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King's Worcester
King's Worcester
King's Worcester
King's Worcester
top 200
King's Worcester Worcester, Worcestershire Visit
King's Worcester
881 pupils, ages 11-18

King's Worcester

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Our View

An upbeat, modern school with a storied history reaching back to the 7th century, King’s Worcester has a uniqueness that not only stems from its historic location at the heart of the city’s cathedral, but also from the caring atmosphere shaped by centuries of Christianity, and given a fresh injection of warmth by new head Gareth Doodes.


The venerable Worcester Cathedral is the school’s beneficent neighbour, and within the grounds, you quickly forget you’re in the centre of the city. In fact, the century can be hard to recall as you pass through some of the original buildings. The school’s Edgar Tower was built in 1500 and is the oldest classroom in use in the UK – a fact that no doubt feeds the imaginations of the Year 7s who are taught Latin there.

Even older is the College Hall, which dates from 1076 and today hosts public exams, prom balls and parent socials. Newer additions to the site – the latest is the Keyes Building, a sports and performing arts centre opened in 2015 – sit neatly behind the historic buildings, blending into the surroundings. The gardens and playing fields are beautiful and spacious, with the River Severn meandering through.

Worcester is served by two train stations, Shrub Hill and Foregate Street, both within walking distance. Malvern is about 10 minutes away by train, Cheltenham is half an hour. The school runs six bus routes: Evesham, Ombersley, Pershore, Bromsgrove, Tewkesbury, and Malvern.


In 2008, Mr Doodes told his fiancée that his ‘dream job would be to run King’s Worcester and live in this close’. That dream became reality in August 2020, when he took over the headship and moved in with his wife and two children. The heads of all three KSW schools (King's Worcester and prep schools King's St Alban's and King's Hawford) have families living on site, which gives a very neighbourly feel.

Mr Doodes was previously head at Dover College for six years, so has gone from overseeing 400 pupils to 1,400. He hit the ground running, putting together a high-level, 16-year plan to present to governors, tackling the ‘mental-health time bomb’ in the wake of the pandemic, reinventing assemblies to spell out his vision of the three Cs (‘to be curious, caring and confident’) and championing the inclusion of girls in the Cathedral Choir. 

He is ‘religious’ and tells us his role ‘let’s me pretend to be a vicar’ as he points to his cassock hanging on the back of his office door. Mr Doodes comes across as genuine, big-hearted and not at all egotistical. He tells us that he gets most nervous about the three periods of history a week that he teaches to the Year 9s: ‘I am at my most raw – I can’t wing it!’


There are 880 pupils: about 110 to 120 in Years 7 and 8, 130 in Years 9 to 11, and 280 in the sixth form. Two-thirds of Year 7s come from sibling schools King’s St Alban’s and King’s Hawford, and pupils sit entrance tests in maths, English and verbal reasoning, as well as have a brief interview. There is also a big Year 9 entry, with the same admissions process, so no Common Entrance. Interestingly, since Covid, interest in Year 9 entry has grown significantly.

Academic, music and all-rounder scholarships are offered at Years 7, 9 and 12 entry. Sport will be added from September 2022.

Academics and destinations

While entry is ‘broad’, the academic standards ‘are thought to be higher than local competitors’, says Mr Doodes, who wants the school to be seen in a more holistic way. Results are worth shouting about though: last year, 75 per cent of pupils at GCSE achieved grades 9-7; at A-level, 90 per cent gained A*-B. There are 24 A-level subjects on offer, and pupils in Year 12 start off taking four subjects, though most end up sitting three.

Facilities are good, with chemistry, geography, history, art and RE all having their own subject-specific library. Most Year 11s stay on for sixth form, with about 30 externals joining in Year 12 – and, rather excitingly, King’s is currently investing in a shiny new sixth-form study centre, which will have a large café and plenty of individual study rooms.

With the help of specialist staff, the school has a good hit rate at getting pupils into medical, veterinary and law courses at top universities, and a large number (90 per cent last year) head off to Russell Group universities. And some go further afield too; one current Year 13 who started rowing in Year 9 has been offered a full rowing scholarship to Stanford University in California. Her take on the school? ‘The opportunities at KSW are amazing. There are specialists in everything – make use of their minds.’


There is an amazing variety of sport on offer, with a healthy rivalry with local school RGS, against whom they play annual sporting derbies; the Modus Cup for rugby is played at Worcester RFC Sixways Stadium and this year was said to be one of the biggest spectator school rugby events. Pupils embrace sport wholeheartedly, with little fall-off as they go up the years. Pupils happily turn up for Saturday morning pre-match training sessions, even though there is no Saturday school. ‘We achieve a boarding-school programme in a day school,’ says director of sport Mr Mason. Several sixth-formers play academy rugby and cricket, and the school is big on rowing, with its own 6km stretch of the River Severn to practise on and an impressive award-winning boathouse on site with 16 rowing machines and enviable views over the river. The playing fields are equally inspiring, with Worcester Cathedral making a stunning backdrop.

Creative subjects such as art, music and drama are well served. The music-tech room, named after Edward Elgar who apparently slept there once, has been newly refurbished with bespoke desks and equipment. For aspiring artists, there's the impressive art school (which was formerly part of Royal Worcester factories), there are annual trips to St Ives, and Year 13 art pupils get their own individual studio to work in. The school puts on three full-scale drama productions a year. This year Years 11 to 13 entertained the school community with We Will Rock You, and Years 7 and 8 are staging Mary Poppins in the summer term.

CCF is popular – on our visit we saw lots of pupils in uniform (they are allowed to wear whichever kit they need on that day other than uniform, so they don’t have to change at school). There is plenty of outside space for tasks, including the very popular ‘shark-infested custard’, where pupils have to get their team across a danger zone with limited kit.

The Keyes Building, the school's Sports and Performing Arts Centre opened in 2015, hosts a range of clubs, from climbing to yoga. It is brilliantly equipped with an amazing indoor climbing wall, dance studios, drama spaces and a top-class power gymnasium.

School community

A lot of emphasis is placed on pastoral care – this is a place that exudes warmth and stresses the importance of its pupils’ wellbeing. There is a school counsellor and posters are dotted around the school with phone numbers for a number of helplines.

Pupils we met were happy and confident. Ex-pupils want to stay connected to as well, with Old Vigornians numbering around 8,000.

Parents get involved organising the Year 11 prom, while the Year 13s put on the Upper Sixth Leavers Ball.

And finally....

There is an amazing feeling of compassion at this centuries-old school. Yes, results are good, facilities are fantastic, opportunities are plenty and the location is jaw-dropping, but what really shines out are the confident pupils: happy, curious and thriving in a nurturing, family environment.

Gallery See All

Group of King's Worcester pupils in uniform waling through a stone archway
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered


    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Information Technology
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Business Studies
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Government and Politics
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7£5,765
    Year 8 £5,765
    Year 9 £5,765
    Year 10£5,765
    Year 11£5,765
    Year 12£5,765
    Year 13£5,765

    Bursary contact:
    Registrar Vickie Peckston
  • SEND

    This school currently supports the following kinds of learning needs, health needs and physical disabilities:
    The department works closely with those with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD, and Autistic Spectrum Disorders, as well as with pupils from across the academic spectrum, who wish to fine-tune their skills. Emphasis is placed on building self-confidence and encouraging pupils to become independent learners with an intellectual curiosity, so that they are able to cope with the demands of the mainstream curriculum, as well as preparing them for life after they leave King’s.

    Learning Skills support at King’s is inclusive within the termly fees. The school is proud to be able to offer pupils all the necessary support they require to develop confident and effective learners.

    This school currently provides the following support for pupils' mental health needs
    At the heart of the pastoral system lies a unique structure of entry into the Lower Years in Years 7 or 8, followed by a well-planned transition into life in one of the nine Houses from Year 9 (called Lower Remove) as pupils head into the Middle Years, until the end of their King’s career at school in the Sixth Form.

    Pastoral care in the first two years is focused on the Form, and the Form Tutor is a vital component in ensuring that pupils are happy, well adjusted, and lead balanced and committed lives within school.

    A Pastoral House comprises between fifteen and twenty pupils from each of Year 9 to Year 13 (Upper Sixth). It is led by a House Tutor, whose role is to oversee the well-being, happiness, and progress of all members of the House, as well as providing opportunities for pupils to forge supportive relationships with other members of the school outside their own year group. Year Group Tutors each take responsibility for a year within the House, reviewing the pupils’ day-to-day academic and personal development as well as their engagement with school life. The Houses engender a sense of belonging, loyalty, and care for others and it is this collaborative mindset that forms the basis of the pastoral support network.

    Pupils have access to a wide variety of support networks via the School Chaplain, two school counsellors, two qualified nurses and also the pupil run Peep Support Group.

    Pupils recieve a bi-weekly email called Monday Mindset which aims to promote healthy lifestyles, minds and work ethics for all.

    Co-ordinator: Joanna Lucas
  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Worcester Foregate Street
    Journey time to London by train: 135 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Birmingham International (44 miles)

School Updates

  • King’s Launches City First Maths GCSE Easter Revision Course

    King's Worcester is thrilled to announce the launch of its highly anticipated Maths GCSE and IGCSE Revision Course. Designed to help students excel in their GCSE and IGCSE Mathematics exams.
    King’s Launches City First Maths GCSE Easter Revision Course
  • King’s Worcester one of Top 30 Sporting Schools in the country

    King’s Worcester has been named in the top 1% of sporting schools in the country this week. This impressive ranking sees King’s sitting alongside some of the country’s top sporting independent and state schools, such as Millfield and Repton School.
    King’s Worcester one of Top 30 Sporting Schools in the country
  • King’s Reclaims Rugby Modus Cup Title

    There was great excitement this weekend as King’s Worcester reclaimed the Modus Challenge Cup at a packed Sixways Stadium, following a convincing 34-8 win against RGS.
    King’s Reclaims Rugby Modus Cup Title
  • King's Worcester Celebrates 2023 GCSE Results Day

    King's School Worcester is delighted to celebrate the achievements of its Year 11 students in this year's GCSE exams.
    King's Worcester Celebrates 2023 GCSE Results Day
  • King’s Worcester Students Celebrate Remarkable A-level Results

    King’s Worcester is delighted to recognise the achievements of this year’s A-level students, as a record-breaking 93% of students achieved all their grades at A*-C.
    King’s Worcester Students Celebrate Remarkable A-level Results
  • King's Worcester Schools Shortlisted for Prestigious Awards

    The King’s Worcester Foundation is delighted to announce that all three of its schools, King’s St Alban’s, King’s Hawford and King’s Worcester have been shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards in this year's ISOTY Awards.
    King's Worcester Schools Shortlisted for Prestigious Awards
  • Exciting Sixth Form Redevelopment Project Starts

    An exciting new chapter has begun at King’s Worcester this week with the official start of Phase One of the redevelopment of the Sixth Form Centre, scheduled for completion at the end of August.
    Exciting Sixth Form Redevelopment Project Starts
  • England National Finals for King’s Worcester Teams

    King’s Worcester netballers and rugby players are all celebrating today at the remarkable news that two teams have qualified at national level, for the England Netball National Finals at Oundle School and the England Rugby NatWest Schools’ Plate Final.
    England National Finals for King’s Worcester Teams
  • See King's Worcester in our All-through Schools Guide

    See King's Worcester in our All-through Schools Guide
  • 10 Questions with Gareth Doodes, head of King's Worcester

    10 Questions with Gareth Doodes, head of King's Worcester


5 College Green, Worcester, Worcestershire WR1 2LL

01905 721700


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