India Schools : The Lawrence School, Lovedale
The school was founded on September 6th, 1858 as a memorial to Major General Sir Henry Lawrence, who wanted to provide a sound education, in the healthy climate of the Nilgiris, for the children of the British members of the Indian Army. In May 1949 the school was taken over by the Indian Government. Today the Lawrence School is run as a public school, open to all.
The school stands on its own estate of over 700 acres and is situated in the village of Lovedale, about six kilometres from Ootacamund. Lovedale is about 7200 feet above mean sea level with a temperate climate throughout the year. The school is divided into four schools. Classes four to six live, eat and study together. Classes nine to twelve are in the senior school. All girls from Class seven onward are housed separately in the girls’ hostel although they attend class alongside the boys. Each of the four schools has its own dining hall and catering staff, so the pupils take all meals at their own school. The school has its own modern hospital, with fifty-five beds, governed by a Resident Medical officer and a trained staff. The school library has a stock of 10,000 titles and is computerized.
The school is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi. Students are prepared for the CBSE examinations at the end of Class X and XII. At the +2 level the students can specialize in Commerce, Humanities or the Sciences. The school is a permanent member of the Round Square and Indian Public Schools Conference. The school has an active International Exchange Programme.
The annual fees that the school charges is payable in advance or in two instalments. Children of serving defence personnel pay a lower fee. Brothers and sisters dependent on the same parent get a rebate of 5% except in the case of the first child. Besides these, are the clothing fees, pocket money and expense account.
Most children are admitted between the ages of eight and twelve years with Class IV as the main entry point. Admission is based on an entrance examination held in the preceding November all over India and abroad. Priority is given to those who register their children the earliest. Forty percent of the seats are reserved for the children of Defence personnel. All children, except those of the school staff, are expected to board. The academic year is from February to November end with two vacations of about seven weeks each June-July and December- January.
The Indian Public Schools’ Conference Scholarships give the less privileged children a chance to study in the school.
From January to June, cricket and hockey are the major sports. Through the late months of the year, football and athletics are popular. From mid March onward, when the weather is warm, the swimming pool is the main scene of activity. Apart from these events, the school has fine stable for riding and facilities for basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, table tennis and badminton. Spread among the lovely hills of the Nilgiris, the school is richly supplied with courses for cross-country running. The Nilgiris derive their name from ‘blue mountains’.