King Edward's School, Bath

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King Edward's School, Bath
North Road

, ,

Coordinates51°23′11″N 2°20′37″W / 51.3863°N 2.3436°W / 51.3863; -2.3436Coordinates: 51°23′11″N 2°20′37″W / 51.3863°N 2.3436°W / 51.3863; -2.3436
TypeIndependent day school
MottoDieu et mon droit
(God and my right) Ministrare, non ministrari
(To serve, not to be served)
Established1552; 470 years ago (1552)
FounderKing Edward VI
Department for Education URN109374 Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsWinifred Thomson
HeadmasterMartin Boden
Age3 to 18
Colour(s)Maroon and navy blue    
PublicationThe Edwardian
Former pupilsOld Edwardians

King Edward's School (KES), Bath, Somerset, England is an independent co-educational day school providing education for 1016 pupils aged 3 to 18.[1] The school is a member of The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The school was established in the 16th century in a city centre site, founded in 1552. In the 1960s it moved to the outskirts onto a multi building site. In addition to the academic curriculum the schools includes drama, music, sport and a combined cadet force.

King Edward's School Bath was judged as "excellent" in every category in the school's 2015 Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report.[2] The report noted that "The school's extra-curricular provision is outstanding", "Achievements outside the curriculum are both numerous and outstanding" and "The quality of the pupils' achievements and learning is excellent".

The school was ranked as one of the top four independent schools in the south west by The Sunday Times Schools Guide, Parent Power Survey[3] based upon 2016 academic results.


The school was founded in 1552 under laws set out in the Charities Act of 1545, which had been passed by Henry VIII to use funds from the dissolution of the monasteries to replace monastic grammar schools such as that run by Bath Abbey. The Mayor of Bath and one of the members of parliament for Bath, Edward Ludwell, petitioned Edward VI for land previously owned by the priory, to establish the school, initially in Frog Lane, and support ten poor people, which also prevented the crown from selling off the land previously held by the priory. In 1580s the school moved to a disused church building by the north gate of the city. The city corporation misappropriated the considerable funds form the land granted under Letters Patent, failing to maintain or improve the school until it was exposed in the Court of Chancery in 1734. Around 1750 a new building was erected for the school in Broad Street.[4]

The secondary school relocated from its site at Broad Street in central Bath in the 1960s to a 14-acre (57,000 m2) site at North Road in the southeastern edge of the city, previously occupied by St Christopher's Preparatory School. The junior school (7- to 11-year-olds) remained on the Broad Street site until the summer of 1990 (often mis-quoted as 1986, possibly due to errors originally made in an architectural report from the early 2000s and repeated by the local Planning Office) when it transferred to a new building in the North Road school grounds. The old Broad Street site, which was built in 1754 by Thomas Jelly and is a Grade II* Listed building,[5] remains empty. In 1997 an application to turn the building into a public house by Samuel Smith Brewery was refused. A scheme for use as a hotel has also been withdrawn. The building remains on the Heritage at Risk Register but work to repair the roof has reduced the risk to the property.[6] Proposals to use it as a temporary shelter for the homeless were rejected in 2018, by the brewery, claiming that work would be "commencing very soon".[7]

In the 1990s, while Peter Winter was Headmaster the school took the steps towards full co-education. In 2005 there were plans to move the 'pre-preparatory' school, located in Weston, Bath, on to the North Road site. However, for a range of reasons it never materialised. In 2008 the school achieved the best examination results of Bath schools for A level and GCSE examination results.[8]


The Senior and Junior School is situated on a 19-acre campus, with views across Bath. The school is made up of several buildings. The main block (Q) is the primary building used for English, Maths, Music, Physics and Chemistry. The main block also incorporates the Wroughton Theatre and the Music classrooms. Nethersole House, which was built in the 19th century, now houses the Religious and Philosophical Studies department, Classics, History, Business Studies and Economics and Learning Support, as well as the Headmaster's Study and Reception. The Holbeche Centre is home to the Sixth Form centre, as well as Art, Design & Technology and Photography classrooms, G block (which is temporarily closed for refurbishment) and the newly finished L block are nearby. The sports hall at the bottom of the site is used for assemblies, as well as sports. The senior school opened a new building (B Block) in September 2008 which accommodates many of the major departments including Biology, Psychology and I.C.T. The Wessex Building is located to the north of Nethersole House and was opened in 2015 by the Earl of Wessex and holds the Porter Library, Willet dining hall and a conference suite. The school opened its newest sporting facility, an all-weather pitch, in November 2016 by Rio Olympic gold medalist, Crista Cullen. The Rose is a new drama centre with state of the art technology and facilities. It is located at the bottom of the school below the lower entrance. In 2020 the schools newest facility was opened. The L block is a language block purely intended for language purposes that sits between the G block and the Holbeche Centre, it is connected to these two blocks by doors. The refurbished G block is due to reopen soon. A temporary building called M block is currently used to teach Geography, this may be removed when the G block is reopened.

Nethersole House

Drama and music[edit]

The school includes drama and music departments. The drama department puts on a school play each year and recent performances have included Fiddler on the Roof and Pride and Prejudice. There is also a lower school play which is aimed for pupils in years 7 to 9 and regularly has casts of up to 80 pupils which recently included The Wind in the Willows and Disney's Beauty and The Beast. The School has also recently introduced LAMDA exams and taken a show to the Edinburgh Fringe.

In late 2017 the school performed "Pop the Musical", a show written by the school based on a book by author Catherine Bruton, who teaches English at the school.

The Music department currently has over 20 instrumental and choral groups of varying musical styles. The school has partnerships with Bath Abbey and Bath's resident orchestra, Bath Philharmonia Orchestra, with annual concert performances in Bath’s historical venues including The Assembly Rooms and the Guildhall.

Every year the Music department organises the KES Musical Festival which includes concerts throughout Bath as well as numerous performances and concerts in the school itself. The Senior Orchestra was also the overall winner for orchestral music in the Mid Somerset Festival in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.[9]

KES Pride and Prejudice


The school has a further 17-acre site at nearby Bathampton, which is home to the school's playing fields and sports pavilion. The major games are rugby, hockey, cricket and netball. Minor sports include athletics, cross-country, tennis, football, rounders, badminton, dance, gymnastics and table tennis. Former England rugby coach Andy Robinson used to teach rugby, physical education and mathematics at the school while he was playing (amateur rugby) for Bath Rugby Club.[10]

In previous years the school had competitive netball squads over a range of school years. In particular, the under 19 squad came third at the national finals in both 2009 and 2010.[11] Alternative sports such as jiu jitsu and squash are also played.[12]

Combined Cadet Force[edit]

The school also has a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) which was formerly affiliated with the Light Infantry and is now affiliated to the King's Royal Hussars (Royal Armoured Corps). Having been founded in 1900, King Edward's CCF is one of the oldest CCF contingents in the country. In recent years the CCF has also included cadets from Beechen Cliff School and from 2015 to 2019 it also welcomed pupils from Hayesfield Girl School. Pupils, both girls and boys, may join the CCF from year 9 onwards and enjoy a range of activities each week developing skills which can be put into practice on a number of excursions, including multi-day CCF-run exercises on Army training grounds, as well as Combined Cadet Force and Army Cadet Force-run camps throughout the year, in each March, September, July and November.[13] In 2019 the CCF formed a Corps of Drums, and since then has been taking cadets on ACF and CCF-run music training camps.[14] The Cadet Force is one of the cadet forces which are involved in Bath's annual Remembrance Sunday ceremonies, involving attending the main ceremonial parade and a march through the city streets, which has since 2019 included performance by the Corps of Drums.

International links[edit]

King Edward's School and Wagwer School in Kenya are global development partnership schools, part of the Department for International Development (DFID) initiative, which seeks to encourage an understanding and knowledge of the world though exchange visits and joint curricular work. Under the scheme which is sponsored by the British Government teachers from Kenya are able to visit KES and teachers from KES are able to visit Wagwer.[15]

The school also runs exchange programmes with schools in Aix-en-Provence (France), Braunschweig (Germany) and Pamplona (Spain).

The school also produced two Olympians who represented Great Britain for the 2012 London Olympic Games.


In 2001, the school made national headlines after 26 pupils were taught the wrong Shakespeare play (Hamlet) in preparation for an A-level examination. The mistake was only realised after the pupils had entered the examination hall. The OCR exam board decided to award their marks according to previous papers and coursework.[16]

In 2002, a 14-year-old girl had to be taken to hospital with alcohol poisoning during a trip to France.[17]

In 2015, former teacher Timothy Snowdon, was jailed for four years for sexual assaults against a pupil that took place in the 1990s.[18]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also Category:People educated at King Edward's School, Bath

Former pupils of the school are called Old Edwardians and include:


  1. ^ "King Edward's School". Schools Information. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Independent Schools' Inspectorate report | King Edward's School BATH". Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Parent Power". The Sunday Times. 27 November 2017.
  4. ^ Wroughton, John (2006). Tudor Bath: Life and strife in the little city, 1485–1603. Bath: Lansdown Press. pp. 58–60. ISBN 0-9520249-6-9.
  5. ^ "King Edward's School". Images of England. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  6. ^ "King Edwards School, Broad Street, Bath — Bath and North East Somerset (UA)". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Nooks and Corners". Private Eye. 1474: 21. 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Secondary schools in Bath and NE Somerset". BBC. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Festival Results". Mid Somerset Festival. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Andy Robinson". Hall of Fame. Bath Rugby. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Netball". King Edwards School. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "StackPath".
  14. ^[bare URL]
  15. ^ Archived 4 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Ezard, John (7 June 2001). "Outrageous fortune strikes A-level class". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  17. ^ Lightfoot, Liz (8 April 2004). "Dangers of tours for teachers and pupils". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  18. ^ "Bradford on Avon teacher jailed for historic sex attacks against pupil". Wiltshire Times. 9 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Verdict on MMR doctor". Bath Chronicle. Retrieved 7 January 2011.