The Scholars’ Programme at KES 

The Scholars’ programme at KES aims at catering for those students who exhibit scholarly characteristics, namely consistent academic excellence; strong academic potential, intellectual curiosity and scholarly flair, i.e. an ‘edge’ or enthusiasm for learning that will mark them out as different to their peers.  Scholarship is about more than hard work and attainment, with interest and aptitude at least as important in the mix of desirable qualities. The Scholarship programme is designed to support the enthusiasms and the high ability of the pupils involved, to challenge them to look beyond the syllabus, to forge links between their subjects and to consider how their school studies link into the wider world. KES scholars are expected to be role models and leaders of the academic community at school, and the role requires a degree of responsibility in terms of attending events and completing some assignments in order to help them to do this. For more information on the criteria and process for appointing pupils to Scholarships, please click here for further information.


The Scholars’ programme is not uniform nor standardised but organic and responsive, taking advantage of wider interests and events and supporting students in their intellectual growth rather than just setting out another range of tasks to complete. Hence, it may look very different year on year depending on what else is going on in the school or in the wider community, the make-up of a particular group of scholars or what stage of their education scholars are at – Sixth Form scholars will be expected to take advantage of the school’s subject Academic Societies for instance, whilst past scholars have engaged in a Cogit-8 Conference held at KES and next year’s scholars should be participating in one or several joint events with Stroud School. The following is a flavour of some of the things that KES Scholars (and any other interested students!) have been engaged with over the academic year 2019-20:

  • Lower School Scholars have had a series of 20-minute lunchtime talks from interested teachers on subjects that range beyond the curriculum and reflect the enthusiasms of the participating speakers. Recent talks have ranged widely, from the physics of the bagpipes to the properties of water, why contemporary soaps reflect classical drama and why people vote as they do.
  • Lower School scholars were also tasked with choosing a book to read and review from a pre-prepared list of more challenging subject-related reads, to encourage them to look beyond the curriculum, to develop their critical reading skills and to foster a scholarly mind-set.
  • A Spring Challenge essay competition for the Lower School Scholar were entrants had to pen a short essay on their most inspirational piece of music/ Nobel Prize winner/ Building – winning essays included superb efforts on the Taj Mahal, Malala Yousafzai and Holst’s Planets Suite.
  • Upper School scholars were asked to work on a term-long research project, choosing from a range of open-ended and thought-provoking questions such as “Is Capitalism the wrong approach?”, “Is architecture an art form?”, “What are black holes?” or “Do the bacteria in our gut affect how we feel?”. The Scholars presented their findings at a couple of specially-convened Scholars’ Salons, sparking a good deal of interesting discussion.
  • Upper School scholars went on a trip to Oxford on 6th March to an Academy Conference for more able students. They heard talks on issues such as epistemology, the nature of happiness, philosophy and relationships, and more – all designed to spark further thought and to introduce them to new fields.
  • Upper School and Sixth Form Scholars were invited to engage with the ongoing series of History & Classics after school lectures on a range of topics, from Pompeii to the British Empire. In addition, they were asked to attend several ‘Ask the Expert’ after-school talks delivered by visiting academics on all sorts of themes, such as “Banking Myths and the power of Fairy Dust”, or “Humanity & the Cosmos: from the Big Bang to now”.
  • Upper school scholars held a formal debate in response to their being presented with the question “Are Humanity’s best days behind us?”, with the two sides putting forward some insightful and entertaining points – the optimists eventually won! Not to be outdone, the Sixth form scholars held a formal debate (over Zoom during lockdown) on the inter-linked questions “Are people fundamentally selfish or altruistic? Has the current pandemic shed any light on this conundrum? To what extent can institutions rely on people to “do the right thing”?”, prompting some excellent commentary on the possible implications of human behaviour during the Covid-19 epidemic
  • Sixth Form Scholars were asked an open question, to follow their interests and respond to the theme of ‘Race’. Responses ranged from formal essays to exploratory booklets, presentations and local studies. Over a couple of after-school seminars the students shared their responses and discussed their findings, culminating in a wide-ranging discussion on whether ‘race’ was biological or cultural.
Enrichment & Extension

In addition to all of the above, scholars are encouraged to take advantage of the rich array of subject-specific extension and enrichment opportunities available at KES, from co-curricular study trips and relevant Clubs and Societies, through to outside speakers’ talks, essay competitions, student-run presentations and the like. All KES students are encouraged in their learning to ask reaching questions, to look beyond the immediate answer and to engage with extension activities within their lessons. There is much available at KES to ensure that even the most active and agile minds are stimulated and pushed.

Academic Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are available to entrants at age 11+ and 13+, valued at up to 10% of the fee per annum. These will be awarded on the results of the Admissions Examination, taking into account the recommendations of the Head Teachers. The scholarships awarded at 11+ are tenable for three years and those awarded at 13+ are tenable for one year.  There is no need to apply for an Academic Scholarship as all applicants are automatically eligible.

Creative Arts Scholarships 

Creative Arts scholarships are available at 11+ in Music, Art and Drama and at 13+ in Music only. These are valued at up to 5% of the fee per annum and are tenable for three years (one year for the 13+ Music Scholarship). Candidates may apply for one Creative Arts scholarship only.  The successful candidates would be expected, during the tenure of their award, to make an important and continuing contribution to the Creative Arts at the School.

Music Scholarships

The role of a King Edward VI Music Scholar is a very special one indeed.  The Scholars Society meet twice a term to hear from professional musicians, discuss musical issues or debate. Candidate at 11+ should have achieved grade 5 standard on their first instrument (grade 6 for 13+).

For audition, candidates will be asked to play one prepared piece: alternatively, where two instruments are offered, one piece may be played on the candidate’s first instrument, the other on the second. Candidates will also be asked to play a piece of sight-reading on their first instrument and complete two short aural tests.

Drama Scholarships

The candidates on the shortlist will be invited to attend individual auditions and interviews and a group workshop. We will send you two audition pieces in early January from which your child should select one to learn and perform. Auditions will take place in front of the Head of Drama, another member of the Drama Department and the other auditionees. In addition, each child will have a short, informal chat about their performance experience and their interest in Drama. The final session will be a whole group workshop in which the children may be asked to work on various games, improvisations and sketches together.

Art Scholarships

Candidates should prepare a portfolio of their own work. Candidates must display both a flair for, and an interest in, the subject. From the portfolios we receive, a shortlist of candidates will be drawn up and invited to attend a workshop.

The morning will consist of an interview with a member of the department where candidates will have the opportunity to discuss their work and interest in Art. There will be two set tasks where candidates can demonstrate their talents in observational drawing, imagination and three dimensional skills.