Sherborne School

Sherborne School
Dorset sherbone school seal.svg
Abbey Road

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TypePublic school
Independent day and boarding
MottoDieu et mon droit
(God and my right)[3]
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1550 (8th century?)
FounderSt Aldhelm
Chairman of the GovernorsRoger Fidgen[1]
HeadmasterDr Dominic Luckett[2]
ChaplainRev Dr David Campbell
Age13 to 18
Enrolment543 pupils as of January 2018
Colour(s)Royal Blue & Gold          
PublicationThe Shirburnian
Former pupils

Sherborne School is a British independent boys' school, located in the town of Sherborne in north-west Dorset, England. It is one of the original member schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It has close partnerships with the nearby girls' school Sherborne Girls, with whom it shares many academic, co-curricular and social activities.


The school
Illustrated London News, 6 July 1861

The school's origins date back to the 8th century, when a tradition of education in Sherborne was begun by St Aldhelm. According to legend, Alfred the Great was one of the school's early pupils. The school was then linked with Sherborne Abbey, formerly a Benedictine house. The earliest known Master was Thomas Copeland in 1437. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Edward VI re-founded the school in 1550 as King Edward's School, a free grammar school for local boys. The present-day school stands on land which once belonged to the abbey's monastery. The library, chapel and headmaster's rooms, which adjoin the Abbey Church, are modifications of its original monastic buildings.

In the Beckett Room below the library there survives Anglo-Saxon masonry, a reminder that the school occupies all that remains of the site of Sherborne Abbey (AD 705, remodelled as a Benedictine abbey in 998). The headmaster and the senior staff now have their offices, appropriately enough, in the Abbot's house, rather grandly refashioned, like the Abbey itself, in the 15th century; the library was, perhaps, the Abbot's "Guest Hall" (13th–15th century); the chapel occupies another monastic refectory (12th–15th century, but much rebuilt and extended in the 19th century). Go just beyond the headmaster’s block and face the Abbey and you can see quite clearly on the walls to your right the outlines of the monastic cloister with its curious first floor Abbot’s Chapel; the conduit, where the monks washed, was removed by the Victorians and rebuilt outside Bow House.

The school's 2016 and 2017 scores for A level place it in the top 1% of all schools in England.[when?]

Music is a Sherborne tradition. Many boys achieve grade 8 distinctions for voice and a range of instruments. Several boys each year also pass their ATCL diplomas, many with distinction. Some then go on to take their LTCL diplomas.[4] In 2015 The Week magazine named Sherborne as the best school for music.[citation needed]

In 2005, Sherborne School was one of 50 of the country's leading independent schools that were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[5] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000. All schools involved in the scandal agreed to make ex-gratia payments, totalling £3 million, into a trust. The trust was designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[6] However, Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."[7]

Sherborne International

Sherborne International is an independent co-educational boarding school, owned and governed by Sherborne School. It was established in 1977 for those from non-British educational backgrounds who wish to improve their English language skills before moving on to study at boarding schools elsewhere in the United Kingdom. It is located in Sherborne, occupying its own campus, Newell Grange, but sharing some facilities with Sherborne School.[8]

Qatar branch

Two sister schools (one prep and one senior) have been established in Doha, Qatar. The prep school was established in 2009 and the senior school in 2012.[9]

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