AS Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke marks its 50th anniversary, we look at some of its history. 

Based in Basingstoke, QMC is one of the best sixth form colleges in Hampshire with a 50-year history of providing quality education to 16-19 year olds.

Golden Threads of Success - what are they? 

‘Golden Threads of Success’ are at the heart of the pastoral programme as well as through academic teaching and wider college life. The college firmly believes that busy students are successful students. Therefore learners are encouraged to take advantage of an impressive range of opportunities that help them to succeed.

The ‘Four C’s’ have been rolled out at the college as part of the 50th celebrations: 

  • Be Creative -Show innovation in your approach to your studies and embrace and develop your talents. Look beyond the obvious.
  • Be Courageous - Be ambitious -believe in yourself and your abilities, your right to the opportunities that come your way; your right to strive to achieve things seemingly beyond your reach. Be resilient, persevere and overcome setbacks.
  • Be Curious - Look deeper, question opinions and check the evidence. Indulge your passions – enjoy finding out what you enjoy and what intrigues you. Come questioning.
  • Be Collaborative -Work cooperatively and enjoy pooling ideas, learning from others and contributing to shared outcomes. Work as a team to find answers.Basingstoke Gazette: QMC Be Creative

Past Principals of QMC

Eric Macfarlane 1972 - 1989

Kathleen Kimber 1989- 1990 (Acting Principal)

Ivan Peters 1990 - 1995

Stephen Sheedy 1995 - 2013

Ali Foss 2013 - 2021

Mark Henderson 2021 - present

Basingstoke Gazette:

5 decades of investing in a campus that’s perfect for building better futures


● Opening of the College with 600 students and staff in the premises of the old Shrubbery Girls’ School.

● New Science block described as ‘excitingly experimental’ by The Times Educational Supplement

● Central Studio theatre opened at the College

● QMC outdoor ‘lido type’ pool opens.

● Principal Eric MacFarlane


● Three Queen Mary’s College students win places in the European Youth Orchestra

● Opening of new Street and main entrance to the College

● New Mathematics block, designed by Hampshire County Architects

● QM Pool became an indoor facility


● QMC became an independent college funded by the FEFC

● Opening of new languages block

● £1.2m refit of Central Studio and Performing Arts Building funded by the National Lottery

● The College Library designed by Hampshire County Architects

● Principal Stephen Sheedy


● The Spectrum Building was opened by Professor Jim Al-Kalili. The four-storey, energy efficient building houses state-of-the-art science laboratories, classrooms and the Science Centre that welcomes feeder junior school pupils and is sponsored by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).

● The Allen Building, a purpose built three storey block for Creative Arts and Media, opened in 2006.

● Café QM opened with a fully fitted commercial kitchen and various serveries.

● QM Library extended

● £2 million Sports Centre opens, benefiting students and the local community.


● Construction of a state-of-the-art 3G Pitch mades QMC the envy of other colleges across the country

● Charles Butler Building, a purpose built two storey building for Music was opened by Dame Evelyn Glynnie, and includes a performance space, music classrooms, practice rooms and professional recording studio. £40k funding received from the Wolfson Foundation for new recording equipment for the recording studio.

● £330k specialist building for esports, part funded by EM3, Saracen, YoYoTech and Belong Gaming Arenas who all recognised the potential career paths for students in this emerging industry. HP awarded QMC £40K funding for STEM and ESports Development

● Queen Mary's College, supported by AWE, re-launched the specialist Primary Science Centre at the College, in celebration of 20 years of inspiring future generations of scientists.

● Wellbeing Hub opened in the College, to offer support and counselling services to students.

● New Shrubbery Building was built on the site of the previously demolished Shrubbery Nursery, providing a purpose-built facility for students on the autistic spectrum.

● The arrival of a barista style coffee bar, following refurbishment of part of the original Main Building.

Basingstoke Gazette: The Allen Building

Did you know?

● Over 2000 students study at QMC after leaving school

● QMC is in the top 10% of colleges for progress made throughout student’s time at the College

● At the most recent Ofsted inspection all areas of the College were graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’ “The student experience is of a notable high quality. Students develop a broad range of skills to support their successful transition into higher education or work.” - Ofsted.

● The College demonstrates consistently high results and boasts a 99% pass rate, 88% A*-C at A level.

● Around 75% of QMC students gain places at university. Others go on to secure an impressive range of apprenticeships and employment.

● There are over 60 courses for students to choose from and a further 50+ enrichment courses and opportunities.

● QMC is an Associate College of the Royal Society in recognition of its leading work as a centre of excellence in science education.

● QMC Esports Team were crowned 2022 National Champions. Esports qualifications are in demand and this industry focused course is oversubscribed.

● QMC were awarded Music Mark status in recognition of the high-quality music education provided at the college.

READ MORE: Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke celebrates its 50th year