Ryde School with Upper Chine

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Ryde School with Upper Chine (or, informally, Ryde School) is a co-educational ISC independent day and boarding school in the seaside town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. Among the school's former pupils are the author Philip Norman and the former world-record holder as the youngest cross-Atlantic yachtsman, Seb Clover.

Ryde School with Upper Chine
Queens Road

, ,
PO33 3BE

United Kingdom
TypeIndependent school
Co-educational school
Day and boarding school
MottoUt Prosim ("That I may be of service")
Religious affiliation(s)Christian - Anglican
Department for Education URN118223 Tables
Headmaster (Senior)Mark Waldron MA
Age2 1/2 to 18
HousesChine, Hanover, Seaford, Trinity
Colour(s)Navy Blue + Red + Gold
Head (Junior)Linda Dennis
Headmistress (Fiveways)Emily Willetts
BursarJonathan Marren
The main entrance before construction of the Bembridge Building.
The Fiveways building of Ryde School.


Ryde School was founded by William and Constance McIsaac as Ryde Grammar School on 25 April 1921, in response to increased demands for high quality education for boys on the Isle of Wight. The school was opened by the Mayor of Ryde with 46 day boys, who were put into three houses, Britons, Celts and Romans. William McIsaac is quoted as saying "boys would endeavour to be useful to God to whom they owed their existence and that they would use God's gifts for others first and themselves last."[1][2] The school motto was introduced in the first assembly on the lawn, which remains today. Interhouse sports were introduced with strong loyalty and the Cock House Championship introduced by McIsaac to instil team loyalty remains at the school through the Cock House trophy for winning house captains.

Within a year, numbers increased to 78 and in 1923, the numbers further increased to 103 with the school divided into prep, junior and senior for ages 5 to 8, 8 to 11 and 11+ respectively.

In September 1972, the school's headmaster, Keith Symons, admitted the first girls into the sixth form. On 8 May 2009, he returned to the school to open the Symons Pavilion, named after him to commemorate his achievements, notably being the first headmaster of the school to gain H.M.C. status. In celebration of the admission of the girls, seven of the original girls and four of their teachers held a reunion with Keith Symons on 2 October 2010 and photographs were taken as souvenirs of the memorable occasion.

In 1994, Upper Chine School for Girls, established in 1914, merged with the school, with the combined institution becoming known as Ryde School with Upper Chine. Several teachers from Upper Chine joined the school and to accommodate the new pupils, a fourth house was added, Chine, with a green badge. The new joined school gained a new logo, with the cornflower that was the symbol of Upper Chine School for Girls was incorporated into the old Ryde School badge. The Upper Chine Old Girls' Association[3] continue to operate, as does The Old Rydeians' Association.[4][5] In 1995, Ryde School took over Bembridge School and this has now become Bembridge Boarding Campus, with staff joining the school.

In 1999, a shield was dedicated to May Stacey, who worked on the domestic side of the school for 44 years with close association with the founding family and boarding, awarded annually to pupil(s) in forms 1 to 5 for contributing most to doing good for others.

In summer 2002, Roy McIsaac, the son of the founders, headmaster from 1954 to 1966 and hereditary governor, died aged 82.[6][7][8] In September 2002 at Speech Day, the headmaster Dr England paid tribute to him and confided that Roy McIsaac would have been delighted with the best A Level results that the school had ever achieved.[9]

In November 2010, numbers had increased to 62 boarders and 703 day pupils, with Ofsted praising the school's accommodation, caring attitude of staff to boarders and was judged outstanding in helping children to be healthy, achieve well and enjoy what they do, make a positive contribution, protecting children from harm or neglect and helping them stay safe. They also rated "good" in achieving economic wellbeing.[10]

On 16 September 2011, the school hosted BBC Radio 4 Any Questions live with chairman Jonathan Dimbleby and panellists Hilary Benn, Simon Heffer, Chris Huhne, Sally Hunt and Victoria Wakely.[11]

On 22 November 2012, the funeral of Maurice Fenn, a former deputy head under Roy McIsaac, Keith Symons, Peter Wilkes and Michael Featherstone and long serving member of staff, took place at St James' Church, Ryde, attended by many friends from the Ryde School "family". The current headmaster, Dr Nicholas England, read one of the lessons and Peter Wilkes gave an address.[12]

In late 2012, Dr Nicholas England was announced as a Deputy Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and also, his replacement following his retirement in the summer of 2013 was announced as Mark Waldron, the head of The English College in Prague.[13] In 2014, the school celebrated the centenary of Upper Chine School and will celebrate the same for Ryde School in 2021.

Currently, the school operates as Fiveways for ages 21/2 to 7 in West Street; the Junior School for ages 8 to 11 and the Senior School [and Sixth Form] for ages 11 to 18, both on the Westmont site. Ryde School is both a limited company and charity. As part of its charitable status, it provides facilities to the community.

The 2012 pass rates for the school were 96% 5+ A*-C including English and Maths with 52% at A* to A for GCSE and 100% pass rate with 91% A* to C and 42% A* to A for A Level.[14][15][16]


The school was originally located in Hanover House in George Street, Ryde, which also served as the home of William McIsaac, the headmaster, his wife Constance and son Roy. A number of the rooms were converted into classrooms and laboratories. Owing to increased numbers of pupils, extra buildings were purchased, as well as an extension to Hanover House, within a year of opening. Boarders were introduced in 1922 and housed in Trinity House, Dover Street, where the family also moved to allow more classrooms in the original school building. In 1923, the school leased Seaford Lodge for a boarding house run by Constance McIsaac.

The school moved to its current location - less than a mile away from its original location - Westmont in Queen's Road, Ryde, in 1928, which was built for the son of eminent naval physician Dr James Lind in 1819 and had been leased out since the death of Lind Jr's Mother. Westmont is a Grade II listed building, including the Victorian greenhouse and wall, Further buildings were purchased around the school since, including a number of houses on West Street, Oxford Lodge, bought in 1972, Hollymount, Hermitage and Highclere. A more recent extension houses a two-storey classroom block, sports hall and the junior school, which shares the main Westmont site with the senior school. The primary school, Fiveways, is on a separate site opposite the main campus.

The boarding campus is located at the site of Bembridge School, which closed in 1997, and shares the site with Kingswood, an activity centre.[17] On the site, New House is classified as a listed building. Bembridge School Chapel, a Grade II Group Value listed building, is used by Kingswood. The chapel has recently been repaired and renovated. The listed building includes panelling, pews and an Edward Woore stained glass. The school has been given conditional planning permission for demolition of old huts to be replaced with new accommodation blocks, which are close by Bembridge School Chapel.

The school purchased 11 and 15 Queens Road and then sought planning permission to demolish them in 2008 and 2009. A new glass building was designed by Walters and Cohen including new teaching facilities for art, design and technology and ICT, a reception and a new dining area and kitchens, relocated from Westmont, alongside alterations to existing buildings, including library and study facilities for the sixth form in Westmont and modern languages moving to art, design and technology, and changes to the site. After two refusals, the application was approved on appeal. The foundation stone for the building, named the Bembridge Building, was placed by Major General Martin White, Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight on 17 November 2010.[18] In Autumn 2011, the Earl of Wessex officially opened Bembridge Building and Wessex Quadrangle.

In 2015 Isle of Wight Council authorised Ryde School with Listed Building Consent and planning permission to alter 16/17 Lind Street in Ryde to provide a new boarding house for sixth formers, "Spinnaker House". In 2017, the school applied for planning permission to construct a new boarding house for 68 pupils on the main campus.[19]

The school's current facilities include a shooting range (.22) used by the CCF (Combined Cadet Force), three sports pitches for rugby, football, cricket and hockey, a sports hall, gym and table tennis area. The school also has astroturf at Smallbrook Stadium.

In 2014, Independent Schools Inspectorate, ISI, inspected Ryde School With Upper Chine. As part of its report, it gave a positive write-up to Bembridge Boarding Campus with its friendly atmosphere and many opportunities for recreational activities.[20]

Curriculum and extra-curriculumEdit

The school runs four houses with their respective badges from Junior School onwards, Hanover with red, Seaford with blue, Trinity with yellow and Chine with green, created from the merger with Upper Chine. Junior and Senior school pupils compete in house events including song, debating, quizzes and sports, as well as fundraising.

Events in the school have included shows, such as Oklahoma, Grease, My Fair Lady, Guys n' Dolls, Singin' in the Rain, Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, Crazy For You, Sweeney Todd,Thoroughly Modern Millie and Cabaret, charity fashion shows from the sixth form, masked balls linked to Ryde Carnival and supporting orphans in Romania. In October 2000, Ryde School participated in BT Voices for Hospices, with the School Choir performing Handel's Messiah and the Public Speaking Team performing, with ticket sales benefiting the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. In 2002, as part of Barton Manor's celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee, the Public Speaking Team performed with proceeds donated to charity. On 12 November 2010, the world's first Quizlimbo was held to raise funds for Haiti. The Fourth International Quizlimbo was held on 11 March 2015 and current World champions are KWTY with 180, a new World record. Ryde is home to the top 8 World Quizlimbo teams. Jessie Coleman won the limbo challenge going under a height of 102 cm.

The school fields teams for rugby, hockey, football, netball, rounder and tennis. The music department, located in Oxford Lodge in West Street, provides instrumental lessons and runs orchestra, bands and singers. In the Rydeian Magazine 2010-2011, page 74,[21] is a review of Athletics at Ryde School where it reports major athletics achievements of Ryde School's athletic stars. In one, Brogan Percy achieved a Bronze Medal at the World Island Youth Games. There was also specific praise for Nicholas Percy who achieved international acclaim in the Commonwealth Youth Games and European Club Championships in Valencia. A few years later, Nicholas Percy is shown as having continued to excel at specific Field Events, in particular Discus.*[22]

Publications at the school include a weekly and termly newsletter with updates on Facebook, Twitter and the school website.

In the Annual Report 2016, published in April 2017, they explained how their facilities are used by the community which is of cardinal relevance as a charitable company. Ryde School stated that their facilities are used to provide opportunities. That Ryde School sport facilities (pitches and the Sports Hall) are used by a large number of different sports clubs including: IOW Hockey, IOW/Shorwell Netball, Oakfield Youth Football Club, Ryde Cluster Primary Schools, Ryde Cricket Club, Ryde Cavaliers Cricket Club, Ryde Lawn Tennis Club, Newport Under 9s Football, Football Mondial, Vectis Nomads (football), Ryde Saints (football) and Tae Kwon Do. Ryde School also stated that they host the Isle of Wight schools netball, cricket, rounders, rugby 7s & hockey schools’ tournaments, the Easter 20/20 Cricket festival and a cricket academy October half term course.


In 1978, the school was involved in the National Trust Isle of Wight Youth Group, volunteering at the restoration of The Needles Batteries, owned by the National Trust and were introduced to the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, at the official opening of Needles Old Battery in 1982.[23]

In 2001, the school were local winners, Hampshire finalists and product design winners in Young Enterprise.

In 2002, the school won in all three categories at the Isle of Wight final for Rotary Youth Speaks Competition and the intermediates came second in the district final. They also won in 2000 at the national level. [24]

Notable former pupilsEdit

Upper Chine School (to 1994)Edit


  1. ^ "A Torch Was Lit" published by Ryde School in 1966, Authors: Roy McIsaac and Geoffrey Coombes, Dovecote Press.
  2. ^ A torch was lit : a history of Ryde School, 1921-1996 (Book, 1996). [WorldCat.org]. OCLC 43970658.
  3. ^ "Home". Ucoga.co.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Photographs Recent". Oldrydeians.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 8 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Obituaries". Oldrydeians.com. Archived from the original on 2 November 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  7. ^ http://www.ocsociety.co.uk/system/documents/89/original/McIsaac_Roy.pdf?1265715352
  8. ^ "Mid Sussex Today; FORMER Ryde School headmaster and governor Roy McIsaac has died, aged 82". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 11 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Ryde School with Upper Chine". Education.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Find an inspection report" (PDF). Ofsted. Retrieved 21 January 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ [2][dead link]
  12. ^ [3][permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "New headmaster for school". Isle of Wight County Press. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  14. ^ "GCSE results: Best ever for Ryde School". On The Wight. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Isle of Wight A-level results released". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Ryde School A-level and IB examination results 2012". On The Wight. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Isle of Wight Activity Centre - Residential School Trips & Tours | Kingswood - Learning beyond the classroom". Kingswood. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  18. ^ "Foundation for new era at school". Isle of Wight County Press. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  19. ^ "New boarding house plan for Ryde School". Isle of Wight County Press. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Ryde School with Upper Chine :: Independent Schools Inspectorate". www.isi.net. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  21. ^ Chris Ody, Editor. THE RYDEIAN 2010 - 2011. Designed and Printed by The Waverley Press Newport Street Ryde IW.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  22. ^ http://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=165202&event=DT2K
  23. ^ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery
  24. ^ "New Roundabout". Homepage.ntlworld.com. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  25. ^ https://www.iwight.com/azservices/documents/1484-nick%20percy.pdf
  26. ^ Percy, Nicholas. "The Power of 10 Info".
  27. ^ Percy, Nicholas. "NICHOLAS PERCY".

External linksEdit