King Edward's School Home

An independent day school for boys aged 11 to 18

Past, present and future

King Edward's School, Birmingham was founded in 1552 by Edward VI, one of a number of now famous schools created during the young king's brief reign. Since that time the school has been at the centre of Birmingham life. For centuries this was physically so. The school was sited in the city and the 1838 school, designed by Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament, stood in New Street. From about this time a new breed of Headmasters propelled the school to academic eminence, reflecting the growing status and prosperity of the city itself. In the 1880s the governors created the High School for Girls and the five Foundation grammar schools, thereby making another massive contribution to education in the city. In 1936 the school moved out of the limitations of the New Street building to its present 50 -acre site close to the University. There are few, if any, day schools in the country with such extensive facilities and beautiful surroundings.

The school has changed with the city. So, now it has become a multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-ethnic institution and, in terms of the background of its pupils, it is one of the most diverse independent schools in the country. It has always taken, and continues to take, great efforts, in changing educational and political times, to remain accessible to all children, from Birmingham and beyond. So, there are now not only scholarships for the most able, but considerable, and increasing, financial support for able boys from low-income families. This has largely been provided through the funds of the original King Edward's Foundation, but also through gifts from former pupils and bursaries from a range of different companies.

The school has sent thousands of its pupils out to success and achievement, but perhaps the individuality that the school fosters is best borne out by listing some of its former pupils : Edward Burne- Jones, the pre-Raphaelite painter; JRR Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings; two Nobel Prize winners, Sir John Vane (Medicine) and Maurice Wilkins (Physiology); Richard Borcherds the winner of the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize; Field Marshall Slim, perhaps the greatest British general of the Second World War; the theatre critic, Kenneth Tynan; the Goodie and television twitcher Bill Oddie; the politicians Enoch Powell and David Willetts; the first English chess grandmaster, Tony Miles; the novelists, Jonathan Coe and Lee Child. The school is immensely proud of this rich tradition and it may one day produce another Nobel Prize Winner. However, our real purpose is to provide for clever and committed boys, whatever their background, the opportunity to enjoy school, to learn to love study and to pursue excellence in their own chosen field. To that end, we encourage as diverse a life in school as possible. In this website, the world will be divided into different aspects, academic work and sport and music and outdoor activities. However, the pupils don't always see the difference. To them it is school life, all lived abundantly.