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Exeter Cathedral School
The Chantry, Exeter,EX1 1HX Palace Gate
01392 255298

Our Cathedral School, the direct descendant of a series of Song Schools throughout the centuries, therefore has an ancestral line beginning nearly 1000 years ago.In the 19th century the School began to accept small numbers of pupils other than choristers, but it is mainly since 1945 that it has achieved its growth and development into a modern, lively preparatory school for boys and girls, both choristers and non-choristers.

At present it has 169 pupils between the ages of 2½ and 13, for whom it provides an excellent standard of general education and the opportunity to receive specialist musical training which we believe is second to none in Devon..

If you would like to learn more about the Cathedral School after you have browsed this site, please contact us to arrange a personal visit. You will be made most welcome and have a chance to see first hand what it is that makes Exeter Cathedral School such a special place.

Statement of Ethos and aims

The ethos of Exeter Cathedral School springs from its origins as a Christian Foundation to provide for the spiritual, personal and academic education of the choristers. While proud of a heritage of choral service which has been of benefit to the public for 800 years, recently enriched by the admission of girls to the Cathedral Choir, the governors see the choristers as part of the larger family of the cathedral and the school.

The aims of the school:

  • To nurture every child as an individual in a secure environment
  • To give to each the opportunity to make the most of his or her own gifts and to grow in faith
  • To maintain a team of professional teachers to whom each child is important and who can introduce their subjects with enthusiasm and drive
  • To be a safe place where the whole personality can grow
  • To foster good relations between staff and pupils and between the pupils themselves
  • To be a place where value is fairly given to academic achievement and to the wider areas of the curriculum, the arts, sport and to music in its broadest sense.
  • To help pupils to move on to their chosen senior schools with confidence and with standards set for their lifetime

The aims of the governors:

  • To cherish a community, maintaining its fine Christian and musical tradition in partnership with the Cathedral, and in accordance with the principles and practice of the Church of England
  • To provide sound values for the pupils
  • To support staff in all aspects of their work


The Headmaster of Exeter Cathedral School is a member of the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools or IAPS for short. Schools with this IAPS "kite mark" are recognised as belonging to the top division of prep schools.

Prep Schools like the Cathedral School offer a specialist alternative to those "through" schools who accept pupils into the Junior Departments of their Senior Schools at the age of 7 or younger.

We are pleased that the majority of our children choose to remain at ECS until the age of 13 to enjoy the influence and responsibility that comes from being the school's senior pupils.

There are a number of reasons why we at the Cathedral School think that, for most children, the Prep School alternative is a good one to take.

  • all of our resources - and your fees - go into educating prep school aged pupils
  • small classes within a small school means effective targeting of pupils' needs
  • senior school choices can be made at an appropriate time
  • senior school choices can be made with a wealth of up to date information
  • pupils going on to senior school at 13 "hit the ground running"
  • all of our teachers are junior school specialists

The Curriculum


The aim in mind for most pupils at the end of their Cathedral School career will be an entrance or scholarship examination to the school of their choice. To this end there is a rigorous academic programme supplemented by a wide range of cultural, aesthetic and sporting opportunities, both in the timetabled and the extended curriculum

School Times, Extra Curricular, and After

School Care Facilities

Pre-preparatory Department (2½ - 7)
0900 – 1515 Monday to Friday

Preparatory Department (7 - 13)
0840 – 1545 Monday to Friday

There is a Breakfast Club open from 8.00 am for children from the Nursery to Year 3. Supervision is available from 8.30 am for all pupils.

There are some buses from the surrounding area serving Independent Schools in Exeter which set down and pick up pupils near Exeter Cathedral School. Younger pupils are escorted from these buses to school and back.


Day pupils may, by arrangement, be at school out of the above school hours. Supervision is available from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm for Pre-Preparatory pupils and from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm for pupils in Years 3-8. There is a small extra charge made for after school supervision, which includes "little tea". During this time pupils firstly complete homework and subsequently may read, play games or watch television.



The range of extra activities varies according to the time of year.

Those offered in the current academic year include:

Art and Craft Club, Extra Sports Coaching, Chess Club, Judo Club, Fencing Club, Ball Skills, Recorder Group, French Club, History Club, Drama Club, Cross Country Running, Ballet and Circuit Training

Activities take place at lunchtimes, after school and occasionally at week-ends. Some activities carry a supplementary charge.

Subjects Studied

This table shows the subjects which are offered at the Cathedral School. Up to Form 4 (8+), each class is mainly in the charge of one teacher who teaches most of the subjects in that year. From Form 5 (9+), the children will, most of the time, meet a different specialist teacher for each subject


M = Mainstream Subject taught to all pupils
O = Optional Subject taught to smaller groups of pupils only


Learning support is offered at the Cathedral School in a number of ways.

Small teaching groups:

Average pupil : teacher ratios are 1:11 in Key Stage 1, 1:13 in Key Stage 2 and 1:11 in Key Stage 3. Children with specific needs are therefore identified and helped in the classroom by class and subject teachers much more readily than in schools with larger class sizes.

Classroom assistance:

Classroom support from Teaching Assistants is available to teachers, in the Pre-Preparatory Department, to make teaching groups even smaller and more effective.

Learning Support Unit

Learning support, particularly for children with a specific difficulty such as dyslexia, is available from this specialist unit of the school. Children are assessed and then taught either individually or in small groups and given reinforcement work with specially designed programmes of work according to their own particular needs

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Editorial office:
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