Although Sandbach School was founded in 1677 as a Parish Charity, its present site near to the centre of town was not occupied until 1849, when George Gilbert Scott designed the impressive buildings which form the façade of the present and much extended School. Building has continued at regular intervals: 2008 saw a new Performing Arts Centre and a Maths block and this year an extension to the Peter Doughty Buidling to create a Sixth Form Centre with additional common room and quiet study areas.
The School operated as a Charitable Boarding and Day institution completely independent of Cheshire County Council until 1955, when the two parties entered into a unique agreement whereby the independence and charitable status of the School were guaranteed, but the School was to operate as the day grammar for County boys in South Cheshire.
In 1979, a re-negotiated Agreement saw the School accept an all-ability intake from a defined area of South Cheshire. We now have a clear comprehensive ethos supported by all employees, and our curriculum and pastoral provision reflect this. A further negotiation of the Agreement in 2006 strengthened the ties between the Local Authority and the School and allowed for increased admissions. To further secure the long term future of the school, on September 1st 2011 we became a Free School entering into a direct funding agreement with the Department for Education.
Although the School has moved with all contemporary educational developments, we have retained traditions and ceremonies which we believe add to the special flavour of the education provided by the School. We are also committed to expansion as a community school via adult education, arts programmes, and via the wider use of sporting facilities. The School was granted Specialist Arts College Status in the summer of 2006 at first bidding. Its core Arts specialism embraces Art, Music and the Performing Arts.
Sandbach School is fully committed to working in partnership with schools, community groups and arts organisations across a wide range of scales. Local partnerships include being an integral part of the East Cheshire Schools consortium (ECSC) as well as the Sandbach & Haslington Education Community Improvement Partnership (ECIP) across the two Sandbach Secondary Schools and their feeder primaries. International partnerships range from Fukien High School in Hong Kong, to Dover High School in the USA, to Leibniz Oberschule in Berlin. Genuine, long-term partnerships with the Arts range from the National Theatre in Drama, to Manchester Metropolitan University in Art and to Salford University in Music. The breadth and strength of Arts partners supported the Artsmark Gold Award in 2008.
The School is not affiliated to a particular religion or religious denomination, but has a strong spiritual ethos within broad Christian traditions. Its approach to religion is ecumenical, and local ties exist with the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and non-conformist groups. The School Chapel is within the gift of the Diocese of Chester, and its officiant is the sitting vicar of St Mary’s, Sandbach.