Brentwood School (England): Wikis


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Brentwood School
Motto Virtue, Learning and Manners
Established 1558
Type Independent School
Founder Antony Browne
Headmaster Ian Davies
Faculty 114 full time, 23 part time
Students 1,121
Grades Reception - Sixth Form
Location Brentwood, Essex, England
Brentwood School

Brentwood School is an independent school in Brentwood, Essex, England. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and of the Haileybury Group of independent schools.



Brentwood School and the Martyr's Elm, 1847

The licence to found the school, as "The Grammar School of Antony Browne, Serjeant at the Law, in Brentwood" was granted by Queen Mary to Sir Antony Browne on 5 July 1558, and the first Schoolmaster, George Otway, was appointed on 28 July 1558.

In 1568 the school moved to a purpose built school room, which still remains, the commemoration stone of which was laid by Browne's stepdaughter Dorothy Huddleston, and her husband Edward, Browne having died in 1567.[1]

The school room was next to the site where nineteen-year-old William Hunter was burned to death for refusing to accept the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Martyr's Elm grew on the spot of his incineration.

Browne had sentenced Hunter when Justice of the Peace for the area under Queen Mary and, although she also issued the licence, some mistakenly believe the school was founded as penance for Hunter's martyrdom when Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne.

Although Browne drew up the school statutes, these were never legally adopted, so were re-drawn by his descendants and John Donne, Dean of St Paul's, in 1622.[1]

In the 1960s and early 1970s the school was a direct grant grammar school, until the abolition of the scheme in the mid-1970s.

The FoBS (Friends of Brentwood School) was founded in 1982 to help raise funds within the school, mainly via large events and excursions for pupils.

In 2009 the school made national headlines when it appeared that only 22 students out of 37 taking the International Baccalaureate had gained a place at university despite paying fees of up to £22,000 to attend the school.[2] However, the headmaster confirmed at the Annual General Meeting of the Society of Old Brentwoods held on September 19, 2009 that ultimately only one of the pupils had failed to get a university place. The headmaster attended the final of the men's singles at Wimbledon rather than results day.[3]


The school is separated into three main sections: Senior School (ages 11 to 18), Brentwood Preparatory School (ages 7 to 11) and Pre-Preparatory School (ages 3 to 7).

Originally the whole school was for boys, but in 1974 the Governors took the decision to allow a small number of girls to enter the Sixth form. The Girls' School opened in 1986, admitting girls from ages 11 to 18, with the Preparatory School following suit in 1998.

The school has two mottos, Virtue, Learning and Manners and Incipe, the latter being a Latin motto (roughly meaning "to begin" or "to start") added in the 19th century.

The school is considered in terms of Independent Schools' A-Level results to be third division[4] (with there being five divisions of which Premier League is the highest).

In 2007 Brentwood School celebrated its 450th anniversary in St Paul's Cathedral.


The school is notable for its sporting achievements, particularly in football, cricket and fencing. The school has consistently performed well as part of the Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA), winning the national ISFA cup in 2008. The school has also been historically successful in the prestigious Public Schools Fencing Championships, winning the overall title 34 times since 1962, with the last team victory coming in 2008. The school has had students and teachers win medals for fencing at the World and Commonwealth Games and Old Brentwood, Alex O'Connell recently went to the Beijing Olympics to represent Great Britain. Additionally, Brentwood has produced national and international standard squash, cricket and netball players, among others.

Brentwood School are current netball, cricket and senior girls' tennis champions. A number of improvements in sporting facilities have been made in recent years. These include a 25-metre indoor swimming-pool and learner pool, a fitness suite, 4 additional glass-backed squash courts and an indoor rifle range. The school is set in 70 acres (280,000 m2) of grounds and has two playing-fields, one is situated directly on the school site and another, the Heseltines, adjacent to the school. These contain many football, rugby, cricket and hockey pitches, an all-weather Astroturf pitch, tennis and netball courts and an athletics track and field as well as a woods used for cross-country runs.

In recent years, the school has led the field in cricket in the south east. In 2006, they were runners-up in the Bunbury National Cup. This was the first time an Essex team had made it past the quarter finals, and the school went on to win the same competition the next year. Also in 2006, the U15s won the national 20/20 competition and this year the U15s are in the national semi-finals and will shortly play Millfield.

Drama and Music

The school hosts various theatrical performances and shows. In one academic year the theatrical line-up usually consists of a winter/spring play, a sixth-form comedy charity show, a dance show alongside various other acts. In 2008 the school featured two Winter theatrical shows; My Fair Lady and Habeas Corpus.

Commensurately, the school boast a rich tradition of notable alumni in the dramatic arts, including comedian Griff Rhys Jones, actor Hal Ozsan, playwright David Eldridge

Brentwood often hosts concerts such as the orchestral concerts and chamber concerts comprising of the school's big band, orchestra and choir. The school has a strong musical reputation and a close association with the Brentwood (Catholic) and Chelmsford (Church of England) Cathedrals having a number of pupils and staff singing in their choirs. The Brentwood School Music Department has four full-time teaching staff and 20 visiting teachers.

The school offers a range of musical opportunities with several Orchestras and five Brass and String Ensembles, a Junior Choir, a Choral Society and a Chapel Choir. Each year the school is involved in instrumental and choral tours in Europe and sometimes further afield. Recent choral performances have included: 'Belshazzar's Feast' by Walton, Requiems by Mozart, Verdi and Fauré and 'Gloria' by Poulenc.

The Director of Music at Brentwood School is David Pickthall, a conductor and composer. One of his proudest accomplishments was his involvement in Wallace & Gromit's The Wrong Trousers. He can be seen at events such as school Chamber Concerts, and takes the school orchestra abroad, as far as Siena, Italy. He often allows the Liam Taylor Jazz Band, which consists of Brentwood School pupils, to play short sets as part of Big Band events.[5]


The Sir Anthony Browne Society is a society which focuses on furthering the education of Sixth Form students (Junior SABS is also available for the younger years). Regular meetings are held at which there is either a speaker or a debate.

Senior School

Between the ages of 11 and 16 (up to GCSE level), boys and girls are taught separately. After this, in the Sixth Form, teaching is co-educational.

  • Age range: 11 - 18
  • Day pupils: 652 male, 442 female, (£14,164 annual fees)
  • Full boarding: 45 male, 27 female, (£23,466 annual fees)
  • Total Pupils: 697 male, 469 female
  • Including 6th form/FE: 179 male, 116 female
  • Staff numbers: 114 full time, 23 part time
  • Method of entry: School exam.
  • Professional affiliations: HMC, IAPS, ISC, AGBIS (formerly GBA and GBGSA)
  • Religious affiliation: Church of England

Entrance in to the school at Year 7 is by an Entrance Examination, testing students' skills in Maths, English and Verbal Reasoning. Scholarships can be offered to entrants based on six aspects:

  • Academic Merit in the Entrance Examination

Talent in:

  • Music
  • Sport
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Choral

Bursaries are also offered to entrants under special conditions.


There are five day houses named North Town, South Town, East Town, West Town and Weald, together with two boarding houses, Mill Hill for girls and Hough for boys; the latter two making up a sixth house, School house. Prior to the mid-1940s the school was entirely boarding, however, as Brentwood grew into the large commuter town that it is today, demand for day education increased and accordingly the number of boarding houses were reduced. It remains one of only a select few schools in the country in which boarding students have their own rooms rather than shared dormitories. The boarding house consists of mainly academic individuals from other countries, namely China, Russia, India and predominantly Germany, who must pass an internal exam to gain entrance.

Competitions in sport, music, drama, debating and various other activities are held on a regular basis between the houses. Each house has its own styled tie, for North the defining colour is yellow, for South it is red, East's is light blue, West's is dark blue, Weald is represented by claret and the male and female boarders of the school have separate ties of maroon with two bordering white stripes and green ties respectively.

The current heads of houses are:

  • North Town: Mr N. Crosby
  • South Town: Mr C. Long
  • East Town: Mr J. McCann
  • West Town: Dr G Fisher
  • Weald: Mrs N. Heelam
  • Hough: Mr P. Rees and Mrs C. Rees
  • Mill Hill: Mr J. Shipway and Mrs J. Shipway

Notable Old Brentwoods

Also see the school's own list of Old Brentwoods at [2]


  1. ^ a b "Historical Notes" from "Brentwood School, School Lists" (AKA The Blue Book)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Telegraph Independent Schools A-Level Results
  5. ^
  6. ^ Dunlop PSA World Rankings
  7. ^ [1] Brentwood School Records
  8. ^ Betts, Graham (2006). England: Player by player. Green Umbrella Publishing. pp. 181. ISBN 1-905009-63-1. 
  9. ^ Air Museum copy of letter retrieved 04 February 2009

External links

Coordinates: 51°37′13″N 0°18′25″E / 51.62028°N 0.30694°E / 51.62028; 0.30694


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