As a boarding school steeped in tradition, Clifton College has evolved its own special language. These words and phrases link pupils and staff to their predecessors and provide evidence of the rich history of the school.


Glossary of Clifton College Terms:

Armoury – Situated beneath the Wilson Tower, this is the storeroom and administrative centre for the CCF.

Ashburton Shield – Prestigious annual summer shooting competition for all UK schools and rifle clubs shot at Bisley in Surrey.

BB – Most of our games are played at ‘Beggar’s Bush’, a 90-acre sports ground on the other side of the River Avon. Pupils travel to and from BB by bus.

Bell tower – The tower beside Chapel housing the chapel bell which rings for the timings in the school day.

Big School - The School dining hall where all school meals are eaten, situated on two floors on the west side of the South Quad.

Big Side – The 1st XV rugby pitch and by extension the top rugby practice.

Block I - The Sixth Form - the lower sixth and upper sixth forms, or Years 12 and 13.

Block II - This means 3rd, 4th and 5th Forms, or Years 9, 10 and 11.

BMH - Bretten Memorial Hall in the Pre, where the younger children in the Pre eat their lunch, and take sports games.

Bookroom - Situated in the School Shop next to the Sports Centre, the Bookroom sells textbooks, stationery, games kit and school uniform.

BSK - Big School Kitchen

Bursar – The secretary to the Council and the executive head of the non academic running of the school.

Butcombe - This is the old name for the Junior Pre School, then taking pupils from the age of 3 to 8.

Callover - All pupils gather in their House Halls at various times during the day to have their presence checked.

Cambridge House – Lower Pre Classrooms and Tait's House.

Caps – Literally an elaborate cap, decorated in house colours, and awarded to outstanding members of the 1st XV.

CCDT - Clifton College Development Trust.

CCF - The Combined Cadet Force, and extra curricular activity allowing pupils a taste of the Army, Air Force and Navy.

CCSL - Clifton College Services Ltd. runs the Sports Centre, BB and the Theatre. It also hires out School facilities when not in use by the School.

Change Gear - An alternative source of pre-owned school uniform.

Chapel – At the very centre of the College, where services are held every school day.

Chew Valley - A lake in North Somerset where the school sails.

Clifton Club – A former gentlemen’s club in the centre of Clifton Village, which OC’s are eligible to join Sports Clubs end of season dinners are sometimes held there.

Clifton in the Community - The name for the Social Service option for pupils who are not in the CCF.

The Cliftonian – The annual magazine for former pupils, keeping OC’s in touch with their old school.

Cloisters - Pillars and covered area around the South Quad.

The Close - The large playing field in the centre of the campus used for rugby, soccer and cricket. Never walk across the cricket square in the middle!

The Crypt – The enclosed area under Chapel.

Cock House - The award given to the house which proves itself the best in various competitions – each of which has its own Cock House.

College Council – The sub group of the school governors which acts as their executive.

College Road - This is a public thoroughfare, around which the school is built.

Collins - Famous small cricket pitch, adjacent to the Tribe building.

Colours Tie - Maroon with interlinked white Cs, awarded for outstanding sporting achievement. Usually for Sixth Form pupils and exceptionally Fifth Formers who represent the school at county or national level.

Commem – Short for Commemoration, the time each summer half term when the foundation of the school is celebrated.

Congers – A shortened expression for the congregational practice each Saturday morning at which pupils learn hymns for forthcoming chapel services.

Coulson Centre – Named after an outstanding OC where Maths, Economics, DT, and Modern Languages are taught.

Cricketer Cup – An annual cricket competition for Public School old boys.

Crypt – The area under Chapel.

Cuts - A free lesson.

Detention - Held for one hour during the week or for two hours on a Saturday evening.

Downend House - Lower Pre Classrooms and Wollaston's.

Dyffryn Crawnon - A cottage in the Brecon Beacons used for outdoor pursuits. (Pronounced ‘Duffrin’)

East Cloister – The cloister in the east of the South Quad off which the Headmaster’s office is located.

East Wing – Housing the Headmaster’s Suite, RS, Newbolt Room, Wilson Tower, Geography, and some History classrooms.

Exeat – A break from school routine when the pupils have the chance to go home to re-charge their batteries. There are quarter exeats of a couple of days in the long Christmas Term, and a week at each halfterm.

Fives – A court ball game played using a glove on the five fingers of each hand.

Fry Scholarship – Our most prestigious Art award.

Games Shop - Located in the Hammond building next to the Sports Centre, the Games Shop sells sports equipment and clothing. It runs an ordering service and is part of the Bookroom.

Garden Room – The room on the ground floor of Wiseman’s House where the OC office is located.

Gating - If you infringe a House or School rule, you are required to sign an hourly sheet for a period of time, and have other restrictions imposed on your movements.

Grades - Effort (and achievement in the exam years) grades are awarded by teachers every three weeks or so. Details of the scheme are in the Prep Diary.

Grubber - A shop in the Hammond building which sells sweets and drinks.

Haig Statue – The statue to Field Marshal Haig facing south and overlooking the Close.

Hammond Building - Building adjacent to the Sports Centre, housing Deputy Heads, Director of Studies, Senior Master, Examinations Secretary and School Shop.

Headmaster’s Tie - Maroon tie with the College crest, awarded for outstanding achievement in any area.

Holman Hunt Reredos – Paintings by the well known artist.

Holder of the Big side Bags – The captain of cross-country.

HoMs - Housemasters / Housemistresses

HoDs - Heads of Department

Hornby Art Centre - The DT and Art centre in the Pre.

House Play Festival – an annual inter-house play competition, performed to a very high standard in our purpose built theatre, and for many the highlight of the Lent Term

House Sixth/Fifth - The name given to senior girls or boys who have been given prefect responsibilities in the House. The House Sixth is senior to the House Fifth.

House Song – Performed by each house in turn at the inter house singing competition held in October each year.

Imlay Pavilion – A small pavilion by the artificial hockey pitch at BB.

JCR – The Junior Common Room is a licensed club for Sixth Formers.

The Joseph Cooper Music School – Our state of the Art centre for teaching and performing music.

Kendrew Room – A lecture theatre in the science school.

Lent Term - The second term of the academic year running from January up to the Easter Holidays.

Lower Pre - Years 3, 4, 5, and 6

Lower Slope - This is a grass area below Collins and adjacent to the Triple Courts, which is used for recreation and Pre School Games.

Marlborough Cup – An annual competition between the 1st XV’s of Clifton and Marlborough to commemorate the oldest English inter schools rugby match.

Marshal – The school official responsible for discipline and uniform regulation when the school is assembled, who also chases up offenders where appropriate.

Mem. Arch – Abbreviation for Memorial Arch, the main gated entrance to the school on College Road, which commemorates the names of those who died in the service of their country.

Merry House – A Preparatory building on The Avenue, which is home to Matthews', and the music and science departments.

Michaelmas Term - The first term of the academic year starting in September and running up to Christmas.

NF – The New Field, situated at the back of the houses opposite the Redgrave Theatre, is a School playing field mainly used by the Pre.

Newbolt Room – A meeting room in the east cloister.

North Quad - The Quad to the North of the central building, adjacent to Guthrie Road. Minibuses are parked here and often depart from here.

OC – An Old Cliftonian, or former pupil, who forms part of the OC Society.

Parapet – the raised stone wall bordering the Bigside pitch.

The Percy Library – The Percival Library is housed in the south facing first floor of the South Quad. It is the main school library.

The Pens/ Penpole races – an annual inter house school cross country run, competed for at three different age groups.

PHET - The Polacks House Educational Trust - a charitable organisation which provides scholarships and bursaries for Jewish boys and girls at Clifton College.

Pippard Society – A society for scholars in the Upper School

Polack’s House – The name of the former Jewish House, operating for over a century but now closed.

Praepostor (or ‘Praep’ or ‘Blue Tie’) - One of some two-dozen senior pupils who are given authority over other pupils by the Headmaster. They wear a special tie, which is blue with a Fleur de Lys in white.

Pre - Abbreviation for the Preparatory School.

Pre Hall - The main Hall in the Pre building where assembly and Pre congers are held.

Prep - Abbreviation for preparation. All pupils work for two hours every weekday evening from 7.15 p.m.

Prep Diary - A vital booklet to be carried in your blazer or suit jacket.

Prefect - L6th senior pupils appointed in Summer Term who take on “Blue Tie” prefect responsibilities.

Prichard Room - Meetings, exams and play rehearsals are held in this room.

Prom on the Close – (archaic) an event which no longer happens.

Rackets – a very fast traditional game played in a special court with a racket and hard ball like a golf ball. Clifton is one of a very few public schools with its own court.

Real Tennis – another very traditional game with obscure rules (little changed from when King Henry VIII played it) played at our special court at BB.

The Redgrave – Our on-site 320 seat theatre built in 1965.

Rustication - A serious punishment used by the Headmaster and Deputy Heads, in the course of which the pupil is sent home for a limited period of time for infringement of specific rules as stated in the Prep Diary.

Satis - Short for Satisfecit, which may be translated as: “Has he/she worked satisfactorily?”

Shenstone Scholarship –  Our top scholarship for Science.

The School Song "The Best School of All" – written by Sir Henry Newbolt, and set to music by Sir Charles Parry.

School Outfitters - Ernest Newson outfitters, sold at the School Shop only.

SCR - The Staff Common Room, also known as “Common Room” on the ground floor of Big School in the South Quad.

Signed Paper - Written punishment often abbreviated to ‘SP’, in which the pupil is given a signed paper by a teacher on which he/she has to write on a subject relevant to their work, and have it signed by the Housemaster/Mistress or Tutor within 48 hours and returned to the teacher.

Sin Bin - Early morning detention for shoddy appearance or inappropriate behaviour.

Sixth Form Centre – a social centre for sixth formers on the close.

South Quad - A large open area at the centre of the Cloisters, Chapel and Big School.

Starred Sunday - Sundays when Chapel is compulsory have a star against them in the Calendar, hence the name Starred Sunday.

St George - The South African War memorial in the middle of the South Quad.

Study Period – A lesson when pupils are assigned work to do on their own in their studies.

The Stone Library - The science library in the science school.

Summer Term - The School Term starting after the Easter Holidays and running up to the Summer Holidays.

Suspension - A very serious punishment used by the Headmaster in a situation where the matter is being investigated and it is necessary for a pupil to leave the school until a definite decision can be made, either by the parent or the school, about his or her future.

Synagogue – Based in the Polack Centre, the Synagogue is the place of worship for our Jewish Pupils.

The San - Abbreviation for Sanatorium, the school Medical Centre.

Third Form - Year 9, first Year in the Upper School

Terriers - An activity introducing a very wide range of skills to Third Formers on Wednesday afternoons.

Titcomb Prints – A collection of very beautiful prints of the school.

Tribe Building - English and Art Classrooms.

Triple Courts – A local facility used for tennis, netball, 5-a-side, hockey & football.

Tuck - Sweets in the pre boarding houses; tuck is normally allocated to one night a week.

Tutor - All pupils have a tutor who is responsible for overseeing their academic work, their activities, and encouraging a positive approach to life at Clifton.

Upper Pre - Years 7 and 8.

Upper School - Years 9 through to 13.

Vitai Lampada – the poem by Sir Henry Newbolt famous for his line “Play up, play up, and play the game !”

Whatley – The grass play area in front of the Pre building.

Wilson Tower – the tower in the north-east corner of the south quad.

Wollaston’s - Wollaston's House.

32 College Road – the building in college road where the school administration is housed.


House Abbreviations


SH- School House (Boys’ Boarding)

MH- Moberly’s House (Boys’ Boarding)

OH- Oakeley’s House (Girls’ Boarding)

WiH- Wiseman’s House (Boys’ Boarding)

WaH- Watson’s House (Boys’ Boarding)

NT- North Town (Boys’ Day)

ST- The South Town (Boys’ Day) - (Note use of ‘The’ only for this house)

ET- East Town (Boys’ Day)

WoH- Worcester House (Girls’ Boarding)

WT- West Town (Girls’ Day)

HH- Hallward’s House (Girls’ Day & Boarding)

HLH- Holland’s House (Girls’ Day)



HH- Hartnell’s House (Boys’ Day & Boarding)

PH- Poole’s House (Girls’ Day & Boarding)

ST- South Town (Upper Pre Girls’ Day) – (Note there is a South Town in the Pre and in the Upper School)

NT- North Town (Upper Pre Boys’ Day) – (Note there is a North Town in the Pre and in the Upper School)

TT- Tait’s Town (Lower Pre Boys’ Day)

MH- Matthew’s House (Lower Pre Girls’ Day)

WT- Wollaston’s Town (Lower Pre Boys’ Day)

MaH - Mansfield's House (Lower Pre Girls' Day)