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The King's School

The King's School Founded 1545

Achievement for All


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 appointed Headteacher

  • 1947

    New dining rooms – Miss Pollard – Cook-Supervisor

  • 1950

    Mr. Sydney Andrew becomes Headteacher

  • 1953

    New Library/Art Block – girls playground asphalted.

  • 1955

    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

  • 1988

    Final grammar school entrants complete Sixth Form; school population all non-selective. 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 now has just over 1010 students.

  • 2009

    New Geography Rooms and Sixth Form Centre built over old swimming pool.

  • 2011

    Awarded Outstanding Status by Ofsted, became an academy

  • 2013

    New Business Studies, ICT, PSHE and English Rooms built in a New-Block extension and temporary classrooms demolished

  • 2016

    Mr. Rob Gammon appointed headteacher

  • 2018

    Canteen Extended and Car Park facility improved.