King Edward VI Aston

King Edward VI Aston School (KEASTON) is a selective, all-boys' grammar school and specialist Sports College. The school is located in the Aston area of Birmingham, England.

The school is part of the Foundation of the Schools of King Edward VI which runs seven schools in Birmingham. Currently Aston has 740 boys with 210 of those in the Sixth Form.

The current headmaster is Mr. C. Parker who previously worked at the school in the history department and now teaches A-level Government and Politics. His deputy headmaster is Mr. F. Hedley who currently teaches GCSE History.


The King Edward VI Aston schools were founded in 1883 as separate boys' and girls' schools in a common building. In 1911 the girls' school moved out to a new building in Handsworth and merged with two smaller Foundation schools (Summer Hill and Bath Row). The whole Aston building was then used for boys. With the departure of the girls, the Pyramus and Thisbe Wall (which had previously served to separate the boys from the girls) was also removed. King Edward VI Aston is the only school in the foundation which still occupies its original site. The original buildings are still in regular use, but there have been significant alterations and extensions. In 1963, the "New Building" was opened. More recently, the school has added a sports hall and a building to house the languages departments.

The 1963 building, known once more as Douglas House (after a double fronted Victorian villa that stood on the same site), has been extended and refurbished to provide four extra laboratories, a teaching kitchen, new classrooms for Art, DT and Music, a conference room, a first aid room and offices. The extension was named the Watcyn Thomas Wing, after a former Welsh Rugby International who taught at the school for 37 years. It was completed in the spring of 2008, and opened on 20th May by Bob Simpson - Aston Old Edwardian and School Governor.


Aston has had only eight headmasters in 125 years:

  • John Temperley - 1883-1894
  • Ernest W. Floyd - 1894-1912
  • Joseph Manton - 1913-1936
  • Leonard G. Brandon - 1937-1970
  • Dennis W. Hawley - 1970-1984
  • Neil W. Gamble - 1985-1991
  • Peter A. Christopher - 1992-2004
  • Colin Parker - 2004-present

The average term for an Aston headmaster has been approximately seventeen years. The longest serving was Mr. Brandon, who held the position for 33 years (one hundred terms).

House system

The House System within the school has a fundamental role in the school's structure. There are three houses, each of which takes its name from a previous Head Master at the school (ie. Manton, house colour yellow, emblem a portcullis: Temperley, purple, Tudor rose; and Floyd, blue (formerly brown), lion rampant). There used to be a fourth house, School (green, fleur-de-lis), but this closed in 1968. The three houses compete against each other throughout the year, in both sporting and non sporting events. The culmination of the year's sporting House achievements is represented by the presentation of the Hawkesford Trophy to the successful Head of House. Temperley have won this trophy for the last three years after having gone nearly 30 years previous without the trophy.


Recognised as a Sports College, King Edward's Aston offers as many as 27 sports and specialises in a good number (below) during 1hr 40min sports sessions for all Year 7-11 pupils.

Senior (Year 12 and 13) pupils are offered the chance to take part in many activities within and outside the school during their games lessons.

Each year each house competes to win the Hawkesford Trophy based on each house's performance in a variety of sports, starting in October with the Cross-Country race involving a 1-mile lap around Aston Park located next door to the school. Throughout the three terms there are sports such as football, Badminton, Basketball, Volleyball, Cricket, Rugby, Rugby Sevens, Swimming Gala, Tennis, Hockey etc and it all culminates to the end of year Sports Day at nearby Alexander Stadium which is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar.

Sporting visits

In July 2006 35 rugby players and 5 staff completed a rugby tour of Australia. Previous tour destinations have included Northern Ireland and South Africa and a further tour of South Africa is planned.

Additionally, each year, a group of students, usually those studying for GCSE PE, spends one week a year at Ogwen Cottage in Snowdonia, North Wales. Here, they take part in outward bounds activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, orienteering and hill walking.

Music and drama

Music and Drama flourish at Aston. They are both very active departments within the school.


The Music department offers tuition in almost any instrument. All boys who play an instrument are able to join one of the many ensembles in the school, ranging from the Training Band to the Big Band, which has recorded three CDs. While the school has its own String Orchestra, and Concert Band, it also has a joint Orchestra with King Edward VI Handsworth. Every ensemble performs in at least one concert a year. Several of them, particularly the school Big Band, perform in many more. The department draws senior musicians from all ensembles to form pit bands for the school productions.

Each year the department is host to the annual House Music Festival in which all boys in years seven to ten have the opportunity to show off their musical talents and represent their house. The competitors are divided into several categories, by year group and instrument. Each competitor can perform in as many solo categories as they are able, and in one ensemble. The performances are judged by a visiting adjudicator.

Each year the department goes on tour and on 13th July 2006 a large number of musicians departed for Belgium. In July 2008 many members of the same bands that went to Belgium departed on a tour to the Rhineland in western Germany. The tour was a great success and the school hopes to do another one in 2010.


The Drama department has a range of extracurricular activities going on throughout the year. Annually, alongside the girls' school, King Edward VI Handsworth, Aston puts on at least one full school production. The location of the main school play alternates each year, with both schools hosting a number of smaller productions. In recent years, Aston has staged West Side Story, Threepenny Opera, October's Children and The Visit. Productions of Return to the Forbidden Planet, Little Shop of Horrors and Grease have recently been staged at the girls' school with boys from Aston taking part.

The combined Sixth Forms of Aston and Handsworth also stage a production of one of Shakespeare's plays once a year. This year saw a performance of Macbeth to follow Othello in December 2006, Hamlet in 2005 and Much Ado About Nothing in 2004.

The Drama Department also holds a House competition, in the form of the House Drama Festival. In recent years, the format has changed but the objectives are still the same. Each house holds a short production and competes against each other. A panel of judges decides which production was the best. Floyd won the 2007 competition, with Manton 2nd and Temperly last.

Festival of Cultures

For many, the highlight of the school year is the annual Festival of Cultures held in July, after all examinations have finished. The Festival aims to celebrate the broad diversity of cultures represented in the school community. It also provides students with opportunities to take part in a wide range of activities associated with individual cultures in workshops.

Before 2005, the Festival of Cultures took place during afternoon school, and students attended one workshop. However, the new format of the event sees students have a whole day off timetable, and all students in years seven to ten attend three workshop sessions. Previous workshops have included origami, Bhangra dancing, magic, yoga and pizza making, amongst many more. The 2006 Festival was held on 12th July and included workshops for Hungarian Dance, Opera, Cartoon Drawing, African Dance, Bollywood Film, a visit to a Spanish Restaurant and many more. Prefects and staff supervise individual workshops, whilst Senior Prefects oversee the smooth running of the event as a whole. Senior Prefects also decorate the quadrangle and piazza areas with flags and bunting to add to the festival atmosphere.

The Festival continues into the evening, with current students and their families, staff, old boys, and new students (set to join in September) invited. The evening consists of a programme of entertainment, based largely on the workshops from the day. There are also displays of art work and several food outlets, including a tea shop, a barbecue and the International Food Hall. There are also several stalls, including, for the first time in 2006, a Fair Trade stall.

School officers and prefects

Each year Aston has a School Captain, a School Vice-Captain (or two/three Vice Captains) and a team of Senior Prefects who, combined together, help to run the school with the guidance of staff. The School Captain and Vice Captains are known as the School Officers. Every other student in Year 13 is a prefect, and approximately 20 are Senior Prefects chosen from Year 13. Each Senior Prefect leads a group of prefects in a variety of different tasks across the school including prefect duties and helping to organise events such as the The Festival Of Cultures. Three House Captains are also appointed at the beginning of each year. The current school captain is Thejasvi Subramanian. His predecessor was Christopher Ferguson. The current vice captains are Peter Robertson and Sanjay Patel.

School song

The School Song is sung during the final assembly of each term. It is also sung during the Leavers' Assembly and on Speech Night.

Traditionally, the third verse is sung more quietly than verses one and two, and verse four is the loudest. It is now common for students to clear their throats in an overly exaggerated way after the third chorus. However, this practice was briefly suspended at the request of Mr J.G.Smith, the school's last Senior Master, during his final assembly in 2002, after 32 years at the school. The song is frequently quoted during assemblies throughout the year.

First verse:
Now let us lift our voices,
With one consent to sing
Long live the name of Edward,
Our Founder and our King !
Who will not join this chorus
Is either rogue or fool,
Long live the name of Edward,
God bless the brave old School.

Long live the good old School boys
Let all good fellows sing,
Long live the name of Edward,
Our Founder and our King !

Second Verse:
We sing our living heroes,
Who learnt the game of life,
In Cricket's honest warfare,
And Football's manly strife,
In triumph ever modest,
In danger ever cool,
They win throughout the world boys,
Fresh laurels in the School.

Long live the good old School boys
Let all good fellows sing,
Long live the name of Edward,
Our Founder and our King !

Third Verse:
We sing our great departed,
Whom none may disallow,
Strong souls whose tasks are ended,
Sweet voices silent now,
Their memories lead us forward,
To still uphold the fight,
To strike at wrong and falsehood,
To guard the truth and right.

Long live the good old School boys
Let all good fellows sing,
Long live the name of Edward,
Our Founder and our King !

Fourth Verse:
Old time is on our track boys,
And seas may soon divide,
The voices now united,
The friends now side by side,
But wheresoe'er we carry,
The pride of Edward's name,
Let each forget himself boys,
And play to win the game.



  • King Edward Grammar School for Girls, Handsworth 1883-1983, Alison Thorne, 1983

School 1School Prospectus

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