The Prebendal School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prebendal School
Motto Fons Sapientae Verbum Dei
Established 1497
Type Preparatory day and boarding
Religion Church of England
Head Master Timothy Cannell
Headmistress of The Pre-Prep Iona Carmody
Chairman of the Governors Stephen Waine,
Dean of Chichester
Founder Edward Story
Location West Street
West Sussex
PO19 1RT
DfE number 938/6128
Staff 44 (approx.)
Students 150 (approx.)
Gender Mixed
Ages 3–13
Houses Neville, Luffa, Seffrid and Sherborne


Publication The Prebendalian
Director of Studies Keith Batchelor
Director of Music Nick Carpenter
Director of Sports Jonathan Hodgson

The Prebendal School is an independent preparatory school in Chichester, situated adjacent to the Chichester Cathedral precinct. It is a boarding and day school with roughly 150 pupils including the choristers of the cathedral choir. The school has ancient origins as the medieval cathedral song school at the thirteenth century school house in West Street.


Children have been educated on the present site since the fifteenth century. The Prebendal is the oldest school in Sussex and probably dates back to the foundation of Chichester Cathedral in the eleventh century when it was a 'song school', teaching and housing the choristers. Later it admitted other boys from the city and neighbouring areas, becoming a grammar school. It was re-founded in 1497 by Bishop Edward Story who attached it to the Prebend of Highleigh in Chichester Cathedral, hence the name. The thirteenth century school house with its narrow tower still stands in West Street. Long Dormitory, on the top floor, contains three-hundred year old panelling, featuring some historic graffiti. Two adjoining eighteenth-century houses have been added, while the addition in 1966 of the east wing of the Bishop's Palace, which is next door to the main school buildings, provides considerable extra space. The School has recently expanded into adjoining period properties on West Street adding to the charm of its accommodation. Girls were introduced into the school in 1972 and a pre-prep in 1996. The school is now a co-educational, day and boarding preparatory school for children between 3 and 13 years of age. Further extensions have provided an assembly hall, new classrooms and an art, design and technology room. There is a modern science laboratory and an I.C.T. room.


Pupils cover the syllabi for the Common Entrance and Scholarship Examinations to senior independent schools. Subjects include English, Mathematics, Science, French, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Latin (from the age of 9), Art, Design & technology, Music and Drama. School examinations take place once a year during the summer term.

Performing Arts[edit]


As a choir school educating the cathedral choristers, the school has an extremely strong music department. A wide variety of instruments are taught. There are many groups, including two choirs, a full orchestra, concert band, brass groups, recorder ensembles, clarinet ensembles, percussion group, string orchestras and quartets, Baroque Trio and many other chamber groups and ensembles. Concerts take place throughout the academic year. many concerts are informal, but a number are performed in the cathedral. Music competitions are also arranged in school: the inter-house music and house singing competitions, for example.


Years One, Seven and Eight have a double period of art per week and Years Four, Five and Six have three periods per week. Art pupils visit local galleries, namely Pallant House Gallery.


Drama is taught to all pupils between years 3 and 7. There is one major school production during the year, which takes place during the Michaelmas Term. This runs for four nights and involves many children, not only acting but helping backstage with the set, lighting, costumes, make-up and music.


Games sessions are held every afternoon and many matches are played against other schools. The playing fields are close to the school, just outside the historic city walls. There are four football pitches, two hockey fields, cricket nets, and two tennis courts. The major sports played are soccer, hockey, rugby and netball in the winter terms and cricket, athletics, tennis and swimming in the summer term.


  • Neville (Green)
  • Luffa (Red)
  • Sherborne (Yellow)
  • Seffrid (Blue)

Each house is named after former Bishops of Chichester; they are Ralph Neville, Ralph Luffa, Robert Sherbourne and Seffrid I & Seffrid II


The Pre-Prep is for children between the ages of three and seven. It was originally located in Northgate House, a large Tudor house in the centre of Chichester, but has since re-located to the site of the Prep Department. The Pre-Prep Department has its own headmistress.


There are seven dormitories and accommodation for up to 46 boarders. Each dorm has a name; Long, Tarring, Bell, St. Edmund's, Juxon, St. Wilfred's and St. Richard's. Matrons are responsible for the health and laundry of the boarders.


The school educates the Chichester Cathedral choristers who enter the school on a choral scholarship. Both choristers and probationers are full boarders. The choristers are under the leadership of the Cathedral Organist who is also Master of the Choristers. During term time they sing Evensong in the cathedral each day of the week and at the main services each Sunday. Voice trials take place once a year, usually in January. Candidates sit an academic assessment test in the school and attend a voice trial.

Old Prebendalians[edit]

Alumni are known as Old Prebendalians.

Notable Old Prebendalians include,

References and sources[edit]

  • N. Ollerenshaw, A History of the Prebendal School (Phillimore, 1984)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°50′11″N 0°46′57″W / 50.83639°N 0.78250°W / 50.83639; -0.78250