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Repton School was founded in 1557 under the will of Sir John Port of Etwall whose executors acquired for £37.10s a 12th-century Augustinian Priory overlooking the River Trent. Along with the land came a number of buildings including the original priory gatehouse, which inspired the facetious school motto ‘Porta Vacat Culpa’, a quotation from Ovid: ‘the gate is not to blame’ (for those who pass out under it).

The Arch at Repton School

Success did not come easily – at one time during the headmastership of William Stevens the school roll dropped to a single boy. The foundation of the school in a form which can be recognised today stems from the vision of Steuart Adolphus Pears (Headmaster 1854-1874) who became recognised as the school’s ‘Second Founder’. Pears School is named after him.

Pears School building at Repton School

Under his guidance classrooms were built, land was acquired for the school chapel (opened 1859), and three additional boarding houses were built.

The Chapel at Repton School

Image source: www.repton.org.uk/galleries

Pupil numbers doubled from 48 to over 100, and fee-paying boarders helped to subsidise scholars marking the school’s transition from a charity school to a Public School.

The Hall at Repton School

The 20th century saw further growth culminating in 1957 when the 400 Hall was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II. This was followed by the progressive integration of girls, first into the Sixth Form and then across all ages so that today the school is fully co-educational.

The 400 Hall at Repton School

The recently completed Science Priory represents a further important step in the continuing evolution of a school which today takes pupils from around the world.

The new Science Priory at Repton School