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Chichester High School

by Charlotte Truscott

Written by Charlotte Truscott, Placement student at The Novium Museum

 

In the district of Chichester there are a vast number of schools, one of which is Chichester High School. The high school has taken many different forms throughout the years; situated at several locations and even merging with another school, The Lancastrian. The Chichester High School's campus currently stands just off Kingsham Avenue and the pupils who attend are aged between 11-16 years. In addition to the high school, the site is residence to Chichester High School Sixth Form and South Downs Planetarium, which is situated at the back of the site and opened its doors in April 2002. Although originally separated into boys and girls schools, as of September 2016 it is now mixed.

In 1929, Chichester High School for Boys (CHSB) was founded. The school was established on the Kingsham Avenue campus where they had three separate buildings spanning over the site. The original location for Chichester High School for Girls (CHSG) was in the Stockbridge area of Chichester. The site was situated next to where Chichester Gate Leisure Park now stands, formerly fields on the school campus. In 1971, an amalgamation occurred between CHSB and Lancastrian School for Boys, as well as CHSG with Lancastrian School for Girls. Both the boys and girls schools took on the Chichester High School's names.

The main building of CHSG, The Stockbridge, was used until 2002. The school then moved to the Kingsham Avenue site. Although alongside its male counterpart, the two schools continued to remain separate organisations. For several years areas of the old girls site was used by West Sussex County Council as offices and for training. However, due to no longer being in constant use the building became derelict and was eventually demolished. The site was later bought by the University of Chichester, who built student accommodation in its place. To this day part of the original building still stands.

Since moving to the Kingsham campus, CHSG gained dual specialist status in Science and the Arts. Specialist status in these two subjects meant that the school focused on these subjects, thus leading to specialist buildings being constructed. The top floor of the Stockbridge building, named after the schools former location, is designated to the schools science laboratories.

In 2009 the Centenary Theatre was built. The theatre also replaced the former gym providing updated facilities for the drama department. CHSB's former Lower School building has since been boarded up and shut off so is no longer in use. In its place, a new building has been constructed as a replacement, assembled in a former car park providing up to date facilities.

In more recent years there have been further changes to the school. In 2013 the school gained Academy status and was taken over by TKAT (The Kemnal Academies Trust). Ms Yasmin Maskatiya, the school's Executive Principal, has worked with both CHSB and CHSG since 2013 to aid in the transition to academy status. In 2014 speculation began about a possible amalgamation of the boys and girls schools. After many years of speculation and discussion, the two high schools merged to create Chichester High School in September 2016. The distinct navy and green uniforms of the girls and boys schools have since been replaced with a vivid purple uniform uniting the two schools. The school has an Outstanding Ofsted rating.

The school has notable alumni such as; writer and director Neil Bartlett OBE, actor and writer David Wood OBE and astronaut Major Tim Peake, who attended CHSB until 1990. Peake has had a long history within the military, but most notably, in 2015 Tim Peake was launched into space to the International Space Station (ISS).