King Edward VI School, Southampton

Coordinates: 50°55′22″N 1°25′01″W / 50.92278°N 1.41694°W / 50.92278; -1.41694

King Edward VI School
Motto Dieu et mon droit
(God and my right)
Established 1553
Type Independent public school (UK) day school
Headteacher A. J. Thould
Founder William Capon
Location Southampton
SO15 5UQ
DfE URN 116580 Tables
Staff approx. 90
Students 960
Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18
Former pupils Old Edwardians

King Edward VI School, often referred to as King Edward's, or simply KES, is a selective co-educational independent day School sometimes referred to as a public school (UK) located in Southampton, United Kingdom, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The school was founded in 1553, after the death of William Capon (in 1550), who left money in his will for a grammar school for the poor. King Edward VI signed the necessary Royal Charter in 1553 and the School opened in 1554. It is a registered charity.[1]

King Edward's became an independent school in 1978 and accepted girls into the Sixth Form in 1983. It became a fully co-educational school in 1994.

The school roll is approximately 950 pupils in the school.

The main School building

Traditions and day-to-day life

The School's bell-tower
The old school building in the 19th century

School houses

The School is divided up into 6 houses: Capon (yellow), Lake (dark blue), Lawrence (red), Reynolds (green), Sylvester (light blue), and Watts (white), all bearing the name of ex pupils or founders: William Capon, Thomas Lake, Thomas Lawrence, Edward Reynolds, Joshua Sylvester and Isaac Watts. Each year the houses compete for points in order to win the Allen Grant Trophy.

School motto

The School motto is Dieu et mon droit (French for God and my right, referring to the monarch's divine right to govern) and is generally used as the motto of the British monarch. Originally it was spelled Dieut et mon droict, the Early Modern French spelling, but later the 't' in "Dieut" was dropped in accordance with present French orthography. The 'c' in droict was also dropped.

In the 1970s the motto was 'Pax Huic Domui', 'Peace to this House' (traditionally the words a priest says when visiting a sick person).

School hymn

The School hymn is Our God, Our Help in Ages Past, written by a famous former pupil, Isaac Watts. The clock tower at the Civic Centre, Southampton plays the same tune at 4, 8, and 12 o'clock, after it has chimed the hour.

Academic curriculum, results and progression

The school reviews its curriculum regularly and over the past five years has introduced new subjects such as psychology, business studies, photography, Mandarin and Italian.

The school does not participate in media league tables in August, waiting instead until all challenges to grades are complete. These results are published each year on the school website, and as part of the Department for Education's league tables. In 2011, 100% of pupils achieved 5+ A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths, with 85% achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects. The average fifth year student was entered for 11.2 qualifications.[2]

Over the past five years over 80% of students have gone on to study at Russell Group universities, with 11% of all students going to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.


King Edward's encourages pupils to become heavily involved with sports activities. The time of the year dictates which sport is currently being played competitively – be it rugby union, hockey, cricket or tennis for boys, and hockey, netball, rounders, or tennis for girls. As well as a main field, the school has an area of artificial turf large enough to accommodate 12 tennis courts. King Edward's also owns 33 acres (130,000 m2) of sports grounds called Wellington on the edge of Southampton, where there is a water based astro pitch, along with netball courts, tennis courts, and a large number of grass pitches.

In addition to the major sports, pupils also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of other sports including badminton, table tennis, fencing, basketball, kayaking, sailing and squash.

Transport to and from the school

The School provides an extensive transport system for its pupils who come to the school from many parts of the county. Currently the school transports, on a daily basis, over 700 students who travel on one of the large number of school coaches. The school also organises late buses for pupils who stay behind after the normal school day for activities.

School events and opportunities

The School contributes to the local (and international) community. There is a thriving Charities Commission that raises around £20,000 a year for worthy causes.

The School also runs a number of international expeditions. Recently these trips have been to India, Brazil, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Morocco, Indonesia, Norway and Honduras. In 2011 there was an expedition to Alaska.

Summer Camp

The Summer Camp team organise a number of events throughout the year, a charity jumble sale, a disco and a barbecue, all to raise money for the Summer Camp that they host at the end of the year. The camp is for less privileged children around Southampton who are taken on an activities week in Swanage.


This is a project that involves a number of sixth formers. The Goedgedacht Trust is a development programme which helps farm workers in the local area north of Cape Town and their families escape from the continuous cycles of poverty which have trapped them for so many generations. This is realised through the Olive Farm and the Youth in Construction Programme, the after school club, and the Preschool. Students spend part of their summer holidays working with the local people and supporting local initiatives.

Ski Trip

Each year 60–100 pupils from a range of year groups travel with staff to a ski resort (normally in France).

New York Art Trip

The New York trip is for the Sixth Form only and takes place once every two years during the October half-term break. Sixth Form pupils travel with staff to New York City, where they are able to visit various locations in the city noteworthy for their association with art, including museums such as The Guggenheim in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, The Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, the Brooklyn Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, as well as to visit other locations in New York.

Classics Trips

Every other year the Classics Department organises a trip to either Greece or Italy. The 2009 trip involved 4 teachers and roughly 40 students with eight days spent between Rome and Napoli. The most recent trip to Greece occurred in 2011 and involved 5 teachers and roughly 40 students with eight days split between Athens, Delphi, Olympia and Tolon.

Exchange Programme

Along with the usual foreign exchange visits to Le Havre in France, Spain and Mutterstadt in Germany, the school maintains a student exchange programme with Charlotte Country Day School, North Carolina USA. There are opportunities for pupils in both the 3rd year and lower sixth to take part. The school has also recently started a yearly exchange with students from Qindao in China.

School publications

KonnEctionS newsletter and other regular communications

The KonnEctionS newsletter is published each term and stresses the highlights and achievements of the school and its members that have occurred in the previous four months. An online bulletin is also sent to parents using the e-portal on a regular basis through each term to ensure that events are publicised. The website also publishes news about achievements and events and is updated weekly.

The Annual Review and Sotoniensis

The school publishes two formal reports. The Annual Review provides a detailed summary of the achievements of the school. A copy is given to all parents in September after Speech Day. Sotoniensis is an annual publication of the school's main social, charitable and arts events. Published in October, it aims to provide a record of all that has taken place in the previous year, and has articles covering trips, expeditions, sports results, theatre productions, etc.

The Edwardian

The Edwardian is a biannual publication for and about alumni of King Edward's (known as Edwardians, or OEs).

Recent developments

Under the current Head Master's stewardship, the School has undertaken a number of projects designed to improve the facilities for both academic and non-academic subjects. The main development was originally planned to be the science and technology block, though in recent years there has been significant refurbishment to the Humanities, Modern Languages, English and Mathematics departments, along with new cricket nets, and relaid astro pitches on both sites. Significant funding for the science projects and bursaries has come from the Sir Edward Abraham Foundation.


Old Edwardians

Conservative MP Stephen Hammond
UKIP MEP Roger Helmer


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