Christ's Hospital, also called the Bluecoat School, Housey and CH, is an English coeducational independent day and boarding school with Royal Charter located in the Sussex countryside just south of Horsham in West Sussex, that follows much of public schools tradition. It is a charity school, giving children from poorer backgrounds the chance to have a better education. The school was founded in the 16th century in Greyfriars, London and Ware, with the school moving in 1902 to its present location in West Sussex. A girls school was founded in Hertford which then merged with the boys school in the 1980s.
In 2006 19% of children accepting places were assessed as being in "very high" need, 64% in "medium to high" need and 17% in "low" need.
The trustees of the foundation are the Council of Almoners, chaired by the Treasurer of Christ's Hospital, who govern the foundation according to a Scheme of Administration granted by the Charity Commission. The historic Court of Governors survives as a formal institution consisting of over 650 benefactors but its powers have since the 19th century been largely transferred to the smaller Council of Almoners.
In 2007 Christ's Hospital was separated into two related registered charities: Christ's Hospital Foundation and Christ's Hospital School.
Admission of pupils is either by open competitive examination or by "show of skills" — in either case the suitability of candidates is judged according to criteria of need and parental income. Some of the means of entry are denoted on the uniform by a round metal plate (varying in design according to type of presentation) sewn on the breast of the housey coat.
The school's Tudor uniform consists of belted, long blue coats with knee-breeches, yellow socks, and bands at the neck. The uniform has been in place since 1552. The nickname "Blue-coat School" comes from the blue coats worn by the students – however, the nickname used within the school community itself is "Housey" and the long coat is called a "housey coat".
By 2011 students and alumni stated that they see the uniform as an important way of giving the school a unique identity and unifying the school. Around that time the administrators had discussed the idea of updating the uniform. A few of the school's 800 students voted; over 95% voted in favour of keeping the original uniform.
Christ's Hospital Model United Nations (MUN) programme attempts to develop global citizenship amongst the next generation of world thinkers and leaders, and also ordinary pupils. Its team debates international affairs at conferences, and organises its own for students from other schools.
Christ's Hospital was featured in the first series of the reality television programme Rock School, in which Gene Simmons of Kiss helped a group of pupils form their own rock band.
An Arts Centre complex (architect: Bill Howell) was opened in 1974 including a theatre with Tudor style auditorium, music school extension, Octagon rehearsal/performance space and classrooms.
The Christ's Hospital Arts Centre served as a principal arts venue for Horsham and the surrounding area until the establishment of an arts centre in Horsham in the 1980s. A programme of performances continues to be open to the public. Former notable pupils in theatre and film include Jason Flemyng, Leo Gregory, James D'Arcy, Michael Wilding, and Roger Allam.
In late November 2012, Christ’s Hospital underwent a whole school inspection carried out by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI). The school was rated “excellent” (the top grade) in the report released in January 2013. The optional term 'Exceptional' was not used. The report also said: (ii) Recommendation for further improvement 2.6 The school is advised to make the following improvement. 1. Ensure, through consistent monitoring by its academic leaders, the highest standards of teaching in all subject areas.
The house system is incorporated with the boarding programme and most pupils are boarders. The school houses are named after notable Old Blues, primarily writers. Each house has an "A" and "B" side, each housing roughly 45 pupils arranged from west to east as follows:Grecians West (mixed)
Peele – George Peele (boys)
Thornton – Edward Thornton (girls)
Middleton – Thomas Middleton (boys)
Coleridge – Samuel Taylor Coleridge (girls)
Lamb – Charles Lamb (boys)
Barnes – Thomas Barnes (girls)
Maine – Henry James Sumner Maine (boys)
Leigh Hunt – Leigh Hunt (girls)
Grecians East (mixed)
Notable members of staff have included:Edward Baldwin, 4th Earl Baldwin of Bewdley
Ralph Henry Carless Davis
John Flamsteed (Astronomer Royal)
William Hamilton Fyfe
George Andrew Jacob
Craig Sellar Lang
Derrick Somerset Macnutt
William Wales (Astronomer)