Chesterton Community College

Chesterton Community College
Chesterton Community College
Established 1935
Type Community School
Specialism Humanities
Location Gilbert Road
Local authority Cambridgeshire
DfE URN 110865
Students 1000
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–16

Coordinates: 52°13′03″N 0°07′14″E / 52.2174°N 0.12042°E / 52.2174; 0.12042

Chesterton Community College is a secondary school serving students ranging in age from 11 to 16. It is an LEA maintained college with a thousand pupils and 120 staff. The College is located in New Chesterton, a suburb in the north of Cambridge in the county of Cambridgeshire, England, approximately 50 miles (80 km) north-northeast of London and was established in 1935 as two separate schools for boys and girls. In 1974, the schools were re-organised as a mixed Comprehensive school and adult centre. Chesterton was granted Community College status in 1983.



The college aims to serve the needs of all students, from the most able child through to pupils with learning, emotional and behavioural problems. Over 90 languages are spoken by Chesterton pupils and over 25% of pupils come from homes where English is not the first language. The staff comprises over 50 teachers, 60 community tutors and 50 support staff. The college received the Investors in People Award in July 1999. The College provides a range of community education to the county, with over 3000 members of the local community using the site each week.

At the last Ofsted inspection on 14 October 2008, Chesterton received '2' (Good) mark in all areas of its standards, including outstanding marks for curriculum and self-evaluation.

In 2003, the UK television channel Five produced a 13-part television series called 'Stepping Up', which featured a range of Year 7 pupils at Chesterton Community College, to monitor their transition from primary to secondary education. 'Stepping Up' was broadcast on Five in the spring of 2004, and repeated in full on Teacher's TV at the end of 2007. It is still regularly repeated on Teacher's TV, though usually in the early hours of the morning.

The school's recent Ofsted report stated: "Chesterton is a good school with some outstanding features."

The school had a traditional reputation of being "rough" and low achieving academically over the past 20 years the school has attempted to reverse this image. The schools' desire to improve currently manifests itself with the attempt to instil obedience in its pupils through the use of strict rules.

-Pupils are forbidden from entering the school during lunch or break times.

-Pupils may only walk down the corridor in one direction so when wanting to go to the neighbouring class room must (if it is in the forbidden direction) walk all the way out of school and round to the other end.

-Pupils may only walk up certain stairs and down others indicated by signs at top and bottom

The school buildings

The colleges' main building was built in 1935, when it was separate girls' and boys' secondary modern schools. It contained many classrooms and gender-segregated school halls, libraries and offices. In the '60s, it received an enclosed indoor corridor, replacing the outdoor walkway. In 1992, the building changed further: the staff room was knocked through and made into two classrooms, enabling the corridor to run through the whole block. At the top end, the old girls' school library provided a link to the new 1992 extension. A separate gym building was provided at the side for Physical Education, with separate boys' and girls' rooms and changing. This building now houses the school's fully equipped albeit now degrading drama studios. The back playground also featured a large tall wall to separate the boys' and girls' schools. The long filled-in tarmac line in the playground is a reminder of this.

In the 1960s, a large new extension was built, providing extra accommodation for the school, now having to cope with both its new status as a mixed comprehensive and the raising of the school leaving age to 16. The new buildings provided a gym, indoor swimming pool and additional classrooms for art, pottery and other uses. New extensions were added also to the 1935 block, at the side-rear of the two halls.

In 1974, a small block opposite the main building opened, formerly known as the Rosla block. It provided accommodation for the more academically able pupils, as Chesterton was a secondary modern school, for children who did not pass the 11-plus tests, and thus did not become a grammar school. The 'Rosla' block now houses the school's science department.

In 1992 a new high-tech extension was built to provide the school with a new library, computer facilities, new classrooms, large new staff accommodation, and also to provide the school with a new clear, welcoming reception and entrance. It was named The Newall Building, after former and now retired principal A. B. Newall. It was designed by Johns Partnership. The science block also received an extension at this time, adding two new classrooms and a preparations room.

Johns Partnership also designed the striking new music block at the rear of the site, which provided a main performance room, classroom and practice suites. The building was purpose-built and was acoustically engineered. It featured a sundial on the front facade in memory of a former head of mathematics, David McConkney.

In 2004, a massive new sports complex was built, providing a large sports hall, fitness suite, cafe, changing facilities, function area, floodlit tennis courts and reception area, as well as refurbishment of the existing swimming pool and gym, housed in the adjacent '60s buildings. The new sports centre is a great benefit to both the school and general public, who may also take advantage of the facilities there. The building was designed by Cambridgeshire County Council Design Team, and cost £2.9 million. The National Lottery, Cambridgeshire County Council and the school donated and raised money for the new building which opened on October 2004 by sports personality and heptathlon athlete, Caroline Pearce.

However, the sports centre went into deficit by £150,000 in 2010. The College has been in bitter dispute with public users and community leaders after their swimming sessions were axed. The swimmers said they would be prepared to pay more money, but the College authorities have declined their offer and sacked five members of staff in an attempt to stem their financial losses. County Councillors have attempted to resolve the dispute.[1]


  1. ^ Cambridge News August 21 2010



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