 2007
  24. ^ Wokingham Borough Council. A Parent's Guide to Secondary School Admissions for September 2007.
  25. ^ 'Information for prospective parents'. St Crispin's school website accessed August 2007
  26. ^ "The early years under Eric Bancroft (1953-71)". St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, pp8-13.
  27. ^ "Former school head dies". Wokingham Times. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  28. ^ "Consolidation and comprehensive change with John Cole (1972-92)". St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, pp14-15.
  29. ^ "Into the new millennium with Alex Biddle (1992 until today)" St Crispin's School: The Story So Far. Wokingham, Berkshire: St Crispin's School, 2003, pp16-17.
  30. ^ St Crispin’s School website page on famous students accessed August 2007
  31. ^ Peter Lewington profile from Cricinfo

External links

This page was last edited on 31 January 2021, at 23:46
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