King Edward VII and Queen Mary School
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|Location||Clifton Drive South
Lytham St Annes
|Houses||Ashton, Talbot, Lowther, Clifton|
|Website||KEQMS - Home|
The Lytham Schools Foundation was established in 1719 after a flood disaster in the town. In 1908, one hundred and eighty-nine years after the Foundation's initial formation, King Edward VII School was opened to provide an education for local boys. The opening of the girls' Queen Mary School followed in 1930.
It had a reputation of excellence in sports and a thriving history of drama productions and had links with the Czech Republic, France and Germany, with which exchange trips were frequently held (and still are by AKS Lytham).
The Board of Governors announced that King Edward VII and Queen Mary School would be merging with Arnold School, another fee-paying school in the North-West, in September 2012. This happened without consultation inclusive of parents, pupils or staff. A parent group opposed to the takeover submitted objections to the Charity Commission which prompted a review prior to allowing the merger to proceed. The Charity Commission completed their report and announced on 11 November 2011 that they had approved the new scheme. The parent group immediately announced their intention to appeal against the Charity Commission decision. The appeal was lodged with HM Courts and Tribunal Service – First Tier Tribunal on Friday 9 December 2011. The tribunal's decision was made on 17 May 2012 and stated that the merger could proceed however the lease agreement put the charity assets at undue risk and needed to be re-written. The parents group since announced that they were not going to appeal and the merger therefore proceeded.
King Edward School's motto was 'Sublimis Ab Unda', which is Latin for 'raised from the waves', in reference to the fact the school was funded by the aforementioned flood disaster. Queen Mary School's motto was 'Semper Fidelis, Semper Parata', which translates as 'Always Faithful, Always Prepared'. The two former schools each had a coat of arms, but despite the two schools being separate they shared the same governing body, which itself had a coat of arms, that consisted of the two schools' coats of arms impaled. This coat of arms was used for the combined school since the merger in 1999. The uniforms for both boys and girls were also changed at this time. As of 2008, a new rebrand of the KEQMS brand was launched. A new logo was produced, and the motto was changed to 'Inspiring Personal Excellence'
After a reduction in student numbers following New Labour's abolition of the Assisted Places Scheme in 1997, the two single-sex schools merged. Now fully co-educational and housed in and around the old King Edward VII building, it consisted of a Kindergarten, Infant, Junior and Senior School, plus a Sixth Form, which was situated on the first floor of the House, and in the old Lecture Theatre. The Queen Mary site was sold in order to raise money for the continuing development of the new school, and is now housing.
Those girls and boys who had been pupils prior to the decision to amalgamate continued to attend single sex classes as normal. This continued until the sale of Queen Mary School. It wasn't until they reached sixth-form did they commence co-educational classroom teaching. In order to facilitate a smooth merger, girls and boys were encouraged to attend "socials" during break times and their lunch hour. Boys from King Edwards were allowed to visit during lunch times in order to meet one another and to grow accustomed to the idea of mixed classes. Once merged, Queen Mary Girls were moved over to the King Edward school, the old orange and brown uniform was abolished and girls now sported the King Edward blue with navy and grey pleated kilts. For the boys, other than classes now being mixed, nothing had really changed for them. But for the girls, it was the end of an era and for some, the transition took a lot of getting used to. Girls reported an extremely strong, almost sickening smell of sweat and aftershave would fill the corridors, something which was impossible to go unnoticed. Girls who would once pay little attention to their outward appearance, now felt compelled to get up earlier in order to do their hair and wear make-up to school. What with boys, new teachers, new classrooms, a new uniform and a new head to contend with; life would never be the same. On the plus side, the girls were no longer starved of male activity and girls enjoyed their first experiences of flirting with the opposite sex during school hours.
Prior to the amalgamation, teachers at Queen Mary School were notorious for having a strict policy on "not speaking to those King Edward boys" during school hours. In a bid to encourage Women's Liberation, Miss Ritchie the Head Mistress, would not allow girls to take their mid-afternoon break outside on the terrace. The rugby fields were in clear view from the terrace, and girls were often discouraged from ogling boys who were having rugby practice. Much to the young ladies disappointment, they were usually ushered back indoors and reminded of the virtues of a good single sex education where there were no male distractions...
Notable former pupils
Notable former pupils (Lidunians) include:
- Malcolm Archer, Organist and Director of Music, St Paul's Cathedral
- Roy Harper, Musician and songwriter
- Lee Blackett, Leeds Carnegie centre
- Simon Brailsford, Equerry to Her Majesty the Queen
- Michael Mingos, Principal of St Edmund Hall, Oxford
- John Sunderland, Chairman of Cadbury Schweppes and President of the Confederation of British Industry
- Andy Inglis, Head of Exploration and Production, Board Member, British Petroleum
- Jenny Eclair, Comedian, novelist and actress
- "KEQMS - History". Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Letter to Parents" (PDF).
- "Charities Commission - Decision for Lytham Schools". Retrieved 2011-11-22.
- "First Tier Tribunal - Preliminary Decision" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- "Campaign Announcement". Retrieved 2012-05-29.