John Mason School
, or JMS, is a state secondary school
. It has a specialist Arts College
Established as an old grammar school
, JMS has now grown considerably, with, as of 2007
, approximately 1000 students. Ms Di Mashiter began as the school's new head in January 2008. The school was named by the Berkshire Education Committee after sixteenth century intellectual, diplomat and spy Sir John Mason
, whose picture can be found hanging in the school hall. He was born in Abingdon and educated at the nearby Abingdon School
Situated on Wootton Road, John Mason is centrally located in a four-way partnership of Abingdon schools known as 14:19 Abingdon. The other members are Larkmead School, Fitzharrys School and Abingdon and Witney College. The four partners share Sixth Form lessons and plans for the future are discussed between the head teachers of all three schools.
The school logo
is that of a double-headed lion (although many people mistakenly believe it to be a griffin
) of the same origin as the Abingdon School
logo. JMS has a motto
of "High Standards, Happy School, Committed Service, Creative Spirit" (formerly "High Standards, Happy School, Honourable Service"). In 2006
the school colours were changed from grey and orange to green and orange. The school has three houses
, and Thames
, of the colours green, red and blue respectively. There was a fourth house, Isis, but this was dissolved as of 1993. The houses are named after watercourses in the town.
Famous alumni include the Premiership footballer Matthew Taylor
, folk musician John Spiers
and Paul Mayhew-Archer
(a writer on The Vicar of Dibley and My Hero) who was formerly a teacher at JMS.
Specialist School Status
The three schools in the Consortium were granted Specialist School Status in 2004
. John Mason now specialises in the visual arts. This means it will now receive greater funding from the government to provide for specialist equipment. The school will continue to function as normal in all other departments, but with increased funding for visual learning equipment, such as data projectors. In 2006, JMS opened the 06 Gallery, a new construction reflecting their specialism.
The Welsh Farm
A valuable and unusual asset of the school is the Welsh Farm at Troedyrhiwgellifawr ("House in the grove at the foot of the hill"), which lies towards the end of a remote valley in West Wales near the village of Pumsaint and the town of Llandovery as well as being close to the Dolaucothi Gold Mines (Landranger Grid Reference: SN676442). It is surrounded by forested hills and sheep farms and is somewhat isolated from other properties. Students commonly undertake a four day trip while in Year 9, and some have the option to revisit in Year 10 for a Geography Fieldwork trip, Year 11 for a Triple Science Observational Cosmology Trip and in Year 12.
The John Mason Association (referred to as the JMA, the 'friends' of John Mason School) own and run the Welsh Farm, which is visited by nearly all students, and used for field trips, tutorial group visits and other specialised trips. The JMA purchased the farm in 1969 for £1500 and renovation has been ongoing ever since. The majority of students love the farm and many request to return after they have finished their GCSEs in Year 11.
Troedrhiw is available for hire by current and past JMS parents, students and staff.