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Kingswood School is an independent day and boarding school located in Bath, Somerset, England. The school is coeducational and educates over 1,000 children aged 9 months to 18 years. It was founded by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in 1748, and is the world's oldest Methodist educational institution. It was established to provide an education for the sons of Methodist clergymen. It owns the Kingswood Preparatory School, the Upper and Middle Playing Fields and a number of other buildings.
Kingswood School was founded by John Wesley in 1748 in Kingswood (then known as King's Wood) near Bristol and was established initially for the children of local colliers. They were joined by the sons of the itinerant ministers (clergy) of the Methodist Church. After Wesley's death, Rev Joseph Bradford was appointed as the first governor in 1795.Woodhouse Grove School was founded in 1812 and was linked with Kingswood as a prep school for much of the nineteenth century. Created in 1995, Kingswood Prep School currently has 300 pupils. The total number of students educated on the Kingswood School campus between the ages of 9 months -18 is 960.
The 1862 book How it was done at Stow School written by Theophilus Woolmer seems to have been based upon the author's own experiences at Kingswood (rather than Stowe School which was not yet established) under the notorious headmaster Crowther who enforced harsh discipline in the school in the 1820s.
The school moved to its present location on the northern slopes of Bath in 1851. The old site was occupied for a while by an approved school. The present site is in the midst of 218 acres (0.88 km2) of the former Lansdown estate of the famous nineteenth-century millionaire eccentric, William Thomas Beckford. The Upper Playing Fields, comprising some 57 acres, are to the north of the senior school and include an athletics track and tennis and netball courts.
Sons of lay people were first admitted to the school in 1922.
1939 This stone 1946
from the buildings of
for friendship and
preservation in exile
from the buildings of
gratitude for friendship
and preservation 1939-1946
During World War II the Kingswood buildings were requisitioned by the government and used by the Admiralty for military planning purposes. The school was evacuated to Uppingham School and continued to function there. The Mulberry harbours used on D-day for the landing on the Normandy beaches were designed at the school and for many years it was thought that they were named after the Mulberry tree that still exists outside the front of the school, whereas Mulberry was simply the next code word on a list. The Moulton Hall was named after ex-pupil Lord Moulton but was remodelled as a library/learning resources area in 2006, and is now called the J O Heap library following a generous bequest from another ex-pupil. During World War II the younger boys were moved to Prior's Court, an estate owned by Colonel Gerald Palmer, MP for Winchester. After the war the estate was purchased from Colonel Palmer and run as a Preparatory School until it was sold in 1997. A small number of boys (around six) started in the Junior house (Westwood) before the war, moved to Prior's Court on the outbreak of war, on to Uppingham and finally back to Kingswood at the war's end. In memory of the event a stone was taken from the Kingswood library, engraved and set in the Uppingham buildings. An Uppingham stone was likewise sent to Kingswood and incorporated in the library wall. The inscriptions on the stones are shown in the accompanying boxes.
Some girls were admitted to the Bristol site in the early days before the school became boarding only. Girls were admitted to the school in its current form from 1972.
Kingswood pupils are divided into Boarding Houses for both living convenience and sporting competitiveness. Each boys house is paired with a girls house (Upper with School, Hall with Fonthill and Middle with Summerhill). This is mainly for social events and unisex sports fixtures (e.g. sports day).
Pupils are sorted into one of six houses in Year 9:
Upper (day boys), house colours are yellow and black.
Middle (day and boarding boys), house colours are green and white.
Hall (day and boarding boys), house colour is maroon.
School (day girls and sixth form girl boarders), house colours are yellow and pink.
Summerhill (day and boarding girls), house colour is blue.
Fonthill (day and boarding girls), house colour is red.
Westwood (day and boarding for boys & girls in years 7 and 8), the largest house with approximately 170-day children and 30 boarders.
Chapel attendance is compulsory at least once a week.
Kingswood has a strong reputation for encouraging sports, with boys playing rugby, hockey and cricket (boys also do tennis, cross country and athletics) and girls playing hockey, netball and tennis (girls also do rounders and athletics). Kingswood competes with all other public schools in Somerset and most students consider King Edward's School, Bath and Prior Park College as their main rivals due to their close proximity and a history of rivalry. Sporting achievements within the school are awarded by the presentation of "Colours", first by a special tie and then a special blazer.
Kingswood School also has a Music Department, providing students with the opportunity to be part of numerous choirs, orchestras, bands and ensembles, including Westwood Voices, Westwood Orchestra, Senior Choir, Chamber Choir, Westwood Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, String Group and Clarinet Group. The school Jazz Band, "KJO" (Kingswood Jazz Orchestra), performs on the first night of Bath International Music Festival in Bath's Green Park Station. Visiting music teachers offer tuition in a range of instruments, and the school provides opportunities for pupils to perform individually in regular informal lunchtime and teatime concerts, as well as in ensembles in the larger Christmas and Spring Concerts. The school also has 15-20 music scholars who contribute to the musical life of the school and perform in an annual concert in January.
Used by the school during term time and available for hire during school holidays, Kingswood Theatre is on the site of the senior school. The theatre was officially opened in 1994 by Sir Edward Heath and completed a partial refurbishment in 2010. The theatre has 366 seats with a capacity of 450. The theatre has been used by BBCQuestion Time on a number of occasions.
Model United Nations
Kingswood hosts an annual international Model United Nations conference, known as the Bath International Schools Model United Nations (BISMUN). Delegates attend from schools worldwide to engage in debates around a range of pressing international issues.
The School has implemented a number of projects to promote the importance of the environment and reduce waste at the school. The School is currently in the process of planting of many new trees and are planning a new energy system using solar and wind power. Kingswood was one of the first schools in the area to adopt the Eco-schools project and be awarded its Green Flag. It has since begun outreach work with other local schools, including Batheaston Junior School. The school was awarded its third Green Flag in 2010.
George Nicholson, an alumnus of Kingswood School, Bath, established a school for boys of the same name in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1916. This new institution inherited some of the traditions of its counterpart in Bath, including the School's crest, motto, colors and distinctive symbol, the Wyvern. In 1969 the school merged with the Oxford School for girls into the new Kingswood-Oxford School.
Kingswood College, Grahamstown
Kingswood College in Grahamstown, South Africa, was founded in 1894 and derives its name and ideals from Kingswood school in Bath. They also use the same distinctive Wyvern crest and abide by the same Methodist ethos.