School spins up a storm with logo to replace old crest

Andrew Robinson A LEADING Yorkshire independent school is dropping its Latin motto and centuries-old crest in favour of a multi-coloured star in a move that has angered traditionalists.

Parents at Leeds Grammar School – established in 1552 with the motto Nullius non mater disciplinae (Embracing All Disciplines) – claim heritage is being "obliterated by a felt-tip doodle".

One father called it an "expensive marketing experiment" that would have a limited lifespan.

The new logo has been drawn up by top design consultancy Elmwood for when the grammar school merges in 2007 with Leeds Girls High School (motto Age Quod Agis – Do What You Do Well.

The new school will be called the Grammar School at Leeds.

Parents who contacted the Yorkshire Post said many felt dismayed by the merger and the new logo but dared not speak up.

One said: "The traditional style crests and uniforms that parents and children are proud of are to be ditched for a more corporate style of rainbow colours. How can children feel proud of this marketing experiment?

"How can history be obliterated by a felt tip doodle that no doubt cost a lot of money?"

He said he was not convinced by the case for the merger: "Even staff, when questioned privately, have great reservations over where the school is heading. The founders and old pupils must be turning in their graves."

Many parents felt powerless in the face of the merger, he added. "Most parents are devastated and frustrated because they dare not do or say anything. I feel that Leeds's premier school history and heritage is being destroyed."

Reservations about the logo have also been expressed by old boys. BBC broadcaster Harry Gration, who spent two years at LGS, said he had never understood Latin but he liked traditions. "As a traditionalist, I think some people would be quite upset. I will not protest on the streets."

The new star logo is introduced to parents in a glossy booklet entitled Shine which says that "visually, the theme of light translates into bright, contemporary colours and interconnecting rays of light that, together, create a star".

School staff admitted last night that the new logo had had a mixed reaction.

LGS director of marketing Rachel Kerr said it was "ridiculous" to suggest traditions were being dropped.

Existing crests would live on within alumni associations and in other areas, she added:

"The commitment to academic excellence, and to balancing tradition with innovation – which is how all good schools progress – were stated prominently at the beginning of the booklet which unveiled the new logo for the new school.The vision and values for the school were arrived at after aprocess of research and consultation involving parents, staff, governors and pupils."