Richmond Park Academy

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Template:Infobox UK school

Richmond Park Academy is an academy status secondary school in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

Richmond Park Academy was formed in 2010 when academy status was granted to the predecessor Shene School. The academy is led by former Shene School head, Lesley Kirby, is sponsored by the Greensward Charitable Trust, and is managed by the Academies Enterprise Trust.<ref name="Academy_press_release">Template:Cite web</ref> In 2011 the academy secured almost £10 million of government funding for building improvements. Renovation and new building work is expected to commence in 2012.<ref name="Ofsted 2011">Template:Cite web</ref>


Richmond Park Academy is the most recent in a succession of schools that have occupied the location on Park Avenue and Hertford Avenue, East Sheen.

Richmond County School

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In the latter part of the nineteenth century there was no reasonable secondary education in Barnes and Richmond for miles around except for those who could afford private tuition or send their children many miles to school. In the most populous areas of Surrey, (e.g. Sutton, Wimbledon and Richmond) parents were for the most part obliged to be content to give their children an Elementary education. Richmond County was to be one of a series of new Technical Buildings erected or being erected by the County Council in the seven principal towns of the county.<ref name="Hist">Template:Cite web (Dissertation for the Teacher's Certificate at the Department of Education, University of Exeter as part of Michael Shaw's Post-Graduate Course)</ref> The school was opened on 2 July 1895 on land in Kew Road, Richmond and was fee paying. The buildings occupied a prominent site on the Kew Road at the corner of Selwyn Avenue. This building housed both the Technical Institute and secondary school. Pupils residing in Surrey paid £6 per year, whilst those from outside the county paid £10. The school began with a headmaster and five assistant masters, with visiting staff for the teaching of Art, Singing, French and German. Originally there were 50 boys between 11 and 16 and by 1901, when the new south wing was added,<ref name="Hist"/> numbers had increased. An extension comprising an assembly hall, four classrooms a gymnasium/drill hall and two workshops was opened in 1902. The first headmaster, A E Buckhurst, was succeeded in 1912 by T W Beasley who continued in office until the school's amalgamation with East Sheen County School for Boys in 1939. When the school merged with East Sheen County School for Boys in 1939 the school moved out of the Kew Road premises leaving the Technical Institute as sole occupants of the Kew Road site.<ref name="RACC">Template:Cite web</ref> The Technical Institute continued up to the Second World War when it was put on a war-time basis and used as an A.R.P and ambulance depot. It was revived as the Technical Institute and School of Art for Richmond and Barnes in 1947 and in 1954 renamed as The Richmond Institute of Further Education. In 1970 it became the Richmond Adult College and in 1978 transferred to the Parkshot site, vacant with the closure of Richmond County School for Girls and as the Richmond Adult & Community College remains at that site.<ref name="RACC"/>

East Sheen County School for Boys

House Colours
Fife Yellow
Hood Red
Temple Green
York Blue

East Sheen County School for Boys opened on 18 January 1927 on Hertford Avenue. The first headmaster was Mr H.H. Shephard, then aged 33. Ninety pupils gained entry via the Common Entrance Examination and fifteen boys were transferred from Richmond County Boys School. Provision was made for 20 county scholarship places and by 1928 the intake had risen to 210 boys.<ref name="Anon_Strevens">Template:Cite web</ref>


Shepherd established use of the House system. All boys were members of one of four houses, each house name derived from the names of local roads.<ref name="Hist"/><ref name="Anon_Strevens"/> The houses remained in use until the closure of the school in the 1970s.

East Sheen County School for Girls

In 1930 an area of the Hertford Avenue site was fenced off to build the girls' school which opened in 1931.<ref name="Anon_Strevens"/>

Richmond and East Sheen County School for Boys

A review of education in the county commencing in 1937 concluded that local population numbers were relatively stable so there were significant economies to be made by reducing the number of county schools in the borough from four to two. In addition the Kew Road site was inadequate in size, and pupil numbers in the county schools were declining due to increased school building in neighbouring boroughs and the effect of the Great Depression. In 1939, despite local opposition, the boys from Richmond County school were merged with East Sheen County School for Boys at the Sheen site, continuing under headmaster Mr Shepherd. In the same restructuring, East Sheen County School for Girls was merged with Richmond County School for Girls at the Parkshot site. Although the Richmond girls' school retained its name, the Sheen school was renamed Richmond and East Sheen County School for Boys.

Seniors were based in the original Boys' school building nearer Park Avenue, whilst junior boys (age 10–13) occupied the former Girls' school site which was also used for laboratory science and, for the first time, to provide school meals. The school also retained use of the former Richmond school playing fields at Pesthouse Common, (now the site of Christ's School).

Following the Education Act 1944 the School became known as Richmond and East Sheen County (Grammar) School for Boys.

Mortlake County Girls School

As Mortlake County Girls School lacked air-raid shelters, early during World War II, the school relocated to the then partially empty girls' school buildings on the Hertford Avenue site.<ref name="Hist"/> The school remained there as Hertford Avenue Girls School until the formation of the Sixth Form College.

G. P. Rawlings

In 1953 Mr H.H. Shephard retired after 25 years service and assistant head, history teacher Mr Bacon, led the school for a brief period until the appointment of his successor, G P Rawlings.<ref name="Hist"/>

Like his predecessors, Grahame Pryce Rawlings (1912 – 17 April 1993)<ref name="Oxon_obit">Template:Cite journal</ref> was educated at Oxford where he gained his MA in mathematics and represented Hertford College at Rugby Union.<ref name="Anon_Strevens"/> During the second world war he joined the RAFVR, became a Spitfire pilot, and rose to the rank of Wing Commander. At the end of the war he was awarded the OBE.

After the war Rawlings remained in the Air Force, transferring to a commission as Flight Lieutenant, Technical Branch, in 1948. Rawlings wrote several books; a training manual 'Electricity for Air Training' published in 1941. and mathematics books covering Trigonometry, the Slide rule and Calculus. Prior to joining the school he was Director of Studies at the naval training establishment HMS Worcester.<ref name="Anon_Strevens"/> He joined the school in the summer of 1954. Outside of school, Rawlings also became a JP.<ref name="Oxon_obit"/>

Shene County Grammar School for Boys

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The Jubilee of Richmond County School was celebrated in 1956 and a fund launched towards the building of a new Library, completed in 1958. Also in 1956 Mr Rawlings established the school motto Enrich the time to come taken from the last scene of Shakespeare's Richard III.

In 1957, Richmond and East Sheen County Grammar School for Boys became known simply as Shene County Grammar School for Boys, using the Anglo-Saxon spelling of the name for Richmond previously adopted by the Old Boys' society.<ref name="Hist"/> (Informally, the school was more commonly referred to simply as Shene Grammar).

During 1957 a new laboratory, prep room and two classrooms were added and the school electricity supply changed from DC to AC. In 1961 a new dining area and kitchen were built at the rear of the Main Hall and a new Gymnasium built to the west of the site in 1967.<ref name="Anon_Strevens"/>

During this period, the sports facilities at Barn Elms were used for Rugby and Cricket according to season, and use made of the county sailing and canoeing facilities at Ham.<ref name="Intakes 1960-1969">Template:Cite web</ref>

Shene College

A major reorganisation of education and the end of selective education in the borough in the early 1970s caused the demise of the school. Shene Grammar took in its final intake of pupils in September 1972.

From 1973 the former grammar school sixth form was expanded and the school became Shene College, predominately a sixth form college but, due to the remaining Grammar school pupils, not entirely so. Mr. Rawlings left to become Mathematics Advisor for the borough. Mr. Eric Healey was appointed as principal, with Mr. R. Friggens, former Deputy Head of the Boys School assisting administratively, Mrs. K. Kulisa, Headmistress of the Richmond County Girls taking charge of academic affairs and Mr. R. Smith (from outside the borough) leading on student matters. As part of the conversion of the school a new Technical Block was built to the east of the main hall.

With dwindling pupil numbers and some staff increasingly sharing roles across Richmond and Shene sites, the remaining pupils and staff of Richmond County School for Girls merged with the remainder of the boys' school at the Shene site in 1974.

In a further borough education reorganisation in 1977, with the final cohort of grammar school pupils reaching the sixth form, Shene College was merged with the borough's other sixth form college, Thames Valley, and the Technical College at Twickenham. Together they formed one large tertiary college, Richmond upon Thames College, on the Technical College site off the Great Chertsey Road. The Shene site became the Shene Comprehensive School.

Shene Comprehensive School and Shene School

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Shene School was formed from the amalgamation of Barnes School (Barnes) and Gainsborough School (Kew) in 1977. It was a state secondary six-form entry school with a multi-cultural pupil roll of just over 900. Uniform was mandatory. The school retained its predecessor's motto: “Enrich the Time to Come” and the school crest was a deer surmounted by a globe.

In August 2010 Richmond upon Thames Council announced that the Department for Education had approved the proposal to grant the school status as an Academy.<ref name="Academy_press_release"/> Shene School closed and in September 2010 Richmond Park Academy opened on the same site.


As a result of unsatisfactory attainment over several years, an Ofsted report in September 2007 gave Shene School Notice to Improve. However, under the new headship of Lesley Kirby and her leadership team, the school's overall examination results improved by 12 per cent, meeting Ofsted targets and lifting the school above the Government's floor targets for 5 A* – C. A subsequent Ofsted re-visit showed that the school and its pupils, described as a capable student body, were satisfactorily on course to achieving further improvement. Both the leadership team and the governing body were deemed strong by the Ofsted inspectors.Template:Citation needed

An Ofsted monitoring inspection conducted in December 2011, 15 months after the school re-opened as an Academy, noted that the school had 'made good progress in raising standards' and that 'Teaching is improving, with an increasing proportion that is good or outstanding'.

According to Ofsted, the 'strong and clear leadership of the headteacher has galvanised self-belief in staff and students. The capacity of leaders to drive improvement has been developed at all levels'.<ref name="Ofsted 2011"/>


Shene School

  • Fara Williams, English football player for England Women and Everton Ladies
  • Jonny 'itch' Fox, lead vocalist for top 20 punk band 'The King Blues' and signed solo rapper
  • Calvin Smith, drummer of the internationally acclaimed progressive metal outfit The Safety Fire
  • Saul Dibb, film director (The Duchess)
  • Theo Delaney, film director
  • Adam Green (deceased), guitarist – Saint Jude
  • Jem Godfrey, Ivor Novello Award-winning British music producer, keyboardist and songwriter

Shene County Grammar School

  • Robin Bextor, Head of Arts at TWI, and BAFTA award winning TV director<ref name="Intakes 1960-1969"/>
  • Prof Michael Branch CMG, Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies from 1980–2001
  • Richard Drummie, vocalist with 1980's band Go West!
  • Richard Ellis, Chairman of the East of England Development Agency from 2003 to 2010
  • Prof Paul Lewis Hancock (1937–1998), Professor of Neotectonics at the University of Bristol
  • Prof Paul Luzio, Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology since 2001 at the University of Cambridge and Director since 2002 of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
  • Prof David Miers, Professor of Law, University of Cardiff
  • Prof Michael Rush, Professor of Politics, University of Exeter

Richmond and East Sheen County School for Boys

  • Raymon Anning CBE, Commissioner of Police of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force from 1985–89
  • Prof John Carey, Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford from 1976–2001
  • Prof John Chalker, Professor of English, Vice Principal at Queen Mary College
  • Dr Douglas Robert Chambers, Coroner of Inner London North
  • David Hall CBE, Chief Constable of Humberside Police from 1976–91
  • Henry Haig, stained glass artist
  • Phillip Hares CBE, Chief Executive of British Shipbuilders from 1987–7
  • Sir John Hill, Chairman: Atomic Energy Authority, Chairman: British Nuclear Fuels, Chairman: Amersham International
  • Prof David Martin, Prof of Sociology at London School of Economics. Fellow of the British Academy
  • Sir Robin McLaren CMG, Ambassador to China from 1991–4,and to the Philippines from 1985–7
  • Prof Derrick Neill DFC, Professor of Prosthetic Dentistry at King's College London School of Medicine and Dentistry (then part of Guy's Hospital) from 1969–76
  • Jack Parker, British Olympic hurdler at Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956
  • Dr Brian John Perry, Chief Hospital Physicist, St George's Hospital
  • Morgan Reynolds, England amateur soccer international.
  • Sir John Williams CMG, High Commissioner to Kenya from 1979–82 and to Fiji from 1970–4
  • Dr John Wymer, archaeologist

Richmond County School

  • David Chilcott (October 19, 1934 – November 8, 2000) – former head printer of The Guardian newspaper.
  • Sir John Cumber CMG MBE, Director General of Save the Children from 1976–85
  • William J. Field, Labour MP for Paddington North from 1946–53
  • Sir Harold Tempany CMG CBE, agricultural chemist



External links

Template:Schools and colleges in Richmond upon Thames