History of the school

Chesham Grammar School was opened on April 17th 1947 as Chesham Technical School, one of very few new technical schools created after the 1944 Education Act. This Act made secondary education free for everyone and introduced the tripartite system of grammar, secondary modern and technical schools.

Grammar schools were intended to teach a highly academic curriculum while secondary modern schools would train pupils in practical skills, aimed at equipping them for less skilled jobs. The new technical schools were designed to train children in mechanical and scientific subjects. The focus of these schools was on creating pupils who could become scientists, engineers and technicians. In fact very few were ever built due to a lack of money and a shortage of suitably qualified teachers; Chesham Technical School was one of the few.

When the school opened, it had just 6 pupils - all boys - and the Headmaster was Mr Sidney Chapman.  For the first 15 years or so, the school was a technical school for boys.  In the 1960s there was huge development in the local area and the school became a co-educational grammar as it remains today.  In 2010, it changed its name from Chesham High (as it is still often affectionally referred to locally) to Chesham Grammar School.

Over time, most areas of the country adopted the comprehensive system. Buckinghamshire was one of the few local authorities to retain the 11+ and a selective system and this continues to this day. Despite the changes over time, the school has stayed true to its roots, retaining a focus on creative and artistic education and on technical subjects, such as engineering which is a popular GCSE option.

We are fortunate to be in possession of the school’s first log book.  The first entry from April 17th 1947 reads:

“I, Sidney Ernest Chapman, BSc, Headmaster, opened this new school today with one Assistant Master and six boys.”

In the 75 years of its existence, CGS has had six Headteachers.  They are:          

Mr Sidney Chapman    1947-1966
Mr Paddy Evans      1966-1967
Mr Ken Stokes    1967-1993
Mr Tim Andrew      1993-2007
Mr Philip Wayne    2007-2015
Miss Annmarie McNaney    2015- present


Since 1947 CGS has evolved, adapted, developed and grown from modest beginnings into a large, vibrant community of over 1300 students.  In the words of the Good Schools Guide, “here you will find an overwhelmingly kind, nurturing school, coupled with a clear focus on excellence and getting pupils to achieve their very best”.