Information for all applicants for posts at King Edward's School
King Edward's School, Birmingham was founded by Royal Charter in 1552 and is one of the most successful boys' schools in this country. It is an independent HMC day school with 840 boys aged 11-18. In 1936 the school moved from the centre of Birmingham to its present attractive site close to the university, where it is surrounded by playing fields, a golf course, lake and nature reserve, and yet is only ten minutes by road from the centre of the city. The school shares the campus with King Edward VI High School for Girls. The city has been transformed in the past decade and now provides a lively social and cultural life.
The school has always had the reputation of being the leading school of Birmingham, and it reflects very closely the diverse racial mix of the city itself. It also attracts pupils from areas beyond Birmingham. The school is very conscious of its responsibility to be accessible to able pupils of whatever background. There is an extensive Assisted Places Scheme for pupils whose parents could not afford the fees, and over 30% of the pupils have some form of financial support. This scheme was enhanced in 2007 and there are plans to raise substantial funds in the future to extend the provision.
The school is also undertaking two major developments in the coming years. In September 2010 we will be replacing A Levels with the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The purpose of this change is to provide an education in the Sixth Form which is more intellectually challenging and, ultimately, a better preparation for university and life beyond. The second development is in facilities; a £14 million programme to create a Performing Arts Centre and a new Sports complex. This programme has been substantially supported by a major gift from a former pupil.
Academic standards in the school are extremely high. All boys study a broad core curriculum up to the end of Year 11, choosing ten GCSE subjects. They take four AS subjects and in Year 13 normally do three A Level subjects plus General Studies. In 2008, 73% of subject entries were A grades and 94% were A and B grades. At GCSE 63% of all subject entries were A* and 88% were A* or A. On average, 20 pupils were made offers by Oxford and Cambridge and the vast majority of pupils go on to the best universities.
However, that is not the only purpose of the school. The aim of the school as defined in the Development Plan is:
'To provide an educational experience that is the richest, most diverse and most exciting possible in an atmosphere that provides support, encouragement and care for everyone, pupils and staff, here. We want our pupils to love coming here and to go from here prepared for all that human life has to offer.'
In order to pursue this aim, it is vital that there is a very rich experience in the classroom and beyond. For example, in recent years there has been rapid development throughout the school in the use of ICT: almost every classroom is now equipped with an interactive whiteboard. Beyond the classroom there are many societies, including Debating, Living History, Film and Classic Rock. Music and drama are exceptional with one major dramatic production and three major concerts in the year, including one in Birmingham's Symphony Hall. Sport is very diverse and successful, with sixteen different sports and major fixture lists in rugby, hockey, cricket and athletics. The school is nationally successful in basketball and water polo. Outdoor pursuits are also of central, and growing, significance: a majority of pupils complete the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and over 20 each year undertake the Gold Award; the Combined Cadet Force thrives with Army, Navy and RAF sections; there is a very rich range of trips and visits for boys of all ages both in term-time and out. The diversity of all this activity is helped by Friday afternoon activities: there is no academic timetable after lunch on Friday and boys are encouraged to do a wide range of different things during their school career.
Beyond all this, the school is a very friendly place: boys feel cared for and relations between pupils, and between staff and pupils, are strong. The pastoral system is centred upon the Form Tutor and almost every member of staff in involved. The house system is very strong, providing links between boys of different ages, and there is an extensive range of competitions, including music and debating, for houses. There is also considerable collaboration with King Edward VI High School for Girls, which shares the site: there is some joint teaching in the Sixth Form; music and drama co-operate extensively and there are joint trips.
Just to prove that this is not just our judgement on ourselves, the first sentence of the conclusion of the ISI Inspection report of May 2007 was:
‘King Edward's School, Birmingham is direct in its aims and in its aspiration to be a school of the highest academic quality and the richest personal experience for as wide a community around Birmingham as possible. This it achieves to an outstanding degree and it seeks to do even better.'