The school is over 1,000 years old and originally came into being to educate choristers for the nearby Ely Cathedral.
Their school was first established to educate the boy choristers of the worshipping community of Ely over 1,000 years ago. In the 11th century, King Edward the Confessor was educated here and throughout their history they have maintained strong links with Ely Cathedral.
In 1541, King Henry VIII founded a College of Canons at Ely Cathedral to replace the monks whose monastery had been dissolved in 1539 and the school received its Royal Charter. For much of the school’s history, the King’s Scholars constituted the entire school. Over the centuries, the school has grown to number nearly 1,000 pupils, with children of all faiths and none and from every corner of the globe. In 1970, King’s Ely became co-educational and in 1973, Queen Elizabeth II visited the school and instituted the first Queen’s Scholars.
Despite being over 1,000 years old, King’s Ely is at the forefront of educational discourse nationally, especially so over the past decade. Although they cherish their history, schools are about the todays and tomorrows of our pupils, and while they learn from the past, they look to the future. Today, King’s Ely is a vibrant community that offers all you would expect of a 21st century school and a great deal more.
It is their intention to offer an education for the whole person not separating what happens in the classroom from what happens outside. To that end, they offer a large range of activities beyond the school day designed to encourage participation and to offer students the chance of success in areas other than the classroom.
They encourage students to try new things so that they can discover their talents and passions, wherever they may lie. The quality and range of activities enables all students to find their niche as well as making new friends. They also offer a variety of trips and tours: some closely connected to the curriculum, some for sports squads, some for cultural purposes and others purely for adventure.
The ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) department’s goal is to provide students with the tools in English to succeed and flourish in the main school curriculum. In addition to tailored support for each student, the course includes developing academic writing skills, skimming and scanning skills to tackle lengthy academic texts and correcting any engrained grammar issues. ESOL students bring so much to the school and through the extra-curricular activities we offer they enrich the life of all at King’s Ely.
King's Ely is a mainstream, mixed school with typically less than 20% international pupils. King's Ely takes pupils from the age of 2 up to 18 and has almost 1,000 pupils in total with over 180 Boarders. Boarders are accepted at the school from age 7. The school has a dedicated and specialist EAL (English as an Additional Language) team to help pupils that need additional support with development of their English skills
International Sixth Formers flourish at King’s Ely. They have a choice of 29 different A Level subjects, including Business, Economics, Fine Art and Textiles. In addition, they receive up to three lessons per week of IELTS university English Language preparation and they ensure that each pupil achieves the level necessary to access their first choice university. All IELTS exams are taken in UKVI approved centres in London.
The King’s Ely International one year IGCSE programme provides access to King’s Ely A Level courses.
Year 11 pupils study in small classes of 8-12, which have a focus on subject-specific language and vocabulary development. Students are tested regularly, given frequent feedback, and taught excellent exam technique. All students study within the Learning Habits Framework.
The dynamic boarding environment at King’s Ely encourages pupils to live their lives to the full. This could be competing in an inter-House sports match, acting in a drama production or singing in a choir in Ely Cathedral. Boarders appreciate what it means to be part of a highly supportive community and actively encourage each other to achieve their potential. Living and growing together, students understand how their actions affect others; they learn to be considerate and tolerant of different views as well as resilient to the challenges that life and learning can bring.
Deemed in recent inspection reports to be ‘outstanding’, pastoral care at King’s Ely underpins all they do. Working closely with parents, they are there for each student, celebrating their achievements, supporting them through the inevitable problems that arise in adolescence, and helping all in their care to develop into responsible, grounded and exciting young people. School Counsellors are available at the Medical Centre, should a student require confidential support in times of trouble. Students also have access to their school Chaplain and Community Welfare Advisor.
The tutorial system also provides structure and continuity for each student, with (wherever possible) a Form Tutor assigned to a student for the three years they are in King’s Ely Senior. This relationship and in-depth knowledge is invaluable for the effective support of each student in academic work, revision and subject selection at GCSE and A Level and is built up through regular group meetings and individual tutorials.