Old Swinford Hospital

Old Swinford Hospital
Mottoes Ut Prosim,
Vince Malum Bono
Established 1667
Type Selective (By interview or examination)Voluntary aided
Headteacher Mr Peter Andrew Jones
Chaplain Reverend Martin Soar
Founder Thomas Foley
Specialisms Business and Enterprise, Science
Location Heath Lane
West Midlands
England England
Local authority Dudley
Students 603
Gender Boys
Ages 11–18
Houses 7 Senior Boarding Houses, 1 Junior Boarding House, 1 Day Student House
Publication The Foleyan
Former Pupils Old Foleyans
Foley Trophy Holders Witley House
Website www.oldswinfordhospital.co.uk

Coordinates: 52°27′03″N 2°08′39″W / 52.4507°N 2.1442°W / 52.4507; -2.1442

Old Swinford Hospital is a selective voluntary aided boys' boarding school in Oldswinford, Stourbridge, West Midlands, England that has been in continuous operation since the 17th century.



Old Swinford Hospital opened in the late summer of 1667. It was founded by Thomas Foley, an ironmaster and prominent local landowner, whose main estate was at Great Witley, west of Stourport in Worcestershire, but with strong Stourbridge connections. It was to educate 60 boys from “poor but honest” families nominated by specified parishes in Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. The school was sometimes named as Foley's blue coat school or hospital, or Oldswinford Hospital Endowed School[1]. The school had run to 70 boys by 1868.[2]

Due to the style of the clock tower, the school's oldest buildings are claimed[citation needed] to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, although it is unlikely that proof of this possibility will be forthcoming.

The shield comes from the Foley family arms. The motto is in two parts: Ut Prosim ("That I may serve" or "That I may be useful"), and the second or lower motto is Vince Malum Bono ("Overcome evil with good") is a partial quotation from Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." this passage is read by the head boy at the beginning of every academic year

When Foley died in 1677 he left the manor of Pedmore and a considerable sum of money in trust for the maintenance of the School. The fifteen trustees of this bequest were called Feoffees and included amongst them Thomas' three sons, Thomas, Philip and Paul. By 1872 the endowment was around £2000[3]. Today there are still fifteen Feoffees who are the trustees of the original foundation. Three of the Feoffees are still direct male descendants of the Founder.

In 1950 the School ceased to be independent and became a Voluntary aided school under an arrangement with Worcestershire County Council. Numbers in the School began to increase and a Sixth Form was started in the mid 1950s. New buildings, including a gymnasium and Lyttleton block were built to accommodate the enlarged School.

By the late 1970s day boys outnumbered boarders and an ambitious building programme commenced to enhance and extend the boarding provision. This included the construction of Foley House (1982), Witley House (1983), Dudley House (1984) and Baxter House (1990) in line with the existing house system. Facilities have been further improved in more recent years by the construction of a new classroom block and a large sports centre.

In September 1989 Old Swinford Hospital became one of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government's first Grant-maintained school, independent of the Local Education Authority. With the ending of that status in September 1999 by Tony Blair's Labour Government, the School reverted to being a Voluntary Aided school. The Governors and Headmaster retain considerable autonomy, however, and the Feoffees, as Foundation Trustees, continue to appoint a majority of the Governors.

Some two thirds of the current (approximately 600, up from 300 in the 1960s) pupils are boarders from the immediate surrounding area and further afield in the UK. There is also a significant contingent of pupils from overseas, as all those with a full UK or EU passport are entitled to apply for admission.

Old Swinford Hospital is a member of the State Boarding Schools Association (formerly STABIS).


The school consists of seven senior boarding houses:

House Colour Built Namesake
Baxter Grey 1990 Richard Baxter, a 17th Century Puritan Minister
Dudley Purple 1984 the Earls of Dudley, the family who bought the Foley's estate of Witley Court
Foley Green 1982 Thomas Foley, the founder of the School
Foster Red A prominent local family (see James Foster)
Maybury Royal Blue William Maybury, headmaster from 1883–1928
Potter Sky Blue 2009 Chris Potter, headmaster from 1978 until 2001
Witley Yellow 1983 Witley Court, the Foley family mansion

There is one junior boarding house: Prospect House named after its location on Prospect Hill in Stourbridge.

Before the houses were associated with buildings, there was also a Lyttelton house, named after the Lyttelton family who built nearby Hagley Hall. Katherine Lady Lyttelton and her son Sir Henry Lyttelton, sold the manor of Old Swinford to Thomas Foley in 1661.[4]


OSH is a selective school. To gain Year 7 day student entry, boys can sit an entrance exam into the school. There are very few places, making day student spots highly competitive indeed. Boarding places are gained via a selection interview but no exam is required. For Year 9 entry, some boarding places are made available so students from middle schools can enter. For Lower Sixth entry, boys and girls are open to take an exam to enter the school. This is the first opportunity girls have to enter, what was until only a few years ago an all Boys school. Some boarding places are also offered at this stage, mainly to international students.


The school subject choices remain largely traditional, with many courses being offered as minor specifics to senior students. Mathematics is offered as Mechanics, Statistics, Pure, Core and Further. All 3 Sciences are offered, and for English you can take Language, Literature or both. History is split between standard History and Classical Civilisation. The School also still offers Greek and Latin to Senior students.

Old Swinford Hospital is a specialist Business and Enterprise School, a Specialist Science School and has recently been awarded with a Artsmark and Sportsmark.

Foreign Language lessons are also compulsory and are offered as options to sixth form students as Spanish, French and German. Old Swinford Hospital benefits from foreign language assistants, who come as native speakers of the language to teach and help at the school. In return they get to live in one of the boarding houses, and also get the opportunity to better their own English language skills. In the past foreign language assistants have come from as far away as Argentina.

Examination wise, GCSE's are taken in Year 11. Lower Sixth take AS Levels, and Upper Sixth take A-Levels. Most Lower Sixth take 4-5 courses, and Upper Sixth take 3-4 Courses. For Upper Sixth students General Studies is an optional extra course, with untaught lessons, as well as many open university and finance courses open to the whole of the sixth form.

Old Swinford Hospital is placed in the top 5% of all schools at GCSE and with a strong record at A level. In October 2006, OFSTED rated the school as "outstanding" in each of the 39 inspection judgements.

Upon publication of the 2007/2008 academic year results tables, Old Swinford Hospital were the best school in the Dudley local area for pass and success rates in GCSE's with 89% of pupils gaining 5 or more A*-C grades. A Level students also performed well with 99% of examinations taken passed, and an average point score per pupil of 805.8; significantly higher than the Dudley local average of 733.1 [5][6] For 2010, it remained the highest performing school in the Dudley borough with 94% of GCSE students gaining 5 or more GCSE's at grade C or above.[7]


Old Swinford Hospital has a large history of high level sporting achievement. Some Old Foleyans have gone on to play top level and international games in their sporting fields.

Sport is compulsory, during the Wednesday Afternoon sessions for the Senior Students, in line with the time university sports fixtures are played.

The main school sport is Rugby, and it has been highly successful reaching the Semi-Finals in the U15 and U18 Daily Mail Cup, and winning many other cups. From Michaelmas term the sport is played, with Sevens being played late in the Lent term. Other top level sports include Hockey and Cross Country. Cross Country had a successful 2007/2008 season, winning trophies in both 1st and 2nd team categories. The school runs 3 senior football teams which are coached by former professional footballer Dale Rudge.

In Summer the main school sport is Cricket. This is played on front field cricket pitch, with Founders as the backdrop. The 1st team are usually very successful, in 2008 hardly losing a match. Teams throughout all of the year groups compete. A highlight of the season is the Senior teams match against the Old Foleyans played in the summer. David Banks, the former Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire cricketer is one notable member of the teams coaching staff.

Basketball is fast becoming the schools second most popular sport. In season 08-09, the team was second in the six-way tournament held by Bromsgrove school, and its win-loss ratio was 5-2. The juniors are coached by former England basketball guru Barrie Mann.

Other sports include Golf (Old Swinford Hospital owns Stourbridge Golf Club), Squash, Tennis, Rounders, Athletics, Volleyball, hockey and Mountain Biking.

Shooting is a sport also enjoyed at the school, with it more recently being involved in competitions. It is one of the most successful sports in the school with the shooting team coming 3rd in the nationals in 2010.

Ties and Pins

The school has a wide range of ties and pins for houses and awards.


  • Full School Prefect - Red with thin gold stripe and blue OSH logo
  • School Tie - Navy Blue and Sky Blue stripe
  • 6th Form - Navy Blue with thin Sky Blue stripe (white strip within Sky Blue)
  • Foley House - Black with thin gold stripes
  • Baxter House - Black with thin silver/grey stripes
  • Dudley House - Purple with stripe
  • Witley House - Blue with thin yellow/gold stripe
  • Foster House - Red with black blue stripe
  • Prospect House - Grey with rainbow stripes(representing each house)
  • Junior Sports Colours - Grey with coloured stripes
  • Senior Sports Colours - Blue with thin silver stripes, OSH badge
  • Senior Music Colours - Dark with thin stripes and OSH logo with instrument
  • Junior Music Colours - Sky Blue with OSH logo with instrument
  • 1st Team - Burgundy with grey stripe, OSH logo and XV (Rugby) or XI (Football, Hockey)
  • Cross Country - As above with XC instead of XI
  • Scholars' - Black with gold stripes with OSH logo


  • Standard - Blue with Gold OSH pin badge. Awarded to all students of the school
  • White - White with Gold OSH. Awarded for outstanding achievement, senior students decided by Headmaster
  • Prefect - Red with Gold OSH. Awarded to prefects
  • Music - Blue with Gold Music Note. Awarded alongside music colours
  • Scholars' - Black with Gold OSH pin badge. Awarded to Lord Foley Scholars and Exhibitioners

International links

Old Swinford Hospital has international links with schools and educational establishments abroad. The three most notable are in the table below. Old Swinford has a history of raising money, and assisting in many ways with St. John's Secondary School in Nandere, Uganda through various charitable events and days and through the Uganda Link society. When the school had power issues in 2007, Old Swinford managed to raise the money needed to get power supplies back within one day.

School City
Uganda St. John's Secondary Senior School [8] Nandere
Argentina St. George's College North [8] Buenos Aires
Australia St. Joseph's Nudgee College [8] Brisbane

Famous Old Foleyans

Former students of the school are called Old Foleyans after the founder of the school, Thomas Foley.




  • Roi Wilson - Captain RN
  • Neil Allcock MBE - Captain Army




Headmasters since 1883

  • Mr WJ Maybury (1883–1928)
  • Mr HC Stone (1928–1951)
  • Mr Lionel Sheppard MBE (1951–1978)
  • Mr Christopher Potter OBE (1978–2001)
  • Mr Melvyn Roffe (2001–2007)
  • Mr Peter Jones (2007– )

See also

External links


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