Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI

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The "Old Building" at King Edward VI Aston

The Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham is a charitable institution that operates two independent schools, five voluntary aided selective state schools in Birmingham, England and one academy.

Registered under the name The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham as a charity in November 1963, in 2006–7 it had a gross income of approximately £16.4 million,[1] much of which is derived from extensive land holdings in the centre of Birmingham. The beneficiary schools are as follows:

Voluntary Aided


On 28 October 1382, a chantry to say masses for the dead was established in New Street, Birmingham. As part of the religious settlement of King Henry VIII laws were enacted suppressing all monasteries and chantries. In the case of chantries, little had occurred since the 1545 Act and when King Edward VI came to the throne in 1547, new legislation to close chantries was soon enacted. Part of the process of suppressing chantries involved holding an inquiry into their property and assets. The New Street chantry was abolished in common with thousands of others, although the people of Birmingham were told that the assets would not be seized by the Crown but made available for educational purposes. When the assets still had not been returned to the town, a meeting was held in St Martin's Church, the Bull Ring, Birmingham, to petition the Crown to build a school in New Street on the land formerly occupied by the chantry. This was approved and the following year, King Edward VI School was opened. Owning land in the very centre of Birmingham gave it a secure financial base. In 1883, five new King Edward schools were created to meet the educational needs of the expanding population of the city of Birmingham.

Due to financial difficulties,[citation needed] many of the schools were forced to sell the land of their original location to buy the cheaper land from the surrounding area in the city. Many of the schools have hence changed location since their founding, with only Aston remaining in its original buildings.

School Original Location Current Location Since
King Edward's School New Street (Guild Building) Edgbaston 1936
King Edward VI Camp Hill Camp Hill Kings Heath 1956
King Edward VI Five Ways Five Ways Bartley Green 1957
King Edward VI Aston Aston Aston 1883
King Edward VI Handsworth Part of King Edward VI Aston Handsworth 1911
King Edward VI Sheldon Heath Academy Sheldon Heath Sheldon 2010

In September 2017, the previously independent Handsworth Grammar School joined the foundation, becoming King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys.[2]

Foundation Service[edit]

Since the expansion of the Foundation in 1883, once per year, a selection of pupils from within each school in the Foundation meet at St Martin's Church in the Bull Ring in Birmingham meet for a service to commemorate the founding of the King Edward VI Foundation. This is not principally because it was where the idea of the original school was founded, but because it was the only place locally that could suitably hold the representatives from each school. At this service, pupils read from The Bible, sing hymns, and are told the story of the creation of the Foundation.


  • King Edward's School, Birmingham, Tony Trott, 2001, ISBN 0-7524-2448-3
  • King Edward High School Birmingham 1883-1983, Rachel Waterhouse, 1983
  • King Edward Grammar School for Girls, Handsworth 1883-1983, Alison Thorne, 1983
  • King Edward VI Five Ways 1883-1983, David Wheeldon, 1983
  • Victoria County History of England, Volume on Warwickshire, article by Tyson, J.C.


External links[edit]