Lichfield Cathedral School

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What is now Lichfield Cathedral School began as a School of Song and Grammar for boy choristers, probably from the time of St Chad (around 669 AD), but there is evidence in the Cathedral statutes of a Precentor with charge of the choir in 1191.

In 1935 the Dean and Chapter realised that the reorganisation of the school was necessary and a new prep school, called St Chad’s, was opened on 27 January 1942 in the midst of World War II. 

 1950s boys running around Cathedral

Nineteen boys, a mixture of day and boarding, choristers and non-choristers, the founding pupils of the new school, all signed the new constitution. The school prospered and grew. Girls were admitted for the first time in 1974.

In 1981 the school became a financially independent Charitable Trust and took on its new name, Lichfield Cathedral School. In response to parent demand, in 2004 the Board of Governors decided to extend into secondary education. In 2006 the School acquired St John’s Preparatory School in Longdon, which now accommodates Nursery to Year 4 pupils. In 2010, the first Sixth Form classes began. Now comprising 570 pupils (around 45 of whom are Cathedral Choristers and Choral Scholars) from ages 21/2 to 18, and an ever-increasing group of loyal alumni, the Cathedral School continues to thrive.

How the cathedral informs school life and culture

There is the day-to-day experience within the environment – the huge building right in front of the school; collective worship and assemblies in the Cathedral; visual displays in classrooms and corridors detailing our Christian beliefs and values and links with the Cathedral, such as the stained-glass windows and staircase mural at Longdon; feast days and daily services, school concerts, theatrical performances and carol services in the Cathedral. The school feels rooted within the physical Cathedral community.

Christian values are embedded throughout the school in the academic curriculum (Religious Studies up to Year 9 and at GCSE; A Level Philosophy, Ethics and Theology), school policies and procedures, and is apparent by the manner in which children behave towards one another and with staff and visitors alike.

Traditions unique to our school and the Cathedral help to form both our culture and our sense of belonging to an enduring institution committed to religious and intellectual enquiry. In early March, the patronal festival of St Chad is a significant event in the liturgical calendar, with school pupils involved in a Procession from The Close to St Chad’s Well at St Chad’s Church, culminating in a blessing and prayers led by ordained members of Chapter and the Bishop of Lichfield, when available. Pupils, parents and staff take the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation through the Cathedral, while our alumni are welcome to be married in the Cathedral.

At the same time, we are all aware of our responsibility towards cultural stewardship – the centre of worship in Lichfield has taken many forms since the first cathedral was consecrated in 700AD, to the current, only medieval three-spired cathedral in the UK. As one of the oldest places of Christian worship, the burial place of the great Anglo-Saxon missionary Bishop, St Chad, and a magnificent example of extraordinary architecture, the cathedral is a treasured landmark and we have a custodial responsibility to ensure its continued existence and development for future generations.

Cathedral music is one of the UK’s greatest and most distinctive cultural assets and we must evolve to meet the challenges of the context in which it now operates. We are keenly aware that it is our responsibility to maintain the highest quality of singing excellence whilst widening participation and ensuring that our choristers reflect the make-up of the community we serve, both in Lichfield and beyond.