The Governors of Stamford Endowed Schools announced in May 2022 that the schools would become fully co-educational at all stages. The move to co-educational learning will begin from September 2023, with operational transition planning well underway across the schools in preparation for the next academic year.
From September 2023 we will offer co-educational learning for Years 7 – 10 on the St Paul's campus (current Stamford School site). Our Year 11 students will remain in single sex learning on their current home sites in order to ensure continuity for their GCSE studies. Year 12 and 13 will be based at our St Martin’s site (current Stamford High School site) which will be transformed into a bespoke Sixth Form campus.
From September 2024, all senior year groups from Year 7 – 11 will be based on our St Paul’s campus with Sixth Form continuing at St Martin's. Our School will be known as Stamford School.
Our purpose and who we are will remain front and centre of what we offer. We will continue to produce rounded and grounded young people in a community which builds character and individuality. Moving to co-ed will allow us to:
Our co-educational merger will retain all of the things people love and value about Stamford AND allow us to evolve into a stronger school, building on our existing foundations for a bright future. Together we are Stamford.
At the start of September 2022 we began our operational planning to prepare for the start of transition in 2023. To date we have:
We are providing parents with monthly transition updates to keep them informed at each stage. Please see specific highlights and transition updates for each update.
Like all good schools, we have evolved over time to meet the needs of the community we serve. Our last big evolution happened twenty years ago, when the two senior schools came together under the diamond model.
In recent years, the need for further evolution has accelerated. Young people can develop the social and emotional skills they need far more easily in a co-educational environment; “Everyone’s Invited” and “Me Too” were a demonstration of the vital importance of supporting every young person in developing their inter-personal skills, and their social and emotional intelligence.
We want our schools to be inclusive, not divisive: a co-educational environment is an enormous step towards that. Co-education makes it far easier to ensure equality of opportunity, regardless of biological sex: indeed, there is now some question whether the diamond model can be legally compliant with the equality act.
There is no question, too, that the diamond model, which requires us to duplicate facilities, teaching and activities across two sites, is inefficient and, in the long term, unsustainable. From a financial perspective, we have a duty to operate as efficiently as possible. Changing to a co-educational structure will allow us to do that. Not only does this mean that we can make every pound we invest work harder for our students, it will mean that future fee increases will be kept at a lower level than they otherwise would have been.
In more general terms, the world is changing. The demand for single sex education is reducing all the time – there are now 39% fewer boys’ schools and 25% fewer girls’ schools than there were 25 years ago, whilst the percentage of co-educational independent schools stands at a record 80%. Similarly, the scoping exercise showed us that a large majority is in favour of the change to co-education, and for those parents considering us for the future, that proportion is even higher.
Our purpose is to support every student, and to provide them with the environment, challenges and opportunities that will prepare them to go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives. A co-educational environment will enable all of these things.
This has been a very carefully considered process, and we have taken into account a huge range of factors.
First and foremost, it is crystal clear that a co-educational environment is far better at helping children to develop social and emotional skills. We want our students to learn and grow in an inclusive and diverse community, which is at odds with a learning environment which, for five years of a child’s development, excludes the opposite sex. This alone is enough for us to want to make the change.
We have looked carefully at research into academic outcomes, and there is no compelling evidence to maintain a single-sex environment.
Maintaining equality of opportunity – including access to facilities and activities – is extremely difficult across two separate schools on different sites, and trying to do so inevitably results in duplication and inefficiency. Particularly in view of wider national and global economic pressures, we cannot justify running inefficiently: we want to be able to invest every penny to achieve the greatest possible impact for our students. As part of the decision process, we have reviewed our campus and we know that we can operate far more efficiently under the planned model. In turn, we can invest far more effectively in facilities for the future.
We have visited and spoken to numerous other schools that have travelled similar paths, to learn from their experiences. We have also reviewed sector data that shows a marked decline in the number and proportion of single sex schools in the UK; this is simply no longer a model that most parents want.
Finally, we have asked for the views of our parents, staff and students, and it is clear that this change will be welcomed. We know that many of you have questions about the practicalities of the change, and we have set out the answers to many of those below, but the principle of co-education is strongly supported. Prospective parents, who are still in the process of choosing the right school for their child, are even more likely to value co-education: this change will therefore ensure that Stamford remains attractive and sustainable in the long term.
In many ways little will change. Your child will continue to have access to the same subjects, and will be supported by familiar staff in the teaching and pastoral teams. They will have access to the same opportunities, through our comprehensive programme of activities, sports and trips. The catering team will continue to provide lunches on both sites.
For some subjects, students in Year 9 and above will still travel between the two sites to make use of specialist facilities, such as sport, Design & Technology, and Food & Nutrition, just as they do now.
However, the change will provide easier access to facilities that are important for each developmental stage. For example, younger students will have easier access to the swimming pool and more space for outdoor play and activities. The Sixth Form will have access to learning facilities that will prepare them for university and careers, with rooms designed for seminar-style teaching, as well as individually designated study areas. Older students will have access to café facilities, in addition to normal dining provision, and a variety of social spaces that will suit their needs.
All of our day to day processes will be absolutely consistent for all of the children in each year group, which will benefit both students and parents.
Yes, for some specialist subjects, as they do now. Indeed, some feedback from the scoping survey told us that the opportunity to break up the day with a short walk is welcomed by some students and parents.
In Years 7 and 8, all teaching will be maintained on one site. Students in these year groups might make use of the sports facilities on the Kettering Road or at Stamford Junior School, as they do now, but they will not need to travel for any other lessons or activities.
We are running a programme of co-ed transition events throughout 2022-23.
The transition programme will include social events, shared lectures and academic and sporting activities, focused on team building and familiarisation with the school site. Activities are being run co-educationally wherever practically possible to maximise opportunities for all of our students to develop friendships before they are based together full-time.
All of our students already have lots of experience of learning and working together. They attend co-educational junior and prep schools, at Stamford or elsewhere; they work together in many co-curricular activities, and we know that our students socialise together outside school. Learning together in the classroom will be an extension of the time that they already spend with each other.
Our pastoral and teaching teams will be working hard to deliver an extended transition programme, to help the students prepare, and we will have very strong pastoral provision in place for every year group as we move to become fully co-educational. Our teachers are already experienced in supporting students to learn together at A Level, and will apply the same techniques with the younger year groups.
We already have a strong PHSE / RSE programme in place, and teaching our students about these topics together will give them a far better understanding of the different perspectives on relationships and sex.
Absolutely. The Sixth Form will still be making use of some facilities on the Stamford School site, and will continue to play the same vital leadership role in activities such as CCF, music and drama. Prefects will have specific duties and published “office hours” on the Stamford School site, and will maintain a full student leadership role. Sixth Form students will also be more involved in running and leading councils, clubs and activities, and will be more visible in our fundraising and volunteering programme.
Currently each school has four houses, represented by four colours, yellow, red, green and blue. The House names and their colours are a fundamental part of our culture and heritage, and a large part of each student’s identity, and it is vitally important that we preserve them. We intend to keep the house colours and have a working group comprising Heads of House looking at the house names. We will maintain the same busy programme of House activities, including House sport and singing.
We will be creating a range of pastoral spaces that the students can access to meet their individual needs and interests. Although many students enjoy the “common room” environment, it does not suit all, and we will be creating indoor and outdoor areas where students can spend time quietly in smaller groups, as well as spaces to enjoy activities.
The Phoenix Room, a quiet space where students can go when they are feeling worried or upset and in need of support, has been trialled extremely successfully at Stamford High School, and additional spaces will be created on both sites.
Pastoral spaces will be overseen by staff throughout break and lunchtimes, and students will always have members of staff directly available to talk to at all times.
All of our students will be kept informed of how and when they can access their tutor. The pastoral team will also be enhanced by the introduction of a student support manager for every year group, who will have no teaching commitments and will be available at all times during the school day.
Heads of Year will be based on the same site as the year group that they look after.
There is good evidence that the mental health of both boys and girls is generally better in a co-educational environment: concerns about body image, friendships and relationships are often lessened by mixing boys and girls together. We will continue with our strong PHSE / RSE programme, and our students will benefit significantly from being able to discuss and explore mental health topics in co-educational groups. We will be able to invest further in wellbeing.
SES strives to offer an outstanding, contemporary education in which students develop the ability to think for themselves and to interpret the world around them. We have high expectations of all our pupils, and do everything we can to support them in reaching their full potential. This will not change.
Having one Head of Department for each subject will allow greater focus on raising academic ambition, standards and expectations. By removing the duplication in our teaching provision, it will also be feasible for us to explore the addition of new subjects, which will provide students with more opportunities to study the areas that interest them most, and in which they will naturally tend to do best.
Finally, we are restructuring the school day which will allow more teaching time, and will transform our students’ ability to learn and get the most from their subjects.
Although we currently teach in single sex classes in Years 7-11, we run co-educational lessons in the Sixth Form across both sites, and every teacher at Stamford has experience of teaching in a co-educational environment. We will be running additional sessions for our teaching staff as necessary, but our teachers are already very highly skilled and experienced, and we know they will make this transition very smoothly.
The Heads of Sixth Form subjects will be based on the Sixth Form site. Other Heads of Department may be based on either site, and will still be accessible to students.
Yes. Learning support provision will be permanently maintained on both sites.
Yes. Each site will have its own library provision on site, each with its own librarian.
Stamford will continue to be a community where every student is known and supported as an individual. We intend for student numbers to remain roughly the same – that is, around 150-180 in each year group between Years 7-11, and around 200 in each year group in the Sixth Form.
It is extremely important to us at Stamford that individuals are known, challenged and supported, and our maximum class sizes will be no bigger than they are at the moment.
Where we have previously had some very small classes – for example, when only a small handful of students at each school choose a subject at GCSE – these will naturally be taught together in one larger group in future, which is not only more efficient but will also facilitate better discussion and debate.
Yes – both sites have plenty of capacity for the number of students we will have on site. Each has almost double the number of “desk spaces” that we need, and we are working with a timetabling specialist to make sure our timetable and use of facilities is as efficient as possible.
Almost all of the facilities we need are already in place, but we have identified five main areas of refurbishment and redevelopment:
Students will continue to make use of the existing specialist facilities (for example, Design & Technology, and Food and Nutrition) on both sites, as they do at the moment.
All our students will still be able to access the same range of facilities as they do at present, including science and language labs, IT suites, facilities for art and the performing arts and our ideal classrooms.
We will keep you updated on all of these projects in fortnightly updates throughout the transition period.
Yes – we have already created additional capacity providing high quality, appropriate toilet facilities for all of our students.
With the move to co-ed, all of our facilities will be shared by all of our students. The new Wothorpe Sports Centre will give us far greater flexibility and increase opportunities overall. Students will travel to the appropriate sports site just as they do at the moment.
There are several options for how we manage our lunchtimes, including staggered lunches (all of which would fall within a reasonable lunchtime window) or additional serving areas. We are working through the various options and we will share more information on dining provision in the coming months.
With the transfer of the Sixth Form to the Stamford High School site, the overall increase around the Stamford School site is smaller than might at first be suspected. There are two options for traffic and parking that we are exploring at present.
There is no parking (other than on-street parking) on the St Martin’s site, and this will remain the case.
We will create a Sixth Form that will properly prepare our students for the world they face when they leave us – as independent, confident individuals, who have had the opportunities and support to work out who they want to be.
We will create an environment in which every learning space – from classrooms to seminar spaces - is designed to maximise learning, and give them their first taste of what life will be like in their future workplaces and universities. We will treat them as grown-ups, with café-style social spaces, and their own areas for individual study, whilst keeping in place the exceptional standard of pastoral care that we offer to all our students.
We will structure the timetable to give them more time for enrichment activities, from clubs to volunteering, and at the same time give them more learning time in their vital A Level and BTEC programmes.
We will move to one-to-one tutoring, so that students can benefit from regular input and direction that is tailored to them.
We will establish an exceptional Futures programme, to support them in making the right choices for their next steps into work or study.
Sixth Form is a time of changing needs, and the Stamford Sixth Form will meet those needs.
Boys and girls will continue to be cared for in single-sex accommodation. We will still offer full, flexi, or part-time boarding options, all of which will be overseen by a recently appointed Head of Boarding.
Boarding for younger girls will transfer to the St Paul’s site to remove the need for them to walk across town. There are several different ways that we can accommodate them and we are working through these options at the moment.
Stamford will still be led by the Principal, Mr Will Phelan. Mrs Vicky Buckman will be Head of the senior provision, and her team will include Libby Searle, Deputy Head Pastoral, Sam McCormick, Deputy Head Academic, Andy Murphy, Head of Sixth Form, and Nick Davies, Deputy Head. Assistant have been appointed to oversee specialist areas, such as teaching and learning and student conduct. The Junior School will continue to be led by Matthew O'Reilly.
Our operations and professional services staff are already structured to support Stamford as a whole, and there will be no significant changes to staffing structures for these staff.
Yes, staff will continue to work across both sites when necessary, as they do at the moment. However, our initial modelling of the timetable indicates that no member of staff will have to make more than one return trip each day – that is, two short walks of about ten minutes each – and we will have time built in to the timetable to allow them to make the journey.
If any member of staff has mobility issues that might make the journey difficult, we will work with them to identify a solution.
The strength of Stamford is in our ability to produce “rounded and grounded” young people, who leave us with the skills and characteristics to lead happy, meaningful and successful lives. Everything that we do will continue to support that aim.
We know that the two Schools naturally have slightly different cultures, born of their individual histories and environments. At heart, though, both senior schools strive to provide the same thing: a supportive learning environment that caters for each child as an individual. We will be working with our staff across both Schools to preserve the very best elements of everything that we do, and make Stamford even better for all of our students, staff and parents.
We have streamlined the uniform from 2023 to ensure parity with both boys and girls. Please see the Highlights section from our updates for a visual of the changes.
Our official name is and will continue to be the Stamford Endowed Schools. We will continue to use “Stamford” as the shorthand.
The names “Stamford School” and “Stamford High School” will no longer be used to refer to the two separate sites, although we will enshrine and celebrate them as a vital part of Stamford’s history. For day-to-day use, the Stamford School site will be referred to as the St Paul’s campus, and the Stamford High School site will be referred to as the St Martin’s campus.
Our many school traditions are hugely important to everyone who is a part of our community, and they will continue to be a vital part of our culture and identity. A permanent display will be installed on each site to celebrate the history of each of the Schools. All of the artefacts and documents that relate to the history of the Schools will be carefully preserved by the Archives team, and will continue to be displayed just as they are at the moment – for example, at Old Stamfordian reunions. Items such as existing honours boards are a physical representation of our history, and will be retained alongside new boards for co-educational honours.
Both our Schools have gone through numerous changes in their long history; from Stamford’s origins as a chantry school in St Mary’s in 1532, to the founding of SHS in 1877, and the move to become a diamond model twenty years ago. Becoming fully co-educational is the next step in the evolution of our Schools, and marks the beginning of another chapter in our long history.
Every family that chooses Stamford has a slightly different reason for doing so – but interestingly, the scoping study identified that although the diamond model may be unique in this area, very few families are choosing us because of it. Our location in Stamford, our emphasis on producing rounded and grounded young people, the range of opportunities that we offer – both academically and in terms of activities - and the high standard of pastoral care are the most important factors for the vast majority of our parents and all of these things will continue in our new co-educational structure.
No. The School has carried out detailed financial modelling as part of this process. Indeed, re-organising our structure in this way provides greater efficiency and allows us to protect against excessive future fee rises.
From a financial perspective, becoming fully co-educational will ensure that every pound of our income is spent as efficiently as possible. In turn, that means we can deliver better opportunities, experiences and outcomes for our students.
Stamford is in very good financial health, but as a charity, it is our responsibility to make sure that we operate as efficiently as possible. That has become ever-more important with the increasing pressures on the national and global economy.
The programme for sports, games and physical activity will continue at the same high standard. Students will continue to be taught separately in major sports. Our extensive fixtures programme will continue.
No: students will continue to be taught separately for major sports as they are now.
Our extensive co-curricular provision is an integral part of the student experience at SES. As well as the long-term benefits of building skills and experiences, it de-stresses, enriches, unearths passions and contributes greatly to self-confidence by giving every student an opportunity to have fun and shine.
Because we will no longer have to duplicate our co-curricular provision across two sites, it opens the door to offering a greater range of activities. New initiatives can be much more easily instated once all of our students in each year group are on the same site. Most importantly of all, niche activities, that might only appeal to a small number of students, become much more viable.
By moving to a co-educational structure, it allows us to continue to build on the existing co-curricular provision, and to cater for the widest possible range of interests.
The admissions process will remain the same, but students will be invited to visit the site relevant to their age when they join the school. This means that all candidates for entry to the Sixth Form will tour the current Stamford High School site, and those for entry to Years 7-10 will tour the current Stamford School site. Whichever site you visit, we will make sure you have lots of opportunities to meet the relevant senior staff, and to ask any questions you may have about the Schools. We will also be running a series of Open Days and Discovery Mornings, as usual, and families are warmly invited to attend.
Yes, absolutely. If your child is joining is in September this year, we will arrange an individual visit for you as soon as possible so that you can explore those parts of our campus you haven’t yet visited.
For enquiries for September 2023 or later, we will be running a series of Discovery Mornings and Open Days in the months to come, and we will make sure that you are invited to these. You are, of course, also very welcome to come for an individual visit, but for the remainder of this term we may need to prioritise families who wish to join us this September.
We would love to welcome you and your family to visit Stamford. To book your visit, please contact us in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 01780 750 311.
The Old Girls’ Guild and the Old Stamfordian Club are the membership organisations for former students of Stamford High School and Stamford School. They are and will remain vital in our Old Stamfordian community. We will be working with the committees of the Club and the Guild to make sure that future generations of Old Stamfordians continue to have access to the same excellent supportive network and resources, and we will stay in touch with all of our Old Stamfordians as those plans develop.
The honours boards will be retained and will continue to be displayed as they are now. They are a vital part of our heritage and the historic record of the schools, and we will be very proud to maintain them alongside new boards for co-educational honours.
We already have a centralised archive that maintains the recorded history and artefacts of both Schools, and this will continue. Both sites will be home to a permanent display marking the history of the Schools, and we will continue to display documents, photos and artefacts at events, just as we do at the moment.
We will maintain the key traditions that are important to our students and staff, but we look forward, too, to creating new ones together.
We will be writing to all our parents and staff with a fortnightly update in term time throughout the transition and planning process, and the information page at stamfordcoed.org will also be kept updated.
We won’t be able to answer detailed questions – such as who your child’s subject teachers might be – until nearer the time. However, if you have more general questions that we may be able to help with at this stage, please contact us email@example.com.