The History of Thornden School

Recently, I was thinking in a lesson about what Thornden School used to look like – how was it different, if at all, to the school we attend today? Then I asked myself, where better to explore and blog about this topic than Thornden Live, Thornden’s own blogging and news club?

So, over the last few weeks, I have been gathering information, and I began to form a picture of Thornden School in the early 1990’s (1992 to be more precise). I managed to find a teacher called Mr. Ashman, retired now, who still works here on some occasions to help around the school he still loves.

Also, I interviewed another teacher (and very high in the senior staff team) who had been around before the millennium…

So, I decided to try and ask them a few questions regarding the history of Thornden School.

thornden now


Now this sounds like a weird place to start, as many of you, our readers, were probably alive before 2010. But to be honest, there have been a couple of changes between 2010 and 2019, including one that is in progress as this blog is being written.

thornden hall

Thornden Hall’s Roof Collapse

Thornden Hall’s roof collapse on 21st May 2018 happened overnight: the beam that supported a lot of the hall’s roof weakened, and several bits of the broken beam fell to the floor of the auditorium and surrounding areas. Because of this, Thornden students and teachers were unable to get to the dance studio and one drama room for about a month after the initial event happened, meaning that some classes took place in the canteen and other available rooms around the school. After that, you could get back into the dance studio and D2, but the main stage and the backstage part of Thornden Hall are still inaccessible to this date (as of 06/06/19).

The Change in the Canteen

Over the academic year of 2017-2018, the old history corridor was removed and replaced as a brand-new history block (more on that later) and the canteen was given room to expand to almost double its size compared to before. Over the Easter holidays, whilst students were probably enjoying a well-earned break, the walls surrounding H3, H4, and the history teachers’ staff room were bulldozed, and new tables and a Yr11 queue for food were added to the extended canteen area. H1 and H2 were moved as well, but did not need to be destroyed. So, as a result, they became E5 (also coming up later) and R3, which was a new RS room so that G.C.S.E students could have more time to revise for the upcoming exams and there was more space for RS in general.

The New History Block

In September 2017, construction began on a brand-new learning block that is now located near the astro-turf. For about 9 months, all grass areas were bordered off to students as heavy-duty machinery crunched its way through with all sorts of materials building up the structure, now known as the History block. To this day, the new building is currently the newest learning construction on Thornden School’s campus.


A short story. Due to a new learning support room being added in March 2018, E5 was forced to move to the hall near the canteen. I can recall the change happening quite suddenly as the staff suddenly wanted a new meeting place for some of the senior staff to have meetings.

The Shed

In August 2016, the LSA bungalow garden got a new and improved mini-building, referred to by most students as ‘The Shed’. This construction happened over the summer holidays and, in that time, 2 rooms were designed: one for students to sit and talk in; the other one to work in if you felt you needed to.

Once built, it became very popular with pupils to socialise with people in, possibly experiencing the same thing without being disturbed. I personally still remember moments of happiness when going to that place to relax over break-time and I still go there today.

2000 – 2010

Not much really happened during this time but one memorable moment that still has people talking about it happened between 2000 and 2010 and that was the fire of Thornden School…

thornden fire

Thornden School’s Fire, 2002

On the night of the 1st December 2002, a large fire consumed and caused large damage to the school’s textile and food tech rooms. It also spread causing some damage to the maths classrooms (that were above the tech rooms) and the canteen. It took 50 firefighters from 4 areas around Chandlers Ford and Eastleigh close to three hours to gain control and put it out. The school was closed for 2 days, causing problems for G.C.S.E practices that year, and cut off schoolwork for other year groups (as the email system probably didn’t exist at the time).

Interestingly, two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, were arrested by the police and charged with arson and were connected to the fire at the school.

Before 2000

Now we’re probably at a time where most current students weren’t even alive at this point and yet there is still lots of information on the school’s number of students, the school day and how the campus around the school looked.

The school looked rather different. The astro turf didn’t even exist until 2000-2001, nor did Thornden Hall, which was built in 2000. Students were expected to just stand around and socialise at that time or go into their tutor rooms. A lot of the separate blocks including the maths block, history block and English block, were dotted around the main building until the fire of 2002.

The number of students was less (roughly 1250) because of the different entry form that the school had before 2000. The normal school day in regards to timings, however, remained the same.


Before 1990

The last topic on this blog is about the years 1980 to 1990. It took me close to 2 weeks to find someone who worked from around this time to be able to tell me some juicy information about the school and, believe me, this school has come A LONG way since then.

The school campus was completely different. None of the buildings existed from the last section (obviously, as they were built from 200 onwards) and there was more field towards the left-hand side (if you look at the school from the front) because the Nuffield Hospital was much smaller (it still existed but it was a much smaller organization when the school was built in 1972 – 1973).


Secondly, the houses at the back of the rugby pitch were not there either, so the field stretched a little further back towards the M3 before ending.

Finally, the way into school didn’t used to be through lots of different entrances that we have today. The main entrance was by the fishpond courtyard via the door that the school now uses for students seeing reception or members of SLT.

Only 1200 pupils attended at the time, and the school day was like the one that the government had put on the school at the time. The school day ran from 9am to 4pm (7 hours in total) and had 3 breaks instead of 2 (including lunch). However, this changed in the late 1980s back to the original day that still exists today in 2019.

Notes and Facts

Did you know that Thornden School’s whole name is an anagram of the old school called North End school that closed in the 1970s just after Thornden was constructed?

Did you know that until September 2017, tutor groups were named after rare and famous birds? For example, AF = Albatross? This also explains why the logo is a bird!

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