Promoting Cultural Capital: We are naming our classrooms.

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As part of a long-term, school-wide initiative to develop our students’ cultural capital, we are going to be giving each of the spaces in our school an identity linked to a significant person.  Each department has been asked to select people who represent their subjects, blending historical and contemporary figures and seeking to achieve a balance gender and ethnicity.  The selection process in each department included staff and student input which generated some heated debates at the end of last term.  Across the whole list we’re also intending to make sure it represents LGBT and disability role-models so there might be some final tweaking to be done.  We also have one final whole-school consultation to do to name the Main Hall.  One person to represent everything we’re trying to achieve – it’s a big call!

Inside and outside each room there will be a simple prominent display highlighting the person’s contribution to the disciplines they are associated with.  Students will encounter these people as they move around the school; they will become part of the fabric of the building and the backdrop to their learning.  Since many of the people chosen will seem fairly obscure at first, students will have cause to stop and think about who they are and teachers will have lots of talking points.

Collectively, the people we have selected symbolise many of the values and attitudes we want our students to adopt around academic learning or striving for excellence or making a difference to society in some way.

So – here is the list so far.  A work in progress but now with every department represented – updated from the list first posted in August.

Name Room Faculty / Dept
Albert Einstein SC1 Science
Edwin Hubble SC2 Science
Rosalind Franklin SC3 Science
Gregor Mendel SC4 Science
Marie Curie SC5 Science
Isaac  Newton SC6 Science
Charles Darwin SC7 Science
Elizabeth Loftus SC8 Science
Stephen Hawking SC9 Science
Srinivasa Ramanujan MA1 Maths
Leonhard Euler MA2 Maths
Hypatia MA3 Maths
Emmy Noether MA4 Maths
Alan Turing MA5 Maths
René Descartes MA6 Maths
Maryam Mirzakhani MA7 Maths
Sophie Germain MA8 Maths
Pythagoras Maths Office Maths
Abraham Maslow Nurture Student Support
William Shakespeare Office English
George Orwell EN1 English
Chinua Achebe EN2 English
Orhan Pamuk EN3 English
J.K. Rowling EN4 English
Carol Ann Duffy EN5 English
Kazuo Ishiguro EN6 English
Mary Shelley EN7 English
Sylvia Plath EN8 English
Maya Angelou EN9 English
Karl Marx Hu1 Humanities
Margaret Ann Bulkley Hu2 Humanities
Oscar Romero Hu3 Humanities
Ibn Khaldun Hu4 Humanities
Doreen Massey Hu5 Humanities
David Attenborough Hu6 Humanities
Patricia Hill Collins Hu7 Humanities
CLR James Hu8 Humanities
Tim Berners-Lee ICT1 ICT
Steve Jobs ICT2 ICT
Shigeru Miyamoto ICT3 ICT
Laurie Anderson ICT4 ICT
John Maynard Keynes BS1 Business and Economics
Igor Ansoff BS2 Business and Economics
Deborah Meaden BEC (was BS2) Business and Economics
Edward de Bono BEC1 Business and Economics
Leonard Bernstein MU1 Music
Marin Alsop MU2 Music
Miles Davis MU3 Music
Edward Elgar MU4 Music
David Bowie MU5 Music
Esperanza Spalding MU6 Music
Jimi Hendrix Studio Music
Evelyn Glennie PR1 Music
Leon Goosens PR2 Music
Johann Quantz PR3 Music
Nicola Benedetti PR4 Music
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart PR5 Music
John Cage PR6 Quiet room Music
Wilmer Wise PR7 Music
John Paul Jones PR8 Music
Jamie Oliver Catering ADT
Phyllida Barlow AR1 ADT
Yinka Shonibare AR2 ADT
Arthur Rimbaud AR3 ADT
Walter Sickert AR4 ADT
Alexander McQueen AR5 ADT
Susan Kare AR6 ADT
Edward Kienholz AR7 ADT
Zaha Hadid AR8 ADT
Che Guevara MFL1 MFL
Frantz Fanon MFL2 MFL
Mariela Castro MFL3 MFL
Simone Veil MFL4 MFL
Coco Chanel MFL5 MFL
Frida Kahlo Office MFL
Maria Montessori WellBeing Centre Student Support
Louis Braille Literacy Room Student Support
Hellen Keller Intervention Room Student Support
Sigmund Freud Counselling Room Student Support
Nelson Mandela Office Student Support
Thomas Coram Staff Base Student Support
Ira Aldridge Dr1 Drama
Dame Judi Dench Dr2 Drama
Stanislavsky Dr3 Drama
Mary Wollsteonecraft Library Library
Pierre De Coubertin PE Office PE
Sports Hall Sachin Tendulker PE
Bobby Moore MUGA 1 PE
Ellie Simmonds Swimming Pool PE
Mo Farah Athletics Track PE
Muhammad Ali Fitness Suite PE
Nadia Comãneci Gymnasium PE
Michael Jordan MUGA 3&4 PE
Laura Trott MUGA 2 PE
Wembley Changing Room 1 PE
Wimbledon Changing Room 2 PE
Lords Changing Room 3 PE
Twickenham Changing Room 4 PE


  1. Brilliant idea – I can only assume the ‘how does this improve student learning outcomes’ comment is tongue in cheek, Back in the day, when faced with trying to create a new feel and culture to a very old building, we created some large,hanging banners with a montage of famous faces that also tried to create the cultural balance you have done here ( and yours, incidentally, is ,I think, a much better idea than ours was!).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Really interesting idea; good that it’s so inclusive. I imagine a lot of debate behind each of the choices. Our music department do this. We have a Dave Grohl guitar cupboard – I’ve never been able to decide if having a cupboard named after you is an accolade.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like it – and think the debate is all part of the learning process, for the whole school.

    On a smaller scale, the school where I was the head merged with its sister school after I’d left and they decided to rename/rebrand the Houses across the new school. Both were girls’ schools, despite which the original Houses were named after notable local men (eg Bunyan – this was in Bedford). They decided to choose six women who had achieved success in a range of areas over time – Rosalind Franklin was one of them. (The others are Hepburn, Chanel, Austen, Nightingale and Parks). Again, I think the debate must have been fascinating!

    Very best wishes for the start of term, Tom.

    (PS Think Helen Keller only as one ‘l’ in Helen?)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PE department should look up Walter Tull. a looked after child from London. One of the first black footballers to play in league and first Black officer in army. He played for Tottenham though – I don’t understand football rivalries so not sure if that’s a deal breaker or not.
    Is the hall where they take exams? Just trying to think of an item of knowledge that’s needed by all and hard to remember so could do with constant repetition. The quadratic formula? Bit of a mouthful…’assembly today will take place in x=-b etc’

    Liked by 1 person

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