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Stantonbury Campus

Stantonbury International School, formerly known as Stantonbury Campus, is a secondary foundation school located in north Milton Keynes, England, established in 1974. It is the second largest secondary comprehensive school in the United Kingdom with more than 2,700 school students aged 11–18 (Years 7-13 / US Grades 6-12). It is built as part of a community site, including shared facilities including a leisure centre, theatre, health centre and church.

Stantonbury International School
View between Cooksey and the Leisure Centre
Stantonbury Campus Logo.png
Motto Independence Excellence Opportunity
Established 1974 (1974)
Headteacher Mrs Michelle Newman [1]
Trust Griffin Schools Trust
Founder Geoff Cooksey

Milton Keynes
MK14 6BN

 United Kingdom
52°03′40″N 0°46′22″W / 52.061°N 0.7727°W / 52.061; -0.7727Coordinates: 52°03′40″N 0°46′22″W / 52.061°N 0.7727°W / 52.061; -0.7727
Local authority Milton Keynes Council
DfE URN 110526 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 232 (2017)
Capacity 1900
Students 1730[2]
Gender mixed
Ages 11–19
Houses Cooksey (post-16)

Originally established as two schools, Bridgewater Hall and Brindley Hall.[3] During the late 1980s, the schools split into four halls plus a shared sixth form, and eventually merged into one school. The campus held Arts College status as its specialism under the now discontinued specialist schools programme Since the new headteacher, Mrs Newman has joined, the school has changed name from Stantonbury Campus to Stantonbury International School And will be introducing a new uniform. The head teacher has made a lot of changes to the school, improving both the standard of teaching and the standards expected of students



The concept for the school developed in the early 1970s with Geoff Cooksey appointed by Buckinghamshire County Council in 1971 where he worked with Tim Brighouse to create the first new secondary school of Milton Keynes.[4] When the school opened in 1974, it introduced a first name policy which means students call staff by their first name rather than the normal convention of using the teacher's surname used in other schools.

Stantonbury Campus was the first secondary school in the country to not have a uniform,[5] but 38 years later the school introduced a uniform for years 7-9 for the September 2012 term following pressure from governors and from Ofsted and growing discipline issues.[6][7]

Stantonbury Campus has a unique ethos which are guiding principles in the management and the day-to-day life of the school.[8] These are based upon equal value for all members of the school community (regardless of whether they are pupils or staff) and determined optimism for all. It has a history of educational innovation and has successfully defended the principles of comprehensive education in a climate which has sometimes been hostile to its inclusive and learner-centred ethos.[9][10]

As part of its original concept as a "community school", open to the public as well as the students, the Campus has excellent facilities such as; an athletics track with all athletic sport equipment, a leisure centre complete with a swimming pool, a drama theatre, and science labs. The Leisure Centre and Theatre are now managed by a separate charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) - Stantonbury Art and Leisure Trust, established by the Campus in 2014.

The Stantonbury timetable was significantly different to other secondary schools, incorporating long 1​14 hr and 2​12 hr sessions, and during the 1970s and 1980s, suspending normal timetables every fortnight (later every month) for "Day 10", a day of extra curricular activity which was selected by the student.[11] At the end of each school year, the timetable was suspended for a week for "Week 10".

Stantonbury Campus is the second biggest comprehensive schools in the country (Nottingham Academy being the largest since 2009).[12] Having been a 12-to-18 school from its inception, it admitted students in Year 7 from September 2006, following reorganisation of secondary education in Milton Keynes. The campus is organised into five halls, four for 11- to 16-year-olds and one for sixth-form students. All pastoral support takes place in the halls, and students have much of their teaching there too. The proportion of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is higher than is normally found. These include difficulties with speech, language and communication; hearing impairment; autistic spectrum disorder; and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. The proportion of students eligible for free school meals is below the average. The proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is similarly below average but, given the size of the campus, this represents a large number of students. Just over 20% of students are from minority ethnic groups. There are considerable numbers of students in the sixth form in receipt of the Education Maintenance Allowance. The campus has been a specialist Arts College (for performing and visual arts) since 1998 and, from 2006, has added two further specialisms - mathematics and computing, and applied learning.

Hall systemEdit

School logo from early 1980s

Due to the sheer size of the Campus, it has been necessary to split it into halls, which function as “mini schools”. Each hall has its own Head of Hall, who manages the halls as a head would manage a school. Each hall also has its own Team Coordinator and Hall Administrator, as well as the set year tutors. The school is split into two sides; one side consists of two mains halls, Saxon and Grafton, the latter being split into two buildings, the ‘Activities Block’ (Science and Design Technology Facility) and the Diner (formerly known as “The Pitstop”). The other side has the “Upper Level” building (Science, Drama and Design Technology Facility), the theatre and two halls, Portway and Dansteed. Dansteed was split into two buildings in 2006 due to the increase in the number of students attending the campus when 11-year-olds were accepted into the school. In between the two “sides” are Ashurst (sports hall), the Leisure Centre, the Library, The Hub (ICT), Main Reception and the Cooksey halls for Post 16 students. Grafton, Saxon, Dansteed and Portway are for years 7 to 11, while the Cooksey hall is for year 12 and 13 students. Cooksey hall was named after Geoff Cooksey, the first Director of Stantonbury Campus. Although student’s lessons usually only take place on one side of campus, with subjects such as English and Humanities being taught only by teachers from their own hall, some lessons will take place in various locations across campus. When students reach year 10, they will expect to have lessons more widely spread across campus.


The campus is a large site with multiple buildings. In addition to the hall buildings some are used for specific curriculum areas whilst others are facilities buildings (such as The Diner or the Leisure Centre).

Some of the many buildings include:

  • Dansteed 1 and Dansteed 2 (Art and Maths)
  • Grafton 1 (English and Humanities)
  • Grafton 2
  • Portway
  • Saxon
  • Activities Block (Science, ICT and ADT)
  • Upper Level (Science, ICT, Performing Arts and ADT)
  • Leisure Centre
  • Ashurst (Sports hall)
  • Cooksey (Post-16 + Library)
  • Cooksey 2 (Post-16)
  • Cooksey 3 (Music block)
  • Theatre

Sixth formEdit

The sixth form is based in its own hall in the centre of the campus; with a library, computer network, and a suite of tutorial and teaching rooms. The sixth-form curriculum and range of activities for students are broad: providing a wide range of academic courses leading to A level and AS level qualifications, along with vocational courses.

Achievement and standardsEdit

Students' achievement is satisfactory. When students arrive in Year 7 their attainment is below average and they make satisfactory progress through Key Stages 3 and 4. A noticeable number of students have limited competence in written and oral communication when they start at the campus. The campus has identified this group, which consists mostly of boys, and has begun to support their needs more effectively by extra literacy lessons and in-class support. A number of students arrive after the beginning of Year 7, including growing numbers who speak English as an additional language. They are supported extremely well and make excellent progress. Faculty leaders can demonstrate improvements in standards for these students as a consequence of this support. Standards at GCSE were below national averages in 2007 and 2008, and the campus is seeking to narrow this gap by introducing better tracking and monitoring procedures.

The artsEdit

Stantonbury Campus has been an specialist Arts College since 1998 and holds the Artsmark Gold mark from the Arts Council of England.


  1. ^ "Stantonbury Campus". Stantonbury Campus Official Site. 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Stantonbury Campus". Department of Education. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Domesday Reloaded: Stantonbury Campus". BBC. 1986. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Geoff Cooksey obituary". The Guardian. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Stantonbury Campus uniform plans". BBC News. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Unconventional school which lets children call teachers by first name forced to consider uniform code as parents reject relaxed rules". Daily Mail. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Stantonbury Campus gives the go-ahead for uniforms". MK News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Stantonbury Campus School Prospectus
  9. ^ Moon, B. (ed.) (1983) ,Comprehensive Schools: challenge and change, Windsor: NFER-Nelson
  10. ^ Famously, Stantonbury was among the first schools to use the "opt out" (of LEA control) option introduced by the Thatcher Government to free itself of control by the Conservative-led Buckinghamshire County Council.
  11. ^ FIELDING, Michael. "Alex Bloom, Pioneer of Radical State Education" (PDF). Mantle of the Expert. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Largest school in UK to teach 3,520". The Guardian. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 

External linksEdit