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

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. BCCS is situated adjacent to the cathedral along Anchor Road. New buildings occupy the west side of College Square. Located in the historic heart of Bristol, there is easy access to a range educational opportunities and established links; these include the Colston Hall, Central Library, Bristol University & UWE, the Old Vic, St George’s Hall and the Watershed. 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. Students come from all over Bristol.

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. There are further ambitious projects to enhance facilities by September 2019.  

In 2016 the trustees established Cathedral Schools Trust. This currently includes Cathedral Primary School (situated on College Square adjacent to BCCS), Victoria Park Primary, Headley Park Primary and Trinity Academy (a new secondary school to be built in Lockleaze). Other schools, primary and secondary, are currently in discussions to join CST.

BCCS has a Year 7 co-educational intake of 150 pupils and is the most oversubscribed school in the city. There are currently around 660 in Years 7-11 students, growing to 750 by 2021. The Sixth Form is established as a centre of excellence for A levels and now numbers around 400; a large number of students choose to join Year 12 from other schools in the city. The majority of students progress from the sixth form to a wide range of university courses, including Russell Group and Oxbridge.

The academy is a designated Church of England School with an ethos derived from christian values. There are no faith admissions criteria; students and staff of all faiths and none are welcome. The school has many events in the cathedral and there is a whole school assembly there each week which everyone attends. School values emphasise tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others; we are proud of the cultural and ethnic diversity that is part of our community. Students take an active part in promoting these values. There is strong commitment to charitable activities, driven by student voice.

BCCS is one of only a few state cathedral choir schools. The Music Specialism is at the heart of the academy. Ofsted referenced the exceptional range of opportunities. Over  half of students receive instrumental music lessons and an even 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. A large number of students choose to join the sixth form because of the musical opportunities. Students progress to a range of prestigious opportunities including conservatoires and national choirs & orchestras. The cathedral choir enjoys a national reputation for excellence. All choristers from Year 7 are educated at BCCS, both rehearsing and singing in cathedral services regularly. 

BCCS operates a vertical pastoral structure; students are assigned to houses and tutor groups (Years 7-11). Each student is assigned a tutor, who is concerned with the welfare and progress of each individual. There is a well-deserved reputation within the city for the quality of pastoral care, educating a significant proportion of disadvantaged students, including looked-after children. 

There is a broad and balanced curriculum from Years 7-11. Attainment at both KS4 and KS5 is high and well above national averages, with outstanding outcomes. In 2018 39% of all GCSE grades were 7-9 (equivalent to A*-A), 85% of all students obtained 4 or above in English and Mathematics. 86% of all A Level grades were A*-C, with a 100% pass rate for the second year running.  DFE performance measures consistently demonstrate that students make excellent progress from their starting points.  BCCS was graded as “Outstanding” by Ofsted in January 2016.

To complement all the academic endeavour and achievement, BCCS offers a wide range of co-curricular activities. There is a proud sporting tradition with regular fixtures and tours, including Canada and Spain most recently. Trips to Uganda take place every two years visiting our sister school, St. James’, with whom we have had a very long-standing partnership. 

Drama is strong with high numbers of students taking GCSE and A level. The department regularly collaborates with music; this year’s major performance of Les Miserables follows the success of the musical Into the Woods.

Bristol Cathedral Choir School is privileged to enjoy the services of a committed, expert and caring staff. Staff are extremely supportive of colleagues. CPD is at the heart of the academy and staff are expected to take a proactive approach to career development. CST runs a number of well-established MA accredited programmes such as the middle leadership course with a number of other schools in the city.

We are dedicated to meeting the needs and aspirations of all our students. This is an exciting time to join a high performing school as it continues to benefit from playing a key role within Cathedral Schools Trust.

Paul Atkins

Head of School

Bristol Cathedral Choir School       

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