The King's School, Canterbury
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|Type||Independent day and boarding school|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Chairman of Governors||R. A. Willis, Dean of Canterbury|
|Founder||St. Augustine of Canterbury|
United Kingdom Coordinates:
|DfE URN||118996 Tables|
Blue and white
|Former Pupils||Old King's Scholars|
The King's School is a British co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils in the historic English cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group.
The school originated as a medieval cathedral school, and it has been claimed to have been founded in AD 597 by St. Augustine, therefore making it the world's oldest extant school. This is based on the fact that St Augustine founded an abbey (within the current school's grounds) where it is known that teaching took place. When the dissolution of the monasteries occurred in the reign of King Henry VIII, the school was refounded as The King's School, Canterbury.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the school remained a grammar school. During the Victorian era the school began to establish itself as a "public school". The school evacuated to Cornwall following the outbreak of World War II and received a new Royal Charter at the end of the war. Girls were admitted for the first time when the sixth form became coeducational during the 1970s. In 1990, the school became fully coeducational.
In 2011, the school was subject to its latest regular, independent inspection. In summary, the inspection team praised the pastoral care system, the high academic achievements of all its pupils — irrespective of their age, aptitude or ability - and the happiness of the pupils. According to the Good Schools Guide the school is "Highly successful, producing excellent results." The Guide also stated that "You need to be creative, academically able and hard-working, as everything moves fast here."
There are 15 houses at King's, 12 boarding and 3 day. Most are named after past headmasters or people of interest in the school's history, with the exception of School House, The Grange and the newest house, Carlyon.
- Birleys Playing Fields The School's sport grounds, located near the main site. A new pavilion was opened by David Gower on 17 September 2005
- Blackfriars Art
- CDT Centre CDT
- Edred Wright Music School Music
- Field Classrooms English and Mathematics
- Grange Classrooms Mathematics
- Harvey Science Block Biology, Chemistry
- J Block Geography
- Lardergate History and OKS Foundation
- Lattergate Religious Studies and Headmaster's office
- Maurice Milner Memorial Hall Fencing, Drama and Examination Hall
- Mint Yard Classrooms Mathematics, ICT
- The Old Synagogue at Canterbury Music, Jewish Prayers. Built as a synagogue in 1847–8 by architect Hezekiah Marshall, the "Old Synagogue" is used as a recital hall by the music department. It is considered one of the finest buildings of the 19th century Egyptian Revival style.
- Palace Block a medieval building containing the Modern Languages Department
- Physics Block Physics
- Pottery Room Pottery
- Priory Block Classics, English, Politics, Economics
- The Pupils' Social Centre Tuckshop, Stationers, Junior Common Room and billiards tables
- The Recreation Centre Gym, Hockey Pitches, Swimming Pool, etc. It is open to the general public on a membership basis.
- The School Library (contains approximately 25,000 volumes and offers access to the School Intranet)
- Shirley Hall School Assemblies and Examination Hall; formerly known as the Great Hall, renamed after the former headmaster, Fred Shirley
- St. Mary's Hall Drama, Theatre Studies
- The Westbere Lakes Sailing and Rowing
King's Week festival
A festival of arts, held during the last week of the summer term, introduced by Fred Shirley. The week culminates in Commemoration day (known as "commem day") on the last day of the school year when the school leavers in 6a wear court dress and the whole school attends a service to commemorate the school benefactors.
Office of Fair Trading investigation
In 2005, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) provisionally found that the school exchanged detailed information about prospective fee increases with approximately 50 other prominent UK independent schools, including Eton and Sevenoaks. The OFT stated that "regular and systematic exchange of confidential information as to intended fee increases was anti-competitive and resulted in parents being charged higher fees than would otherwise have been the case."
Alumni (Old King's Scholars (OKS))
- Stephen Barlow (conductor)
- Oz Clarke (wine critic)
- Michael Cordy (novelist)
- Roger C. Field (inventor, designer)
- Michael Foale (astronaut)
- Tristan Garel-Jones (Conservative minister and peer)
- Richard Norris (Olympic bronze medallist)
- David Gower (cricketer)
- William Harvey (physician)
- Bertram James MC Squadron Leader (Great Escape survivor)
- Patrick Leigh Fermor (writer)
- John Lloyd (television producer, creator of 'Spitting Image', 'QI', etc.)
- Edward Lucie-Smith (poet and art historian)
- Christopher Marlowe (author)
- Somerset Maugham (novelist)
- Leslie Mitchell (broadcaster)
- Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (Field Marshal)
- Michael Morpurgo (author)
- Neil North (actor)
- Jonathan Powell (political aide)
- Michael Powell (film director)
- Carol Reed (film director)
- John Tradescant the Younger (botanist)
- Tom Ward (actor)
- Alan Watts (philosopher)
- Antony Worrall Thompson (chef)
- Sir Hugh Walpole (author)
- Fred Scarlett (Olympic gold medalist)
- Frances Houghton (Olympic silver medalist)
The Junior King's School, Canterbury
The King's School also has a feeder preparatory school, the Junior King's School (JKS), previously Milner Court Preparatory School. The school, is a coeducational boarding and day establishment, and currently has around 425 pupils, ages 3 to 13. Whilst there are boarding facilities available, the number of day pupils greatly outweighs the number of boarding pupils. JKS is now located at Milner Court in Sturry, however it was originally based in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, the current site was donated by Lady Milner following the death of Lord (Alfred) Milner in 1925. The buildings on site were opened by Rudyard Kipling in 1929, a great friend of Lord (Alfred) Milner. Further extensions include a Sports Hall (1999) and a CDT block (1991).
- List of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom
- List of the oldest schools in the world
- List of Victoria Crosses by School
- 597 AND ALL THAT: A Brief History of the King’s School, Canterbury
- 2011 Inspection.
- Good Schools Guide.
- Kadish, Sharman (2002). "Constructing Identity: Anglo-Jewry and Synagogue Architecture". Architectural History (SAHGB Publications) 45: 386–408.
- King's Week.
- Press release, Office of Fair Trading, UK, 9 November 2005.