Shortlisted in the 2020 Independent Schools of the Year Awards and nestled in the heart of the beautiful cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, King’s Ely is a leading independent co-educational day and boarding school, built on a fascinating history stretching back over 1000 years.
It has been wonderful to arrive at King’s Ely and find a school community so full of learning, personal development and fun. In no time at all I have found so much to be proud of – a friendly but purposeful ethos which pervades pupils, staff and parents; outstanding teaching and learning, excellent GCSE and A-level results with county-leading value added at Sixth Form; a wonderful vein of creativity through music, drama and the visual arts balanced by a full range of sporting opportunity and arguably the best stretch of river for rowing in the country; a community which includes a breadth of talent and students from over 40 nationalities; a real emphasis on pastoral care in an environment where every child is properly known and valued; and all in a safe and phenomenally beautiful setting. As Principal, I want to harness all the strengths of King’s Ely. Its intellectual, creative and spiritual heritage, its diversity of talent, its nationality and outlook, and its outstanding resources for individual personal development to provide a genuinely distinctive academic, creative, sporting and co-curricular education. All this, I believe, encourages an atmosphere where deep learning beyond mere exam success can flourish and children be genuinely prepared for exciting futures we can only imagine.
At King’s Ely we serve the academic and pastoral needs of around 1,000 boys and girls from the age of two through to eighteen, with boarders from seven years old. King’s Ely is located just 15 minutes north of Cambridge, one hour from London and is a short walk from Ely train station, with school buses stopping at key locations across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. We are also less than an hour from the scenic North Norfolk coast.
The adventure of a King’s Ely education enables pupils of all ages to flourish, from the children in King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery to the young men and women in our Sixth Form; and whether a student shines in a classroom or lab, on a stage, on a pitch or on a mountainside, our school promises an abundance of opportunity for personal development, both academically and socially.
We empower our young people to challenge themselves, to push beyond the boundaries of their own expectations and to achieve more than they ever believed possible. King’s Ely students achieve excellent GCSE and A Level results, with more than 90% gaining places in their first or insurance choice university. But our school is about much more than league tables.
Innovative approaches to teaching and learning are the hallmark of every section of King’s Ely. Through a broad and balanced curriculum, pupils develop the self-knowledge and inner resilience that will enable them to face the challenges of an ever-changing world. The aim is to create responsible and engaged young people who have developed learning habits that successfully prepare them for public examinations, higher education and the challenging world of work.
At King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery (ages 2-7), such development demands a planned, creative curriculum that is dedicated to the needs of younger children, encouraging them to be independent learners with a passion for knowledge. It requires caring experts who have the time to give younger pupils lots of individual attention and a beautiful, spacious environment that allows children to explore in order to discover the exciting world around them.
Moving on to King’s Ely Junior (ages 7-13), it demands a positive and enriching atmosphere, a commitment to unlocking potential and the development of conscientious, compassionate young people.
At King’s Ely Senior (ages 13-18), it demands exceptional teaching and a culture of independent learning, enabling students to take ownership of their own educational journeys, where results are achieved through inspiration and support, not unnecessary pressure.
Our students are encouraged to develop their creativity and critical thinking. Pupils identify the key questions they want to ask and then find answers supported through their own learning. Issues are explored rigorously from multiple perspectives and assumptions, including their own, and then critically analysed by the class. Consequently, conclusions reached are supported with reasoned arguments and evidence.
King’s Ely boasts some of the region’s most historic, picturesque buildings yet teaching facilities are modern and purpose-built. Our close links with Ely Cathedral – one of the finest cathedrals in the world – make the perfect setting for concerts and performances, a daily extension to the school’s workspace, the school chapel, and a place of outstanding beauty and spirituality.
Boarders, including the Ely Cathedral Boy and Girl Choristers, live in Harry Potter-esque boarding houses, well led by caring housemasters and housemistresses. A strong pastoral structure where childhood is respected and cherished is a key feature.
Music, drama, dance, art, textiles and photography are each embedded in the culture of King’s Ely. In 2018, the school won the Art and Craft category at the prestigious Education Business Awards, and in 2019 the King’s Ely Drama Department earned 5* reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with their original production, Ugly Youth.
All major sports are offered, along with an impressive array of other activities, helping every pupil to realise their sporting potential. Rowing, athletics, golf, cricket, hockey, tennis, rugby, netball, equestrian and football – the choices are endless. The working week, which no longer includes formal lessons on Saturdays, also enables pupils to participate fully in regional and national events. Our reputation in rowing advances year on year, with our use of one of the best stretches of river in the country enabling students to train alongside Cambridge University rowers.
From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the gushing torrents of the rivers in the Alps, our unique Ely Scheme also offers boundless opportunities for pupils to learn through outdoor education. We also give students the chance to undertake their Duke of Edinburgh Award at all three levels.
King’s Ely is a family – a community that is vibrant, nurturing and inclusive. We are a school that can take each child on a seamless journey, travelling from one section to the next, whilst welcoming newcomers at key transition stages, giving support and adapting the offering to the needs of every child in our care. Only by visiting King’s Ely can you feel the energy and warmth of our community.
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