The King's School

The King's School - Achievement for All

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History of the School

In 1335 Bishop John de Grandisson bought the manor of Ottery St Mary from the Dean and Chapter of Rouen who had owned it since 1061. He obtained a royal licence from Edward III to found his College of Secular Canons and established a choir school in Ottery St Mary in 1335 for eight boys and a Master of Grammar. The school did not start very promisingly in 1337 with the members of the choir-school being accused of “dissolute and insolent behaviour in the parish”. Flogging was the order of the day, Bishop Grandisson being something of a disciplinarian, but as this did not work the boys were heavily fined for every day’s absence from the choir. For over two hundred years the canons carried out Bishop Grandisson’s instructions and the choir school boys were educated.

During these two hundred years the English long-bowmen fought and won the battles of Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415), parts of England were ravaged by the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) and the Welshman Henry Tudor restored some peace and order before passing the throne to his son Henry VIII. Eventually the Reformation reached the College and in 1545 it was dissolved. However upon some whim or persuasion he was prompted to establish a free grammar school.- hence “The King’s School”. The site occupied by the school today on the outskirts of Ottery St Mary dates to 1912.

1900 - 28 boys – Headteacher Mr Frank Wyatt of Dawlish.

1906 - Two classrooms – full forms!

1907 - Scheme to transfer the school to a new building and convert it to a co-educational grammar school.

1909-ish - Current site bought for £557 16s 3d., from Exeter Episcopal Charities.

1911 - Contract for new school – W J Granger of Whimple – for £6275.

1912 - 23 January 1912 – new school opened. The old school site of The Priory was let for £40 – eventually became the Police Station.

1920 - School’s first girl graduate – E Joyce Seward.

1921 - 285 pupils – mainly fee paying, with some free places.

1924 - James Johnson of Melton Mowbray succeeded Mr Wyatt as Headteacher.

1927 - Only 99 boys and 44 girls in attendance.

1934 - Nine boys went on a school cruise to Norway and Denmark.

1935 - Electric lights replaced gas.

1937 - New cricket pavilion.

1939 - 86 evacuees came to the school. Trenches were dug to accommodate the whole school.

1945 - Incident with local farmer over drainage problems. £20 settled the issue!

1946 - Mr. Crowther becomes Headteacher for four vigorous years.

1947 - New dining rooms – Miss Pollard – Cook-Supervisor.

1950 - Mr. Sydney Andrew becomes Headteacher.

1953 - New Library/Art Block – girls playground asphalted.

1955-56 - New Chemistry/Biology block.

1958 - Mains water. Entry of 75 to First Year. The Sixth Form was 40.

1963 - New Hall, Library, Changing Rooms, new Physics Laboratory.

1966 - Swimming Pool built.

1972 - Dr. M E Denning appointed Headteacher.

1976 - New Craft Block built.

1982 - Drama, Art, Music and Science provision increased. School intake became non-selective.

1987 - Final grammar school entrants complete Sixth Form; school population all non-selective

1988 - Mr. Larry Watkins appointed Headteacher.

1989 - Mr. Barry Teare appointed Headteacher.

1996 - New teaching block for Geography, History, RE and Foreign Languages.

1997 - Mr. Roger Fetherston appointed Headteacher.

2001 - New Dining Hall added to the Humanities & Language Block/Reception Area greatly expanded.

2002 - Sport College Status achieved.

2003 - New Teaching Rooms for Math & English and a New Dance Studio added to the Colin Tooze Sports Centre.

2004 - Miss Faith Jarrett appointed as Headteacher. The school has just over 1010 students.

2009 - New Geography Rooms and Sixth Form Centre built

2013 - New extension to the 6th Form and 8 Classroom block added to the site.

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