Hereford Cathedral School is an independent co-educational school for ages 11 to 18. It is also a member of HMC (The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference).
About the school
From the Headmaster:
Welcome to Hereford Cathedral School. We seek to provide an exciting and dynamic environment in which young people can feel happy in themselves, secure in their learning and confident that they are developing the life skills necessary for the challenges ahead.
Within the beautiful historic setting of the Cathedral Close you will find a unique energy and spirit, where expectations are high and pupils excel. Boys and girls from different walks of life make friends, support each other and share a common sense of purpose.
Small class sizes, specialist teaching staff and strong pastoral care ensure that each pupil is seen as an individual. Traditional values are at the heart of what we do and with an excellent reputation for academic, artistic, musical, sporting and extra-curricular success, Hereford Cathedral School is a very special place to be.
You and your family are warmly invited to come and experience our distinctive school for yourselves. I
look forward to meeting you.
Dr Michael Gray appointed as Headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School
Hereford Cathedral School have announced that Dr Michael Gray, currently Director of Studies at Harrow School, will succeed Paul Smith as Headmaster, after 16 years at the helm, from September.
17th February 2021 — Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, Chair of Governors at Hereford Cathedral School, announced that following a thorough selection process, Dr Michael Gray of Harrow School will succeed Paul Smith as Headmaster of the co-educational day and boarding school.
Dr Gray, who is currently Director of Studies at Harrow School, graduated from King’s College London with a First in History, after which he completed a PGCE, followed by a Masters and PhD at the UCL Institute of Education.
Michael taught at Halliford School in Shepperton and St Edward’s School, Oxford, before joining Harrow in 2013 as Head of Politics.
He subsequently became Academic and Universities Director before taking up his appointment as Director of Studies in 2019 with overall responsibility for all academic matters at Harrow.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Gray said: "I am both delighted and honoured to be appointed the next Headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School and to build on the fantastic work that Paul Smith has done.
"It is an extremely exciting time to join HCS and there is an impressive momentum across the School as we look to realise Vision 2030 and ensure that all pupils are equipped to thrive in a changing world.
"My wife and I are relishing the prospect of moving to the beautiful county of Herefordshire and to join this wonderful community in one of the UK’s leading independent co-educational schools."
Alongside his teaching career, Dr Gray has published two books and several articles on Holocaust education.
He is also a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and Chair of Governors at Elmgrove School, one of the largest state primary schools in London.
He is Secretary at his local church where he and his wife Angharad worship.
Dr Gray will take over when Paul Smith steps down from his role in September 2021 after 16 years at the helm.
Mr Smith gave a ringing endorsement of his successor’s appointment: "I am delighted that the Governors have appointed Michael, who is clearly very able and experienced and who seemed to me to be an excellent match for what Hereford Cathedral School needs for the next stage of its development.
"I have enjoyed meeting Michael and look forward to welcoming him to Hereford in the coming weeks."
Dr Gray was selected from an extremely strong field of over 50 applicants.
Chair of Governors, Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, who led the interview panel said: "We were extremely impressed with Michael’s vision for Hereford Cathedral School and his undoubted commitment to developing yet further the quality of teaching and learning across the whole school.
"The Governors wish to also pay tribute to Mr Smith as he continues to provide outstanding leadership to the School, especially in these challenging times.
Michael is clearly excited and energised by our future plans and the panel were unanimous in their view that he is the right person to be a worthy successor of Paul."
The School looks forward to welcoming Dr Gray and his wife Angharad to the community in a few months’ time.
INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO READYING STUDENTS FOR FUTURE FOLLOWING EXAM CANCELLATIONS
With A-Level and GCSE exams cancelled this summer, Hereford Cathedral School has taken a novel approach to continuing its pupils’ learning over the coming weeks, with a bespoke Remote Enrichment Programme.
8th June 2020 — EDUCATION FOR LIFE: SCHOOL TAKES INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO READYING STUDENTS FOR THE FUTURE FOLLOWING EXAM CANCELLATIONS
With A-Level and GCSE exams cancelled this summer, Hereford Cathedral School has taken a novel approach to continuing its pupils’ learning over the coming weeks, with a bespoke Remote Enrichment Programme.
It has been widely reported that Ofqual’s announcement in April has caused many Year 11 and 13 pupils to feel anxious about putting their lives on hold, with The Independent reporting that it had “left teenagers feeling anxious and confused”. But Hereford Cathedral School is continuing to make pupils’ mental well-being a priority in lockdown.
“It was vital this term that we focussed our attentions on ensuring that our Year 11 and 13 pupils stay motivated and connected.” said Deputy Head, Mr Bruce Blyth, who looks after pastoral care at the School.
The School believes in preparing pupils for the future by providing a range of opportunities to gain new experiences, develop life skills and pursue different interests. Ordinarily this would be through a wide ranging extra-curricular programme, academic studies, life-enhancing trips and experiences, as well as tailored careers and higher education advice. But with lockdown in place, the School has needed to take a different approach, developing an Enrichment Programme that provides students with the opportunity to remotely extend and develop their skills beyond their studies.
“We wanted to offer something for everyone in the Programme, in a format that is easily accessible and will fit around our pupils’ busy schedules,” continued Mr Blyth.
A highlight for many students will be the ‘Midday Meet-Ups’ where they will have the opportunity to ‘meet’ industry professionals online, including Lieutenant General David Leakey CMG CVO CBE, who will be speaking about the fascinating goings-on behind the scenes at Westminster (Black Rod 2011-2017) and Old Herefordians, Paul Thorburn (former RFU and international rugby player) and Katie Alcott MBE (founder of FRANK Water). Other key speakers include Natalia Tena (Harry Potter and Game of Thrones actress), Will Finn (former President of Johnson & Johnson) and Hugo Cohn (lead engineer at McLaren), amongst others.
“We hope our pupils will gain a great deal from the insights that our key speakers will provide, whether that’s from the specifics of their career path or their broader life experience,” added Mr Blyth.
The rest of the programme will be split across three key areas, all accessible online to the School’s domestic and international students: Enhancing Knowledge, Learning Life Skills and Taking the Next Step.
The first of these will cover areas such as improving IT skills and developing knowledge in specific areas of interest, while Learning Life Skills will include everything from student budgets to cookery skills and first aid. Post-school opportunities will be covered in Taking the Next Step sessions, along with skills sessions to ready pupils for the workplace, including lessons on leadership, CVs, job application and interviews, and persuasive speech writing (à la Branson and Boris!).
With some Year 13 pupils having secured employment for the second half of the summer term, and the School’s Year 11 pupils (and new joiners into the Sixth Form) making a start on their A-Level studies this term, the flexibility of the programme will allow them to dip in and out of the sessions that most interest them.
The Enrichment Programme also outlines a whole host of independent academic learning for the pupils. With no summer exams to prepare for, some Year 11 pupils may look to begin their EPQ (Extended Project Qualifications), while Year 13s may be supported to begin a research project of their own. Others may embark upon a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses).
Teaching staff have also supported some students to use their additional time effectively. One standout example is Polly Shorrock, age 17 (left) who has entered a range of essay competitions with Oxford and Cambridge Universities since lockdown began, being highly commended by St John’s and winning first prize in the Girton competition.
Headmaster, Mr Paul Smith, views the plan as a further development to an already successful Remote Learning Programme which all students at the School have been following since March: “Over the last few weeks Hereford Cathedral School has been delivering a Remote Learning Programme that has ensured our pupils have remained on track with their academic studies. However, we have always recognised that this is not the sole function of school, and we have engaged in a plethora of extra-curricular and pastoral sessions which have helped pupils to maintain their well-being, have fun and keep fit.
“The Enrichment Programme is a natural extension to this additional support that we have been offering, and I am grateful to the staff, parents, former pupils and other friends of the school, including some celebrities, who have made this Enrichment Programme possible.”
He added: “We were particularly keen to ensure that our Year 13 students had not only completed the syllabus for each A-Level subject that they were studying, but that we could also provide them with some valuable lessons of life skills that would stand them in good stead for the future.”
You can find full details of the School’s Remote Enrichment Programme and Remote Learning Plans on the website at www.herefordcs.com/about/remote-learning.
Hereford Cathedral School's Cantabile Choir Voted Children’s Choir of the World
A girls' choir from Hereford has been voted Children’s Choir of the World – the first English choir to claim the title. The Cantabile Girls Choir of Hereford Cathedral School won the prestigious title at the Llangollen International Musical Festival.
8th July 2018 — A young girls' choir from Hereford has been voted Children’s Choir of the World – the first English choir to claim the title. The Cantabile Girls Choir of Hereford Cathedral School won the prestigious title at the famous International Musical Eisteddfod Festival in Llangollen, beating off stiff singing competition from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and mainland Europe.
The International Eisteddfod, whose patron is HRH The Prince of Wales, was founded in Llangollen, Wales, in 1947. The Cantabile Girls Choir tied in first place with the British Columbia Girls Choir – each choir will receive a trophy.
The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which was opened last week by singing sensation Alfie Boe, is home to global celebrities – past performers have included Luciano Pavarotti, Van Morrison, Katherine Jenkins, the Kaiser Chiefs and Toploader.
Jo Williamson, choir director of Cantabile, describes how she was ‘absolutely stunned’ to be told by judges that Cantabile had won Children’s Choir of the World and said: “I was speechless when I heard how well we had done and I couldn’t be prouder of the girls!”
Hereford Cathedral School’s Cantabile Girls Choir have been past winners of BBC Songs of Praise and were Barnardo's School Choir of the Year in 2017. Cantabile choir director Jo has herself been voted conductor of the year at the International Eisteddfod in past years. This year, Jo also led the girls to win the folk song category at the Eisteddfod with Waly Waly and Bobby Shaftoe.
Jo, once a globetrotting opera singer until she became a singing teacher at Hereford Cathedral School, founded the Cantabile Girls Choir at the school over 10 years ago. She explained the secret to her success with Cantabile who have automatically qualified for the World Choir Games, which take place in Sweden in 2019, and also dubbed the Grand Prix of Nations.
Jo said: “There are many facets to great singing. Diction is one element but it’s also how you paint each word of a song with colour and tone. You really have to mean what you sing and if you paint your words with colour and tone then you make that song your own.”
In awarding Cantabile first place in the folk song category at the International Eisteddfod, judges said: “The first song, Waly Waly – sensitive singing, full of longing and feeling and full of emotion, which of course this song needs as the song went on. There was a variety in dynamics and it was overall a very, very carefully thought out performance, which really made us feel the song with you.
“The second song, Bobby Shaftoe, great contrast and we felt you never lost the chance to add some interest in the performance. It was light and playful – the voices totally in control.”
Hereford Cathedral School searches for gifted young musician for 100% bursary
A young musician, whose entire school fees at Hereford Cathedral School were paid for by the estates of two music-loving former teachers, has achieved her dream to study music at Oxford. It is now looking for the next pupil for this unique bursary.
24th May 2018 — A young musician, whose entire school fees at Hereford Cathedral School were paid for by the estates of two music-loving former teachers, has achieved her dream of an offer to study music at Oxford University.
Gifted pianist and violinist Livi van Warmelo, 18, whose family could not afford the annual fees at Hereford Cathedral School, has expressed her sincere gratitude to two late sisters, Miss Barbara Knapton and Mrs Kathleen Cavill, who have enabled Livi to attend the independent school since the age of 11.
In 2011 Livi went for a taster day where she successfully obtained a music scholarship of 10% off school fees. But knowing her family simply could not afford to send her there Livi was about to give up. She describes what happened next as “life-changing!”
By sheer coincidence in 2011, local solicitor Julian Fonseca contacted Hereford Cathedral School to inform it that after searching for a suitable recipient of £325,000, left by the sisters to fund the entire school life of a musically gifted pupil, it was to be awarded to Hereford Cathedral School.
The big-hearted sisters, who had been delivered into the world in 1918 and 1920 by Mr Fonseca’s own grandfather, a doctor, had stated that both their estates should be used to create enduring funds to help educate and progress the lives of gifted young musicians in need of financial help.
Barbara and Kathleen wanted to help children access a first class education where music was a strong tradition. Although their capital was not to be touched, the substantial interest generated from their investment has been enough to fully fund a child’s entire schooling at Hereford Cathedral School from the age of 11 to 18.
Recognising Livi’s gift for music in 2011, Hereford Cathedral School immediately got in touch with her mother to tell her the good news. Livi has attended the school from the age of 11 to 18 and has reached Grade 8 Distinction in both the piano and violin. She has also been a soloist in several major concerts and now hopes to take up a place at St Anne’s College, Oxford.
Her mother, Estelle van Warmelo, said: “Without this extraordinary gift it would simply not be possible for our child to attend Hereford Cathedral School. This is without question a life-changing opportunity and we cannot thank the ladies enough for making reachable the unreachable.”
Livi is now helping Hereford Cathedral School to launch the search for the next extraordinary musician to benefit from the Knapton Bursary and says: “This has been such a life-changing opportunity for me. As soon as I visited Hereford Cathedral School I fell in love with its ethos and the teachers, and I so wanted to come here. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this bursary.”
Hereford Cathedral School to open new international boarding house
Hereford Cathedral School, one of the oldest schools in Britain, is to open a new international boarding house for overseas students.
10th May 2018 — A former country house hotel is to become a new international boarding house for pupils Hereford Cathedral School.
The Georgian residence will accommodate up to 31 pupils who can come back to a comfortable, happy home set within five acres of Herefordshire countryside, a range of recreational facilities and residential staff to help them relax in a warm, family atmosphere.
Hereford Cathedral School will start refurbishment of the former country house hotel this summer. Accommodation will be single, twin and dorm-style rooms for up to four students. Boarding pupils can share evening meals together in the oak-panelled dining room and relax in a large lounge and games room.
As well as a broad range of extracurricular activities accessed through school, students will enjoy film and quiz nights, trips to local attractions, events and a full programme of social activities at weekends. Transport is provided to and from school and shopping is in nearby Hereford city.
Two members of staff have been appointed for the new boarding house. Housemistress Pippa Fowler, also teacher of Maths and head of rowing at Hereford Cathedral School, will reside here with husband Richard – a former pupil of the school – and their two young children who also attend the school. Pippa brings with her a wealth of experience from boarding schools, such as historic Rugby School where she was Assistant Housemistress. As a Cambridge graduate of engineering she will also play a key role in preparing overseas pupils for university.
Tutor in Residence will be Ralph Carr teacher of business studies and economics, whose career before teaching as manager at a 300-bedroom top London hotel has made him best-placed to understand the expectations and cultural diversity of a new community of overseas pupils residing in Hereford. A matron in residence will also be appointed in the Autumn.
Describing her excitement at being back in a boarding environment, Mrs Fowler said that the family’s springer spaniel will also be ecstatic because of the many cuddles he hopes to get. “Since moving to Hereford I have missed working within a boarding environment so I was delighted when I heard of the plans to establish an international boarding house,” she said.
“The site is a perfect setting for the school whilst the Georgian architecture of the building makes it feel steeped in tradition. I am looking forward to welcoming a diverse group of international students. I have always enjoyed travelling and worked alongside many different nationalities during the six years I spent as an officer in the Royal Engineers prior to my teaching career.
“The whole Fowler family are looking forward to this new adventure, especially Eddie our springer spaniel, who has missed the endless attention he was given whilst living in a boarding house!”
Mr Carr, who holds prestigious hospitality service awards, said: “My hospitality experience has provided me with invaluable insight into the varying needs, cultural differences and expectations of guests from all over the world.
“Staying away from home can be an unnerving experience for people of all ages but it can very easily become the experience of a lifetime when you have someone anticipating your needs and creating opportunities for you to have a truly extraordinary stay. I cannot wait to take the skills I honed in a first-rate hotel and use them to develop a first-rate boarding house where each and every student can love where they live.”
Planning for this exciting new venture began with the appointment of Head of International Students Stuart Higgins, who has overseen the development of the international boarding house. Higgins, a former headmaster of an international school and whose daughter, Cristina, is former head girl of Hereford Cathedral School, is now accepting applications from overseas families seeking outstanding facilities for their children and a safe and friendly environment in one of Britain’s finest schools.
Explaining the decision by the governing body and senior leadership team to offer boarding at Hereford Cathedral School, Headmaster Paul Smith said: “This new and exciting initiative is the culmination of several years of work in developing an international dimension to Hereford Cathedral School. We take great pride in looking after all our pupils, but pay particular regard to ensuring that pupils from outside the UK are happy, integrated and successful with us."
Picture credits: Nanette Hepburn Photography
Finding out more
Old Deanery, The Cathedral Close, Hereford, HR1 2NG