Queen Elizabeth’s School has become well known for superlative academic performance, but that is really only half the ‘QE experience’: we place equally great emphasis on what goes on beyond the classroom and on the development of character.
While we are proud of the intellectual poise, rigour and ambition we instil in our pupils, these qualities on their own are not enough to fulfil our School mission to produce young men who are confident, able and responsible. Nor, indeed, are they sufficient to secure places at the world’s leading universities, which require applicants to demonstrate that they are well-rounded young people who will make a positive contribution to their wider communities.
Far from being an ‘exam factory’, then, we enable and equip boys to explore new horizons, to follow their passions, to support and lead others and to be individuals, without being individualistic.
With each passing year, we provide and encourage more and more enrichment opportunities for our boys. Significant resources are devoted to major areas of extra-curricular activity, such as music, sports, drama, debating and chess, and there are many others besides. The recent formation of a robotics club has, for example, proved highly successful, with teams achieving national and international competition success. In fact, a club, society or team exists to suit almost every interest or aspiration – and if, by chance, boys do not find what they are looking for, they will be supported to establish something new. For in these endeavours, boys are encouraged to develop and display skills of leadership, organisation, coaching and support – to grasp opportunities and create new ones for themselves and others.
From skippering a sports team and running a student society or charity event to rehearsing a band or directing a play, boys are nurtured and equipped to lead their peers. Formal leadership positions are introduced early, with Form Captains appointed as early as Year 7. This culminates in our Sixth Form Prefects system, through which the School Captain and his team are given extensive responsibilities within the daily operations of the School and in the delivery of major School events. Our decisions on appointments are based upon the commitment and effort boys show, as well as the aptitude they display for such roles. Boys aspire to hold all these positions and thus to become ambassadors for the School.
We encourage all boys to devote time to causes greater than themselves.
Our Sixth Form students are required to undertake voluntary service, which usually involves helping charities, local businesses, and primary schools; thus, they are helping their communities, all the while developing skills relevant to the workplace and preparing themselves to be the good citizens of tomorrow.
Of course, while our boys are serving others, there is an extensive programme of pastoral support to help them. The wellbeing of our pupils is of paramount importance to us and we provide individual care to produce happy, grounded and confident boys.
Yet whilst the ‘QE experience’ is in many ways tailored to individual needs, there is also a strong team dynamic. This is fostered: through our extensive involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme; through our popular Combined Cadet Force, and through the six Houses to which all boys belong. Competition in the many inter-House competitions is fierce: House allegiance forms an important element in boys’ identity as Elizabethans.