The King's School, Peterborough: Wikis


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The King's School
Motto Schola Regia Petreburgiensis
Established 1541
Type voluntary aided comprehensive
(partially selective)
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Mr Gary L Longman
Specialism Science
Location Park Road
LEA Peterborough
Ofsted number 110898
Students 904
Gender Mixed
Ages 11 to 18
Publication The Petriburgian Magazine
Coordinates: 52°34′54″N 0°14′19″W / 52.58167°N 0.23872°W / 52.58167; -0.23872

The King's School, Peterborough is a Voluntary Aided Church of England comprehensive secondary school in Peterborough, England. It is one of seven schools established, or in some cases re-endowed and renamed, by King Henry VIII in 1541 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries for the education of "poor boys".

In 1976, the school changed its status from being a boys grammar school to become comprehensive and coeducational. However it retained facilities for male students to attend as boarders for a further 21 years. It is unusual amongst cathedral schools and state schools in the UK because it is one of only two cathedral schools to be funded within the state system.

In 2006, the King's School was the top-performing state school in the Peterborough local authority area for GCSE and A-Level results, with 91% of students achieving 5 or more passes at GCSE grades A*-C.[1]



The King's School is a state-funded secondary school, with a large sixth form. It was founded as the Cathedral School to educate the cathedral choristers and this close link with the Cathedral is still valued and maintained today.

The King's School's strong record of success since 1976 was recognised in June 1999 with the award of Beacon status. According to the school, pupils of all abilities are encouraged to achieve their highest academic potential. Some students have claimed that the highly pressured atmosphere may bring academic success at a significant price. The school also has specialist Science status.

Main building

Other aspects of development are not neglected. There are opportunities for participation in music, drama, outdoor activities, sport and social events, as well as a range of clubs and societies, catering for leisure pursuits. According to the school, pupils are expected to develop a sense of responsibility for their conduct and behaviour and to become aware of the needs and rights of others. The size of the school, it is claimed, enables each pupil to find a sense of both identity and security: new pupils soon settle in and become part of the school's 'extended family'.

In spite of its somewhat traditional trappings, the school considers itself very much up-to-date, and tries to offer pupils a thorough preparation for life in the 21st century.

A plaque commemorating the King's School students who died in action during World War I was placed in Flanders during an annual GCSE class trip to the Flanders battlefields in 2005.

Staff and students at King's are generally proud of the school's good reputation and work to maintain it. There is some historic rivalry between King's students and other students throughout Peterborough, and there is an especially strong rivalry with Deacon's School (Now called The Thomas Deacon Academy) in Peterborough. This could in part be because the two are the oldest-established secondary-level schools in Peterborough and less than ten minutes' walk from one another.

The school is described as a comprehensive. However within each year's intake, twelve places are allocated according to an entry examination and three are allocated according to ability in music. Thus 12.5% of the school's annual intake is in fact selected. The remaining places are allocated to students according to a list of entry criteria, including religion and siblings already attending the school.[2] Competition for places is fierce. This has led to claims that some lower-achieving students may be less likely to gain places at the school, given the entry criteria used. It has also been suggested that in previous years the school's connection to the Cathedral and Church of England meant that those of other faiths, or none, might find it difficult to obtain places, although there are a few places in each year allocated for 'non-Christian' pupils. The school's sixth form intake cannot accurately be described as 'comprehensive' as, in common with other 'academically leaning' secondary schools, a minimum entry requirement is required and it offers only A-level qualifications.

Sixth Form

Over 900 pupils attend The King's School, of whom approximately 300 are in the Sixth form, for which there is a minimum examination qualification for entry of five A*-C grades at GCSE level.[3] Given the school's very high GCSE pass rate,[1] the majority of pupils proceed into the sixth form. Places for external applicants is based on a set of criteria[2] which means that external applicants with the highest projected GCSE grade profile, especially those who are applying for undersubscribed A-Level subjects, are most likely to gain places. The school currently offers no vocational qualifications, nor does it have plans to do so. This gives the sixth form curriculum a highly selective quality, with, arguably, more of the characteristics of a private school than a local state comprehensive. The subjects available for study, at AS and A2 level, in the Sixth Form are:

  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • Latin/Roman Studies (with sufficient numbers)
  • Classical Civilisations
  • Critical Thinking
  • Design and Technology
  • Economics
  • English Language and Literature (single award)
  • English Literature
  • General Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Languages (French and German)
  • Mathematics (and Further Maths)
  • Music
  • Psychology (AS Only)
  • Religious Studies
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
  • Sports Studies
  • Theatre Studies

There is also a compulsory single lesson per week named 'Learning for Life'. This is a development of the previous 'Personal Development 'lessons, which are designed to prepare the student for the A Level examinations, Universities and the UCAS application system. LFL runs in conjunction with the Careers Library and Wednesday afternoon activities where the students are involved in sports activities, work experience or active citizenship programmes.

In Year 13 the students have the opportunity to become prefects for which they wear a recognisable prefect gown to allow the younger students, especially those in Year 7 to seek assistance should a teacher not be available. The hierarchical prefect system is split into three types, in order of greatest role and responsibility in the school: -

  • Head Boy and Girl
  • House Prefects
  • Senior Prefects
  • Prefects

The prefect duties include Duty Team responsibilities every week, involving managing congestion into the cafeteria, littering and bag control, not to mention their specific subject areas of which students help out in different departments in displays, open days and general administration. Other prefects will choose to be form prefects to which they have to look after a Year 7, 8 or 9 form, these responsibilities include checking the homework diary is being used correctly, helping the new students adapt to life in Kings and walking with the form to the Cathedral services.


The school is divided into four houses: St. Chad's House, St. Oswald's House, St. Peter's House and School House. Originally there were six houses in total, with Tudor House and Thompson House both closing in 1976. Each house comes with an identifable colour which are Red, Blue, Green and Yellow for Chads, Peters, School and Oswalds respectively.
Allocation is supposedly random however siblings generally follow through the same House and, when there was a boarding house, all boarders were members of School House. The Houses are led by a male and female Year 13 House Captain and House Vice Captain, along with House Master and House Mistress being teachers. Permanent teachers are also allocated to houses and play the role as "House Staff", although PE teachers are not allotted houses as there are so many inter-house sporting competitions that it is believed the sports teachers would favour their own house. The Houses compete in several events over the year, including "inter-house" events in all games sports, an annual Sports Day, and House Music. Points are allocated for house success in all of these competitions and, the house with the most points at the end of the curricular year is awarded the House Cup.

House Music

House Music is a competitive event which occurs annually in the Autumn term. All of the houses present four pieces of modern or traditional music. The programme for the evening has changed over the years and now consists of the following items:[4]

  • A Lower School Choir piece (Years 7–9)
  • An Orchestral piece (for which there is a separate trophy)
  • A Senior Choir piece (Years 10–13 and for which there is a separate trophy)
  • Finale (in which the entire house takes part)

It was originally held in the school hall but growing numbers caused the event to held at The Broadway Theatre as Peter Boizot,[5] the ex-owner of the Broadway Theatre had a long association with the school. Owing to growing numbers again, in 2007 it moved to the Peterborough Community Church's Kingsgate building. When at the Broadway the Light and sound was provided with help from the students allowing for inevitable customization of the show, As such a DVD of the event is produced by the school's 'Video Film Unit'.

The winning house is decided by a panel of judges including the music teachers and an outside, impartial judge. The winners of the competition receive a trophy which has the names of previous winners on it. There is also a separate cup, aptly named the 'Senior Choir Cup' which is awarded to the best senior choir of the night. This has shown to be a reflection of who might also win the main trophy.

Scholae Regiae Carmen

The Scholae Regiae Carmen is the song of the school. It was written by W.C.C. Cooke who was an assistant master of music from 1903 to 1907 before he left to join the staff of Calday Grange Grammar School, later to become Headmaster of Northampton Grammar School. The music was composed by A.E. Armstrong whose son, Sir Thomas Armstrong was once principal of the Royal Academy of Music. A.E. Armstrong joined the staff of the school as a part time music master when E.J. Cunningham was Headmaster and continued to serve until the outbreak of the Second World War. The song has since fallen into disuse as it was written when the school was still boys only, and the vast proportion were choristers. The lyrics are as follows:

'Schola Regia! he, thy founder,
monarch of the bye gone
so they sing his royal foresight,
and they sing thy might and They have shown thy lessons master'd,
where the green-sward calls to days,
Founded thee that wit and wisdom thro' the years might tell his worth;
He who framed the noble project, thou who gav'st their knowledge play,
and the world's wide field has proved them worthy fighters in life's praise. That thy sons might write their titles, clearly on the scroll of birth.
Wistful thoughts of long-past boyhood, careless joys that school days fray.
They have learnt the worth of honour, learnt to choose the good and fame.
Known for learning and for valour.
Bringing honour to his name.
Know, link thee closer to their memories as the seasons come and go.
Pure, Rules thou gavest ne'er for, got ten are their heritage secure'

(Chorus) Schola Regia! from the nations, from the counties scatter'd wide:
Hear thy sons, for ever loyal, tho' the sundering seas divide.
Hear thy sons now, past and present, raise the loving paean high;
Home, abroad, they still must praise thee, Schola Regia, till they die.


W.D. Larrett, a former deputy headmaster of the school published, with the aid of the old Petriburgian Association 'A History of The King's School Peterborough' in 1966. The account begins with the earliest accounts of the pre-reformation school, marks the foundation of King's by Henry VIII, and describes early times when the school nearly shut down (or was close to bankruptcy). He tells of turbulent times when distinguished Headmasters felt forced to resign, and moves on to mark the formation of the Old Petriburgians' Association in 1856 and the launch of the Petriburgian magazine by a pupil in 1886. We learn of the old buildings in the Cathedral precincts, and discover that the move to the present building in 1885 was precipitated by a railway accident.

Larrett moves through the years in which King's first became a leading Cathedral school, producing scholars who became influential in national affairs. He describes it developing into a leading fee-paying school with a busy boarding-house, reports the impact of two world wars, and concludes with some personal reflections as the comprehensive era was about to begin.

In 2005, the 1966 edition was restored and updated by Denham Larrett. A much earlier history of the King's School was published in 1905 by A.F. Leach, a distinguished historian who spent several months in Peterborough examining the cathedral records and documents, this history ends in 1904 when E.S.T Badger becomes Headmaster.

The school retains an archive of documents charting the history of the King's School, most notably recent extensive research into the lives of King's School students who served in the First World War and Second World War. This research culminated in placing a war memorial plaque in Flanders.

Although not written by an alumnus of the school there is a rare first-edition copy of Alice in Wonderland held in the school archives. It was found by a pupil when the Classics Department moved from the old building.

Notable alumni


Timothy Coldwell was the Head of Physics at the School for a period, but was arrested on charges of making indecent images of children and admitted, in 2003, to having done so.[6]

In 2005, Gavin Lister, a teacher of P.E was charged with engaging in sexual activity with a girl between the ages of 13 and 15, and later pleaded guilty on those charges.[7]

See also


External links


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