St Peter's School, York

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St Peter's School, York
St Peter's School, York
St Peter's

, ,
YO30 6AB

Coordinates 53°57′59″N1°05′34″W / 53.966418°N 1.092850°W / 53.966418; -1.092850 Coordinates: 53°57′59″N1°05′34″W / 53.966418°N 1.092850°W / 53.966418; -1.092850
Type Public school
Independent day and boarding
MottoSuper Antiquas Vias
("Over ancient ways")
Religious affiliation(s) Church of England
EstablishedAD 627;1395 years ago (627)
Founder St Paulinus of York [ citation needed ]
Local authority City of York Council
Department for Education URN 121724 Tables
HeadmasterJeremy Walker
Gender Co-educational
Age2to 18
HousesDronfield (girls' boarding)
The Rise (girls' boarding)
Linton (boys' boarding)
The Manor (boys' boarding)
Clifton (day house)
The Grove (day house)
Queen's (day house)
School House (day house)
Temple (day house)
Hope (day house)
Colour(s)Brown, Blue, White
Former pupils Old Peterites

St Peter's School is a co-educational independent boarding and day school (also referred to as a public school), in the English City of York, with extensive grounds on the banks of the River Ouse. Founded by St Paulinus of York in AD 627, it is the third oldest school in the world. It is part of the York Boarding Schools Group. [1]


The school accepts pupils aged two to eighteen.


St Peter's School, York St Peter's school, York.jpg
St Peter's School, York
St Peter's School, York in c. 1870 St Peter's School York by T Boys YORAG-R2386.jpg
St Peter's School, York in c.1870

Founded in the English city of York by St Paulinus of York in the year AD 627, [2] the school was originally based at York Minster. An early headmaster, Alcuin (Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus), went on to be Chancellor to the Emperor Charlemagne, and founded several of the earliest schools in mainland Europe. It is the third oldest school in the world. [3] For most of its history, the school was a boys' school, but welcomed girls into the sixth form from 1976 before becoming fully coeducational in 1987. [4]


The school grounds are located near the centre of York and stretch to the banks of the River Ouse. The main front of the school faces along Bootham; this is the oldest part of the site and comprises the Memorial Hall, Alcuin Library and Chapel, as well as dining facilities. Temple House and School House, the Department of Politics, the Department of Business, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Latin and Classics are also based in these buildings, accessed from an area known to the school community as the 'monkey cage'. Behind here is the Pascal building (Maths), Old Science Building (Chemistry), New Science Building (Physics, IT, and DT), Shepherd Rooms (Languages), The Grove and Clifton House. The Music School, the Dame Judi Dench Drama Centre, Hope House, and Queen's Building (History, Religious Studies, and English) are also located along the top of the Campus.[ citation needed ]

Boarding Houses Wentworth and Rise border the main campus, while Linton, Dronfield and The Manor are located across the road from the main school front accessible by footbridge. In the 2000s the school expanded its site under Headmaster Andrew Trotman to include the new lower campus, formally the site of Queen Anne's, a state school that had been recently closed. The move was not without its challenges, including the distance between the old and new sites and the dissection of a public footpath. [ citation needed ]

St Peter's 2-8

St Peter's 2-8 (formerly Clifton Pre-preparatory School) is the pre-prep school to St Peter's School, York. St Peter's 2-8 is located on the Upper Campus of the school, next door to the senior school which runs along the main road of Bootham in the centre of York. The current Head of St Peter's 2-8 is Phil Hardy.

In February 2018, Clifton School and Nursery was named as the best pre-prep/prep school in the annual TES Independent School Awards. [5]

In summer 2020 Clifton Pre-Preparatory School and Nursery was renamed St Peter's 2-8 and, in April 2021, St Peter's 2-8 was named the best pre-prep school and independent school of the year in the annual TES Independent School Awards. [6]

St Peter's 8-13

St Peter's 8-13 (formerly St Olave's School) is the junior school to St Peter's, with grounds on the banks of the River Ouse. The current Head of St Peter's 8-13 is Andy Falconer.

St Olave's was founded by Reverend Henry Andrew Wilson in 1876 and named after its original site of St Olave’s House in Marygate. The school was acquired by St Peter's School in 1901 [7] and St Olave's was renamed St Peter's 8-13 in 2020. [8] [ better source needed ]

In September 2001, St Olave's moved from the White House (the Chilman Building), and its half of the Queen's Building, to the newly acquired Queen Anne site. The pre-prep, St Peter's 2-8 (formerly Clifton Prep) moved from its original 19th-century building on The Avenue to occupy the buildings previously used by St Olave's.

St Peter's 8-13 is now located on the Lower Campus of the St Peter's School, which is also home to the senior school Biology and Art Departments.

In 2006, St Peter's School closed a public footpath running through the school grounds using The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This was hotly disputed by local people. [9]


The school has a history of high academic achievement across all age ranges. [10] [11]

Language-learning is also encouraged from a young age. Latin is compulsory for the first four years of study [12] and also offered at GCSE and A Level. [13] Religious Studies is a compulsory GCSE subject. [14]


A wide range of activities are available at the school: these include rugby, football, hockey, netball, tennis, cricket, rowing, athletics, basketball, badminton, cross-country, climbing, squash, swimming, weight training, trampolining, water polo and aerobics. The school has sporting fields, gymnasiums, an indoor swimming pool, two multi-sport indoor centres, tennis courts, multi-use astroturf pitches, a rifle range, and a boathouse.

For 27 years, cricket was coached by Keith Mohan. In 2002 the school's U15 rugby team won the national Daily Mail Cup competition and the U18 team were narrowly beaten in 2005 in the final against Exeter College, Exeter [ citation needed ]. In 2011 the U16 team won the UCLAN Northern Schools Floodlit Competition. [15]

St Peter's School Boat Club was founded in the 1850s and is one of the oldest school rowing clubs in the world. It has had success at international level with over 28 GB 'vests' earned by Peterites since 1998. On the domestic scene it has won nine medals at The National Schools' Regatta, [16] 12 medals at The National Championships, and 25 appearances at Henley (both Men's and Women's), all since 1991.


The School Choir averages over 150 members a year, [17] but there is also a more selective Chapel Choir as well as an elite Chamber Choir. Highlights of the choral calendar include the Carol Service at York Minster, as well as visits to the Minster and further afield to sing Evensong.

The school has Barbershop Quartets, a Brass Group, Chamber Groups, a Choral Society, a Close Harmony Group, String Orchestras, String Quartets, Swing Band/Traditional Jazz, a Symphony Orchestra, Senior Wind Band, Woodwind, Quintets and Quartets.


In addition to art as a subject, there is the Whitestone Gallery. Located at the school close to the Art Department on the Lower Campus, it is where many exhibitions are held, including that of the pupils' own work and the work of visiting artists.



The school has ten day- and boarding houses, and each house has its own colour. Dronfield (pink) and Rise (white) are girls' boarding houses; Linton (baby blue) and The Manor (gold) are boys' boarding houses. The rest are day houses: Clifton (yellow), The Grove (red), Queens (purple), Temple (green), School (maroon), and Hope (orange). The house system is a long-standing tradition throughout the school's history. As the houses are physical, located in various buildings and parts of buildings throughout the school campus, [18] a sense of community is developed, bringing pupils of all ages together to compete in inter-house competitions, like rugby. "House Colours" are an award that is given in the form of a tie (formerly a badge for female students as they did not wear ties when they were first admitted) to pupils for an outstanding contribution to house activities.

In 1982 there were only seven houses: the boarding houses were: School, Rise, Dronfield, and The Manor; the day houses were: Queens, Grove, and Temple. Hope, Clifton, and Linton are of more recent origin. Houses were mixed and female boarders had their own quarters.


St Peter's has received an overall quality rating of 'Outstanding' in their 2007 Ofsted Boarding Inspection. [19]


The school has a Chapel with compulsory services 3 mornings a week. Eucharist is also held once a term and there are special services to mark Festivals in the Christian calendar. [20] A service is held on Remembrance Sunday during which all pupils place poppies on the book of remembrance in the Ante-chapel (which contains names of alumni killed in conflict). The school's Christmas Carol Service is held in York Minster. [20]

Religious education is compulsory at the school until Sixth Form,[ citation needed ] and is taught by both academic staff and the school's two Church of England clergy. The school remains predominantly Christian in demographics and in teaching [21]

York Minster

York Minster has a long connection with St Peter's, as the school's founder was an Archbishop of York. This relationship is also evident in the school's name, which mirrors the formal title of the Minster, The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter. At its foundation, the school was probably housed next to the earliest cathedral building. [22]

At the end of each academic year a Commemoration and Prizegiving service is held in the Minster and a Carol Service is also held there at Christmas. The school choir often sings in the Minster and in the 2006/2007 year they participated in Verdi's Requiem , which brought together the wider York community.

St Peter’s School is now the home of York Minster’s Choristers, after the closure of the Minster School in Summer 2020


Notable alumni

Current members of the school are known as 'Peterites' (and 'Olavites' for St Olave's Junior School) with alumni referred to as "Old Peterites", or OPs for short. Notable OPs include:


Academics and historians:

Artists and media figures:

Political figures:

Religious figures:


Armed forces:

Business leaders:

Historical figures:

See also

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Secondary sources