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Oldest schools in Britain

#1 The King’s School, Canterbury (597 AD)

The King’s School in Canterbury is located in the heart of Kent. It is a prestigious institution, boasting membership in both the famous Eton group as well as the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. It was founded in circa 597 AD, by Augustine of Canterbury, who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury and one of the founders of the English Church. It is a secondary boarding school for children aged 13 to 18 years. It is the oldest school in the world to have been in continuous operation since its inception.

#2 King’s School, Rochester (604 AD)

Yet another “King’s School” for our list, the King’s School of Rochester is located in Kent, Rochester. It was founded in the year 604 AD, as part of Rochester Cathedral, and reformed in 1541 by Henry VIII during the English Reformation when Rochester Monastery was dissolved. It teaches children aged 3-18, and claims to be the second oldest school in the world to have been in continuous operation since its inception. 

#3 St Peter’s School, York (627 AD)

St Peter’s School was founded in York by the Roman Saint Paulinus of York, in the year 627 AD. It is located in Clifton, York, North Yorkshire. Interestingly, an early headmaster of the school, Alcuin, graduated from his position of teaching to become the Chancellor to the legendary Frankish Emperor Charlemagne! It is comprised of multiple schools catering to different age ranges 2-18. It is the third oldest school in the world, and a member of the York Boarding Schools group.

#4 Thetford Grammar School (700s AD)

The Thetford Grammar School is an independent school believed to have been founded in the 7th century, however different reports assert that it may have been constructed later in the 10th century. Whatever the case, the school is certainly old enough to be on this list! It is co-educational, teaching both boys and girls. It teaches pupils aged 3-19, and is owned by China Financial Services Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed company.

#5 Hereford Cathedral School

The Hereford Cathedral School is an independent school founded as a part of Hereford Cathedral sometime in the seventh century, making it extremely likely that it is one of the oldest educational institutions in England. The school is not apart of any groups, however its leading Headmaster is a member of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. It is a public and boarding school, and teaches both boys and girls ages 3-18.

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