Solihull School

From Academic Kids

Solihull School is an independent, fee-paying day school in Solihull, West Midlands, England. It has approximately 1000 students and selectively admits boys aged 7 to 18, and girls in the Sixth Form.

The school derives its origin from the parish church of St Alphege. In 1560 the revenues of the chantry chapels of St Mary and St Katherine were diverted for the endowment of a grammar school, as were those of the chapel of St Alphege six years later. The school's chapel, consecrated in 1960, was dedicated to St Mary and St Katherine to reflect the school's origins.

In the 17th century it became a boarding school, and in 1879 the charitable estate from which the school had been funded was devoted solely to educational purposes. This allowed 4,222 to be made available for an architect, Mr Chatwin, to be commissioned to build a new school on a new site for 80 day boys and 20 boarders. This is now the school's oldest surviving building, completed in 1882, and is known as School House. Building and expansion continued on this Warwick Road site into the 20th century. Over the course of the 20th century the school grew steadily from 100 to nearly 1000 students.

The school occupies a surprisingly large site of approximately 65 acres (260,000 m²) for such an urban location. This is partly as a result of a former headmaster, Mr Bushell, who in the 1920s bought much of the land himself when the governors refused to finance the purchase out of school funds. On his retirement Bushell sold the fields to the school at no profit. The school's (12-sided) quadrangle and surrounding classrooms, as well as the former hall, known as Big School, were built after this period, and were followed by a chapel and large teaching block and sports hall, amongst other additions.

In the early 1970s the school admitted girls into the Sixth Form for the first time. Only ten girls joined in the first year, but this grew quickly over the following years, until 2002 when for the first time as many girls entered the Sixth Form as did boys.

In recent years the success of the school's many and varied investments has allowed it to enter a period of almost continual upgrading and extending of its buildings and facilities. In 1990 a new building was constructed to house the Junior School. This was followed by the extension of the science laboratories in 1995; the extensive renovation of most classrooms (with the removal of such features as 1950s desks with attached seats and the installation of large interactive whiteboards in most classrooms) in 1998; and the conversion of Big School into a library, and the construction of a new hall and theatre building at the cost of several million pounds, completed in 2002 and named the Bushell Hall after the former headmaster (see above). A large new pavilion was constructed in 2003, and named the Alan Lee Pavilion after another former headmaster (1983–1996) who died shortly after its completion.

The rapid expansion of the school's facilities shows no signs of stopping, with the planned construction of a new teaching block and redevelopment of a large part of the school, involving the demolition of several buildings from the early 20th century.

Perhaps the most major change to the life of the school since the demise of boarding will take place in September 2005, when the school will begin a transition to becoming fully co-educational, at first admitting girls into all four years of the Junior School and at 11+ level, beginning a process which will be completed in 2009, when the first Year 7 girls will reach Year 11. It is anticipated that by this time the school will be able to accommodate approximately 1200 students.

The school has five houses, although these were all but abolished in 2002 as a result of structural changes which replaced housemasters with a new system. Pole takes its name from the man thought to have been the school's first headmaster, Jago and Shenstone are named after two 18th century poets who attended the school, and the others are called Fetherstone and Windsor. These are the current names: houses have come and gone in the past.

The school's main competitive team sport is rugby, but hockey is also played, and football in the Junior School. Girls play hockey and other sports. The school has a thriving music society consisting of no less than 18 orchestras, bands, choirs, and other groups. There is a popular Combined Cadet Force, which celebrated its centenary in 1997. Other notable features of school life include biennial expeditions for Sixth Form students which have proved popular and successful and over the last ten years have visited a variety of destinations in Asia and South America. The school charges approximately 7000 per annum in fees, but offers a generous provision of scholarships and exhibitions, funded by a foundation. The school has a thriving Parents' Association and Old Silhillians Association. Recently a partnership has been established with Small Heath School in Birmingham.

Notable old Silhillians

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