The Pingle School is a state comprehensive school located at Coronation Street in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, England. The name comes from the former Pingle Farm; Pingle being a Midlands term for a small field or allotment.
The Pingle School educates over 1,500 students, from Years 7 to 13. SATs, GCSE and A-Levels are taught here throughout the different years.
The school was opened in 1965 as the Swadlincote County Secondary School with pupils from ages 11 to 15. This new school was to replace existing secondary modern schools at nearby Castle Gresley and Woodville. The school is a typical 1960s wooden-clad building with an ongoing building renovation programme to try and counter aesthetic and structural issues. The school has been subjected to a number of arson attacks in its history.
The school operated in association with nearby Ashby de la Zouch Boys and Girls Grammar Schools, transferring students who wished at the age of 14 for GCE examinations. Thus the school, although in Derbyshire, was operating as a junior school under the Leicestershire plan. Only a very small number of students, 15 or so of a year group approaching 200, transferred, the majority stayed in Swadlincote leaving at the then school leaving age of 15 without any external examination certificates
The headmaster in those early years was Mr Claude Laurie who died in 1969. This coincided with the period when the government wished to extend the school leaving age to 16. Two other secondary modern schools in South Derbyshire were operating under the same regime namely William Allitt School in Newhall and Granville Community School. The Ashby schools would have been unable to cope with a total of approximately 500 pupils transferring from Derbyshire at the age of 14.
Derbyshire County Education Authority decided that the three schools in South Derbyshire should become independent of Leicestershire, William Allitt and Granville schools were to become 11 to 16 schools whilst the Swadlincote County Secondary School was to develop as an 11 to 18 school and provide the advanced studies for the 16 to 18 year age group.
In order to guide the school and effectively South Derbyshire through the initial years of change, a new headmaster, Mr Joe Bradley, was appointed early in 1970. Mr Bradley’s teaching career up to that time had been in grammar schools and in the last few years, comprehensive schools. The school was renamed ‘the Pingle School’, taking its new name from the name of the farm whose land the school had been built on. New heads of departments were appointed with teaching experience up to A Level GCE.
The last transfer to the Ashby schools occurred in 1971. In September 1972, all students stayed for newly developed GCE and GSE courses, taking these examinations in 1974.
The first Sixth Form was admitted in 1974, with pupils from the three secondary schools taking the first A level examinations and Oxford University entrance examinations in 1976.
On the basis of these examinations, two pupils who achieved a grade A in all their ‘A Level GCE’ examinations were admitted to Oxford University. This success was repeated in the following years.
During the early years of developing academic courses the school also developed courses for pupils with severe learning difficulties. Such children prior to 1972 were cared for by the Mental Health Authority, usually in small units separate from normal schools. It was thought that the Pingle School was the first in England to have all children from the area in the same school, from mentally handicapped children to potential university entrants. The school received visitors from other authorities who wished to see such integration prior to possibly establishing similar schools. The school has a special unit located on the front.
Other activities initiated in those early years were camping holidays in Wales, exchanges with a school in France, school brass band, orchestra and care for the local elderly.
Mr. Bradley retired in December 1990 after almost 21 years at the school.
He was succeeded by Mr Mike Mayers who stayed at the school for approximately 10 years. He was succeeded by Mrs Sue Tabberer. She was succeeded by Mr Bryan Carr. Mrs Vivien Sharples became acting head and is now the permanent head.
The school has a football team, rugby team and a basketball team for all years up to Year 11. Also in 2006, the school had an Astro turf field added to their large range of facilities which was opened by athlete Kriss Akabusi.
These facilities include:A regular sized swimming pool; used in lessons and out of school curriculum activities
Multimillion-pound sports hall with gym suite
Full size multi sport Artificial Turf pitch
On 2 December 2005, the Pingle School sixth form building caught fire as a result of a 'break time prank gone wrong'. This resulted in the near total destruction of the sixth form building. The fire was started within school hours and required the evacuation of the entire school population. Three 15-year-old boys were arrested in connection with the fire out of which one was charged with arson and sentenced to 18 months detention. Since the sixth-form centre was destroyed in the fire, temporary accommodation for lessons saw the use of portable classrooms, provided by Portakabin Ltd from their centre in Derby. The new sixth-form area was officially opened in December 2007, being in full use from February 2008. There were two other major fires at Pingle School prior to this.