The Prebendal School

The Prebendal School is an independent preparatory school in Chichester, situated adjacent to the Chichester Cathedral precinct. It is a boarding and day school with roughly 150 pupils including the cathedral choristers. The school has ancient origins as the medieval cathedral song school at the thirteenth-century school house in West Street.[2]

The Prebendal School

MottoLatin: Fons Sapientiae Verbum Dei
The Word of God is the Fountain of Wisdom
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderBishop Edward Story
Chair of GovernorsDean Stephen Waine
HeadLouise Salmond Smith
Age3 to 13
Colour(s)     Red
PublicationThe Prebendalian
Former pupilsOld Prebendalians


The Prebendal is the oldest school in Sussex and probably dates back to the foundation of Chichester Cathedral in the eleventh century when it was a 'song school', teaching and housing the choristers. It was later extended to admitting other boys from the city and neighbouring areas.[3] In 1497, it was re-founded as a grammar school by the Bishop of Chichester, Edward Story, who also attached it to the Prebend of Highleigh in Chichester Cathedral, hence the name of the school.[4]

The thirteenth-century school house with its narrow tower still stands in West Street. Long dormitory, on the top floor, contains 300-year-old panelling, featuring some historic graffiti. Two adjoining eighteenth-century houses have been added, while the addition in 1966 of the east wing of the Bishop's Palace, which is next door to the main school buildings, provides considerable extra space. Further renovations have provided an assembly hall, new classrooms and an art room. There is a modern science laboratory and an ICT room.[5] In 2012, the school expanded into adjoining period properties on West Street.[6]

Girls were introduced into the school in 1972. The school is now a co-educational, day and boarding preparatory school for children between 3 and 13 years of age.


Each pupil is a member of a school house, which are named after former Bishops of Chichester. There is also a boarding house that accommodate up to 46 boarders.


Pupils cover the syllabus for either the Common Entrance or Common Academic Scholarship examination to senior independent schools, offered by the Independent Schools Examinations Board. School examinations take place once a year during the summer term.


As a choir school educating the cathedral choristers, the school has an extremely strong music department.[5][7]

The Memorial Garden

Concerts take place throughout the academic year. many concerts are informal, but a number are performed in Chichester Cathedral. Music competitions are also arranged in school: the inter-house music and house singing competitions being notable examples.[6] Since 2006, the school has applied a policy of "Music for All", in which each pupil receives a musical instrument education during their time, with a wide variety of instruments on offer. There are many groups, including two choirs, a full orchestra, concert band, ensembles of string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, a Baroque trio and many other chamber groups.

Old PrebendaliansEdit

Alumni are known as Old Prebendalians. Notable Old Prebendalians include,

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Independent Schools Council profile". ISC. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  2. ^ Ollerenshaw, Neville (28 September 1984). A History of the Prebendal School. Phillimore. ISBN 9780850335521.
  3. ^ "History of Chichester cathedral choir school". Of Choristers - ancient and modern. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ Miner, John Nelson (1990). The Grammar Schools of Medieval England. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 277–278. ISBN 0-7735-0634-9.
  5. ^ a b "ISI Integrated Inspection: The Prebendal School" (PDF). March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "The Good Schools Guide review for The Prebendal School". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Prebendal School in Chichester celebrates outstanding rating". Chichester Observer. 8 May 2015.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 50°50′11″N 0°46′57″W / 50.83639°N 0.78250°W / 50.83639; -0.78250