The Leys School

The Leys School

Infobox UK school
name = The Leys School

size =
latitude =
longitude =
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motto = In Fide Fiducia (Latin:In Faith, Trust)
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established = 1875
approx =
closed =
c_approx =
type = Independent Boarding and Day School
religion = Methodist Christian
president =
head_label =
head = Mr. Mark Slater
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r_head =
chair_label =
chair =
founder =
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specialist =
street = Trumpington Road
city = Cambridge
county = Cambridgeshire
country = England flagicon|England
postcode = CB2 7AD
ofsted =
staff =
enrollment = 534
gender = Mixed
lower_age = 11
upper_age = 18
houses = Click Here
colours =
publication = The Fortnightly
free_label_1 =
free_1 =
free_label_2 =
free_2 =
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website =
website_name =

The Leys School is a co-educational British public school (privately funded and independent)—it is a boarding and day school for over 520 pupils aged between 11 and 18 years. The school is located in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Annual school fees for the 2008/2009 academic year range from £15,630 (approx. US$31,111 in 2007) for a day student to £23,940 (approx. US$47,655 in 2007) for a boarder. [ [ School Website - Fees] ]


The nineteenth century saw the founding of a large number of new schools in Britain, especially by the churches—including the Methodist church. Although there were already several leading schools that offered an education for the sons of Ministers of the church, some Methodists were asking also for schools to be established for sons of lay church members. The Methodist Conference set up a committee to look at the possibility of starting a new school at either Oxford or Cambridge. Following several visits to Cambridge, they discovered that a 20-acre (80,000 m²) site called "The Leys Estate" was being offered for sale. The estate was situated within easy reach of the city centre on the Trumpington Road, and it was close to the River Cam and to a number of Cambridge Colleges. The estate was acquired for the sum of £14,275 on 27 September 1872. The Reverend Doctor W.F. Moulton, who had been the secretary of the committee, was asked to become headmaster of the new school. The School opened on 16 February, 1875 with sixteen boys, all from English Methodist families. After two years there were 100 pupils. By 1881, the school had a rival as the Methodist Foundation opened another public school, Culford School, in nearby Bury St. Edmunds.

During the twentieth century, The Leys grew significantly and by 1930 the number of pupils had reached 271. During the Second World War, the school temporarily moved to the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry Scotland, returning to Cambridge in 1946. Today the majority of the pupils are boarders and since the admission of girls to the Sixth Form in the 1980s, the school has become fully co-educational. It now accepts pupils from the age of 11, rather than the age of 13 as it was before.

Due to its location, the school is popular with Cambridge academics as a place to send their children, as well as a place to teach. Notably, Stephen Hawking sent his son to the school and has given a number of talks to its pupils since then.


One of the remarkable strengths of The Leys is that despite its proud Methodist traditions it has, for more than fifty years, been liberal on religion (although never secular). Many pupils received confirmation into the Church of England in the school chapel, and some others have had religious backgrounds from faiths other than the Christian faith. Despite its religious liberalism, The Leys is predominantly a Christian school and they state openly that "The School’s Christian ethos lies at the heart of our education philosophy".

Pupils attend chapel services twice a week; a Sunday service with the whole school, and a service with just their House on another specified day of the week. In addition, Holy Communion takes place once a term.

The school motto is "In Fide Fiducia" (Latin for "In Faith, Trust"), which is also the motto for its associated prep school, St Faith's School. The two schools make up the Leys and St Faith's Foundation. The school song is Rev B. Hellier's Χαίρετε.

The school is considered to have a strong sense of community, due in no small part to its array of extracurricular activities. Another point of interest is its limited entrance selection, as the school depends more on the flexibility of its staff and an assessment of a pupil's potential than exam grades.

Academic results


In the A-Level sitting of 2008, 90.2% of Leysian pupils' grades received were A, B or C, while 98% were graded A - E. [ [] ]


In the GCSE sitting of 2008, 99% of Leysian pupils received five or more grades of A* - C. 66% were graded at A or A*. 38% of Leysian pupils gained ten or more A or A* grades. [ [] ]


Sport has always played an important part at The Leys. The three main sports are played during the three terms: Rugby union (Autumn); grass and AstroTurf Hockey (Spring) and Cricket (Summer) for the Boys and Hockey (Autumn), Netball (Spring) and Tennis (Summer) for the girls.

The school has a wide-range of sports facilities spread across its 50-acre site. Other than the above mentioned sports, the sports pitches include concrete, grass and AstroTurf tennis courts and a football pitch. The AstroTurf pitches are fully lit for night-time play. Indoor facilities include a fully equipped fitness centre, a sports hall for indoor sports such as badminton and netball, three squash courts and an aerobics studio. The school has a 25-meter heated indoor swimming pool and a rowing boathouse on the River Cam as well as several boats.

The school has an arrangement with Cambridge University allowing university academics and students limited use of its sports facilities, and many of the University's rugby, squash and hockey fixtures (to name a few sports) are held at the school. As a charitable exercise the school also allows local state schools use its sports facilities.

The Leys takes swimming very seriously, competing against Eton (the only team to do so), and on a national level at the annual Bath cup.

There is also a very successful rowing club, with a well-equipped boat house in prime position on the Cam. Along with sailing (at St. Ives), this is a minority sport, counted among pitch games (the school's name for non-team sports). Other pitch games, include squash, badminton, tennis, athletics, karate, Eton Fives and golf.

Famous Leysian sportsmen include Neil White (Olympic hockey in 1948); Freddie Brown (Captain of England's cricket team); Geoff Windsor-Lewis (Wales Rugby 1960) and Paul Svehlik (England and Great Britain Hockey).


There are 11 separate Houses.

School is a 13-18 boys' boarding house with 30-35 boarders and 20-25 home boarders. School House is situated in the heart of the main campus overlooking the Thomson (Science) Building, Old Music School and Swimming Pool.

West is a 13-18 boys' boarding house with room for 45-48 boarders with 25-30 home boarders. West House is situated on the far side of the Campus overlooking the Astro Turf and the new classroom block (Clapham Building).

North A is a boys' boarding house of 40-45 boarders and 15-20 home boarders. It is situated close to the Main Library, Sixth Form Club, Tuck Shop and the Chapel. It overlooks the stunning Upper Quadrangle.The current housemaster Mr Charles Fraser has been a integral part of the North A house for year he is supported by his deputy Mr Tomos Reed. The house team of Mr Fraser and Mr Reed have been an important part of the North A swimming decade. From 1997-2007 the house has won the swimming competition making them the record holders.This achievement was celebrated with a banquet in the North A common room laid on by the great Mr Fraser.

North B contains three co-educational day houses, Barker, Barrett and Bisseker, each with a dedicated Housemaster or Housemistress. It is situated close to the Main Library, Sixth Form Club and the Chapel. It overlooks the Upper Quadrangle.

Dale is a girls' boarding house with 35-40 boarders and 20 to 25 home boarders. Dale House is situated in the centre of the main Campus and is close to the Drama Studio, Science Building, Music School and Swimming Pool.

Fen is a girls' 13-18 boarding house with 45-50 boarders and 20-25 home boarders. It is situated close to the Theatre and Rugg Technology Centre overlooking the main playing fields and Coe Fen at the western edge of the main Campus.

East is the Sixth Form boys' house with 27-30 boarders. Boys making direct entry into the Sixth Form are normally accommodated here. It overlooks the Deer Park and Chapel to the North. There are also views over the main playing fields and the modern Sports Complex to the south.

Granta is the Sixth Form girl's house with 30 boarders and up to 2 home boarders. Girls making direct entry into the Sixth Form are normally accommodated here. It is situated in the centre of the Campus overlooking the Chapel and Deer park.

Moulton is the Junior 11-13 house for 20-25 boarders and 35-40 day pupils. The day facilities are situated on East of the Campus overlooking the Deer Park and Chapel to the North. There are also views of the main playing fields and the modern Sports Complex. The boarding house is a five minute walk from the main gates in an extensive Victorian town house with its own gardens.

Summer School

The Leys School also hosts a summer school for young English learners held by "Bell International". Every year, lots of students from different countries stay in the school for three or six weeks

"Goodbye, Mr. Chips"

The setting for popular novel and play "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" is believed to have been based on The Leys where author James Hilton was a pupil (1915-1918). Hilton is reported to have said that the inspiration for the protagonist, Chippy, came from many sources, including W.H. Balgarnie, one of the masters at The Leys (1900-1930) who was in charge of the Leys Fortnightly (where Hilton's first short stories and essays were published). Over the years old boys have written to Geoffery Houghton, a master of the Leys for a number of years and a historian of the school, confirming the links between Chippy and Balgarnie. As with Mr. Chips, Balgarnie died at the school, at the age of 82, having been linked with the school for 51 years and living his last years in modest lodgings opposite the school. Again, like Mr. Chips, Balgarnie was a strict disciplinarian, but would also invite boys to visit him for tea and biscuits.

Hilton wrote, upon Balgarnie's death that "Balgarnie was, I suppose, the chief model for my story. When I read so many other stories about public school life, I am struck by the fact that I suffered no such purgatory as their authors apparently did, and much of this miracle was due to Balgarnie." [] Furthermore, the facial hair of one of the masters at The Leys earned him the nickname "Chops", a likely inspiration for Mr Chips' name.

Notable Alumni

Known as Old Leysians, they include:


*James Moulton, (1875-1881)
*Sir John Clapham, (North 'A' House 1887-1892): Historian
*Eric Havelock, (1917-1921): Classicist
*J.J.C. Smart, (1933-1938): Scottish-Australian philosopher
*Christopher Smout, (1946-1951): Current Historiographer Royal
*Simon Keynes, (1965-1970): Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Cambridge


*Tanaka Ginnosuke, (North 'A' House, 1891 - 1893): introduced rugby to Japan
*J. Arthur Rank, 1st Baron Rank of Sutton Scotney, (North 'B' House, 1901-1906): Industrialist and film producer, founder of the Rank Organisation.

Politics/ Royalty

*Peter Oliver, Baron Oliver of Aylmerton, (School House, 1934-1938): Judge, barrister and member of the House of Lords
*Richard Taylor, (North 'B' House, 1947-53) Physician and independent MP for Wyre Forest
*Martin Bell, (East House, 1952-56): Former BBC News Correspondent and independent MP for Tatton.
* King George Tupou V, the current King of Tonga, (196?-66)
*King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, the current King of Bahrain, (196?-68)
*Prince 'Aho'eitu 'Unuaki'otonga Tuku'aho, (North 'B' House, 1975-77): heir presumptive to the throne of Tonga


*Sir Henry Dale, (School House, 1891-1894): Scientist, Nobel laureate, studied the chemical transmission of nerve impulses.
*Donald Woods Winnicott, (North 'B' House, 1910-1914): Pediatrician and psychoanalyst.
*Sir Donald Bailey, (North 'B' House, 1916-1919): inventor of the Bailey Bridge.
*Neville Robinson, (School House, 1938-43) Physicist who achieved record low temperature.
*Sir Andrew Wiles, (North 'A' House, 1966-70): Mathematician, proved Fermat's last theorem.


* Tinsley Lindley, (1883-1885): Captained the English football team (1888, 1891)
* Freddie Brown, (School House,1924-1929): Captained England cricket team 15 times between 1949 and 1951.
*Jamie Murray, (Moulton House, 1998 - 1999): Tennis player, won the Wimbledon Doubles in 2007 - the first Briton to win at Wimbledon for 20 years.


*Eric Whelpton, (1879-1881): Author, basis for fictional character Lord Peter Wimsey
*James Hilton, (West House, 1915-18): Author, including "Goodbye, Mr. Chips", also invented "Shangri-La"
*Malcolm Lowry, (West House, 1923-1927): Author, including "Under the Volcano"
*Sir Alastair Burnet, (School House, 1942-1946) : Journalist and broadcaster, editor of The Economist from 1965-1974.
*J. G. Ballard, (North 'B' House 1946-1949): Author, including "Empire of the Sun".
*Christopher Hitchens, (North 'B' House, 1962-1966) Journalist and polemicist
*Peter Hitchens, (West House, 1965-1967) Journalist and polemicist, brother of Christopher


*Michael Rennie, (West House, 1924-1926): Actor

Old Leysians have their own old boys sports clubs including the "Old Leysian Football Club" which in its hey day (in the 1930s) was one of the leading Rugby clubs in the London area. There is also an active "Old Leysian Golfing Society".


Rev. William Fiddian Moulton, the school's first headmaster, in Moulton Chapel, Leys School

*W.F.Moulton 1875-1898
*W.T.A.Barber 1898-1919
*H.Bisseker 1919-1934
*W.G.Humphrey 1934-1958
*W.A.Barker 1958-1975
*B.T.Bellis 1975-1986
*T.G.Benyan 1986-1990
*Rev Dr John Barrett 1990-2004
*Mark Slater 2004 - present


Further reading

*cite book|last=Baker|first=Derek|title=Partnership in Excellence: A Late-Victorian Educational Venture: The Leys School, Cambridge, 1875-1975|year=1975|publisher=The Governors of The Leys School|location=Cambridge
*cite book|last=Houghton|first=Geoff and Pat|title=Well-regulated Minds and Improper Moments: A History of The Leys School|year=2000|publisher=The Governors of The Leys School|location=Cambridge|id=ISBN 0-9501721-8-9

See also

St Faith's School

External links

* [ The Leys School website]
* [ Old Leysians who died in World War I]
* [ Old Leysians who died in World War II]

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