St. Sidwell’s is a one-form entry Church of England Primary school in the heart of Exeter that caters for children from ages 3 to 11.
It is a happy and successful school where teachers, staff and parents work together to ensure children get a wonderful and positive start to their lives!
We invite you to visit the school and see for yourself how happy, confident and successful children are in our school. We have a strong home/school partnership and we do everything we can to make parents/carers feel welcome in school and actively involved in their child’s education. This enables children to make the most of everything the school has to offer.
Although St Sidwell’s is steeped in history, the school was completely re-built in 2005/2006 and therefore provides modern, well-equipped accommodation. The school has 8 classrooms, including an Early Years Foundation Stage unit for Reception and Nursery aged children. The school environment, both inside and out, is attractive, providing a safe, secure and stimulating place for children to learn and play.
The school offers breakfast and after school clubs (Fun Club) to support those parents/carers in need of quality childcare beyond the school day.
We are proud of the caring, welcoming Christian ethos that pervades our school and which is routinely commented on by visitors. As a Church of England school this ethos is very important to us and it underpins life at our school. Through our Christian values we try to nurture all children, irrespective of their faith, and support them to grow in confidence and self-esteem. This, along with the excellent behaviour and engagement of the children, was acknowledged in both our OFSTED inspection (2016) and Church inspection report (March 2012).
St Sidwell’s School, the first Parish School in Exeter, dates back to 1665, when it was established by the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral in a small schoolroom in the churchyard of St Sidwell’s Parish Church. There were several benefactors, including the Rev. John Bury, father of the Rector of Exeter College, Oxford. The school was founded to impart Christian education according to the beliefs and practices of the Church of England. Today it is a Voluntary Aided Church of England School, maintained by the Local Authority and although it is still first and foremost a Church of England school, its pupils are of many faiths.
The school has relocated several times, but has been on the present site since 1853. By the 1900s St. Sidwell’s was a school ahead of its time, teaching French, shorthand and typing. The City Football Team was previously called St. Sidwell’s Old Boys. The Bishop of Exeter opened new classrooms in 1973 for the Combined First and Middle Schools. The Nursery was opened in 1988. The school became a Primary school during re-organisation in Exeter in 2005 and now caters for children from 3-11. The old school is the setting for many children’s books by the author Gene Kemp, who taught here in the 1970s. Her stories make use of the rich variety of backgrounds of the school’s pupils, some of whose family surnames feature in the earliest recorded history of Exeter. Today, St. Sidwell’s welcomes families from all over the world - some are postgraduate students or lecturers at the university; others come on a more permanent basis to work in the city centre. The school was extended at various times but it was becoming costly to maintain and increasingly unfit for education in the 21st century and was finally demolished in August 2006.Governors were delighted to receive government funding for a brand new school, which was built between September 2005 and August 2006.
The new building offers superb accommodation that greatly enhances teaching and learning. Children have access to excellent ICT facilities, an attractive library, areas for cookery and creative work as well as comfortable, well-equipped classrooms. The bell, which was loved by many, has been retained from the old building and now has a new home in a purpose-built bell tower by the school’s main entrance. It is still rung at the beginning and end of each school day.