Mission Statement

Bristol Cathedral Choir School has an ethos reflecting the Christian faith and with Music as its specialism. It aspires to be a learning community where all achieve their full potential in a supportive and tolerant environment, so that they can contribute fully to the society in which they live.


Welcome to Bristol Cathedral Choir School. The school became an academy in 2008 and draws on a rich heritage which stretches back through centuries of education on the site. We are part of Cathedral Schools Trust and also have National Teaching School accreditation. There are currently over 900 students, from all parts of Bristol, in Years 7 to 13.

We have a comprehensive intake and welcome students of all faiths and none. The distinctive Christian ethos provides a context within which all parts of our community value tolerance, understanding and respect for each other.

Ofsted commented that “we use this diversity to create an ethos and culture that results in the incredibly harmonious community that is an absolute joy to experience.”  

The school has a reputation built on outstanding academic progress and outcomes, both at KS4 and KS5. Our Sixth Form attracts a large number of entrants into Year 12 and is now established as a centre of excellence for A Level study.

As Bristol’s oldest school, we are proud of our long traditions; this includes providing the choristers for the Cathedral Choir.

The music specialism provides an exceptional range of opportunities. Our choirs and ensembles have established a national reputation across a range of genres, from gospel to classical orchestral works. Outstanding student engagement and leadership, in and out of the classroom, is the driving force behind our community.

Working for Us

Interested in working at Bristol Cathedral Choir School?

If you are ambitious, professional and forward-thinking, we’re keen to hear from you, whether you are a teacher or are interested in another post in our School community.

Bristol Cathedral Choir School is Bristol’s oldest school, with origins dating back to at least the 12th century. Yet, while valuing its heritage and traditions, BCCS strives to be a modern school dedicated to delivering the highest standards of teaching and learning in our vibrant city-centre location. In September 2008, BCCS became an Academy – to date, the only British choir school to have made the transition to Academy status. This gives us the freedom to think and act innovatively to find solutions to the challenges of education in the 21st century

If you're searching for your next teaching post, why not contact us now? You'll be working at a great school and be part of a friendly, helpful team. We're always interested to hear from enthusiastic, committed teachers - send us your CV now and say what sort of role you're looking for.


The early years of Bristol Cathedral Choir School are shrouded in mystery. We know that Robert fitzHarding donated money to found a house of Augustinian canons in 1142, and this would have included provision for a small school, to be run by the monks. The site chosen for the building of the monastery is an odd one – on a steep slope dropping towards, what was then, a marsh. It is assumed that the site must have been an important one, probably previously linked to the Augustinian Order. This leads to the theory that there was a monastery already established on the site, and re-founded by fitzHarding. Consequently the School may have been originally founded by St Augustine himself, or one of his followers, during his visit to Britain around 600 AD, which would make our School the second oldest in Britain, and the oldest in Bristol by a good 500 years.

When Henry VIII closed the monasteries the School was allowed to continue, on the same site, and, presumably, with the same monks acting as teachers. The land was sold off, and the monastic church, together with the surrounding area with its buildings, was given to the City of Bristol as a cathedral. The School was re-founded as a charity, with a specific responsibility to educate the choristers. The School continued to exist in the old monastic buildings.

During the 17th century the School was visited by Archbishop Laud, as part of his famous ‘Visitations’. A few years later, during the English Civil War, parliamentarian musketeers were stationed in the cathedral buildings to fire at the Royalists as they came down what is now Park Street. By the 18th century the nature of the School was changing, as the School began to expand to take in more students for a fee. The 19th century saw the destruction of all the monastic records, including all those of the School, in the Bristol Riots of 1831. The rioters entered the Chapter House and burned the extensive library stored there. They were stopped from entering the cathedral and causing more damage by a brave verger who talked them out of causing any more damage.

The First World War left a deep impact on the School – the School war memorial is still displayed in the School library, having been moved from its original site above the fireplace in Pate’s Hall (now the café).

The Second World War saw the School escape disaster – a German ‘plane flying over Bristol (taking photographs to assess the damage caused by a raid the night before) unloaded its bombs before heading home. One high-explosive bomb landed in the Lower Quad and demolished a building (later replaced by the Science Block). There had been a PE class in the Quad moments before, but the boys had persuaded the teacher to let them go early, and they were all safely in the Tuck Shop. Apparently the only casualty was the Headmaster, who was slightly wounded, and rather shocked.

The School continues to use buildings built as part of the monastery, known today as Abbey House (the Porter’s Lodge), the Deanery (much of it is 17th century, but there are Norman features at its base) and the Head’s Block (the Frater), and, of course, the two quadrangles, Upper and Lower.

The fee-paying Bristol Cathedral School closed in the summer of 2008. Its replacement Academy, Bristol Cathedral Choir School, opened in September 2008, with its official opening by HRH The Princess Royal taking place in February 2010. This period was characterised by a major investment in new facilities on the west side of College Square: first to be completed was the Rectory building, followed by the Parsonage and then the Cresswell Centre, which was opened by Lord Adonis in September 2011.

  • The Bristol Cathedral Choir School Prayer (Written by Cecil Rich, Headmaster 1946-1970): Oh God our Father, bless we pray this our school. We thank thee for the noble purpose of our Royal Founder King Henry VIII in establishing it to be a nursery of true Religion and Education. Grant O Lord that we may rightly use this time of our preparation to develop to the full the gifts thou hast entrusted to us of spirit, mind and body. May we learn here to live together in fellowship for the common good not thinking of ourselves alone That we may be ready to serve thee with all our talents in Church and State to thine honour and glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Cathedral Schools Trust

We are part of the Cathedral Schools Trust:

A multi-academy trust in the South West. We value diversity and encourage excellence and believe that strong and trusting relationships are at the heart of good education.


Cathedral Schools Trust is a multi-academy trust based in the South West. The trust currently includes Bristol Cathedral Choir School (a secondary academy since 2008), Cathedral Primary School (a primary free school that opened in 2013), Headley Park Primary School and Victoria Park Primary Schools (which joined CST in August 2017). 

We were approved in September 2016 to open a new secondary free school in Bristol (CST Trinity Academy) with a provisional opening date of September 2019. Cathedral Schools Trust is hoping to grow further over the next 2 years and to develop with both secondary and primary provision.