St Bees School

Our Story

Our Story

Our Rich History...

St Bees School and the surrounding village boast a rich and varied history.  The school was founded in 1583 by Edmund Grindal, who was born in St Bees and went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535, there would have been little opportunity for formal education in this area.  As a result, the Archbishop petitioned Elizabeth I to establish a school on the basis that:

Cowpland (now known as Copeland, the area around and including St Bees) is the ignorantest part in religion and most oppressed of covetous landlords of any part of this realm to my knowledge.”

St Bees School has been an integral part of this picturesque coastal village for many centuries.  Parts of the original buildings are still in use, following significant expansion in 1844, and above the door of the famous Quadrangle you will find the Latin school motto, “Ingredere Ut Proficias: Enter so that you may make progress.”

We’ve had many students come through our doors here at St Bees over the years, many of which have gone on to do amazing things. Rowan Atkinson, William Frankland, Stuart Lancaster and Owen Lattimore are just some of the proud alumni from St Bees School.

Our past students are so proud of our school that they have their own society – the St Beghian Society. Our Old St Beghians (OSBs) still play a huge role in our School and help us plan the future of our school.

History and heritage provide firm foundations – leading the way for the innovative future ahead at St Bees School.

...The Future

As we embark on this exciting venture of the new St Bees, we would like to outline our unique educational philosophy here.

It is this philosophy which underpins everything we do – making us not only distinct from other schools, but far, far more than your average school.

St Bees School…

  • Is modern and internationalised – built on over 430 years of tradition and heritage;
  • Provides a unique fusion of West and East;
  • Promotes academic success in balance with character development;
  • Prepares students for a global tomorrow;
  • Enhances progress through individual mentoring.

At St Bees we employ future-oriented learning strategies, meaning that students are not glued to the desk or to their textbooks.

Active learning takes place here, with lots of opportunity for research-based learning. Our computer room in Foundation has been designed with research in mind and there is a vibrant buzz of student-centred learning in evidence.  Our Fusion Maths programme, in collaboration with the School of Education at Durham University, is providing results well beyond expectation.

We are new, we are vibrant – and we are here to stay.