King's College School, Cambridge

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King's College School
Established 1441
Type Independent preparatory day and boarding
Choral foundation school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Nicholas Robinson
Chair of Governors Prof Robert Foley
Founder Henry VI of England
Location West Road
DfE number 873/6000
DfE URN 110911 Tables
Students 449 (2016)
Gender Co-educational
Ages 4–13

King's College School is a coeducational independent preparatory school in Cambridge, England, situated on West Road off Grange Road, west of the city centre. It was founded to educate the choristers in the King's College Choir during the 15th century. Although no longer located on College grounds, it remains an integral part of the Chapel's musical tradition and is still governed by and receives some funding from the College. The most recent full integrated Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection awarded the grade ‘excellent’ in all 9 categories.[1]


King's College was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. By 1447 the full complement of 16 choristers had been recruited to sing in the chapel. They were likely educated by a fellow until the appoint of the first Informator Chorustarum (Master over the Choristers) in 1456, Robert Brantham.[2] The existence of a dedicated school building was recorded during the Counter-Reformation when a visitation of the University in 1557 inspected the "chorusters chamber and schole" and took away a number of books deemed to be unsuitable.[3]

The school has moved location several times since its inception. By 1693 it was located in a building to the south-east of the chapel, next to King's Parade.[3] In this year that building was demolished and replaced with a brick building which continued to house the school through most of the eighteenth century.[3] In 1828 the Wilkins building on the south side of the court opposite the chapel was opened and the school was housed in rooms within it.[2]

In order to widen the field from which selection of choristers could take place, and in response to improving musical standards in other English choirs, it was decided to open a boarding house to accommodate choristers from outside Cambridge. This was opened on the current site in 1878.[2] From 1976 girls were admitted, and as the school expanded, it opened a pre-preparatory department.[4]


The boarding programme is open only to boys. Choristers are full boarders while other boys return home for the weekend.[5]



The following headmasters have served since 1878 when the school relocated to its present site in West Road:[7]

  • Vincent Charles Reynell 1878 - 1887
  • Benjamin Benham 1887–1905
  • Trenham Candy Weatherhead 1905–1912
  • Charles Richard Jelf 1912–1927
  • Cedric Moulton Fiddian 1927–1950
  • Donald George Butters 1950 - 1958
  • John David(son) Briggs 1959–1977
  • Gerald Peacocke 1977–1993
  • Andrew Corbett 1993–1998
  • Nicholas Robinson 1998 – 2017
  • Yvette Day 2018 - [8]


  1. ^ Independent Schools Inspectorate (2014). "2014 Integrated Inspection Report". 
  2. ^ a b c Henderson, RJ (1981). A History of King's College Choir School Cambridge. ISBN 978-0950752808. 
  3. ^ a b c John Gray (1964). "King's College School in 1564" (PDF). Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. LVI-LVII: 88–102. 
  4. ^ School History
  5. ^ Boarding
  6. ^ "Cellist Guy Johnston: "When music works it's magic and speaks to the soul"". Cambridge News. 15 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-09-11.  Web accessible article on the school's history by Anne Page, B. mus (b 1920)
  8. ^ "King's School announces new Head". King's College, Cambridge. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°12′14″N 0°06′23″E / 52.2039°N 0.1065°E / 52.2039; 0.1065