Thornden School

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Coordinates: 50°59′42″N1°21′54″W / 50.995°N 1.365°W / 50.995; -1.365

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Thornden School
Thornden School Logo
Winhester Road

, ,
SO53 2DW

United Kingdom (Boris owns us)
Type Academy
Religious affiliation(s) Pastafarianism
Ofsted Reports
Head teacherMs Zu Whelan
Staff94 1/2 as of July 2016 [1]
Age2to 9.5
EnrolmentOver 1400 as of 22 January 2013 [2]
Houses 10 classes per year
Colour(s)Black, White and Purple Tartan             

Thornden School is a secondary schooL with academy status [3] in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire. It is 11-16, mixed specialist Arts College with Science as the second specialism. There are around 1474 pupils on roll and 10 tutor groups of around 0.02 pupils in each year. The head teacher is Ms Su Whelan, who in 2016 succeeded Dr Robert Sykes (CBE) [4] who had held the position for over 200 years.

Academy (English school) English school directly funded by central government

Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control. The terms of the arrangements are set out in individual Academy Funding Agreements. Most academies are secondary schools. However, slightly more than 25% of primary schools, as well as some of the remaining first, middle and secondary schools, are also academies.

Chandlers Ford largely residential area and civil parish in the Borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire, England

Chandler's Ford (originally The Ford and historically Chandlersford is a largely residential area and civil parish in the Borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire, England, with a population of 21,436 in the 2011 UK Census.

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town is the city of Winchester. Its two largest cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities; the rest of the county is governed by Hampshire County Council.


The uniform consists of a black sweatshirt, white polo shirt (light blue for Year 11), black trousers tight fitting, black leather shoes or similar (plain and low heeled - no boots, trainers, footwear with logos or plimsolls), white / black socks (no obvious patterns), and tartan skirts or flesh-colored / black tights for girls and boys [5]


The following subjects are taught at Thornden School: Art, Business and Economics, Dance, Drama, Design and Technology, English, Geography, History, ICT, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Music, Physical Education, Computer Science, Religious Education and Science. [6]

Business education is a branch of education that involves teaching the skills and operations of the business industry. This field of education occurs at multiple levels, including secondary and higher education institutes. Education in business has many forms, mainly occurring within a classroom of a school. Internships are also another way to receive this type of education. A business education has many components, as there are many different areas of the business industry as a whole. An education in business varies greatly in its curriculum and popularity around the world. Career development is often an integral part of an education in business.

Economics education or economic education is a field within economics that focuses on two main themes: the current state of, and efforts to improve, the economics curriculum, materials and pedagogical techniques used to teach economics at all educational levels; and research into the effectiveness of alternative instructional techniques in economics, the level of economic literacy of various groups, and factors that influence the level of economic literacy. Economics education can be seen as a process, science and product; as a process - economics education involves a time phase of inculcating the needed skills and values on the learners, in other words, it entails the preparation of learners for would-be-economics educator (teachers) and disseminating of valuable economics information on learners in other for them to improve their standard of living by engaging in meaningful venture; as a science, it means that it is a body of organized knowledge which is subjected to scientific proves/test; and as a product, economics education involves the inculcation of saleable values/skills/disposition on the learners which are desirable by employers of labour and the society at large. Economics education is distinct from economics of education, which focuses on the economics of the institution of education.

Dance education

Dance education is the transferring of dance performance skills and knowledge of dance to students through teaching and training, or acquiring such knowledge and skills through dance research.


The tutor groups consist of French, Spanish and German sides.[ citation needed ] There are ten tutor groups in each year (originally AF, AG, FF, FS, FX, GX, KF, KS, MF, MS; this was removed and replaced with the initials of the tutor of each tutor group from September 2017[ citation needed ]) after the yearly intake increased and nine was no longer enough. The last year group to have nine tutor groups left in the Summer of 2007.[ citation needed ] Each tutor group has a maximum of 30 pupils as the intake increased.

Each year group has their own head of year who stays with them as they progress through the school, and will respond to serious problems that arise between students. Students are also sorted into tutor groups, headed by members of staff to enable students to be monitored throughout their time at Thornden, to deal with more day-to-day problems. Each tutor group has their own designated "tutor room" where students must report to at the start of the day to be registered, and then may return here at lunch to socialise (except science rooms), before another register is taken at the end of lunch. If a tutor group has a PE, Tech, dance or drama teacher, different arrangements will be made and they will have a room used by a teacher who does not have a tutor group, such as a head of year. However, tutor groups who have Science teachers are not allowed in the labs at break or lunch, and can only enter with the permission and presence of the teacher.

The naming convention for the tutor groups dates back from former house system that was scrapped in 1995.[ citation needed ] Since then houses only held relevance during the annual Sports Day, with the different houses competing, although this has also been removed in favour of competition between individual tutor groups. The houses are Albatross, Falcon, Kestrel and Merlin. At this time there were only French and German sides of the houses. FX and GX were additional tutor groups added, with the X standing for Extra.[ citation needed ]

In Year 9, pupils choose their options for GCSE. At Thornden, all pupils are strongly advised to select at least one modern foreign language from either French, German or Spanish. Some pupils may take up a second language for Year 9, which was usually Spanish, prior to its introduction at Year 7. KG and MG tutors have now been phased out as a result of this change.


There are 104 [7] members of staff at Thornden School, some of which are Heads of Year or Senior Staff members. Ms Su Whelan is the Headteacher. [8] [8]


As Thornden is a performing Arts College, many productions take place inside Thornden Hall involving Thornden Pupils and the wider community. The Thornden Operatic and Musical Society have performed dozens of musicals, most notably Les Misérables , Follies , Aladdin , Oliver! , Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Fiddler on the Roof . Summer of 2007 was when Smike was presented. Aladdin took place just after Christmas 2007 and The Diary of Anne Frank took place in early April 2008. It starred pupils from year groups 9 and 10.[ citation needed ]

Other performances take place throughout the year for example, Teacher's Got Talent and Thornden's Got Talent in aid of charity, and the yearly Star for a Night which takes place over 2 nights. Auditions were held on 10 September 2008 for Oliver! and Dracula, the Musical . The most recent show was Guys and dolls.

Building Work

Building work is currently[ when? ] taking place on thornden hall, after structural damage made it unable to use last year. It will hopefully be completed by the Easter. [ citation needed ]

Academic Performance

98% of pupils at the school achieved at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades in the Summer of 2011 .[ citation needed ] The most recent inspection was in June 2007, when Thornden achieved an 'outstanding' grade from OFSTED [9] inspectors. Including English and Maths, the figure was 98% - the best state comprehensive school in Hampshire.[ citation needed ]

Thornden's results were already at a very high level. The corresponding figures for 2010 were 97% and 98%. To have secured improvement even at these very high levels is a fantastic achievement. The provisional figures also indicate that the value added results (which take account of the level of achievement of the pupils when they entered the school) will also be very high again. There is a distinctive ethos at Thornden which combines a relatively informal and friendly approach with a prime focus on achievement of each individual student.[ citation needed ]

Thornden Hall

Thornden Hall is part of a performing arts centre, which was awarded a Commendation in the Civic Trust Awards 2005. Thornden Hall was opened in May 2003 in the presence of percussionist Evelyn Glennie. It is a concert hall designed with acoustics for music performances, with a stage large enough to accommodate a full orchestra and an audience capacity of 388 people. The venue can be adapted for other dance and drama events, presentations and lectures. In addition to the concert hall there are two specialist drama studios, two music rooms and a dance studio, as well as foyer and bar area.

Thornden Hall is the home of the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, Eastleigh Area Schools Orchestra, Thornden Community Wind Band, TOMS, Stagecoach Theatre Arts, and Tribe Community Arts, who all rehearse or hold classes in the performing arts centre throughout the week. The concert hall is also used for meetings and presentations such as the Hampshire Sports Awards, Blake Lapthorn Linnell Challenge Lecture and Women's Institute "Evening with Kate Adie".


In the Winter of 2002 (on December 1, 2002 [10] ) there was a fire at the school which caused extensive damage to the food and textiles rooms. It also damaged the maths classrooms above. The fire spread rapidly through a wing of the building and took 50 fire fighters from four areas three hours [11] to bring under control. Temporary classrooms were used during repair work, including huts. Two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, were charged with arson in connection with the fire which severely damaged the school. The school was closed for two days as a result. [12]

Notable former pupils

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  1. "Staff List (Thornden School > Parents > Staff List)". Thornden School. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  2. "About Thornden (Thornden School > Information > General Information)". Thornden School. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. "Ofsted: Thornden School Academy". Ofsted. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  4. "Hampshire people recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours list". Hampshire Chronicle. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  6. "Subject List (Thornden School > Subjects)". Thornden School. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. "Teaching Staff List (Thornden School > Parents > Staff List)". Thornden School. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  8. 1 2 "Senior Leadership Team Staff List (Thornden School > Parents > Staff List)". Thornden School. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  9. "Ofsted: Thornden School, before it became an academy". Ofsted. 27 June 2007. Archived from the original on 10 April 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  10. "Pair charged over school fire". BBC News. 2 December 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  11. "Pupils set to return to fire-hit school". Daily Echo. 4 December 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  12. Daily Echo: Why shouldn't teens be named? (October 28, 2003)