History & Alumni
Serving the Local Community for Over 70 years
Hinchley Wood School's Claygate Lane site originally housed two separate schools, the Kingston Day Commercial School and the Hinchley Wood Central Council School; the former being an existing school moved from its location in Kingston.
The Central Council School opened on 4 March 1940 with 360 children drawn from five different local schools in Thames Ditton, Claygate and Long Ditton; there was no primary school in Hinchley Wood until after the war. The students were aged 10 - 14 years, the latter being the statutory minimum school leaving age at that time, and the school had nine forms of 40 children each. Mr P N Halifax was the head teacher who had a team of 12 permanent teaching staff.
In 1947 the two schools were merged to form the Hinchley Wood County Secondary School, although the physical joining together of the buildings took place gradually over many years.
With the merger both head teachers, Mr Bray and Mr Halifax, left and were replaced with one head, Mr Harold Thorp. Hinchley Wood County Secondary took over the two buildings as well as the commercial courses originally run by the Kingston school. An extension was built between the two school buildings in the 1960s and it now forms the school administrative offices on the ground floor and the modern languages department on the first floor.
- In the 1960s the school had around 1200 pupils on roll from the ages of 12 to18 years.
- Esher Sixth Form College was established in 1977 on the Thames Ditton site of Esher County Grammar School - formerly the Surbiton County Grammar School which was relocated from the current Hollyfield School site.
- As a result Hinchley Wood became a 12-16 years school and this subsequently changed to 11-16 years when middle and first schools were abolished in Surrey. The number of pupils on roll in the early 1990s was 600; today the school has 1173 students on its roll.
The school site has been developed over the years to accommodate a range of changes:
- In 1996 the school successfully bid to become an 11-18 years school. The first purpose built sixth form centre, which was housed in the Thwaites Building, was opened in 2001 with around 30 students; there are now over 200 sixth form students who enjoy life in the newly built Sixth Form Centre completed on the northern end of the first floor of the main building in September 2014.
- The art/technology building was completed in 1995 providing two art rooms, one graphics rooms, one food technology room, one resistant materials workshop and three classrooms now used for the teaching of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics.
- A new purpose built indoor sports centre with fitness gym, dance studio and a dining room with kitchen was opened in September 2002.
- In 2005 a new science wing was built on the southern end of the first floor of the main building.
- The library was amalgamated into a new music centre with recording studio and practice rooms in 2006.
- At the same time a new learning resource centre was created from the former science labs.
- October 2012: two astro truf pitches were built on part of the playing fields.
- September 2014: the Learning Support Centre was relocated to the refurbished Lower Thwaites Building.
- April 2016: an NAS Cullum Centre at the school, one of just four such facilities in Outstanding Surrey schools. The centre planned in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS) employs specialist support staff to work with high functioning autistic students to enable them to flourish in the mainstream school environment.
- September 2016: two new state-of-the-art Science labs built to cater for the growing number of students who opt for A level Sciences and a purpose built Drama studio.
- Summer 2018: creation of a third tennis court in the area formerly known as 'the cage'.
- Summer 2020: main hall refurbishment, new lighting and installation of retractable seating.
Helping the School
If you are a former student of Hinchley Wood School, we want to hear from you! Your experiences since leaving could help to motivate and inspire our current students to feel more confident in making decisions about their future. We would love you to stay connected with the school and please do let us know if you would like to return to the school for a visit.
We are fortunate that many former students are able to help the school, either financially or by offering work experience or careers advice. We organise a Careers Fair every year and Corporate Breakfast meetings in the summer term and are always keen to find people willing to offer advice and work experience, or speak to students in small groups. Do get in touch if you are able to help.