Exeter School

Exeter School is an independent co-educational day school for pupils between the ages of 7 and 18 in Exeter, Devon, England. In 2019, there were around 200 pupils in the Junior School and 700 in the Senior School.

Exeter School
Exeter School 2007.jpg
Victoria Park Road

, ,

Coordinates50°43′10″N 3°30′43″W / 50.719557°N 3.511999°W / 50.719557; -3.511999Coordinates: 50°43′10″N 3°30′43″W / 50.719557°N 3.511999°W / 50.719557; -3.511999
TypeIndependent day school
MottoClassical Greek: ΧΡΥΣΟΣ ΑΡΕΤΗΣ ΟΥΚ ΑΝΤΑΞΙΟΣ - Gold is not worth more than virtue.
Established1633; 389 years ago (1633)
Department for Education URN113607 Tables
Chair of GovernorsJames Gaisford[1]
HeadLouise Simpson
Age7 to 18
Former pupilsOld Exonians


St John's Hospital site of the school from 1633 to 1878

The School traces its origins from the opening of the Exeter Free Grammar School on 1 August 1633, attended mainly by the sons of the City freemen. Exeter's wealthy merchants, notably Thomas Walker, provided the finance, with sufficient bequests to pay the Headmaster £50 a year and to install the school in the medieval buildings of St John's Hospital, which had stood on the south side of the High Street since the 12th century.

In 1878, the school opened as Exeter Grammar School at a new campus designed by noted architect William Butterfield.[2] The school occupies this 25-acre (10 ha) site on Victoria Park Road to this day. The cost at the time was £7,600 with a further £16,750 spent on the erection of buildings. It was decided that St John's Hospital Trust had to pay to Exeter School the net annual income of all endowments for Exhibitions and Scholarships attached to the School, and it also had to pay a proportion of the residue of its income.

In 1920, the Governors of Exeter School decided that it was no longer possible for the school to continue without considerable assistance. The Exeter Education Authority agreed to assist but only if the school came under its direct control so, in April 1921, control of the school was handed over to the City. It then became a "maintained" school until 1929 when it became an "aided" school, thus regaining charge of its own finances under a newly appointed Governing Body.[3][4][5]

In March 1945, the status of the school changed again, becoming a direct grant grammar school, and it remained as such until September 1975 when the scheme was abolished. In September 1976, the first "independent" pupils were admitted to the school.[6]

From 1979, the School participated in the Assisted Places Scheme, taking over 200 pupils at its peak, but the scheme was abolished by the government in 1997 and the last of those pupils left in the summer of 2004.[7] In 1981, the Sixth Form became coeducational. Following the success of the move, girls were admitted to all years in 1997.

The school maintains links with its former pupils through the Old Exonian Club which meets annually around the country. There is an Alumni Office which opened in September 2013. It was set up to develop and foster lifelong relationships between the School and its past pupils and staff.[8]

Academic standardsEdit

In March 2014, the Independent Schools Inspectorate reported upon eight areas: the quality of the pupils' achievements and learning; the contribution of curricular and extra-curricular provision; the contribution of teaching; the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; the contribution of arrangements for pastoral care; the contribution of arrangements for welfare, health and safety; the quality of governance; and the quality of leadership and management, including links with parents, carers and guardians.

The report concluded that the 7-18 co-educational day school was at the highest level, excellent, in each of the eight areas.

The team of nine reported that "the quality of the pupils' achievements is excellent in their academic work and their activities." The ISI report continues: "Teaching is excellent and promotes high quality learning. The broad curriculum enables pupils to have a wide range of experiences and the extra -curricular provision is extensive. Pupils achieve individual and team successes in a wide range of activities and national competitions. Pupils have an excellent attitude to their work and this makes a significant contribution to their achievement and progress."[9]

The report also commented on the excellent relationships between staff and pupils where learning is seen as a co-operative venture. "Teachers have high expectations of their pupils and pupils feel well supported by staff who offer much help and encouragement beyond the classroom with drop in sessions, academic clubs, work on the intranet and individual support."[9]

In the summer of 2019, Exeter School celebrated another set of very good A Level results with a 100% pass rate. 21% of all grades were A*, four times the national average, and 54% of grades were either A* or A, more than double the national average of 25.2%.[10] 81% of all grades were A*, A or B.[11]

Summer 2019's GCSE results were also excellent; 74% were 9-7 grades, over three times the national average.[12] Of the 118 pupils in Year 11, 67 achieved 8 or more 9-7 grades with 37 pupils scoring ten or more 9-7 grades.[13]

In December 2017, The Sunday Times named Exeter School ‘South-West Independent Secondary School of the Year 2018’. The 25th edition of its annual Schools Guide, Parent Power, awarded the top place to the co-educational independent school, based on its outstanding academic achievements and overall educational provision.[14]


There are 10 houses:

  • Acland
  • Buller
  • Collins
  • Crossing
  • Daw
  • Dowrich
  • Drake
  • Goff
  • Raleigh
  • Townsend

Whilst this allocation is primarily for pastoral care within the school it also allows an Inter House sports programme to run throughout the year in a wide range of sports for pupils of all ages.


As of September 2019, the day fees are £4,175 per term for the Junior School (including lunch) and £4,675 per term for the senior school.[15] In September 2016, Exeter School launched eight free places in the Senior School and Sixth Form, as a result of donations and legacies from former pupils, in addition to ongoing grants from a local charity.[16]

Notable Old ExoniansEdit


  1. ^ "StackPath".
  2. ^ Cherry, Bridget; Nikolaus Pevsner (1991). Devon. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 407. ISBN 0-300-09596-1.
  3. ^ Bush, R.J.E. Exeter Free Grammar School, 1633-1809. Trans. Devon. Assoc. 94, (1962)
  4. ^ Parry, H. Lloyd. The Founding of Exeter School: A History of the Struggle for freedom of Education within the City of Exeter, Exeter and London, (1913)
  5. ^ "A short history of Princesshay" Archived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Exeter Memories
  6. ^ "Study of Occupational Change", Nuffield College, Oxford, 1972
  7. ^ "Exeter Middle School's Cup Final", The New Millennium
  8. ^ "Alumni - Exeter School website".
  9. ^ a b "Exeter School :: Independent Schools Inspectorate". www.isi.net.
  10. ^ "Infographic: A level results, 2019" (PDF). GOV.UK.
  11. ^ "Academic Outcomes - Exeter School website".
  12. ^ "Infographic: GCSE results, 2019" (PDF). GOV.UK.
  13. ^ "Academic Outcomes - Exeter School website".
  14. ^ "Exeter School named South-West independent school of the year - Exeter School website".
  15. ^ "Fees and Terms & Conditions Academic Year 2019 - 2020".
  16. ^ "Scholarships and Bursaries - Exeter School website".
  17. ^ "David Bellotti, Liberal Democrat MP - obituary". 15 June 2015 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  18. ^ "The Bunker Diary: Exeter author Kevin Brooks wins children's book prize". Express & Echo. 23 June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  19. ^ Frederic Boase, Modern English Biography, vol. 4 (Netherton and Worth, 1906), p. 2,007
  20. ^ Channel 4, Time Team - Meet the Team - Robin Bush, accessed 7 October 2008
  21. ^ "Collins, David (1754-1810)", Project Gutenburg of Australia
  22. ^ "Obituary - General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley", The Guardian, 15 March 2006
  23. ^ Who's Who 2006
  24. ^ "A wealth of knowledge", The Guardian, 31 October 2001
  25. ^ Ian Norman
  26. ^ "Harry Pennell collection" Archived 17 July 2012 at archive.today, Archives Hub
  27. ^ Henry Rew
  28. ^ The Guardian, Bob Wigley: A dream come true for the boy inspired by business, 17 November 2006

External linksEdit