The King's School, Canterbury
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The King's School is a public school (English
independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independen ...
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and boarding school for 13 to 18 year old pupils) in
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...

Canterbury
,
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
, England. It is a member of the
Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) is an association of the head teacher A head teacher, head instructor, bureaucrat, headmaster, headmistress, head, chancellor, principal or school director (sometimes another title is used ...
and the
Eton Group The Eton Group is an association of 12 English public schools within the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) is an association of the head teacher A head teacher, head instructor, ...
. It is Britain's oldest public school; and is arguably the oldest continuously operating school in the world, since education on the Abbey and Cathedral grounds has been uninterrupted since AD 597.


History

The school originated as a medieval cathedral school said to have been founded during the Late Antiquity in 597 AD, a century after the
Fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...
, by
Augustine of Canterbury Augustine of Canterbury (early 6th century – probably 26 May 604) was a monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language i ...

Augustine of Canterbury
, considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church, therefore making it arguably the world's oldest extant school. This is based on the fact that St Augustine founded an abbey (within the current school's grounds) where it is known that teaching took place. When the
Dissolution of the Monasteries#REDIRECT Dissolution of the monasteries {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
took place, the School was re-founded by
royal charter A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or ...

royal charter
in 1541. A Headmaster, a Lower Master, and fifty King's Scholars were established and the name "King's School", was used for the first time, referring to
King Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Kingdom of Wessex, Wessex, one of the heptarchy, seven Anglo-Saxon k ...
.
Cardinal Pole Reginald Pole (12 March 1500 – 17 November 1558) was an English cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the last Roman Catholic archbishop of Canterbury, holding the office from 1556 to 1558, during the Counter-Reformation. Early life Pole ...

Cardinal Pole
moved the school to the Mint Yard and acquired the Almonry building, which was in use for over 300 years. Throughout the next 100 years, a number of former pupils achieved national recognition, helping the school to establish its reputation; these include the first Headmaster,
John Twyne John Twyne (c.1505–1581) was an English schoolmaster, scholar and author, and also Member of Parliament for Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the he ...
, as well as
Christopher Marlowe Christopher Marlowe, also known as Kit Marlowe (; baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost ...

Christopher Marlowe
,
William Harvey William Harvey (1 April 1578 – 3 June 1657) was an English physician who made influential contributions in anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organis ...

William Harvey
and
John Tradescant the Younger John Tradescant the Younger (; 4 August 1608 – 22 April 1662), son of John Tradescant the Elder, was a botanist and gardener. The standard author abbreviation Trad. is applied to species he described. Biography Son of John Tradescant the ...

John Tradescant the Younger
. The buildings were improved and academic standards raised during the leadership of John Mitchinson, and around this period, the School became a " public school" with a national reputation. When Canon John “Fred” Shirley became Headmaster in 1935, the School was suffering from the effects of the depression, and he saw the School expanded greatly to around 600 pupils in some 30 years. He constructed further buildings in the Precincts, as well as helped the School to survive the war-time evacuation, and the School received a new Royal Charter from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1946. During this time, the reputation of the School grew, helped by its academic and sporting successes. The school was boys-only for almost 1,400 years, until the early 1970s, when girls were admitted to the Sixth Form for the first time, and the School has been fully co-educational since 1990. The school is also the oldest charity in the UK.


Assessment

In 2011, Rated as 'Good' by Ofsted.. In 2017, the school was subject to its latest regular, independent inspection.. The inspection team praised the "outstanding academic results" and the pupils' integrity, self-assurance, and "generosity of spirit". According to the ''
Good Schools Guide ''The Good Schools Guide'' is a guide to British schools, both state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...
'', the school is "Highly successful, producing excellent results". The ''Guide'' also stated that "You need to be creative, academically able and hard-working, as everything moves fast here."Good Schools Guide
.


Academic results

In 2019, 54% of pupils scored A*-A for their A-Levels examination, whereas 70% scored A*-A for their GCSEs.


Houses

There are 16 houses at King's, 13 boarding and 3 day. Most are named after past headmasters or people of interest in the school's history, with the exception of ''School House'', ''The Grange'' and ''Carlyon''. The Houses of the School are: *School House: founded 1860 (boys boarding) *The Grange: founded 1928, moved to a new building in 2007 (boys boarding) *Walpole: founded 1935, (girls boarding). Named after the novelist Sir
Hugh Walpole Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, CBE (13 March 18841 June 1941) was an English novelist. He was the son of an Anglican clergyman, intended for a career in the church but drawn instead to writing. Among th ...
(KS 1896–98) *Meister Omers: founded 1936, (boys boarding). *Marlowe: founded 1936, (mixed day). Named after the poet and dramatist
Christopher Marlowe Christopher Marlowe, also known as Kit Marlowe (; baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost ...

Christopher Marlowe
(KS 1579–81) *Luxmoore: founded 1945, (girls boarding). Named after Sir Arthur Fairfax Coryndon Luxmoore (KS 1889–93), Lord Justice of Appeal *Galpin's: founded 1952, (boys boarding). Named after The Reverend Arthur Galpin, Headmaster from 1897–1910. *Linacre: founded 1953, (boys boarding). Named after
Thomas Linacre Thomas Linacre or Lynaker ( ; 20 October 1524) was an English humanist Humanism is a philosophy, philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and Agency (philosophy), agency of Human, human beings. It consid ...

Thomas Linacre
, founder of the Royal College of Physicians *Broughton: founded 1976, (girls boarding). Named after William Broughton (KS 1797–1804), the first Bishop of Australia *Tradescant: founded 1976, (boys boarding). Named after (KS 1619–23), the distinguished gardener and collector. *Mitchinson's: founded 1982, (mixed day). Named after John Mitchinson, Headmaster 1859–73 and co-founder of the Headmasters' Conference. *Jervis: founded 1992, (girls boarding). Named after Douglas Jervis OKS *Harvey: founded 1996, (girls boarding). Named after
William Harvey William Harvey (1 April 1578 – 3 June 1657) was an English physician who made influential contributions in anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organis ...

William Harvey
physician, who first determined the systemic circulation of the blood (KS 1588–92) *Bailey: first founded 1990, (sixth form girls boarding). Named after Henry Bailey, second warden of St Augustine's College between 1850 and 1875 and an honorary Canon of the Cathedral *Carlyon: founded 2005, (mixed day). Named after evacuation of the School to Carlyon Bay in Cornwall during the Second World War *Lady Kingsdown House: founded 2015, (girls boarding). Named after Lady Kingsdown, Governor Emerita


Facilities

*The Beerling Hall: Music and Drama Facility, part of the 13th-century friary, endowed by the late Donald Beerling and the Cantiacorum Trust *Birleys Playing Fields: The School's sports grounds, located near the main site. A new pavilion was opened by David Gower on 17 September 2005 *Blackfriars: The Cleary Foundation donated the refectory of the 13th-century friary by the Marlowe Theatre as an art school and gallery. *DT Centre: Design Technology & Engineering *Edred Wright Music School: Music *Field Classrooms: English and Mathematics *Grange Classrooms :Mathematics, Religious Studies *Harvey Science Block or Parry Hall: Biology, Chemistry *J Block: Geography *Lardergate: History and OKS Foundation *Lattergate: Religious Studies and Headmaster's office *The Malthouse: Victorian malthouse building now converted into a theatre, dance studio, dining hall, classrooms and rehearsal spaces *Maurice Milner Memorial Hall: Fencing, Drama and Examination Hall *Mint Yard Classrooms: Mathematics, ICT *The Grange Yard Classrooms: three new classrooms built in 2017 in front of Shirley Hall. They are temporary buildings situated in a previously open space. *The Old Synagogue at Canterbury: Music, Jewish Prayers. Built as a synagogue in 1847–8 by architect Hezekiah Marshall, the "Old Synagogue" is used as a recital hall by the music department and also used to host "Jewish Society". It is considered one of the finest buildings of the 19th century
Egyptian Revival Egyptian Revival is an architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of Style (visual arts), style in the visu ...
style. *Palace Block: a medieval building containing the Modern Languages Department *Physics Block: Physics, Geology *Pottery Room: Pottery *Priory Block: Classics, English, Politics, Economics *The Pupils' Social Centre: under Shirley Hall with a tuckshop, cafe, stationery Shop and Careers Centre *The Recreation Centre: Gym, Hockey Pitches, Swimming Pool, etc. It is open to the general public on a membership basis. *The School Library: contains over 25,000 volumes and offers access to the School Intranet *Shirley Hall: School Assemblies and Examination Hall; formerly known as the Great Hall, renamed after the former headmaster,
Fred Shirley Revd Canon Frederick Joseph John Shirley, D.D., Ph.D., LL.B. (1890–1967) was an Anglican priest as well as being the headmaster of The King's School, Canterbury The King's School is a 13–18 mixed, independent, boarding and day school in ...
*St. Mary's Hall: Drama, Theatre Studies *The Westbere Lakes: Sailing and Rowing The school's Norman staircase is one of the most painted, photographed and admired sites in Canterbury. As its name suggests it dates back to the 12th century. For formal occasions, the School traditionally gathered here. Archbishops of Canterbury addressed the School from the Staircase during Visitations. King George VI, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth, presented the School's Royal Charter to the Dean on 11 July 1946.


Traditions

King's has many traditions including: *Full Canterbury Dress: The name given to the school uniform, which consists of a white shirt with wing collar, black waistcoat, pinstripe trousers, black jacket, black socks, black tie and black shoes for the boys. Girls wear a white blouse, brooch, pinstripe skirt, black jacket, black tights and black shoes. When he came to the School, Fred Shirley, Headmaster (1935–1962), updated the school uniform to sports jackets. But within a year, the boys had asked to revert to their traditional garb. He tried again after the War when the School returned to Canterbury, this time taking a vote on the matter. But despite the difficulty in finding outmoded clothing in a time of clothes rationing, the boys once again decided to revert to tradition. In the mid-twentieth century, there were elaborate customs relating to such matters as buttons and the angle at which a boater was worn. The girls' version was introduced by Anthony Phillips, Headmaster. *Court Dress: Worn on 'Commem Day', the last day of the school year, leavers wear court dress, consisting of white tie and black evening tailcoats, with breeches and black stockings. Purples wear their purple gowns and carry brown canes with gold handles while the Organ Scholars of the school wear black academic gowns over their court dress and carry black canes with Silver Handles. *School Song: In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Harrow's ‘Forty Years On’ was often used. It was sung at concerts and penny readings. In 1914, two OKS – Henry Morice and Bertram Latter – composed their own offering entitled ‘The School of Theodore’. This concentrated on the School's antiquity. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury (668-90), was widely regarded as the founder of the King's School's ancestor school. The song was popular for a short time. *Colours Jumpers: Students who have been awarded full school colours in any sport are entitled to wear a white and blue cricket jumper instead of a regulation school black jumper. Those who receive 1st team colours are entitled to wear a special tie. More recently there has been the addition of the co-curricular colours for those excelling in drama, music and the arts. Recipients are entitled to wear a jumper with a maroon stripe. *Purples: Until recently called 'monitors', these are the school prefects, who are marked out by their distinctive purple gowns. Only those in the highest year at the school may be a purple. Each house generally has one purple (the Head of House). The purples are headed by the Captain of School and a Vice-Captain. A head scholar and two Vice-head scholars are also invited to become purples. * The Goat on the Green Court: Something of a legend among pupils, the Captain of School is allegedly allowed to keep a goat on the large lawn in the centre of the school. This particular tradition is no longer practised. The Captain of School is also allowed to grow a beard and take his wife to lessons. *King's Scholars: An academically-select group, marked by black jumpers with white trimmings that have recently replaced their distinctive black gowns, they process wearing surplices during school services in the Cathedral. To become a scholar, a pupil must take the Scholarship examinations at a standard approaching GCSEs prior to entry at the age of 12 to 14 (Exhibitioners may also be elected) or, in the case of honorary scholars, achieve exceptional GCSE results (9 A*s is usually the minimum) or AS Level results. King's Scholars are part of the Canterbury Cathedral Foundation and have a role in the Enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Scholars are admitted by the dean at the beginning of every school term; the scholars kneeling before the dean, who then touches their head and utters ‘Admitto Te’, formally acknowledging them as a King's Scholar. King's Scholars in the Upper Sixth are permitted to wear a black gown. *Uniform Gating: A form of punishment that requires pupils to wear Canterbury Dress all day every day, while getting a form signed by someone in a position of authority (usually a teacher or a purple) at 15-minute intervals during their free time. This can prevent them from leaving the school at all for up to a week. *Breakfast Gating: A form of punishment by which the pupil must report to breakfast and get a special slip, called a gating slip, signed at 7:30. *Supper Leave/Pub Leave: A recent privilege extended to Sixth Formers, whereby pre-approved groups of people may go into town for supper or visit a pub for one night. *The House Shout: Two shouting competitions. One takes place between The Grange and School House which, until the building of Mitchinson's House, were opposite each other. Held on the last day of each term. Members of the Grange would assemble outside Lattergate House (later renamed Algy's) from where School House is visible and call out the House Shout from that vantage point. School House would then come out and the Purple of Galpin's would adjudicate the victor on wittiness, clarity, volume and house spirit. This tradition has not been held in recent years, although every year after the inter-house song competition, Galpin's House and School House have a similar, non adjudicated shouting match, with more emphasis on volume than anything else, often including the chant "you're not singing any more". The second House Shout takes place between Linacre and Meister Omers, and is an annual tradition that is not adjudicated. *Good Morning Assembly Calls: A tradition whereby if two people were considered in a relationship with each other, the respective boy's house would call out at the end of assembly 'good morning' to both partners in the relationship, by their surnames. For example, 'Good morning Smith, good morning Jones'. It has since been discouraged by senior staff. *Monitors' Canes: A privilege given to School Monitors (Purples) and House Monitors. Purples are allowed black canes and House monitors are allowed wood coloured canes. The Head of the CCF is also allowed to carry a
pace stick A pace stick is a long stick usually carried by warrant officer Warrant officer (WO) is a rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking, such as: L ...
. *Younger Purples: A tradition in which a certain member of each house (traditionally the shortest person is chosen) are given the purple gown on days when it is a charity non-uniform day. This allows the designated person to exercise the rights of the Purples. *Green Court Privilege: Only those in 6a (the final year) are allowed to walk across Green Court; everyone else must walk around it. *Mint Yard Privilege: Only those in Galpin's and School House are allowed to walk on the Mint Yard Lawn during the Summer term *Walpole Carnations: The Valentine's Day celebrations, organised by the girls of Walpole house. Pupils send a carnation with an anonymous message to a friend or lover.


King's Week

A festival of arts, held during the last week of the summer term, introduced by
Fred Shirley Revd Canon Frederick Joseph John Shirley, D.D., Ph.D., LL.B. (1890–1967) was an Anglican priest as well as being the headmaster of The King's School, Canterbury The King's School is a 13–18 mixed, independent, boarding and day school in ...
in 1952. The week has featured over 100 events, ranging from classical concerts to theatre performances, held in locations around Canterbury. Events have been free to attend and required no booking and a number were broadcast live. The week has culminated in Commemoration day (known as "Commem") on the last day of the school year when the school leavers in 6a wore court dress of white tie and tails, with breeches and black stockings, or their national dress, and the whole school attended a service to commemorate the school benefactors.


Office of Fair Trading investigation

In 2005, the
Office of Fair Trading , type = Non-ministerial government department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matters for which ...
(OFT) provisionally found that the school exchanged detailed information about prospective fee increases with approximately 50 other prominent UK independent schools, including and
Sevenoaks Sevenoaks is a town in Kent with a population of 29,506 situated south-east of London, England. Also classified as a civil parishes in England, civil parish, Sevenoaks is served by a commuter South Eastern Main Line, main line railway into L ...
. The OFT stated that "regular and systematic exchange of confidential information as to intended fee increases was anti-competitive and resulted in parents being charged higher fees than would otherwise have been the case."


Notable headmasters

*1525–1560:
John Twyne John Twyne (c.1505–1581) was an English schoolmaster, scholar and author, and also Member of Parliament for Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the he ...
*1935–1962:
Fred Shirley Revd Canon Frederick Joseph John Shirley, D.D., Ph.D., LL.B. (1890–1967) was an Anglican priest as well as being the headmaster of The King's School, Canterbury The King's School is a 13–18 mixed, independent, boarding and day school in ...
*1975–1986: Peter Pilkington, later Lord Pilkington of Oxenford


Notable former pupils


The Junior King's School, Canterbury

The King's School has a feeder preparatory school, the Junior King's School (JKS), previously Milner Court Preparatory School. The school is a coeducational boarding and day establishment and currently has around 400 pupils aged 3 to 13. Whilst there are boarding facilities available, the majority are day pupils. JKS is now located at Milner Court in
Sturry Sturry is a village on the Great Stour river situated northeast of Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local ...
, having been originally based in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. The current site was donated by Lady Milner following the death of
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner, (23 March 185413 May 1925) was a British statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization tha ...
in 1925. The buildings on site were opened by
Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( ; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)''The Times ''The Times'' is a British daily Daily or The Daily may refer to: Journalism * Daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical pub ...

Rudyard Kipling
in 1929, in his capacity as a close friend of Alfred Milner. Wilfrid Oldaker was headmaster from 1945 to 1956 and was the last head to occupy the manor house as the headmaster's residence.David Lawrence Edwards, ''A History of the King's School, Canterbury'' (Faber & Faber, 1957), pp. 172, 205 Further extensions include a sports hall (1999), a CDT block (1991) and a new music department (2016).


The King's School Shenzhen International

The King’s School planned to open its first overseas branch in the Nanshan district of
Shenzhen Shenzhen (; ; ), also known as Sham Chun, is a major sub-provincial A sub-provincial division () (or deputy-provincial divisions) in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the Lis ...

Shenzhen
, China in 2019. The school aims to blend The King's School's tradition of education with modern purpose, with design by award-winning London-based architects, Walters & Cohen. The new campus was intended to be launched in two separate phases. The Pre-Prep section for children aged 3 – 6 was planned to open in Autumn 2019, and the Main School, which will include the Junior and Senior sections for children aged 6–18, should open the following year in 2020.


See also

*
List of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom This list of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom contains extant school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teacher ...
*
List of the oldest schools in the world This is a list of extant Extant is the opposite of the word extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of th ...


References

Footnotes Citations


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:King's School, Canterbury The 6th-century establishments in England Educational institutions established in the 6th century Independent schools in Kent Boarding schools in Kent Member schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference Schools in Canterbury Co-educational boarding schools Schools with a Royal Charter Buildings and structures completed in 597