The Perse School

The Perse School

Infobox Secondary school
name =The Perse School
native_name =

motto = Qui facit per alium facit per se
established =1615
address = Hills Road
city =Cambridge
state =
country =England
campus =
type =Independent school
affiliation =
affiliations =
headmaster = Mr. Edward Elliot
founder = Dr Stephen Perse, of Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge
chairman =
head_label =
head =
faculty =
students = 675 approx
grades =
district =
oversight =
accreditation =
mascot = Pelican
colors =
colours = Purple and Black
newspaper = The Pelican
yearbook =
free_label_1 =
free_1 =
free_label_2 =
free_2 =
free_label_3 =
free_3 =
website = [ Official Website]
footnotes =
picture =
The Perse School is a fee-paying secondary day school for boys 11–18 and girls at 16+ situated in Cambridge, England. The school was founded in 1615 by Dr Stephen Perse [ [ The Perse School - History] ] , a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and has existed on several different sites in the city before its present home on Hills Road. Currently, the headmaster is Edward Elliott.

There are also preparatory and pre-preparatory schools related to The Perse School. Boys and girls aged 3 to 7 attend 'The Pelican' pre-preparatory school, located on Glebe Road, Cambridge. The Perse Preparatory School is located on Trumpington Road, Cambridge, and is for boys aged 7 - 11.


The school motto is "Qui facit per alium facit per se", usually taken to mean "He who does things for others does them for himself". This is an example of a rebus motto, the Latin sentence ending in a word play on the founder's name "per se" and his benefaction. A blue plaque dedicated to the school's founder, Dr Stephen Perse, can be found in Free School Lane, Cambridge. [ [ Cambridge Blue Plaques] ]


The school has a long-running competitive relationship with The Leys School, another independent school in Cambridge. Whilst, most of the time, relations between the two schools are amicable, there have been instances in the past where friendly rivalry has broken out in heated violence. On one occasion in 1994, a poor refereeing decision resulted in a twenty-one man brawl. In 2005, the Perse under-14 hockey team became National Champions, beating Millfield. In 2006 the Perse under-16 indoor hockey team reached the National Indoor Finals, and the following year the same age group won the competition. The Perse school U16s then won the National Indoor hockey competition again the year after that, making the U16s back to back National Indoor Champions. The rifle shooting team, backed by the school's association with the Combined Cadet Force, has also traditionally been strong. In the Michaelmas Term 2005 the rugby First XV became the most successful team in 14 years after their win against The Leys School. In the Summer Term 2006, the cricket 1st XI became statistically the most successful team in the country (P 15, W 14, L 1).


The Perse has a senior orchestra, string orchestra, full choir, chorale group, 2 wind bands, swing band and jazz band. There are also about 35 smaller groups meeting weekly for rehearsal. In 2006, the String Orchestra toured to Paris and the Senior Wind Band toured to Iceland. Each year concerts take place at the West Road Concert Hall and OLEM Church.


The school is divided into three sections: the lower school, middle school and Sixth Form. The lower school contains the First and Second Forms (11-13). The middle school consists of the Third through to Fifth Forms (14-16) and is thus focussed mainly on GCSEs. Most GCSE courses are begun officially in Fourth Form, although some longer courses, such as Chemistry, are begun in Third Form. Pupils in the top streams have the option to take French and Mathematics GCSEs at the end of Fourth Form, and then use Fifth Form to take an intermediate qualification that may ease the transition to A-level. The Perse continues to use the older system so Year 7 is First Form, Year 8 is Second Form and so on.

For many years the school offered boarding facilities, although these were closed in the early 1990s. Traditionally an all-boys' school, the Sixth Form recently opened its doors to pupils of both sexes and despite fears that it might, the school's academic record certainly does not appear to have suffered. Currently, ties with the Perse School for Girls exist officially but there is little day-to-day interaction between the pupils. The possibility of the two schools sharing a site in future and essentially unifying was discussed, but not pursued any further. There are, however, plans for the school to go fully co-educational from September 2010 and expand to around 900 pupils over the next ten years.

The classrooms at the Perse are named numerically, e.g. 1, 2, 3 etc, but strangely there is no room 10; its name was changed to E2, as a classroom dedicated to English teaching. Additionally, specialist classrooms, such as science labs and music rooms are denoted by a prefix to their number, for example; P1 for physics or A2 for art.


From September 2007, The Perse Preparatory School is accepting girls aged 7+, and from September 2008, girls aged 9+. It aims to become fully co-educational by 2010. The Perse School is accepting girls at 11+ and 13+ in 2010. The Pelican Pre-Preparatory School is already fully co-educational.

Recent site developments planned: [ [ Perse Developments] ]
*Construction of science laboratories extension completed September 2007.
*Construction of a new classroom block and Art & Technology Centre at the Perse Preparatory school started July 2007 and due to be complete by September 2008.
*Construction of a new hall at The Pelican started July 2007 and due to be complete by September 2008.


Notable early alumni
*Bishop Jeremy Taylor, a major influence on the foundation of Methodism
*Sir Robert Tabor, whose medical skills saved the life of Charles II

Nobel Prize Winners
*Sir George Paget Thomson, Nobel Prize Winner for Physics
*Ronald G. W. Norrish, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry

George Cross winners
*Group Captain William Neil McKechnie
*Wilson Charles Geoffrey Baldwin

Military Cross winners, World War I
*Lt. Oswald George Frank Justus Breul
*Captain Donald William Edwards
*Lt. Gilbert Clare Fitzherbert
*Captain Peyton Sheldon Hadley
*Second Lt. Owen Llewelyn Johns
*Lt. Bernard John Pullin

Two of the editors of the Loeb Classical Library were Perseans:
*W. H. D. Rouse, headmaster in the early 20th century
*E. H. Warmington, pupil during Rouse's headmastership

Science and Industry
*Gustav Victor Rudolf Born, pharmacologist
*Sir Arthur Marshall, aviation engineer [cite web |url= |title=DVD is a memorial to Sir Arthur |accessdate=2008-01-14 |format= |work= ]
*Revd John Polkinghorne, physicist and theologian
*G.L.S. Shackle, economist
*Arash Farboud, entrepreneur and sports car manufacturer
*Sir David Tang, Hong Kong-based entrepreneur

Politics and Law
*Sir Donald Tebbit, industrialist and diplomat
*Sir Mark Potter, Appeal Court judge and President of the Family Division
*Rajani Palme Dutt, leading figure in the Communist Party of Great Britain
*Sir Quentin Thomas, head of the British Board of Film Classification
*Jonathan Dingle, Honorary Secretary of the Civil Mediation Council

*Edward Henry Palmer, orientalist
*David Loades, university professor and former Scout Chief Commissioner for Wales

*David Gilmour lead singer and guitarist of Pink Floyd
*F. R. Leavis, literary critic
*Mel Calman, cartoonist
*Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a Royal National Theatre director
*Humphrey Jennings, film director
*Jeremy Silberston, film director
*Marius Goring, actor
*Colin McFarlane, actor
*Pete Atkin, singer/songwriter
*Ronnie Ross, jazz musician
*Ranjit Bolt, translator and playwright
* Mark Saggers, BBC sports broadcaster

Probably the most famous alumnus is David Gilmour, lead singer of Pink Floyd. He has been quoted as saying: "It was a very disciplined school which I didn't enjoy". There is a suggestion that the song "Another Brick in the Wall", which includes the famous lyrics "We don't need no education", was aimed at the Perse, but as the song was written by Roger Waters who attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College) and not Gilmour, it seems more likely that Waters was recalling his schooling there Fact|date=August 2007.



* George Griffith, MA - died 1686
* Frederick Heppenstall, MA - 1864 to 1874
* Dr W. H. D. Rouse, PhD, MA (Cantab) - 1902 to 1928 (formerly a fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge)
* H. A. Wootton - 1928 to 1945
* Stanley Stubbs, MA - 1945 to 1969 (formerly a housemaster at Gresham's School)
* A. E. Melville - 1969 to 1987
* Dr Martin Stephen, PhD, BA - 1987 to 1994 (now High Master of St Paul's School)
* Dr. Nigel P. V. Richardson, PhD, MA - 1994 to 2008 (formerly headmaster of Dragon School)
* Mr. Edward Elliot, MA - 2008 onwards (formerly deputy head at the Perse School)

Notable Staff

*Glenn Kirkham, the vice-captain of the England national field hockey team, serves as a sports coach at the Perse. Kirkham participated at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. [cite web |url=|title= Olympic boost for Kirkman|accessdate=2008-02-15 |date=2008-02-11 |publisher=Cambridge Evening News]

External links

* [ The Perse School] — official website
* [ Perse Developments]
* [ School Roll of Honour for the World Wars]


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