Moseley School

Moseley School (incorporating Spring Hill College) is a large comprehensive school in the Moseley area of Birmingham, England. The school's main entrance is situated on Wake Green Road and it lies in the parish of St Christopher, Springfield.[1]

Moseley School
Wake Green Road

, ,
B13 9UU

Coordinates52.4406°N 1.8642°W / 52.4406; -1.8642
Former namesMoseley Grammar School
Moseley Modern School
TypeFoundation school
Local authorityBirmingham
Department for Education URN103519 Tables
HeadteacherMr R McBrien
Age11 to 18
Colour(s)Black, red & white

In the early 21st century, the school is non-denominational with around 1,360 students, two-thirds of whom are boys. 80% do not have English as a first language, and over 40% are eligible for free school meals.[2] The March 2016 Ofsted report graded the school as good with good features, at which students make good progress.[3] The school comprises three main buildings on a single campus – a Victorian college built in the 1850s, and a building completed in 2012, and a newly built sports complex.

School history

The history of what is now Moseley School is complicated. In 1838 a private house in Spring Hill, Hockley, Birmingham, was opened as a training college for Congregationalist ministers under the patronage of George Storer Mansfield (1764–1837) and his two sisters Sarah (1767–1853) and Elizabeth (1772–1847). Twenty years later, in 1857, after expansion to include a further three private houses, the establishment, still named Spring Hill College, moved to new, much larger, purpose-built premises on Wake Green Road, in what was then rural Worcestershire, some miles south of the city. This striking Gothic revival building was designed by the architect Joseph James, and is particularly noted for its gargoyles.

In 1886, the college was closed and a replacement establishment founded in Oxford, known as Mansfield College (which is now part of the University of Oxford). Meanwhile, the Wake Green Road buildings were re-opened as the 'Pine Dell Hydropathic Establishment and Moseley Botanical Gardens', which entailed the construction of a swimming bath (with highly decorative ceiling) and greenhouses. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the building was commandeered by the War Office for use as a military barracks. After a brief period as an orphanage, the site returned to educational use in 1921 as a teacher-training facility, under the new name of Springfield College.

Finally, in 1923, the premises were transferred to Birmingham City Council, which opened the Moseley Secondary School, for boys only and with a selective entrance examination. Major Ernest Robinson served as headmaster until 1956. The study bedrooms of the former college were merged in pairs to form classrooms. The former hydropathic swimming bath was boarded over to serve as the school assembly hall. An extension was built to house laboratories and further classrooms. A feature of the school (as with many grammar schools) was that the headmaster would live on the premises, which continued as the practice until 1972.

The school changed its name to Moseley Grammar School in 1939. In 1955, the city council opened a separate school, known as Moseley Secondary Modern School, fronting College Road, on what had previously been a playing field adjacent to the grammar school site. This new school, with Miss Eileen Cohen (later Mrs Eileen North) as headmistress until 1967, was both co-educational and non-selective. It specialised in performing arts such as theatre and music. Only a fence separated the two schools, and relations between the two sets of pupils were not always peaceful. It was during the headmastership of Bruce Gaskin from 1956 to 1972, that Moseley Grammar School acquired its reputation for academic excellence. Previously it had been known more for its sporting achievements, particularly in rugby. In 1968 it acquired a former inn near Abergavenny, Wales, known as Old Grouse Cottage, for outdoor activities and field trips, which the current school still retains. The main school range was designated as a Grade II listed building in the year of Mr Gaskin's retirement.

In 1974, after two years of uncertainty, the grammar school and the secondary modern school were amalgamated into a single school. This changed was controversial but supported by many (among the latter, Mr Gaskin, who after his retirement remained active on the new school's Board of Governors until the 1980s). The combined establishment, known simply as Moseley School, became one of the largest comprehensives in Birmingham. Initially at least, it inherited the good reputations of its predecessors in their respective fields. Moseley Grammar School had been without a head since 1972, and Donald Wilford, headmaster of Moseley Secondary Modern School since 1967, applied for the appointment as head of the merged school.

In the event, the job went to an outsider, Alan Goodfellow, who was on record as being bitterly critical of comprehensive education. He was also plagued by ill-health and died in office in 1981.

David Swinfen was appointed as head the following year. His ambitious plans, however, were overwhelmed by events, when the former grammar school building, known since the amalgamation as the West Wing, began falling apart as a result of decades of neglect and under-funding. In 1986 the roof of the library was declared unsafe halfway through an exam, and the entire building was closed and earmarked for demolition – the latter prevented only by Mr Swinfen's speedily organised campaign and the resultant public outcry. By the end of his tenure in 1992, the school had undergone a radical change of character, following the redrawing of its catchment area in 1987/88. Hitherto, Moseley School had taken a majority of its pupils from the (then) largely white area of Hall Green, but now it took them from the mainly Asian area of Sparkhill.

The campaign for the restoration of the West Wing continued for many years. As part of it, in 1995 Mrs Mary Miles, head teacher from 1992 to 2001, authorised the formation of the Moseleians Association, for former students and staff of the grammar school, secondary modern school, and comprehensive school. It publishes the twice-yearly Moseleian Gazette, and organises regular reunions and many other events. Continuing the work of the Old Moseleians Association – founded by Major Robinson in 1927, but with which the school had severed links in 1968 – the Moseleians Association has assumed an increasingly important role in school life. It sponsors competitions and prizes for pupils, raising funds for the school cottage, planting trees on the school grounds, and taking over the administration of the school archives.

After more than a decade of being closed and shored up with scaffolding, in 1998 – with financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund – the West Wing was completely refurbished, and re-opened under its original name of Spring Hill College (as the sixth form of Moseley School). To coincide with its re-opening, the three daughters of Mr Gaskin published Moseley into the Millennium: The Story of Moseley School, detailing and celebrating the history of the school.[4]


Following the resignation of David Peck, head teacher from 2001 to 2008, Tim Boyes, head of nearby Queensbridge School, was brought in as an interim replacement. He, and the City Council, advocated the creation of a combined Trust to administer both schools, which would share facilities and have a merged sixth form, based at Moseley. This plan, however, was scrapped in 2011 when Mr Boyes failed to secure the job of head teacher on a permanent basis.

As part of the government's 'Building Schools for the Future' (BSF) strategy, in 2009 Moseley School received approval for a massive new rebuilding programme, involving the complete demolition of the East Wing (the former Moseley Modern School, now in a bad state of repair), with the exception of its more recently built sporting facilities. The rest of the area would become the school's main car park, and meanwhile a new building would be constructed straddling the boundary between the former grammar and secondary modern sites, despite the steep incline from the latter to the former. The old grammar school building, or West Wing (Spring Hill College), would also have a number of alterations carried out to increase its capacity.

These plans survived the Coalition Government's cuts almost completely intact. Work began in summer 2011 and was completed by October 2012. The East Wing was demolished in February 2013 and the new building, which had already been in use for some months, was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Mike Leddy, on 30 June 2013. The school has invested in excess of £1.5 million into ICT facilities to transform learning and teaching, with larger than average classrooms to provide students with a flexible learning environment.[5]

To coincide with the construction of the new building, Craig Jansen, head teacher from 2011 to 2015, introduced eight new school houses to Moseley, which had been without a house system since 1982. Named after Oxford colleges, these are Mansfield, Nuffield, Keble, Pembroke, Hertford, Worcester, Lincoln and Exeter. Lincoln and Exeter were removed in 2015.[6]

List of head teachers

The following is a list of all those who have held the office of head teacher (earlier, headmaster or headmistress), or acted as such during vacancies, of Moseley School and its predecessor institutions, since the first secondary school was opened on the site in 1923.[7]

Moseley Grammar School

Moseley Boys' Secondary School 1923–1939; Moseley Boys' Grammar School 1939–1974. Colours: black, red & white.

Head teacher years notes
Maj. Ernest H. Robinson 1923–1956
Mr D. Bruce Gaskin 1956–1972
Mr Derek Moore 1972–1974 acting head / deputy head

Moseley Modern School

Moseley Mixed Secondary Modern School 1955–1974. Colours: red & green.

Head teacher years notes
Mrs Eileen North 1955–1967 née Cohen
Mr Donald Wilford 1967–1974

Moseley School

Moseley School 1974–2000; Moseley School / A Language College 2000– . Colours: black, red & white.

Head teacher years notes
Mr Alan Goodfellow 1974–1981 Died in office
Mr Phil Bullock 1981 Acting Headteacher / Deputy Headteacher
Mr John Lockwood 1981–1982 Acting Headteacher / Deputy Headteacher
Mr David Swinfen 1982–1992
Mrs Mary Miles 1992–2001
Mr David Peck 2001–2008
Mr Tim Boyes 2008–2011 Interim Heateacher / Headteacher of Queensbridge School
Mr Craig Jansen 2011–2015
Mr Roger McBrien 2015–2019 Current Headteacher of Moseley School
Mr Andrew Bate 2019- Starting in Sept 2019

    Former pupils

    The individuals below are listed by the Moseleians Association as famous Moseleians, former pupils of Moseley Grammar School (MGS), Moseley Modern School (MMS), or Moseley School (MS). Those who were pupils at the time of the merger are identified according to the school they started at.[8]

    • Mansoor Nazir - RIBA (MS) Director - DHA Architects


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