Kingston Grammar School

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Kingston Grammar School
Kingston Grammar School (emblem).png
Established c. 12th century
1561 (Royal Charter granted)
Type Independent day school
Head Stephen Lehec
Location London Rd
Kingston upon Thames
Local authority Kingston upon Thames
DfE number 314/6067
Students 820 (2015)
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Houses 4
Former pupils Old Kingstonians

Kingston Grammar School is an independent co-educational day school in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London. The school was founded by Royal Charter in 1561 but can trace its roots back to at least the 13th century.[1] It is a registered charity under English law.[2] In 2015 the GCSE results recorded 81.2% of all grades as A or A*, and at A-level 62.7% of all grades were A or A*.[3] The Good Schools Guide described the school as "An academic school with a modern edge".[4]


the Lovekyn Chapel
Lovekyn Chapel

The school's history is traceable into the Middle Ages, where there are references to schoolmasters like Gilbert de Southwell in 1272, described as "Rector of the Schools in Kingston", and to Hugh de Kyngeston in 1364 "who presides over the Public School there". Notable in the school's history are the founding and endowing of the Lovekyn Chapel by John and then Edward Lovekyn in 1309-1352 and later by William Walworth in 1371. The chapel is still used by the school.[5]

After the dissolution of the chantries in 1547, the chapel fell to the Crown and was deconsecrated. It, and by now its substantial related endowments, fell to a court favourite, Richard Taverner. He preserved the chapel so when in 1561 the bailiffs of Kingston petitioned Queen Elizabeth I for a royal grammar school, the building was still usable. The Queen granted the school a Royal Charter in 1561.[1]

The school became a direct grant grammar school in 1946[6] as a result of the Education Act 1944 and became independent in 1978 after the scheme was abolished by the 1974–9 Labour Government.[7] In the same year, the first girls were introduced.

KGS celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of its founding charter in 1961 with a visit from Queen Elizabeth II. In 2005 Her Majesty opened the new Queen Elizabeth II Building, where she unveiled a plaque, met with students of Music and Geography and watched an excerpt of the play "Smike" after which the new Recording Studio was named.


There are four houses, named after Medieval and Elizabethan figures connected with the school and the city of London.

House Named after
Queen's Queen Elizabeth I
Walworth William Walworth, former Lord Mayor of London
Taverner Richard Taverner, Bible translator
Lovekyn John and Edward Lovekyn, benefactors


Extracurricular activities[edit]

There are many activities, sports and interest clubs for students to join. Other programmes include the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise, Chamber Choir, CCF, Community Service, Digital Photography Club, Drama Club and more.[9]

The school's boathouse is on the Thames at Thames Ditton, Surrey.[10] Students may take up rowing beginning in Third Form (Year 9) and participate in local and national regattas, including The National Schools Regatta.[11] The KGS Veterans Boat Club is exclusively for alumni, parents and staff of the school.[12]

Combined Cadet Force[edit]

The school CCF was founded in 1915 and consists of RAF and Army sections. Both sections have produced numerous members of the Armed forces with recent examples being General Jonathon Riley and Flt Lt Ian Fortune. Mr.Gardener is the current leader of the CCF squadron.

Christian Union[edit]

The Christian Union is one of the most popular and long lasting clubs at the school. It has been taking students on camps and houseparties for over sixty years.

Gibbon Society[edit]

The Gibbon Debating Society was originally founded in 1886 as the Literary, Scientific and Debating Society before being renamed in 1897 after "that illustrious old boy, the historian Edward Gibbon". The Society is open to all students and regularly competes in both regional and national debating competitions.


The school is on London Road in Kingston upon Thames, and occupies three main buildings:

  • The main London Road Building, which connects to the Finlay Gallery which contains the D.T. and Art departments and the Library.
  • The Fairfield Building housing Chemistry, Physics, Biology, German, French, Spanish, History and Politics, Economics and Psychology departments.
  • The Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) Building, housing Geography, English, Religious Studies, Classics, Mathematics, Music and Drama departments. This building also boasts a purpose built Theatre, a recording studio and music technology suite, the Sixth Form cafe and study area and the Careers Department.

Ditton Field[edit]

Ditton Field is the home of KGS sport – 22 acres of playing fields situated on the banks of the Thames, opposite Hampton Court Palace. A £1.2 million redevelopment was completed in summer 2014, and our state-of-the-art sport facilities now include:

  • Six netball courts
  • Six cricket nets
  • Long jump pit
  • Four football pitches
  • Four cricket squares
  • Eight tennis courts
  • Two astro turf hockey pitches
  • One astro turf practice area
  • Pavilions
  • Boat House

There is also a Conditioning Suite that supports the athletic performances and training of the KGS sports teams, and benefits other groups and clubs throughout the year. The field is easily accessible by bus services to and from Hampton Court and Molesey, and the South West Trains service from Hampton Court to London Waterloo.

Notable former pupils[edit]



  • Ward, The Rev David; Evans, Gordon W. (2000). Chantry Chapel to Royal Grammar School: the History of Kingston Grammar School 1299–1999. Gresham Books. ISBN 978-0946095360

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°24′37″N 0°17′47″W / 51.4103°N 0.2965°W / 51.4103; -0.2965