University College School , generally known as UCS Hampstead , is an independent day school in Frognal, northwest London, England. The school was founded in 1830 by University College London and inherited many of that institution's progressive and secular views. According to the Good Schools Guide , the school "Achieves impressive exam results with a relaxed atmosphere". UCS aims to combine the highest standards of academic achievement and pastoral care with outstanding facilities for all-round education with a distinctive liberal ethos.
The UCS Hampstead Foundation is composed of four main entities:
- "The UCS Pre-Prep" or "The Phoenix" as it was previously known, co-educational for ages 3 to 7 on the Finchley Road site. This was acquired by UCS in 2003.
- "The Junior Branch", for boys aged 7 to 11 on the Holly Hill site in the heart of Hampstead.
- "The Senior School", for boys aged 11 to 16 and co-educational for ages 16 to 18 on the Frognal site, which is the largest school site. The main campus and the Great Hall are noted examples of Edwardian architecture. Inside the hall is a magnificent Walker pipe organ, used for school concerts, professional recordings and other festivities, and in 2015 the school raised funding for a new Steinway piano.
- "The Playing Fields" are situated in Ranulf Road in West Hampstead.
UCS is a member of the Eton Group of twelve independent schools, the Haileybury Group of 26 independent schools, and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It is well known for its established Bursary Programme and Music Scholarships, as well as its outreach work with a number of other schools in North and West London, including Westminster Academy, the London Academy of Excellence and UCL Academy. It also has strong ties with the Equatorial College School in Uganda, and charitable work in Romania and India.
The school motto is Paulatim Sed Firmiter' . In 2016, the school updated its school logo to incorporate its widely known name of UCS Hampstead and to include the full motto in its distinctive roundel emblem. The school's colours are maroon and black which are shown to the school's distinctive vertical striped blazers. UCS publishes a termly online newsletter called The Frognal and a yearly printed magazine called The Gower sent to current and past students. The latest editions are available on the school website.
The annual Speech Day and Prize Giving ceremony, has been hosted by many speakers, including Rory Bremner, Gary Lineker, Henry Olonga, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Roger Bannister OG, Stephen Fry, Lord Coe (2007), Professor Malcolm Grant (President and Provost of UCL) (2008), Sir Michael Parkinson (2009), Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (2010), Nicholas Hytner (2011), Hugh Dennis OG (2012), Victoria Wood (2013), Fiona Bruce (2014), Michael McIntyre (2015), Lord Daniel Finkelstein OG (2016), and Julia Hartley-Brewer (2017)
The Senior School is divided into three sections by age, and each year has a unique name. Each section is led by a Head of Section.
- Lower School – Entry (year 7) and Shell (year 8)
- Middle School – Lower Remove (year 9), Remove (year 10) and Upper Remove (year 11)
- Upper School – Transitus (year 12) and Sixth (year 13)
Students in the Lower School are arranged into Houses, each named after a bird. In the Lower School, there is one form (class) per year in each house.
- Kestrel – Blue
- Eagle – Yellow
- Hawk – Black
- Falcon – Green
Students in the Middle School and Upper School are arranged into Demes, each named after a former prominent member of staff. This is similar to a school house. In the Middle School, there is one form (class) per year in each Deme, and in the Upper School there are two forms per year in each Deme. As well as a Deme Warden (Housemaster/Housemistress), each deme has two or three Deme Captains. Deme, Half and Full Colours are awarded through an accumulation of academic and extra-curricular achievements. There are regular inter-Deme competitions in sport, music and drama throughout the year. In the Middle School, the distinctive school blazer carries a coloured school logo on the breast pocket depicting the pupil's Deme. There are currently six Demes:
- Baxters – Blue
- Black Hawkins – Yellow
- Evans – Black (Pink Badge)
- Flooks – Green
- Olders – Silver
- Underwoods – Purple
There are five main points of entry for prospective pupils:
- Phoenix School, at age 3 (Nursery), offered to siblings and UCS connections in the first instance. Entry at 4+, 5+, 6+ by assessment of the Headmistress.
- Junior Branch, at age 7, judged by a combination of internal exam and interview. As of 2010, The Junior Branch no longer operates an 8+ entry point.
- Lower School, at age 11, judged by a combination of internal exam and interview.
- Middle School, at age 13, judged by a combination of internal exam and interview.
- Upper School, at age 16, judged by a cognitive ability exam and interviews. All offers are conditional upon GCSE results. This point of entry is available for girls as well as boys and each year, between 35 and 40 new girls are accepted into the school.
University College School was founded in 1830 as part of University College London and moved to its current location in Hampstead in 1907. Continuing on the long tradition of dissenting academies, the University of London had been inspired by the work of Jeremy Bentham and others to provide opportunities for higher education regardless of religious beliefs.
At the time, only members of the established Church could study at Cambridge and Oxford (the only other two universities in England at the time) while similar religious tests were imposed at the other universities dating from the medieval and renaissance periods present in the rest of the British Isles, namely St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dublin. Furthermore, the subjects taught at these Ancient Universities during this period, especially at Cambridge and Oxford, were relatively narrow, with classical subjects and divinity dominating.
Several of the founders of the University of London are directly associated with the founding of the school; they include Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (who appears to be singled out as the ring leader in A tradition for Freedom ), Lord Auckland (probably George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland), William Bingham Baring, 2nd Baron Ashburton, Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, Henry Hallam, Leonard Horner (The Royal Society of Edinburgh has described UCS as his 'monument'  ), James Mill, Viscount Sandon (probably either Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby or Dudley Ryder, 2nd Earl of Harrowby), James Lock, Stephen Lushington D.C.L. M.P., John Smith M.P., and Henry Waymouth.
The first headmaster was The Reverend Henry Browne, who quickly caused controversy, by publishing a prospectus for the School which appeared to include some type of communal worship. This was quickly replaced with a new version which also stated that the School would not use corporal punishment (highly unusual at the time). The School opened at 16 Gower Street (from where the sobriquet 'Old Gower' derives) on 1 November 1830 under the name 'The London University School'. Browne soon resigned from his position and was replaced by John Walker (an assistant Master). By February 1831 it had outgrown its quarters, in October 1831, the Council of UCL agreed to formally take over the school and it was brought within the walls of the College in 1832, with a joint headmastership of Professors Thomas Hewitt Key and Henry Malden.
The School was original – it was never a boarding school, it was one of the first schools to teach modern languages, and sciences, and it was one of the first to abolish corporal punishment. It has also been noted that, in fact, UCS had a gymnasium before the school that is generally credited with having the first gym. Originally, there were no compulsory subjects and no rigid form system. Most boys learnt Latin and French, and many learnt German (a highly unusual subject to teach at that time). Mathematics, Chemistry, Classical Greek and English were also taught. There was no religious teaching. Under the University College London (Transfer) Act 1905, University College London became part of the federal University of London, and the School was created as a separate corporation.
UCS moved away to new purpose-built buildings in Frognal in Hampstead in 1907, which were opened by HM King Edward VII with the Archbishop of Canterbury in attendance on 27 July. Kikuchi Dairoku was invited to the first annual prize giving at Frognal where he represented those who had received their prizes at Gower Street. The new school buildings were designed by Arnold Mitchell and built by the Dove Brothers. The main school block has been Grade II listed on the National Heritage List for England since May 1974. 
In 1974 the Sixth Form Centre, which also houses the Lund Theatre, was opened by HRH The Duke of Kent.
In 1980 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the school to celebrate its 150th Anniversary and to inaugurate the rebuilt hall which had been destroyed by fire in 1978.
In 1993 a new library, music school, lecture theatre, computer laboratory, sports hall, geography block, mathematics School and further classrooms were added to the senior school site. The Junior Branch buildings were also refurbished, with the addition of an Art & Technology Centre.
In 2005 UCS announced a four-year £12 million development programme.
In 2006 the Sir Roger Bannister Sports Centre was officially opened by Sir Roger (himself an Old Gower).
In 2007 a new Art, Design Technology and Modern Languages building came into use and, in a gesture of respect to one of the School's intellectual founding fathers, was formally opened as the Jeremy Bentham building by The Duke of Gloucester on 22 May 2008. Also in 2008, the Sixth Form Centre was completely renovated along with most of the School's interior and classrooms. Also in 2008, girls were admitted into the co-educational sixth form for the first time.
In 2014 the Giles Slaughter wing housing the Lecture Theatre and computer rooms were refurbished, expanding the Lecture theatre and the music school. An extension was added to the Kent which included a new reception, offices and currently houses the main computer room.
In 2016 UCS announced a re-development of the Playing Fields situated in West Hampstead, with the pavilion and the drainage system upgraded.
Notable Old Gowers (Old Boys)
Former pupils are known as Old Gowers, which was derived from Gower Street where the school was founded. Notable Old Gowers include:
- Roger Bannister – athlete
- Dirk Bogarde – actor
- Chris Bonington – mountaineer
- Richard Brooks – Arts editor of The Sunday Times
- Rob Buckman – doctor and medical writer
- Gordon Corera – BBC Security Correspondent
- Hugh Dennis – comedian and writer
- Daniel Finkelstein – The Times executive editor, journalist
- Jonathan Freedland – writer and journalist
- Oliver Hart – economist, awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016
- Geoffrey Howard (cricketer and administrator)
- Ian Katz – BBC Newsnight Editor
- Zak Abel - Musician
- Daniel Roche - Actor
- Ernest William Moir – Civil engineer
- Julian Lloyd Webber – musician
- Will Self – writer and TV presenter
- Stephen Spender – poet
- Simon Brodkin – comedian and protester
- Sir Julius Vogel – former New Zealand Premier
- Joe Craig – author
- Geoffrey Wheatcroft - Journalist and writer
Notable former staff include:
- Alexander William Williamson, according to A Tradition for Freedom he taught pupils at the school.
- Augustus De Morgan Distinguished mathematician. First Professor of Mathematics, University College London, according to The British Society for the History of Mathematics, taught pupils when the distinctions between the school and college were somewhat blurred. Believed to have taught James Joseph Sylvester. De Morgan was the first President of the London Mathematical Society. The De Morgan Medal is named in his honour. It has been awarded to at least one Old Gower – Sir Roger Penrose.
- Carey Foster, Professor of Physics at University College London.
- G. S. Carr, according to BSHM.
- Henry Malden, Headmaster
- John Williams, taught at UCS post World War II, first Master of Music at St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, which was then a royal chapel. Professor at the Royal College of Music. Honorary fellow of the Royal College of Music and Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.
- Sir William Smith, Lexicographer and Teacher
- The Rev Henry Browne, Headmaster
- Thomas Archer Hirst FRS, Teacher 1860 – 1864. Nominated and admitted to the Royal Society whilst teaching at UCS. Later, Professor of Physics, University College London.
- Thomas Hewitt Key, Headmaster.
- Kenneth Durham, Headmaster. Chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference 2011–2012
- A Tradition for Freedom The Story Of University College School by Nigel Watson, James and James (Publishers) Ltd 2007.
- An angel without wings: The history of University College School 1830–1980 by H. J. K. Usher, C. D. Black-Hawkins and G. J. Carrick, edited by G. G. H. Page (University College School, 1981).
- University College School Register for 1860–1931 : with a short history of the school by Leathes, Stanley with an introduction from S.N. Carvalho (Published 1931)
- From Gower Street to Frognal: a short history of University College School from 1830 to 1907 by Felkin, F.W. (Published Arnold Fairbairns 1909)
- University College School Register, 1901–63 compiled by N.Holland (Published 1964)
- University College School Register for 1831–1891 edited by Orme, Temple Augustus (published H.W. Lawrence [1892?])
- University College School Roll of Honour and War List 1914–18 compiled by Cockman, Charles Roadnight and Thomas, Cyril Leonard Ross (published St. Albans Campfield Press 1922)
- On the Japanese connection with UCS see , by Noboru Koyama, translated by Ian Ruxton, (Lulu Press, September 2004, ISBN 1-4116-1256-6).