Bristol Cathedral Choir School

Bristol, City of, United Kingdom

Location: Bristol, City of, United Kingdom
Type: Mainstream School
Phase: Secondary
Funding status: State - Academy
Gender: Mixed
Age range: 11 - 18 years

About Bristol Cathedral Choir School

The Cathedral School was founded in 1140 and refounded in 1542, the older buildings form part of the monastic buildings of St. Augustine's Abbey. It lies in the historic heart of Bristol, close to College Green, the University, the Central Library, the Museum, the Old Vic, the Watershed and in the shadow of the Cathedral, whose choristers it continues to educate. The area has been the focus of Bristol’s urban regeneration via the Harbourside development and the School is at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter.

The move to Academy status was completed in 2008 and the new school benefited from a large capital investment with building works completed in 2010. The Academy has a Year 7 co-educational intake of 120 pupils and is the most oversubscribed school in the city with over 900 applications for places in 2016. There are currently just over 800 students within the Academy though the sixth form numbers have been increasing rapidly over recent years and this number is likely to have increased again by September 2016. In 2013 the trustees opened a new school, Cathedral Primary School, a new free school. Building work is underway and the younger students are due to move into their new home in the central library building in early 2017. In 2016 the trustees established a Multi Academy Trust (Cathedral Schools Trust) which aims to grow to a family of six schools over the next 2 years.

The Academy operates a vertical pastoral structure and pupils are assigned to houses and tutor groups (Years 7-11) each form is assigned a tutor, who is concerned with the welfare and progress of each individual. The Academy enjoys a well-deserved reputation within the City for the quality of its pastoral care and the development of individuals consequently examination results are outstanding. In 2015 the A*-C pass rate, including English and Maths, was 90% and at A level 60% of all examinations taken were awarded A and B grades. The Academy was graded as “Outstanding” by Ofsted in January 2016.

To complement all the academic endeavour and achievement, the Academy offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The Academy fields teams in Rugby, Netball, Soccer, Hockey, Cricket and Tennis, and is proud of the representative honours achieved by individuals. Successful sports tours to Canada, Spain, Holland and within the UK take place regularly. Trips to Uganda take place every two years visiting our sister school, St. James’, with whom we have had a very long-standing partnership. Two BCCS students spend 6 months there on a GAP placement organised by the schools.

Clearly music is at the heart of the Academy and we were the first choir school in the country to make this transition. Over a half of pupils have instrumental music lessons and a higher number take part in musical ensembles. Music making is inclusive and caters for all students. The eight choirs, orchestras, steel pans, jazz ensembles, concert bands and chamber music ensembles ensure that there is something for everybody to enjoy. Very high numbers of students choose to take GCSE and A level Music with often three groups at GCSE. A large number of students choose to join the sixth form because of the musical opportunities including music technology. Cathedral Choristers tour abroad regularly including a tour to France this summer.

Drama is also very strong within the Academy with high numbers of students taking GCSE and A level. The department collaborated with the music department this year to produce “Into the Woods” the musical. There is strong commitment to charitable activities: the students choose three charities each year and are set fund raising challenges in relation to these. The Art department is outstanding and very well supported by pupils and parents.

The Academy has a Christian foundation and the whole school meets in the Cathedral, though we welcome into our community members of all faiths and indeed those with none; the emphasis is on tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others and we are proud of the cultural and ethnic diversity that is part of our community. Bristol Cathedral Choir School is privileged to enjoy the services of a committed, caring staff, while its pupils are enthusiastic well behaved and friendly. Our first full Ofsted report as an Academy is available on our website

CPD is at the heart of the Academy and staff are expected to take a proactive approach to career development. The trust run a number of well-established MA accredited programmes such as the middle leadership course with a number of other schools in the city.

An historic, successful school is becoming a pioneering Academy and family of schools, so it is an exciting time to be joining a vibrant, forward-looking community.

Neil Blundell
Executive Principal
Cathedral Schools Trust         

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Address: College Square, Bristol, Avon, BS1 5TS, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 117 353 5000