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History & Heritage

ECS is Exeter’s oldest school, and the only school in the city to offer boarding.  The earliest written reference to the School is 1179, when we were founded as The Chorister School, Exeter; a school which housed and educated the 26 or so boys who would sing the daily sung services at the Cathedral.  Christian worship, the gentle majesty of the Cathedral, and the centuries-old pattern of Sung Eucharist and Choral Evensong is therefore at the very heart of the School’s foundations, and to this day our pupils experience a culturally-rich and historically-significant musical education, and are blessed with the deeply-entrenched spiritual, pastoral and practical relationship that exists between Cathedral, School and the wider community.  In the 1960s the Dean and Chapter began offering non-Chorister places at the School.  Over the course of the next 30 years the School grew in numbers and in reputation, and in 1994, co-inciding with the establishing of a fully-fledged Girls’ Choir in the Cathedral (we were the second Cathedral in the country to welcome Girl Choristers), the School became fully co-educational.

Now a thriving Prep School of some 275 girls and boys (and, since 2014, legally and financially separate from our friends and neighbours at the Cathedral), ECS offers a broad and balanced education which has its roots in Christian values; an appreciation of the spiritual; a tolerance and acceptance of others; an unwavering sense of gentleness, kindness and compassion; and the firm commitment to nurturing the development of each child as an individual within a supportive, loving, considerate and gently-Christian community.

Exeter Cathedral School is unrivalled for its history and heritage, and we are proud that the legacy of our school continues to make waves on the world stage through the influence of some of our most notable recent alumni (Chris Martin, Coldplay; David Webb, English National Opera; Andrew Nesthinga, St John’s College, Cambridge; Giles White, Hampshire County Cricket Club Manager).  We take pride in continuing that legacy today, and in helping our current pupils become the notable alumni of the future.