The mission of Queen Elizabeth’s School is to produce young men who are confident, able and responsible.
Those who work at the School contribute to this objective by:
• fostering pupils’ academic curiosity through encouraging high-level thinking and intellectually rigorous activity;
• providing bespoke support to assist learning and remove barriers to progression;
• delivering personalised feedback, encouraging boys to learn from their own successes and failures, and respond appropriately;
• creating opportunities for pupils to experience a broad range of social and cultural activities and to facilitate greater participation in a wide variety of academic enrichment activities;
• celebrating the diverse skills, talents, and achievements of pupils in all year groups, with the goal of recognising what is unique about each individual;
• supporting boys with their emotional challenges, including any that might be linked to learning in a high-achieving environment;
• strengthening literacy and developing research and revision skills to support academic achievement and ensure pupils’ readiness for the next stage of education;
• providing support and guidance to equip pupils to be broad-minded in considering the pathways open to them make decisions strategically for their future;
• developing skills of both leadership and collaboration;
• emphasising the importance of civic engagement and of cultivating positive relationships within the community.
As we celebrate our 450th anniversary in 2023, Queen Elizabeth’s School aims to build on the position of distinction that we currently enjoy as one of Britain’s finest schools. We wish to remain true to our valued traditions, while continuing to make bold yet judicious decisions in pursuit of beneficial innovation. We seek to equip our pupils with the mix of timeless qualities and new skills that they will need to thrive and to lead in the rapidly changing world of the 2020s. This aim is reflected both in our academic programme and in our extra-curricular activities.
The School recognises that the foundations of academic excellence necessarily include strong subject knowledge, hard work, perseverance and emotional resilience. But we also place great emphasis on nurturing broad, analytical thinkers possessed of that combination of a vigorous love of learning and an unquenchable intellectual curiosity which we call free-thinking scholarship. Our curriculum is purposely designed to provide an academic programme that is at once intellectually rigorous and exciting, broad and balanced; the arts, languages and humanities feature strongly alongside STEM subjects and social sciences.
In our founding charter, granted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1573, the School was established for ‘the education, bringing up, and instruction of boys.’ This requirement that academic achievement go hand-in-hand with the development of character continues to serve QE well.
In line with these Tudor tenets and the School’s mission statement, we promote traditional values including manners, respect, loyalty and honesty, and the ‘fundamental British values’ of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for those of different faiths and beliefs, and for those with no faith. All these virtues may be found in the history and traditions of the School. Our boys come to understand that the School’s reputation has been hard-earned, both by recent Old Elizabethans and by countless generations of forebears. Today, as a meritocracy seeking to gather talent wherever it is found, irrespective of ethnic, cultural or socio-economic background, the School is proud to be a strong, culturally rich community; it is one in which we promote open-mindedness, tolerance, kindness, commonality and diversity.
Academic excellence is the norm at Queen Elizabeth’s School. Our boys achieve the highest grades in public examinations and go on to leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. From the day they join the School, our expectations of boys are high.
The Governors are committed to stimulating academic and extra-curricular performance by providing an inspirational learning environment. In recent years, through the fund-raising of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, the physical environment has been greatly enhanced by investment in a succession of high-quality learning, working and social spaces. The School provides excellent teaching, drawing staff who are highly qualified and dedicated. Alongside our varied and engaging curriculum, we celebrate diverse talents and aptitudes, encouraging boys to discover and develop these beyond the classroom, especially by participating in the very broad range of extra-curricular activities that the School offers. These include frequent special events and trips organised by the subject departments. Academic achievement throughout the School is rewarded and publicly celebrated, as are boys who work towards the common good or otherwise demonstrate the character traits that are equally important to our mission.
We encourage younger boys to look up to our older students as role models; a process aided by Sixth-Formers’ leadership of the pupil body as Prefects, Vice-Captains, and School Captain. Senior boys also lead the House system, which facilitates vertical interaction between year groups as well as the fostering of a collective House identity. Belonging to a House helps boys to see themselves as part of the School’s illustrious history, as do the examples of past generations of Elizabethans who have excelled academically at the School and then gone on to make valuable and significant contributions to society.
Our ambition is that every boy reaches his fullest potential. Our system of ‘bespoke education’ is fundamental in delivering such outcomes. One-to-one help is available in lunchtime or after-school clinics in every subject. There are opportunities in all subjects and extra-curricular activities for able boys to compete at the appropriate regional, national and international levels in, for example, county and national trials and academic Olympiads. The emphasis on bespoke education extends to the tutoring system, through which each pupil’s performance, academic progress and wellbeing is monitored in detail, on an individual basis, at least once each term. Alongside the house tutors, the boys and their parents play an important part in setting targets and then in ensuring that all the necessary actions are taken to meet those targets. Where boys need additional support, there is a well-established system of both peer and staff mentoring to cover both academic and pastoral issues.
We maintain a deliberate emphasis on developing the whole person and on helping boys become the best version of themselves: our aspirations extend well beyond examination results. We expect all pupils to participate in the wider life of the School beyond the classroom and to play their part in fostering our inclusive community. There is an extremely wide range of enriching activities for them to choose from according to their inclinations and abilities, whether in sport, the arts or in myriad other fields. The aims of both our charity fund-raising programme and our Sixth Form voluntary service scheme include providing opportunities for civic engagement so that boys learn to contribute to society with generosity of spirit.
It is important to us that boys are happy at School themselves, and that they are kind and considerate to their peers. In our Personal Development Time programme, there is considerable focus on building boys’ resilience, on their self-development and on watching out for the needs of others – all with the aim of ensuring that Elizabethans live healthy and fulfilled lives both at School and in adulthood.
Developing the whole person naturally requires the involvement and commitment of parents. Indeed, fostering strong partnerships with parents is key to the success of the School. Consistency of approach between home and School provides a stable platform for boys in their education. It is thus essential that parents understand clearly at the outset what their son’s QE career will involve. No element of the curriculum may be opted out of or disapplied because of parental choice or religious persuasion. The only exception to this is the parents’ right in law to withdraw their son from religious or sex education on religious grounds. Parents will need to support their son’s participation in the broad life of the school, including extra-curricular clubs and activities, most of which take place outside of the normal timetable.
For its part, the School keeps parents fully informed through our online eQE platform, regular performance reports and face-to-face briefing and consultation meetings. No boy can expect to make maximum progress at QE unless he takes homework seriously: parents are therefore urged to encourage their son to complete homework on time and to the best of his ability. As boys progress through the School, we instil in them habits of independent study, equipping them to thrive at university and beyond.
When a boy first puts on the uniform of Queen Elizabeth’s School, he is inspired and helped by the reputation forged by his predecessors. As he progresses through the School, he honours the debt of tradition by re-making our reputation year on year. There is no stereotypical Elizabethan: while many go on after university to pursue successful careers in the professions and academia, others carve paths in areas such as engineering, the creative arts and business. We work closely with our alumni, an important constituent part of the wider Elizabethan community, who increasingly engage with the School through our QE Connect network to support current pupils preparing for degree courses and for careers in the broad range of industries in which our old boys are established. Wherever our leavers’ talents take them, they become Elizabethans for life. Common to all is an education which has made them confident, able and responsible young men, well placed to establish themselves in society as people of principle and distinction.