St Edward's College

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St. Edward's College
North Drive
West Derby, Liverpool, Merseyside, L12 1LF
Coordinates53°25′26″N 2°54′31″W / 53.423763°N 2.908654°W / 53.423763; -2.908654Coordinates: 53°25′26″N 2°54′31″W / 53.423763°N 2.908654°W / 53.423763; -2.908654
School typeAcademy
MottoesCourage Through Faith
Preparing the Catholic Leaders of Tomorrow
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderFather James Nugent[1]
Local authorityLiverpool City Council
SpecialistsLanguages, Arts
Department for Education URN136735 Tables
ChairmanDr Phil Doyle
Head teacherMr Stephen Morris
Age11 to 18
Number of students1200
DioceseArchdiocese of Liverpool

St. Edward's College is a coeducational Catholic school with academy status in the UK located in the West Derby suburb of Liverpool. Founded in 1853 as the Catholic Institute, the college was formerly a boys grammar school run by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, known widely as The Irish Christian Brothers. St Edward's College is heavily over subscribed every year, and has a reputation as one of the best schools in North West England.[2]


The school pupils are identifiable by the bright purple blazer that is part of the uniform for pupils in years 7 to 9. Year 10 and 11 both wear black blazers. In then sixth form, the college has recently adopted a 'work outfit' uniform code, where the students are able to choose their own clothes, as long as it is acceptable in a work environemnt.

The school is situated on the eastern side of Queen's Drive (A5058), a half-mile north of the A57 junction and the Alder Hey Children's Hospital. The North Liverpool Extension Line railway passed to the rear of the school, next to the playing fields, which is now part of the Trans Pennine Trail and NCN Route 62. Liverpool Community College have a site on the opposite side of Queen's Drive in Tuebrook, the former Millbank College of Commerce.


In 1853 the school was founded as the Catholic Institute by Father James Nugent, at a time when barely 5% of Catholic children received any education at all.

An early visitor to the CI, based in Hope Street near the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, was Cardinal Wiseman, who formally opened the school.

The Institute progressed through the nineteenth century, but by the beginning of the twentieth century the school was in decline. In 1909 Bishop Whiteside approached the Irish Congregation of Christian Brothers to invite them to take over the running of the school.

The original St Edward's College had been established as a boarding school in 1848 in a large mansion called St Domingo House; named after the Isle of San Domingo, where one George Campbell, a privateer and subsequently Mayor of Liverpool, had captured a rich prize.

The change of name from the Catholic Institute to St. Edward's College was fairly unpopular, especially among former pupils who had lost friends during the First World War. To this day, the association of former pupils is called the CIEA (Catholic Institute Edwardian Association).

Grammar school[edit]

It was a boys' direct grant grammar school. In the late 1970s, direct grant grammar schools were discontinued, and many became fully-fledged independent schools, including St Edward's.

Co-educational school[edit]

The school was boys only until 1982, when girls were admitted into the 6th form. In 1991 girls were admitted into year 7, and by September 1995 the school was completely co-educational. Many of its places were funded by the assisted places scheme - it was operating as a private day school right into the late 1990s.

Comprehensive school[edit]

It became a grant maintained school in September 1997, then a voluntary aided school in 1999. No longer was a test required to gain admission to the school. Its junior section, Runnymede St Edward's, did not join the state sector and instead became an independent school but still maintains links with the College and continues to occupy the campus next door.


On 1 May 2011, St. Edward's College formally gained academy status and became officially know at St Edward's College Edmund Rice Academy Trust

Sandfield Park and new buildings[edit]

The school relocated from St. Domingo Road, Everton to Sandfield Park, West Derby on 19 September 1938, an event which was marked by every pupil walking the 3 miles from Everton to West Derby.

The site at Sandfield Park consisted of two Victorian mansions, Runnymede and St. Clare's, each of which had substantial grounds. Runnymede became a preparatory school, while St. Clare's became the home of the Irish Christian Brothers teaching at the school. A new school building, consisting of four wings around a large quadrangle, was erected, along with a gymnasium. Laboratories were built in the 1950s and a swimming pool and running track in the 1960s. A Sixth Form Centre and Sports Hall were added in the 1970s. A Design Centre was built in the 1980s. The John Morgan Sports Complex and Dining Hall and Performing Arts facilities were added in the 1990s. The turn of the century saw the complete refurbishment of one of the original properties, St Clare, into the new Upper School Centre.

Cathedral choir[edit]

St Edward's has been Choir School to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral since the early 1970s, and there are usually about 18 Cathedral Senior Choristers among the pupils of the College. It therefore has the honour of being the only voluntarily aided Roman Catholic Cathedral School in the country. Its affiliated prep school Runnymede St Edward's educates younger choristers.

Masters of the Music/Directors of Music[edit]

  • Christopher McElroy January 2012 – Present (Director of Music)
  • Philip Arkwright : September 2011 - December 2011 (Acting Director of Music)
  • Timothy Noon : August 2007–August 2011 (Director of Music)
  • Terence Duffy : March 2005 - July 2007 (Director of Music)
  • Richard Lea & Terence Duffy : November 2004 - March 2005 (Joint Acting Directors of Music)
  • Keith Orrell : January 2004 - October 2004 (Director of Music)
  • Richard Lea: September 2003 - January 2004 (Acting Director of Music)
  • Mervyn Cousins : 1997 - 2003 (Director of Music)
  • Katherine Dienes : 1996 - 1997 (Acting Master of the Music)
  • Philip Duffy : 1966 - 1996 (Master of the Music)
  • Christopher Symons : 1960 - 1966 (Master of the Music)

Philip Duffy and Terence Duffy are brothers. During Philip's tenure as Master Of The Music, Terence was the organist. Richard Lea is the current organist of the cathedral and was asked to act as choir director during September 2003 - January 2004 while a permanent replacement for Mervyn Cousins was found.

Keith Orrell was the most recent appointment as Director of Music from open competition however his tenure was short lived - just 10 months. Following his departure, Terence Duffy was asked to return from retirement to be the Director of Music. In doing so, he has cemented the link between the Cathedral musical tradition and the Duffy family.

Terence Duffy returned to retirement in July 2007 and thus left the choir. Christopher McElroy (previously at Leeds Cathedral) is the new Director of Music.


The school's traditional motto was 'Viriliter Age', or 'Act Manfully/Courageously'. However, since the admitance of girls into the college, this has been changed to 'Courage Through Faith', based on the spirit, rather than the letter of Psalm 27.


The uniform of St. Edward's College consists of standard school uniform (shirt, trousers, skirt, etc.) with purple blazers in yrs. 7-9 and black blazers in yrs. 10-13. Changes to the sixth form uniform came into effect starting September 2017, the dress code for students reflecting their status as young adults within the learning community; so students wear business dress of their choice, dressing for the professional workplace.

Rugby tradition[edit]

During the Second World War the pupils were evacuated to Llanelli, Wales. The game of rugby was already played before the war but when the pupils returned from Llanelli the tradition of playing rugby began in earnest. In particular, this period established the tradition of St. Edward's playing Union, rather than League, rugby. Since then, the school has produced rugby stars such as England internationals Mike Slemen,Ted Rudd and Kyran Bracken.

The school has a fine track record in both the fifteen and seven man game, with tournament wins at Ampleforth and Rosslyn Park.[citation needed]

It is common for rugby players and students to go to the Catholic institute (the C.I) after a game and has become a strong tradition. The C.I has earned affectionate nicknames over the years such as "The Cizzler" and "Cee-zies" and is the starting venue for the annual rugby night out.

The team had its finest hours during the mid-1960s, when the 1st XV side went unbeaten for 3 years and won many sevens competitions.[3]

The under 16 team of 2004-5 won the Liverpool St Helens U16 Floodlit Cup and recently embarked on a tour of New Zealand where it became the first team to score against Auckland Grammar School in almost two years.

The under 18 7s squad of 2011 reached the last sixteen of the National Schools Sevens held at Rossyln Park beating opposition such as Elsemere College[4] and also secured plate wins at Birkenhead and Ampleforth sevens.

Annual Celebrations[edit]

The whole college meets twice a year in the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. In October it is to celebrate the feast of Edward the Confessor, the saint the college is named after. A mass is held within the cathedral and attendance is compulsory for all pupils and staff members.

In March, the college meets once again at the cathedral for Founder's Day. This is the annual prize giving day where awards are given for students who have excelled in subjects, along with the distribution of AS and A-Level results. Again attendance is compulsory for pupils and staff and the guest speaker is normally an Old Edwardian which has been successful at their work (e.g., Chairman of an international company).


The school is ranked as one of the best schools in the North West of England. It is consistently ranked as one of the top three schools in Liverpool on both GCSE and A-Level performance.[citation needed] Recently, the class of 2006-7 from the college, was recognized for having placed 3rd in the National GCSE rankings for comprehensives.[citation needed]

In 2009, it got the second best GCSE results for comprehensive schools in Liverpool, and the best for co-educational comprehensive schools - the league table for Liverpool is dominated by faith schools. At A level, results are still good, but fifth in Liverpool. The A-Level results of 2018 showed that 99.7% of all results where at a pass-rate.


Former pupils are referred to as Old Edwardians. Noted Old Edwardians include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "School History - St Edward's College".
  2. ^ "University access: why some schools are so much more 'successful' than others". The Guardian. Guardian UK. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Rossyln Park Seven's History". Rossyln Park RUFC. June 7, 2006. Archived from the original on December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-07.
  4. ^ "Filton Take National Schools 7s Open". Archived from the original on April 8, 2011.
  5. ^ "Kyran Bracken". Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  6. ^ "About Amy". Archived from the original on November 11, 2010. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Liverpool swimming ace Michael Rock dreams of race against Phelps - swimming latest". Liverpool Echo. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Peter Kilfoyle: Electoral history and profile". The Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Sir Terry Leahy". Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Visit from Sir Brian Pearse". St. Edward's College. 18 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  11. ^ "* Michael Williams: Summary". Retrieved 9 January 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to St. Edward's College at Wikimedia Commons