King's College School

For the University in London, see King's College London. For the school in Cambridge, see King's College School, Cambridge. For other uses, see King's College (disambiguation) and King's School (disambiguation).
King's College School
Motto Sancte Et Sapienter
(Latin: With Holiness and Wisdom)
Established 1829
Type Independent school
Religion Church of England
Head Master Andrew Halls
Visitor The Archbishop of Canterbury ex officio
Chairman of Governors Penny Hughes CBE
Founder King George IV
Location Wimbledon Common
SW19 4TT
United Kingdom
Local authority London Borough of Merton
DfE number 315/6000
DfE URN 102684 Tables
Students ~850 Senior School
~450 Junior School
Gender Boys
Coeducational (Sixth Form)
Ages 7–18
Houses      Alverstone
Colours Blue and Red         
Former pupils Old King's

King's College School, commonly referred to as KCS, King's or KCS Wimbledon, is an independent school in Wimbledon, southwest London, England. The school was founded in 1829 as the junior department of King's College London and occupied part of its premises in Strand, prior to relocating to Wimbledon in 1897. It is a member of the Eton Group of schools. King's accepts girls into the sixth form.[1] In the sixth form pupils can choose between the The International Baccalaureate and A-Levels.[2]


Opening of the New Buildings, July 7th, 1899; four sketches of the Great Hall

A Royal Charter by King George IV originally founded the School in 1829 as the junior department of the newly established King's College, London. The School occupied the basement of the College in The Strand. Most of its original eighty-five pupils lived in the City within walking distance of the School. During the early Victorian Period, the School grew in numbers and reputation. Members of the teaching staff included Gabriele Rossetti, who taught Italian. His son, Dante Gabriel, joined the School in 1837. The best known of the early masters was the water-colourist, John Sell Cotman. Nine of his pupils became practising artists and ten architects. By 1843 there were five hundred pupils and the need for larger premises eventually led to the move to Wimbledon in 1897. The School was progressive in its curriculum in many areas and appointed its first Science Master in 1855, at a time where very few schools taught science. The first Head Master, John Major, served the School between 1831–1866. Ninety-nine of the school's pupils from this period appear in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Until the 1880s, the School flourished. In 1882, only Eton College surpassed the total of thirty Oxford and Cambridge Board examination certificates obtained by pupils at KCS. But the School's teaching facilities were becoming increasingly inadequate as many competitor schools moved to new sites with modern facilities and large playing fields. In 1897, falling numbers of pupils prompted the move to the School's present site in Wimbledon, a fast-growing suburb well served by the railway lines from Surrey and south London. A separate junior school was opened on the same campus in 1912.

In World War I, many letters were written to the school, including some from the Battle of the Somme. During World War II, the school's Great Hall was damaged by bomb shrapnel, and some of the damage can still be seen on the outside of the hall.

The only remaining link between KCS and its former parent is that one of the KCS Board of Governors is nominated by King's College London.


Bannister Fletcher Great Hall 1897

King's College School is one of the highest academically performing schools in the UK historically and to date, placing 5th in The Times GCSE Results league table in 2014, and 3rd in its results table for A-Level, IB, and Pre-U.[3] In the 2015 edition of Tatler Schools Guide, it was commented on that "No wonder Oxbridge loves KCS pupils: more than 150 places in the past three years." [4] On 21 November 2014, King's won the title of Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year.[5]

All sixth-formers at King's currently study either the IB Diploma or the A-Level course. In 2015 14 pupils obtained the maximum IB score of 45 points, equivalent to 7 A grades at A-Level. All pupils take IGCSEs, with 85% of all grades attaining A* in 2015.[6] In the last year of all-IB, 2014, 86.9% of higher level grades were at 6 or 7, with 53% of grades at 7. Out of 190 students, 116 pupils scored 40 points or more. In the Daily Telegraph and the Times - when gauging success in A level, IB, and Pre-U results all together placed King's as the second highest ranking sixth form in the UK in 2012. King's was also named Sunday Times IB School of the Year in 2009 and 2012.[7]

GCSE summary: last five years[8]

2016 77.9 96.1 99.7
2015 85.4 97.7 99.7
2014 76.7 96.8 99.6
2013 76.7 96.0 99.7
2012 63.4 90.4 98.2

A-Level Results: last five years[9]

2016 43.3 78.4 95.8
2015 49.1 81.5 95.5
2014 52.5 87.0 95.7
2013 52.0 86.5 97.4
2012 50.9 89.5 98.6


Almost all pupils stay on into the sixth form and proceed to leave for the top universities – 58 places at Oxbridge were offered to students in 2015-16 - the rest to London University colleges or Russell Group universities, e.g. Durham and Bristol, to do traditional subjects. Increasing numbers are heading abroad – including Harvard, Stanford and Cornell.[10][11]

Oxbridge offer statistics are as follows:

The quadrangle

Number and Percentage of each year receiving offers from Oxbridge: last few years[12]

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
39 34 29 42 55 54 53 58
28% 23% 20% 24% 30% 28% 27% 30%

The majority of pupils come to the school from south west London, north Surrey and neighbouring areas. 64% of the Year 9 entry consists of boys who continue from the King's College Junior School, 34% enter from other preparatory schools and about 2% come from overseas. At a recent count around 450 applied for the 60 places available at 13+ entry. The Good Schools Guide described the school as "an inspiring place to be," adding, "Boys work and play very hard in this wonderful school community".[13] It is a member of the Eton Group of 12 leading independent schools, and of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Senior School fees are currently [2015-16] £19,830 per year.[14]

Tatler’s current review observes: What really sets KCS apart is head Andrew Halls's forward-thinking leadership.[15] Since joining King’s from Magdalen College School, where he was Master until 2007, Andrew has introduced a highly successful co-educational sixth form,[16] he reintroduced A levels as an option to complement the International Baccalaureate diploma programme,[17] and in 2014 he announced plans to open a school in China.[18] Most recently he announced the opening of a new lower school for pupils aged 11, with a clear focus on widening access, supported by a fundraising drive to expand bursary opportunities.[19] Like his predecessor, Tony Evans, he received Tatler's best headmaster of a public school award in 2011.[20]

The new classroom block, opened 2016

The school is located on Southside, Wimbledon Common, on a 24-acre (97,000 m2) site, with the main building being the 19th century Great Hall. The school has 20 Science laboratories and a demonstration laboratory, alongside the 1st XV pitch. The buildings include the Q-block (based around the Quadrangle), College Court, South Hayes, the Cavan Taylor Wing, the new classroom block, the Reeve School of Art & Design, and the Sports Hall, as well as the Junior School, which has its own buildings, and Rushmere house. There are four rugby pitches on the main site for use by the Senior School, with Coleman's field providing additional pitches for the Junior School. There are six tennis courts on site, three squash courts, a 33m swimming pool and a sports hall. There are two additional playing field sites, in Raynes Park and at Kingsway in Motspur Park, which provide two fully lit astroturf pitches as well. A new pavilion was opened at Kingsway in September 2011 to replace the old changing rooms. The school is currently seeking to transform the on-site sporting facilities with the construction of a second sports hall, a new six lane swimming pool and an enhanced fitness suite.[21] In March 2016 The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Secretary of State for Education opened a new classroom block incorporating a school hall, six new classrooms and much needed science corridors that unify the existing buildings.[22] The construction of a new music school,including a 200-seater auditorium, starts in April 2016.[23]


The main sport for the boys during the autumn term is rugby, in which the school fielded 13 sides during the 2015-2016 season. The fixture list for 2015-2016 included St. Paul's, Reed's, Dulwich, Eton, Wimbledon College, Berkhamsted, RGS Guildford, Skinners, Reeds, St George's Weybridge, St. John's Leatherhead and Tiffin. The 1st XV and the U15As enter the National NatWest Cup, and reached the Quarter Finals of the U18 (Formerly Daily Mail) Cup in 2006 and 2007 and the semi-finals of the U15 Vase in 2008 and 2009. The school went on a tour to South Africa in 2010, 2013 and regularly head to France, and this year Portugal for a pre-season training camp. The 1st & U16 VII also play a number of sevens tournaments in the spring term. In 2014, the 1st VII narrowly lost in the final of the Rosslyn Park Festival. A good number of boys have represented the county, Independent School Lambs and divisional teams. The school is always well represented in the inaugural Varsity match at Twickenham, with a significant number of Old Boy's turning out for Oxford or Cambridge in recent years. Most recently, 2009 KCS Head boy Matt Janney was victorious in 2015 having been matched up in the centre against Wales and British & Irish Lion Jamie Roberts . The school were lucky enough to have Jonny Wilkinson run an outstanding guest session with one of the teams in November 2015 and has also been visited by the likes of England player Toby Flood and world cup legend Jason Leonard in recent years. Alongside this, King's regularly benefits from expertise of premiership players and coaches from Harlequins, London Irish and Wasps.

Football at the school continues to flourish with the school fielding 18 sides in 2016. The most notable success in recent years was when the school reached the Final of the Trinity School's Cup in 2010. However, the teams also enjoy much success on a strong fixture list that includes Hampton, Dulwich, Wilson's, Wimbledon School, Epsom College and Latymer. Football also enjoys a successful touring programme and in 2014 they headed to Brazil and Argentina during the summer holidays.

The Spring term also sees the Boys compete, playing schools including Nationally recognised hockey schools such as RGS Guildford, Kingston Grammar School, Reeds and Trinity. The 1st XI side use their tour of Barcelona at Christmas each year as a pre season. The superb new astroturfs at the excellent off-site Kingsway facility are also shared by 2014-2015 Premiership Hockey Champions Wimbledon Hockey Club. The school has also benefited from having current and former international players on their staff including Ben Marsden (GB and England), Richie Dawson-Smith (England Indoor) and Dirkie Chamberlain (South Africa Women).

In the summer, the main sport is cricket with 13 teams representing the school in 2015. The 1st and 2nd XI play their cricket in the 50 over South London Schools League against Hampton, RGS Guildford, Reeds, Tiffin, Trinity, St Paul's and St George's. The 1st XI still manage over 20 scheduled fixtures a season despite the pressures of examinations. The remaining fixtures consist of teams including Dulwich, The MCC, visiting touring sides, St John's Leatherhead, Trinity, Reigate Grammar School and Epsom College. The school benefits from outstanding facilities. The past two tours have been to Sri Lanka (2012 and 2015) with two sides enjoying much success in difficult conditions. Cricketing legend Sir Viv Richards visited the boys in 2012 and gave the cricketers some valuable advice. A number of boys represent Surrey County Age Group sides each year and Ruari Crichard and Alex Hunt played for Cambridge at Lords in the Varsity in 2015, the former also making his 1st Class debut for the same side in the 2015 season in fixtures against Northamptonshire CCC and Leicestershire CCC.

Wimbledon has a global reputation for Tennis and with the school situated approximately a mile from the Wimbledon Club the sport continues to thrive. Old Boy Ross Hutchins (formerly in the GB Davis team) opened the new courts and Martina Navratilova came to the school to deliver an assembly for the boys and girls in 2012. The School compete at a high level of tennis including cups, leagues and local derby matches against Reeds. The players prepare for the season with an annual training camp to Majorca.

Rowing is a popular sport throughout the year. The boat club races in the regatta season, culminating with Henley Royal Regatta, where it reached the second round of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014. The 1st VIII also race in the National Schools Regatta, having won the Child Beale Cup in 2004 and 2012, with silver in the same category in 2015, and reaching the final of the Championship 8s category in 2013 and 2014. Boats also participate in the School's Head of the River Race, achieving a Gold Medal in 1st 8+s in 2013, and the National Junior Sculling Head. The school boathouse is used by the Cambridge University Boat Club in their preparation for and participation in The University Boat Races. In 2016 Charlie Fisher (2013 Leaver) helped Cambridge win the race. In the Autumn of 2015 the boat club toured the USA having been invited to race in the Head of the Charles, Boston. King's rowers have also represented Great Britain at a Junior level and Director of Rowing Patrick Duggan was flown out to Rio to help coach the GB youngsters in 2015.

Since girls joined the school in September 2010 the girls sport has gone from strength to strength. The girls follow a programme of hockey, netball, rounders and tennis and play on a competitive fixture list with regular midweek and weekly Saturday fixtures. The girls have recently had representation a national level from pupils in hurdles and Under 18 National Age Group (NAGS) hockey. Fixtures consist of strong local opposition including Cranleigh, Epsom College and St George's Weybridge. The girls have also made excellent progress on the river and are well supported and coached throughout their two years in the sixth form.

Other team and individual sports are also of high importance. The school plays regular matches and tournaments in squash, badminton, fencing, basketball, water polo, athletics, cross-country and table tennis. 2014 leaver Max Mondelli arguably the most notable recent athlete, who won an Athletics Scholarship to train and study at Harvard.


There are six houses in the Senior School, each named after a previous headmaster or notable old boy. Boys wear a standard red and blue school tie until they achieve 6 house points, at which point they are awarded the right to wear a house tie of navy blue with thin stripes of the following colours:

House points are awarded for participation in inter-house competitions throughout the year.

Other ties include (in order of increasing seniority) the House Prefect's tie (bold stripes of dark blue and a house colour with a single red crest), School Colours (navy blue with a single red school crest), the School Prefect's tie (red with blue school crests), and the Senior Prefect's tie (blue with red school crests). Girls receive badges as an alternative to ties.

The Senior Prefects consist of the Captain and Vice-Captains of School and the Captain and Vice-Captains of each house. In addition, each house typically has about 8 School Prefects.

King's College Junior School

Rushmere House

King's College Junior School (also known as KCJS) is the preparatory school for King's College School located in Wimbledon, London. It was established in its own right in 1912, and educates boys from ages 7–13.[24] It occupies the same campus as the senior school.

King's College Junior School

In 2016 enrollment in the junior school totalled 464 boys, divided into six year groups with three or four classes of about 20. The first two years are collectively referred to as 'Rushmere' (as they are taught in Rushmere House), while the final four years are called 'Priory'. Fees were £5,370 per term for years 3-4, and £5,950 per term for years 5-8 in 2015-16.[25] The headmaster is Dr G A Silverlock.[26]

The uniform is a red blazer with the emblem in blue on the top pocket. Every boy wears a white shirt and grey shorts or trousers. The ties are similar to the Senior School ties, and prefects in the top year ("Upper Remove") wear Senior School ties.

The Junior School has featured in national competitions too - they were National Rugby Champions at U13 level in 2009. In the same year the Junior School ran away with the team prize on its return to the national Townsend-Warner Competition for History and had twelve pupils qualify for the UK Junior Mathematics Olympiad. They went on to win the Townsend-Warner Prize again in 2010 and 2011.

All boys are allocated to one of the school's four houses when they join (siblings are placed into the same house):

Head Masters of King's College School

The following have been Head Masters of King's College School:[27]

Name Years as Head Master
Revd John Richardson Major 1831–1866
Revd George Frederick Maclear 1866–1880
Revd Dr Thomas Henry Stokoe 1880–1889
Charles Bourne 1889–1906
Douglas Smith 1906–1910
Herbert Lionel Rogers 1910–1934
Hubert John Dixon 1934–1960
Frank Shaw 1960–1975
Christopher Wightwick 1975–1980
Robin Reeve 1980–1997
Tony Evans 1997–2008
Andrew Halls 2008–Present

Notable Old King's

19th century births

20th century births

Victoria Cross holders

Five Old King's have been awarded the Victoria Cross.[31]

See also


  1. High-flying UK boys' school to take girls Financial Times
  4. "Tatler Schools Guide 2015". Tatler.
  5. "King's crowned top school by the Sunday Times". King's College School. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  7. "Sunday Times Parent Power". Sunday Times.
  9. Good Schools Guide
  19. Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)
  20. "Fees and Finance". King's College School, Wimbledon. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  21. King's College Junior School, Merton ISBI Schools
  22. Frank Miles and Graeme Cranch King's College School: The First 150 Years. London: King's College School, 1979.
  23. The Victorian Web: The University of London and Its Boys' Schools
  24. 1 2 "Star Studded Swan Song".
  25. BBC World Service chief to step down, The Guardian, 1 September 2014
  26. T. Hinde A Great Day School in London: a history of King's College School pg 132 James and James Publishers 1995 ISBN 0-907383-61-0
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Coordinates: 51°25′18″N 0°13′32″W / 51.42155°N 0.22551°W / 51.42155; -0.22551

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