Kettering Grammar School
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Kettering Grammar School

Kettering Grammar School
, ,
NN15 6PH

Coordinates52°23?19?N 0°42?39?W / 52.3887°N 0.7108°W / 52.3887; -0.7108Coordinates: 52°23?19?N 0°42?39?W / 52.3887°N 0.7108°W / 52.3887; -0.7108
TypeGrammar school
Closed1976 (completely in 1993)
Local authorityNorthamptonshire
Age11 to 18
PublicationThe Cytringanian

Kettering Grammar School was a boys' grammar school (selective) that had a number of homes in Kettering, Northamptonshire throughout its history.


One of its early seats was a small building on Gold Street that was demolished during the 1960s "anything goes" era of town centre planning.

The final incarnation of the school was on Windmill Avenue, to the east of the town north of Wicksteed Park. Up to 1964, the school had shared a purpose-built premises on Bowling Green Road (A6003) with its girls' equivalent - Kettering High School. After the move to Windmill Avenue (A6098), the Bowling Green Road building was taken over by Kettering Borough Council as its headquarters office, a function it still performs.


In later years the Windmill Avenue buildings housed Kettering Boys School, with many of the same teachers as the Grammar School but no longer selective, and now part of the area's Comprehensive education system. It operated on two sites - a lower and upper school. The Kettering High School became Kettering School for Girls on Lewis Road (near Wicksteed Park).

Further education college

The Windmill Avenue site has been occupied by Tresham College of Further and Higher Education, (Kettering Campus),[1] since 1993. The former Grammar School buildings were knocked down in 2007 to make way for the Tresham's new block.[2]

Space research

In the 1960s, Geoffrey Perry, head of the school Physics department experimented with using satellite signals and the Doppler effect as an aid to teaching. The activity soon grew into regular monitoring of Soviet launched satellites and expanded into an international collaboration that became known as the Kettering Group. The group was headed by Geoffrey Perry, who by then had become Head of Science Teaching. On the technical front Geoff was partnered by the head of the Chemistry department, Derek Slater - a Radio Amateur, G3FOZ.[3]

Work of the group involved tracking satellites with radios, and eavesdropping on communications to cosmonauts, as well as analysing orbits in an attempt to identify different subsets. In 1966, the fledgling group discovered the location of a new secret Soviet launch station in north Russia, Plesetsk, before the American military or intelligence services had released details.

In 1957 Aviation Week magazine revealed that the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey. The article caused a furore, with President Dwight D. Eisenhower's special assistant for National Security Affairs, Robert Cutler, referring to the article as "treasonable". It turned out that the story started out with Geoffrey Perry and his students. Perry had passed along to a writer at the magazine that a radar in Turkey was doing important space intel tracking, so the writer dug deeper into the story.[4] Unfortunately, this account is complete fiction, given that the school's first attempt at satellite tracking was in 1962, and it was not until 1964 that the Satellite Tracking Group started to publish any of its findings.

In 1966 the project went international when Swedish student Sven Grahn contacted the group with a recording of the signals from Kosmos 104.[5][6] The same year it discovered Soviet launches from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, officially unacknowledged until 1983.

In 1969, a group used simple radio equipment to monitor the Apollo 11 mission and calculated its orbits.[7][8] According to the group, in December 1972 a member "pick[ed] up Apollo 17 on its way to the Moon".[9]

In 1973 the group tracked Skylab[10] and in July 1975, the team calculated that the Soyuz - Apollo link up would take place 140 miles over Bognor Regis on 17 July 1975 and that the space craft would be traveling at five miles per second.

In 1978 the group predicted the crash of Kosmos 954 spacecraft,[11] before it was confirmed by other agencies.

In May 1985, Geoffrey Perry talked about the project in the Radio 4 programme The Kettering Project. In March 1987, Channel 4 featured the Group in the programme Sputniks, Bleeps & Mr Perry.

Pictures of the school's space tracking team, originally published in The Times newspaper, would later find their way onto record covers of The Wonder Stuff for their album, Construction for the Modern Idiot.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "Kettering - Tresham". 15 April 2010. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ "Tresham college, Kettering (C) Michael Trolove". Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ Cytringainian Farewell, Kettering Grammar/Boys School (1577-1993)
  4. ^ "When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed". Aviation Week. 26 August 2016.
  5. ^ "A Short History of the Kettering Group". Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Grahn, Sven. "How I caught The Space Bug". Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Perry, G. E. (1968). "A school satellite tracking station as an aid to the teaching of physics" (PDF). Physics Education. 3.6: 281. Bibcode:1968PhyEd...3..281P. doi:10.1088/0031-9120/3/6/301.
  8. ^ Roberts, G. (1986). "The Amateur and Artificial Satellites". Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa. 45: 5. Bibcode:1986MNSSA..45....5R.
  9. ^ Christy, Robert D. "Kettering Group Timeline". Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Sven Grahn. "Tracking Skylab". Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ New Scientist. Reed Business Information. p. 268. ISSN 0262-4079. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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