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History of Lawrence Sheriff School


Lawrence Sheriff School: Ancient & Modern

From the Lawrence Sheriff School Prospectus, 2007

Lawrence Sheriff was born in 1515 or 1516 in or near Rugby. He became a full member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, prospered in the reign of Elizabeth I, bought extensive property near London and in the area of Rugby, and in his will of 1567 left money for a school ‘to serve chiefly for the children of Rugby and Brownsover … and next for such as be of other places hereunto adjoining’.

By the eighteenth century, Rugby School had acquired a national reputation as a Public School, and moved to its present site. As the proportion of pupils from outside Rugby increased, and the people of the town seemed to benefit less from Lawrence Sheriff’s original bequest, local concern prompted the nineteenth-century proposal of a Lower School for local boys, with Foundation Scholarships to the Great School. The Lower School opened in 1878 on the present site of Lawrence Sheriff School, with a curriculum designed to meet the needs of commercial education and preparation for Rugby School. By 1906, a compromise between the traditions of the Foundation, and a proposal to hand the school over to the County, led to the creation of a governing body chaired by the Headmaster of Rugby School and containing both Foundation and County Governors.

This partnership continued into voluntary aided status under the 1944 Act: Lawrence Sheriff School is now the selective boys’ grammar school for Rugby and the surrounding area, with the building owned and maintained by the Governors, and the running costs funded by the Local Authority.

Like many other schools with a long tradition, Lawrence Sheriff has a collection of buildings from different periods, with laboratories, workshops, classrooms and activity areas added over the years to the fine nineteenth century mock-tudor Big School. Since 1990, a series of refurbishments, modifications, and new facilities more than doubling the area of the buildings has modernised the school extensively.

The six older science laboratories have been fully re-fitted and to these have been added two that are completely new. The school boasts four fully networked computer rooms and there are additional computer facilities in almost every subject area of the school.

More than half of the school’s 22 full sized classrooms were built since 1990 and almost every classroom contains video facilities and modern furniture. Interactive whiteboards, initially available only in computer rooms, are being gradually introduced into other areas of the school.

The Design and Technology Department, opened in 1993, contains much state-of-the-art equipment as well as many traditional facilities and a specialist Electronics area.

The Sheriff Centre houses a much admired and well resourced library and information centre, on two floors of what was originally the Headmaster’s house. An extensive and modern stock of books, both fiction and non-fiction, CD-ROMs, videos and other research facilities are available to students and the library is widely regarded as one of the finest in any Warwickshire school.

Among the most recent developments are the Griffin Centre, Sports Hall and Studio, opened in 1996 and frequently used by local sports groups as well as the school community. The Studio is fully equipped for drama, with excellent lighting and sound facilities, although full-scale drama productions tend mainly to be staged in Big School, where larger audiences can be accommodated.

In September 2001 our new Sixth Form Centre opened, boasting state-of-the-art facilities for sixth form study and research. The centre comprises on the ground floor a huge sixth form common room and study area, and upstairs six new classrooms, a virtual language laboratory founded by a generous gift from the Old Laurentian Society, and the school’s fourth computing room.

The opening of the centre, at the start of the new millennium, illustrates the Governors’ continuing commitment to providing students with the best possible facilities. The Governors have invested over £4m in new buildings for the benefit of students over the past fifteen years.