Lawrence Sheriff School is a boys' grammar school in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. The school is named after Lawrence Sheriff, the Elizabethan man who founded Rugby School. The school's name is often shortened to 'LSS', or often just 'Sheriff' by boys at the school. In an OFSTED inspection the school achieved 'outstanding' in all fields of inspection. The school runs in partnership with Rugby High School for Girls, the local all-female grammar school.
Lawrence Sheriff School was founded to fulfill Lawrence Sheriff's original intentions to provide a school for the boys of Rugby and neighbouring Brownsover, which was originally carried out by Rugby School. 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 led to the nineteenth-century proposal of a Lower School for local boys, with Foundation Scholarships to the Great School. The Lower School was opened in 1878 on the present site of Lawrence Sheriff School with a curriculum designed to meet the needs of a 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 a Governing body chaired by the Headmaster of Rugby School and containing both Foundation and County Governors. The school was built on what before was glebe land named Market Field, at what was the east limit of the built-up area of Rugby.
Under its second headmaster, Weisse (who renamed himself Whitehouse when the First World War started), a small incident caused a lasting effect on the area. To enlarge the school's sports area, he planned to buy a larger area of glebe land, Reynolds Field, west of the school land. But, as he was going down Bath Road in a carriage towards the railway station to go to Oxford to buy the land, the horse veered to the left and the carriage hit a lamppost; the horse panicked and the carriage overturned and Weisse was spilt out on the road, cutting his eye on glass from a broken carriage lamp. This event forced Weisse to miss the meeting, which was never rearranged for later, and the school never bought the land (except Penrhos House much later). The land later became Moultrie Road and Elsee Road in Rugby.
At the time the school opened, it was on the outskirts of Rugby town, which in 1878 was much smaller than now. The original building (now called Big School), was extended in 1909 with science wings (now used for Chemistry and Physics) on each side. The school continued to grow with several extensions, including the Jubilee Wings (1926 and 1934), the library wing (1957), and major expansion in the early 1960s, which included new biology labs and a new gymnasium. Big School was badly damaged by a fire in 1980, but was immediately restored, so the only tell-tale signs of this event are the steel reinforcements of the ceiling timbers. The venerable school organ was damaged beyond repair and was replaced. The most recent period of growth started in the late 1980s and the school has seen many extensions and new facilities over the last fifteen years.
In September 2014 Lawrence Sheriff School converted to academy status, thus ending its status as a voluntary aided school.
Lawrence Sheriff School is now the selective boys' grammar school for Rugby and the surrounding area. The school also has an old boys society: the Old Laurentians.
The school has been expanded greatly in the last five years with the construction of a new sixth form centre and the conversion of Penrhos House, originally the sixth form common room, into a Music block, as well as the construction of a new Learning Resources Centre.
The school owns a playing field, Hart Field, a mile away east-southeastwards, with five Rugby pitches and changing rooms. Over the school year of 2009, the field has been regenerated with new pitches created, including an Astroturf field, a new block of changing rooms, cricket nets and levelled playing fields.
Due to the need for maximum food production within Britain during the Second World War, much unproductive land (sports fields, large ornamental gardens, parks, golf courses, etc.) was requisitioned for farming or allotment gardens. In this period, the School Field and a third of the Hart Field were used in the grass growing season for sheep grazing but remained in school sport use. Most of the rest of the Hart Field was ploughed and used for growing wheat, except a strip along the bottom edge border that was used for allotment gardens; that border was adjacent to existing allotment gardens which were outside the school property. Approximately one third of the school's sixth form lost their lives during the war.
In 2008, 2010 and 2011 the school came first in national performance tables based upon data from the Department for Education (schools were ranked by their total points score in examinations). In 2012 it came fourth in the country and in 2013 it came seventh out of 3,200 secondary schools.
In 2013 75% of boys gained the English Baccalaurate. Comparing this to local selective schools in the area 87% of King Edward VI pupils, 73% of Bablake pupils, 66% of Rugby High School pupils and 64% of Rugby School pupils gained the English Baccalaurate.
In 2014 97% of boys gained the English Baccalaurate, placing the school third in the country according to the performance tables published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday 29 January. The same table showed that the school's average points score placed it fifteenth in the country.
The Learning Resources Centre is now open to students at Lawrence Sheriff School. This new building has eight new classrooms (to be split between Maths and Computing) as well as a new library area. This relieves pressure on other departments (notably Art and Design & Technology) of the school who can now move into the vacant old Mathematics rooms. It also allows students using the library to make use of a much more suited 'open' space – rather than the converted Headmasters' House ('Sheriff Centre') which has housed its many books until now. There has, however, been one aspect of controversy since the opening of this new building. Included on the floor is a floor mural, made up of mathematical and literal references (such as the famous formula E = mc2) but also including a cartoon drawing of a made-up book entitled "Plays and Devilishly Daring Melodramas". It did not take long for students of the school to quickly realise that this book name had been formed of the initials of Peter Kent, Annabel Kay, Dennis Barnett, Diane Halestrap and Melissa Hipkins – the 5 main members of the schools' Senior Management Team.
The LRC provides extra classrooms that will allow the school to continue in its current growth. As well as this, the provision of two new computer rooms will allow some departments (specifically those that aren't primarily computer-based) to explore the advantages of using computers within lesson times.
The Sheriff Centre which currently houses offices for the Assistant Head, Deputy Head and Exams Secretaries on its ground floor is now being redeveloped as a Management Suite. The first and second floors of this building (formerly the library) have been redundant since the opening of the LRC and it is believed that offices for the senior members of staff will be moved into this space.
The school operates a vertical tutoring system, in which forms consist of students from each year group. This was implemented to allow older students to mentor and support younger students, especially in the setting of personal targets and providing a sympathetic ear when they have any problems, so that all gain a clear sense of being part of a family. It also provides tutors with increased opportunities to support individual students and to check their progress more closely.
An Enrichment system also runs in the school. This puts aside two times a week in which students are allocated an enrichment program, usually based off interests or the personal request of the student, run by a teacher on any of a range of topics.
On 8 November 2010, Lawrence Sheriff introduced a new security measure in order to protect the school against unauthorised personnel entering the grounds. This took the form of a set of ID cards, a different colour for each section of the school (black for lower school, blue for Sixth Form, and red for staff members). Display of the cards is mandatory for Sixth Form and Staff, though Lower School are required only to be able to present the card when requested. These cards are linked to the canteen section of the school and are used to buy food, and are scanned when a student wants to print something using the school printers. In the future, it will be used to access secure areas of the school, and possibly be used for registration purposes.
Another notable change is the extension of the tarmacked area of playground, which took place in 2014. This gave pupils more area to be active in their breaktimes, and is particularly beneficial in the winter months, due to the school field normally being exceptionally muddy or frozen.
The school is partnering with Lutterworth High School in order to sponsor a primary school in the area. However, the school's headmaster (Dr Kent) stated that the new school will not become a feeder school for Lawrence Sheriff.
Former pupils at the school are called Old Laurentians and include:
There are 4 houses: Caldecott (Purple), Simpson (Green), Tait (Red), Wheeler (Blue). There are many inter-house competitions between the four. These competitions can range from sports or academic competitions. At the end of each year, the house with the most points for each competition wins a trophy.
On 19 May 2014 the school was found at fault by the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to provide an appeal to a child whose place was withdrawn for 2013 entry. The LGO report can be read at the Local Government Ombudsman's website.
In 2015 at the Coventry County Court, the School successfully applied for an injunction against a parent who for many years harassed senior members of the school through a number of different channels. In the words of the judge “..I consider that he has crossed the boundary between unattractive or unreasonable conduct to conduct, which is, indeed, oppressive and unacceptable. It has plainly involved a deliberate and persistent course of, in my view, unreasonable and oppressive conduct, which was calculated to, and did, cause alarm, fear or distress…”