Westminster Under School

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Template:Infobox UK school Westminster Under School is an independent school and preparatory school for boys aged 7 to 13 and is attached to Westminster School in London.

The school was founded in 1943<ref name="article1">Template:Cite encyclopedia</ref> in the precincts of Westminster School in Little Dean’s Yard, just behind Westminster Abbey. In 1951 the Under School relocated to its own premises in Eccleston Square. Due to rising numbers of pupils in the 1960s and 1970s, the school moved again in 1981 to its present site (which was a former hospital) overlooking the Westminster School playing fields in Vincent Square.<ref name="article1"/> There are 267 pupils attending the school. The school has a strong musical, tradition and provides choristers for St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey. It also excels in sport, drama, chess and Latin. Most boys attending the school move on to Westminster School after the completion of either Common Entrance or Scholarship examinations (The Challenge), although a number of boys each year go on to other schools, including Eton.

The Master is Elizabeth Hill; the Deputy Master is David Bratt. There are currently 39 members of staff.

The school fees for 2010-11 are £4726 per term.


The Under School was founded in September 1943<ref name="isbi.com">http://www.isbi.com/isbi-viewschool/1051-Westminster_Under_School.html</ref> in 2 Little Dean's Yard (now known as Grant's House) by the former Headmaster of Westminster School, John Traill Christie. thumb There were only 6 teachers when the school was established and only 31 boys. Dean's Yard was used as a playing field for the boys and the roofless remains of the School, the bombed school hall were used as a playground. St Faith's Chapel in Westminster Abbey served as the school chapel.

After the war, the school moved to its own premises in Eccleston Square, and in 1981 moved to its present site in Vincent Square to cope with expanding numbers.


Competitive entrance examinations for Westminster Under School can be taken at 7+, 8+ or 11+. Entry into Westminster Under School at 11+ attracts many pupils from the state sector. At this stage, the school also offers Music Scholarships and means-tested bursaries.

Previous School Fees

Date Per term Per year
2005-06 £3,697 £11,091<ref name="isbi.com"/>
2006-07 £3,900 £11,700
2007-08 £4,163 £12,489
2008-09 £4,412 £13,236
2009-10 £4,544 £13,632


The school is housed with three buildings, one being Adrian House, a four-storey building in the South East corner of Vincent Square in Central London. It underwent a major rebuilding programme in 2001, when new classrooms, a new hall, Art Department and IT suite were built on the site of the old hall. In addition, all the classrooms and labs were refurbished. The school uses the hall as a theatre for drama performances. The school has access to 2 science laboratories, an IT suite and the basement of the school is devoted entirely to the music department. The building opposite houses a canteen, many art studios, staff meeting rooms and staff accommodation. The school also hires facilities at the nearby Queen Mother Sports Centre and at Battersea Park to supplement the playing fields of Vincent Square. The school uses Lawrence Hall in Vincent Square as a sports hall, which opened in September 2012, alongside Westminster School.


thumb]] The school, being attached to Westminster School, sends the oldest year of the school (year 8) to take part in the annual pancake greaze on Shrove Tuesday.This is watched by the year below in the Great Hall. The school is Anglican and has a Thursday service in St Stephens Church, Rochester Row.

The school also holds an annual music competition each spring in which all boys may enter one piece of music for any instrument they play. There is a maximum number of pieces entered per boy; this is three. Also, each boy may enter with one additional singing piece. If necessary, the piece or songis accompanied by a schoolmaster. Rewards are given for every piece entered and more rewards for progression to the second round. From the second round onwards, the pieces are grouped into categories; singing, plucked strings (mainly guitar or harp), bowed strings, percussion (not including keyboard instruments), keyboard, woodwind and brass. The whole school watches the two finals; the year 3-6 finals, and the years 7 and 8 finals. In each age category, there is a winner and a runner up in each instrumental category. The finals are almost always judged by a visitor from outside of the school. The visiting judge may also highly commend a few musicians for outstanding pieces. There is also a prize for the best composition (a separate category).

There is also a reading competition held in a very similar suit, in which each boy chooses and learns a short piece of prose or poetry (whether it be fiction or not), based on a given theme, and learns it so it can be recited by heart. The competition is held in the winter and proceeds very much like the reading competition. The judge chooses winners and runners-up based on choice of piece, but more importantly the presentation given. The reading competition is compulsory for each boy to enter. These are both house events, so points are given to houses for the results of the competition which are added to other points from other competitions or events, for trophies.

A photography competition and a model competition are held by the art department (both optional to enter). There is also a general knowledge quiz, written by a Latin, Greek and sports teacher, S.R.H. James. S. R. H. James is also the author of the series, Latin I, Latin II and Latin III. The quiz is held annually at the start of winter, and is scored out of 100. Boys who obtain a set mark (usually between 64 and 68) are permitted to the second round. Boys who do well in the second round are entered to the SATIPS nation-wide general knowledge quiz.


The school uniform consists of a grey shirt, grey trousers, grey or black socks and black shoes. A grey jumper with a pink v-neck may also be worn and, in the summer, grey polo shirts may be worn without a tie. Unless a pupil is wearing a polo shirt, a tie must be worn. The school tie is pale grey with pink stripes; a house tie (Year 8's only), may be either Blue, Red, Yellow, or Green; half colours are pale grey with pink stripes and the colours tie is plain pink. Colours are awarded for sporting achievements. Boys in the Senior Choir ( Years 6,7&8) are awarded a very navy blue tie with pink and pale grey. Boys also have games kits, consisting of blue shorts and socks, and a white or blue top. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th XIs and the U11A team, however, have specialised football clothes, which are pink shirts with black embroidery, blue shorts and blue socks.


Years 3 & 4

In Years 3 and 4, pupils are taught in most subjects by the same teacher (usually their form teacher), however they have specialist teachers in French, music, art, IT, PE and games. There is only one form of 20 boys in Year 3, and only 2 forms in Year 4 as the school only accepts 20 pupils per entry point.

Years 5 & 6

In Year 5, the following subjects are taught, all by specialist teachers: mathematics, English, science, French, history, geography, religious studies, music, art, drama, IT, PE and games. Year 5 are also taught Roman and Greek mythology to prepare for when they start Latin in Year 6. In Year 7, the boys are split into sets for Maths according to their performances in their Year 6 summer exams.

Years 7 & 8

Another two forms are created for the 11+ entrance and there are Saturday morning classes for the new Year 7 classes, during which they study Latin and French, so as to reach the standard of their fellow students when they join the school. The curriculum remains the same in Years 7 and 8, however, Greek (optional for Common Entrance) is added to the curriculum and the year is split into 4 forms of 15-19 boys each, usually with 2 preparing for Common Entrance and 2 preparing for scholarship examinations.


The school is organised into 4 houses, based on the charges on the Westminster coat of arms; Tudors (Red), Lions (Blue), Fleuries (Green) and Martlets (Yellow). There are regular inter-house competitions during the school year, including music, Scrabble and Chess. All the houses have a House Captain, Vice-Captain and 2–3 monitors.


The school has many extras (or clubs) boys can take part in. These extras range from Bridge and Chess to Swimming and Fencing. From Judo and Karate to Bookshop and Singing at St. Margerets Church, Westminster Abbey. Most extras take place after school time.

Notable alumni

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer)
  • Julian Lloyd Webber (cellist)
  • Jason Kouchak (pianist/composer)
  • George Benjamin (composer)
  • Alfred Enoch (Actor)
  • Luke McShane (Chess player)
  • Dan McKenzie (professor)
  • Ben Adams (singer)


See also

  • Westminster School



External links

Template:Schools and colleges in Westminster