Topic outline

  • History

    History Section Researched by Michael Rouse
    (Revised September 2012)

  • 1686 AD Soham Free School is Founded

    Soham Grammar School had its origins in the Soham Free School founded in 1686.

    Grammar School - Churchgate Street, Soham
    The Grammar School on Churchgate Street

  • 1878 AD Soham Grammar School is Founded

    Soham Free School became Soham Grammar School in 1878 and occupied premises on Churchgate Street. The existing Churchgate Street building dates from around 1880 and is built on an area called the Hempland and on the site of the original school.

    Soham Grammarians
    Soham Grammarians

  • 1925 AD The Grammar School at Beechurst

    In 1925 the Grammar School had moved into the former private mansion, Beechurst, built in 1900 by Charles Morbey. Beechurst was the finest house in Soham with beautiful grounds, an arboretum and an orangery.

    Grammar School - Beechurst, Sand Street, Soham
    The Grammar School at Beechurst

  • 1958 AD Soham Village College Established

    The Village College was officially opened on 16th October 1958 on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council by Sir Edward Boyle, Bart., M.P. It was built on a seventeen acre site next to Soham Lode known as the Moat Fields. When first opened it was a four form entry school with some 460 students aged from 11-15. The Warden was Mr. S.W.Percival, with eighteen assistant teachers, Edward Lang, a full time Tutor for Further Education and a full time Assistant Tutor and Youth leader. The school buildings incorporated a branch of the County Library and a Youth Club. Housing for the Warden, caretaker and some staff was provided on the site. Mr Riggulsford succeeded Mr Percival as Warden in September 1963 and the College continued to grow and had a very active community and arts programme under Adult Tutor, Norman Sykes.

    Soham Village College (1958)

  • 1972 AD The Grammar School Closes

    The biggest change, however, was in 1972 when the school leaving age was raised to 16 and a new comprehensive school was formed by merging the College with the ancient Soham Grammar School which occupied an adjoining site on Sand Street and whose playing fields were next to the College fields. Mr Riggulsford left Soham for a new Headship in Bristol and Mr A.E.Lawrance, a former Head of Mathematics at the Grammar School was appointed Warden.

    Under Mr Lawrance the College gained a strong academic and sporting reputation. Over the years the County Library moved to new premises in the town, the Youth Club too had its own purpose built Lode Centre opened in 1991 next to a new community sports hall built on College land in 1984, and with the exception of housing for the caretaker, the staff houses were sold. In 1985 after the retirement of Mr A.E.Lawrance, Dr. A.W.Bullock, as the new Principal master-minded an extensive building programme. This created a new Science block, Resource Centre, Staff Room and Music block helping to fill the space between the two former schools.

  • 1993 AD The College becomes Grant Maintained

    In September 1993 the College became a Grant Maintained School and in 1994 was awarded Technology College status. In March 1996 local benefactor Mr. Simon Gibson opened a splendid new Gibson Wing extension to Beechurst and in November 1998 HRH Princess Margaret opened the new S Block for Science and Technology.

    In 1999 Dr. A.W.Bullock retired and Mr H.L.Gilbert became Principal until September 2005 when Vice Principal Dr. D.Lunn became Acting Principal for a year until a new Principal could be sourced, the College has been headed by Dr. C.Taylor since September 2006 to date. Soham Village College was one of the first schools in the country to be allowed two specialisms as a Foundation College and since Easter 2006, it has been both a specialist Technology and Languages College.

    Lodeside - College Close, Soham
    The Lodeside Entrance Today

  • 2011 AD Academy Status & New Performing Arts Block

    On 1st April 2011, Soham Village College officially gained Academy status. The construction of new state of the art Tennis Courts began in March 2011 to replace the original tennis courts which were demolished in order for the new Performing Arts Centre to be built. They were built on what was Lodeside Playground and opened in July 2011. The new Performing Arts Block, which now houses the drama and music department, was officially opened on 3rd November 2011 by Mr D.Schunmann from Viva Arts & Community Group.

    Soham Village College has strong academic and sporting traditions. There are excellent modern teaching facilities fully computer networked and an active programme of capital investment. The College occupies an extensive and attractive site with spacious playing fields and views of the open fenland countryside.

  • Awards

    The College has been awarded the Artsmark - Bronze Award, International School Award, Sport England SportsMark Award, Basic Skills Quality Mark and the Becta ICT Mark for Excellence in ICT to name just a few. These are external measures of the quality of its Expressive Arts Curriculum and teaching of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT as well as the training and development of staff.

    Students are also awarded many different kinds of awards for various achievements by the school, such as outstanding attendance, distinctive progression and extra-curricular activities out of school such as sport. Scarlet ties are awarded to students who excel within sport, whether that be dedication to school teams or county sport participation. Emerald ties are awarded to those who are dedicated to the school's performing arts or county-level performing organisations. Tri-coloured ties are awarded to those within either the performing arts or sports at a national level.

    The College also has a House system comprised of five houses namely: Macintosh, Radcliffe, Turner, Eliot & Nelson. House points are awarded to students for outstanding achievements in all areas of College life from sports and performing arts to good attendance/behaviour and academic excellence.

    Beechurst
    The Beechurst Entrance Today

  • The Catchment Area

    The catchment area for the College includes Soham, Barway, Wicken, Fordham, Isleham, Chippenham, Snailwell, Kennett and Burwell. The principal feeder primary schools are: St Andrew's in Soham, The Weatheralls in Soham, Fordham Primary, Isleham Primary, Kennett Primary and Burwell Village College. In recent years, however, students have been drawn from an even wider area around Soham including: Ely, Littleport and Newmarket. Soham Village College is still a comprehensive school of eleven form entry with some 1350 students aged between 11 and 16 on roll. It is planned to rise as Soham itself grows and extra housing comes into the area.