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Menu Senior School Why Boys Only? Academic Pastoral Lower School (Years 7 and 8) Year 9 Middle School (Years 10 and 11) Medical and Health Catering Enrichment Sport Performing Arts Music Music Technology Drama Co-curricular Trips Outdoor Pursuits Clubs and Activities GCSE Results Why QEH Senior School? Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital is no ordinary school. These [...]

Why QEH Senior School?

Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital is no ordinary school. These pages show a little of those special qualities which make QEH unique, but you need to visit and meet our students to understand fully why QEH is so different from other schools in Bristol and beyond.

With only 650 Senior and 100 Junior day pupils, we know every student. Individuals truly matter here. Whether they are talking to boys in Year 7 or girls in our Sixth Form, visitors comment on the friendliness and confidence of our pupils, while they in turn speak about how well they get on with each other and the staff.

We are academically selective but not socially exclusive. There’s a good mix of people at QEH. Examination results at QEH are outstanding. It is a pleasure to work in such a unique place and a privilege to play a part in shaping the lives of the young people of QEH.

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Hear more from our Head

Any parent choosing a school for their child wants to know the answer to the question ‘Why here?’ I hope that the information on these pages will help you explore why you might choose QEH. We’ll give you a real insight into the warmth and friendliness of our close-kinit community, the liveliness and breadth of our curriculum, the rich co-curricular activities and the strong values we instil in our pupils.

With only 670 Senior and 100 Junior day pupils, we know every pupil. Whether they are talking to boys in Year 7 or girls in our Sixth Form, visitors comment on the friendliness and confidence of our pupils, while they in turn speak about how well they get on with each other and the staff.

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Boys Only

We believe that, in the earlier years of school, boys learn best this way.

At QEH, we understand boys and teach in ways that suit them. We know their foibles, their tendency to leave things until the last moment and their need to be active in their learning. And we understand how to coax them out of the teenage blues.

In a boys’ only environment – in our lower and middle school – boys are freer to acknowledge their feelings and develop self-confidence, and are less likely to succumb to unhelpful stereotypes of subjects or activities being ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’. This means they’re just as happy to read a poem in assembly, sing in the choir and perform on the stage as they are to play in the rugby or football team.

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We aim to produce young adults who are well-educated not just well-qualified. Small classes, a positive work ethic and teachers with a real passion for their subject create a learning environment where students are stretched, not stressed.

All our boys are bright but they have different academic needs: some are gifted mathematicians and go on to distinguish themselves in national competitions; others are talented linguists. Many love science and go on to become doctors or engineers; others love reading and writing, expressing themselves elegantly in poems and essays. Some like the cut and thrust of debate in politics and history, whilst others like to work creatively or collaboratively in art, music and drama.

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Pupils need to feel happy and safe at school. If they do, they are free to enjoy their learning and they can explore new opportunities with confidence..

People often comment on how self-assured and well mannered our pupils are. Their friendly spirit and good behaviour are partly the result of unobtrusive but strong pastoral care.

In a school our size, we know every student. Each one has a personal Tutor and a Head of Year, and the School Counsellor is available to all. If something goes wrong, we spot it and, most importantly, we work hard to solve the problem effectively and sensitively.

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Lower School (Years 7 and 8)

From the outside QEH may appear daunting, especially for new boys to the school. On the inside, however, it is a totally different story.

Introduction to Life at QEH

New boys and parents are invited to meet staff, tour the building and speak to their son’s future tutors in the Summer term before they join. The boys are also invited to spend a day at school to experience some lessons and to enjoy a visit to the Sports Ground. Above all, the boys will be able to get to know their new school friends, taking some of the worry out of that first official day in September.

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Year 9

Year 9 is distinctly defined at QEH, being between the Lower and Middle School and offering boys unique challenges and opportunities.

Experienced staff guide Year 9s in the transition from Year 8 to GCSE, helping them to flourish, knowing that physically and emotionally they develop at different rates. Some boys will battle with adolescence much earlier than others and you may notice that your son seems less communicative as the year goes on. Others remain immature in their outlook and may struggle with the serious choices facing them in the Spring term. Friendship groups may also change which is unsettling for some, particularly as they enter new form groups.

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Middle School (Years 10 and 11)

The transition through the Middle School is a pivotal period between the early years of secondary school and university preparation in the Sixth Form.

We are aware of the dramatic series of physical and emotional changes that occur between the ages of 14 and 16 as boys cope with the challenges of adolescence. They are encouraged to develop positively their new found opinions and independence, whilst realising the aims of the Middle School:

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Medical and Health

Medical care and health advice are provided by the School Nurse Team who are on duty during the school’s working day for all QEH pupils, parents, staff and visitors.

The medical details of all pupils are kept in the Health Centre and teaching staff are provided with a list of pupils with specific conditions (with parents’ consent) that may adversely affect any part of their school life.

The Treatment Room is open for accidents, injuries and illnesses. Detailed medical records are kept of everyone seen in the Health Centre and parents are notified as soon as possible of any problems. Medicines are kept in locked cabinets and records are kept securely.

The Health & Safety Committee meets once a term to review and analyse all accidents.

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Our contract caterers, Holroyd Howe, provide first-class lunches for our pupils. These offer a healthy, balanced, nutritious diet each day for our pupils. Holroyd Howe also provide excellent breakfasts, which are available for pupils to purchase, and catering for special functions.

To ensure that all pupils are catered for, there are times that you may need to discuss individual needs with us. We request you contact either the School Nurse or the Catering Department

Frequently asked questions:

What sort of meals can I expect my child to have at school?

Each day we provide a range of meal options, including hot main courses, vegetarian and vegan options, pasta/jacket potatoes, salads, fruit and vegetables, and hot and cold desserts. View typical menus here.

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QEH cares about the way our students develop as human beings. All pupils in Years 7 to 10 take part in an exciting and meaningful programme that ensures our students are equipped to live a responsible and fulfilling life.

In their first four years at the Senior School, our boys are given the skills and guidance to cope with the pressures of the modern world, and to develop their talents and personalities beyond the academic curriculum. In these formative years prior to external examinations, all of our students spend an afternoon a week participating in activities and sessions that have been designed to support and challenge them.

This Enrichment Programme develops our students in the following areas;

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Every pupil is good at something in addition to their academic work, and everyone needs to develop an interest outside the classroom.

Many thrive on opportunities to develop their talents in sport: others just enjoy taking part! Some don’t enjoy team sport at all and we offer a range of opportunities from hiking to climbing, which ensures that all can gain exercise without feeling miserable. Being involved, in every sense, is what counts.

For those who are involved in team activities QEH has extensive sports facilities at nearby Failand, in conjunction with Bristol City Football Club.  We have recently invested a further £2.7million in a project to redevelop our facilities  to include a 3G artificial surface for rugby and football, sand dressed artificial surface for hockey and tennis as well as tarmac surfaces for netball and tennis, and these were officially opened by Charles Piutau, Bristol Bears, in early September 2019.

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Performing Arts

The Performing Arts flourish at QEH.

Through music, words and theatre, boys explore and express feelings they can’t necessarily articulate in other ways. In doing so, they embark on a lifelong journey appreciating beauty and excellence. They also grow in stature and confidence, becoming young men who are happy in their own skin.

Music and Drama are on the curriculum in Years 7 and 8 and both subjects are available at GCSE and A-level. In the Sixth Form we also offer Music Technology as an A-level subject.

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Music is at the heart of school life at QEH and plays a key role both socially and academically. Our aim is to offer everyone the opportunity to get involved in the many varied musical activities we provide.

There are a large number of musical ensembles in which pupils can participate, most of which rehearse regularly during the school week. We also run a Music Tech Club and regular recording workshops which allow those more interested in composing and recording, the opportunity to develop these skills.

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Music Technology

With our dedicated music studio, we offer workshops for pupils to learn the basics of how to use a recording studio and also give them the opportunity to record their own ensembles or solo performances.

Music Technology is now a well-recognised subject within the A-level curriculum and offers students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the big-money music technology industry.

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QEH Theatre is a striking modern building, with a comfortable three-sided auditorium seating 220, creating an intimate and dynamic atmosphere.

It is the home of the Drama department, and here we enable each individual pupil to develop their talents, ensuring that their intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional and physical development is nurtured.

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Sometimes students learn as much out of the classroom as in it.

Climbing in the Himalayas, singing in the USA, skiing in the Alps and just enjoying Bristol Zoo – we believe in offering rich and diverse experiences beyond the classroom which complement what we do in school.

Younger boys throw themselves into the annual Activities Week, older ones tackle the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the annual Ten Tors Competition.

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Outdoor Pursuits

In recent years the programme for Outdoor Pursuits has become a special strength of the school.

Pupils at QEH love to be active and regularly take part in Outdoor Pursuits. QEH encourages wider participation from those who would not normally consider themselves to be ‘sporty’ in the conventional sense.

As well as participating in the annual Ten Tors Challenge, over 150 students are involved in Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with six weekends a year dedicated to Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions.

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Clubs and Activities

QEH prides itself on the range of activities it provides, reflecting the wide interests and talents of the pupils and the commitment of the staff.

In the early years we nudge them into new areas including Junior Drama, the Choir, Photography, Fencing, Gardening Club and much more. Beyond this you can find groups of pupils pitting their wits against each other in chess and at table tennis.

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QEH prides itself on offering a comprehensive range of trips and educational visits, designed both to enhance the pupils’ learning and stimulate their inquisitiveness.

Our city centre site is ideal with so much within walking distance: City Museum & Art Gallery; RWA; city docks with SS Great Britain, the ‘Matthew’ and MShed; Watershed media centre and Arnolfini; Avon Gorge, Leigh Woods and Clifton Suspension Bridge; Bristol Zoo and Botanical Gardens; Hippodrome and Theatre Royal; Colston Hall; We The Curious; BBC; Bristol University; Bristol Cathedral and Lord Mayor’s Chapel, and Ashton Court estate. We are spoilt for choice.

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GCSE Results

We are delighted that our pupils have been successful in their efforts to gain top GCSE grades after 18 months of Covid-related disruption to learning. This year’s exam success is a result of the pupils’ commitment to learning, ably supported by both teachers and parents.

“At QEH, we firmly believe in the importance of a strong partnership between school and home to ensure each pupil is supported to achieve to the best of their ability. This partnership has been even more important during the pandemic with pupils learning under changing Covid restrictions,” said Rupert Heathcote, Head of QEH.

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  • “The School gets boys. It’s the way the teachers talk to the boys. And if there is anything. its dealt with straight away.”
    Current parent 
  • Request a brochure
    Arrange a visit

Why QEH Junior?

“We spent at least four years considering which would be the right school for our boys and from the moment we walked into QEH Juniors we had the feeling that this was the right school.”  Year 5 parent

At QEH Junior School, we offer a values-based education with outstanding pastoral care, a nurturing academic environment and an ethos building kindness, confidence and resilience.

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Hear more from our Junior Head

These four years in a boy’s life are crucial. This is when he develops the attitudes, values and ways of thinking that will shape him as an adult. We seize this opportunity to influence, offering pupils an outstanding academic education that also prepares them for life with small class sizes where no boy is overlooked. Our core values are respect, resilience, reflection and kindness and we demonstrate and celebrate these every day.

We’ll follow your son’s passions, helping him realise that learning can be fun. Our supportive and holistic view of education allows boys to fulfil their potential. Read More

Our Pastoral Care

‘‘The school gets boys. It’s the way the teachers talk to the boys. And if there is anything, it’s dealt with straight away.” Current Parent

We know what makes a boy ‘tick’ and we endeavour to support pupils and parents as they progress through the school.

We believe that each boy’s needs are catered for in an individual way, so that he may achieve his utmost potential. Read More

Our Teaching and Learning

“Children are stretched because the teaching can be individualised to suit the needs of every boy.” Year 6 Parent

We promote a holistic education inspiring curiosity and a love of learning.

We believe that boys love to learn.  They enjoy challenges and thrive on encouragement.

Our learning centres on first-hand experience, incorporating visiting speakers, artefacts and lively, imaginative teaching methods.

We provide the opportunity for boys to be educated in a single-sex setting allowing them to develop their academic, sporting, dramatic and musical talents. Read More

Our Ethos

“The nurturing environment that QEH provides has enabled him to settle in so much faster than we ever expected.” Year 5 parent

We believe in a Values-based, holistic and nurturing education.

Values – based Education (VbE) helps instil key values, enabling pupils to live full lives. Values such as kindness, respect, courage, unity, patience, honesty and trust are at the heart of our school. We create a harmonious learning environment, modelled by our staff, and underpin school life with positive human values. Read More

We believe in the importance of the Creative Arts

“All things are valid. It doesn’t matter what arena it’s in.” Current Parent

We believe in the importance of the Creative Arts.


Music is taught throughout the school in our dedicated Music Room.  We also have facilities for peri lessons in our fully equipped practice rooms which are used for one-to-one lessons with peripatetic teachers and for group composition work.

We have two choirs with the Chamber Choir being dressed in our traditional blue coat uniform.  We also have regular small groups including guitar and ukulele as well as brass ensemble. Read More

We believe in Sport for All

“Nothing’s uncool – at QEH, he’s involved in stuff he would never have done before, he always held back before saying something wasn’t cool.” Current Parent

All boys have the opportunity to play in a team and represent the school.

We have two afternoons of sports or activities each week, most are held at our state of the art grounds at Failand.

Once a week, pupils in years 3-5 go to swim at a local pool and we also run a Swimming Team that reached the IAPS finals in 2019.

We play, Rugby, Soccer and Hockey in the Autumn and Spring terms.  In Summer we play cricket, tennis, athletics and Ultimate Frisbee. Read More

QE Award and Residential Trips

QE Award

The QE Award is our own exclusive junior version of the highly popular Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and it is carefully designed for boys in Years 5 and 6. The scheme introduces new skills and experiences outside the boys’ usual ‘comfort zones’, building confidence and resilience, and encouraging them to feel good about themselves. The boys participate in a variety of modules;

  • Service to others including helping at Food Banks and Homeless Centres as well as National Trust sites.
  • Service to the School; through activities and events held in schools.
  • Team Building; learning to get around in the outdoors and work as a group to solve problems.
  • Outdoor skills; map reading, leadership, bush craft and understanding and appreciating wildlife.

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We want to help

The Extended Day

At QEH Junior School, we understand that the traditional school day does not always fit with busy family life.  Our doors open at 7.45am and boys can stay until 6.00pm (5.30pm on Fridays).

Breakfast is available in the Dining Room with a menu featuring cereals and toast, croissants and cooked options.  Prices are very reasonable, and boys pay for the items they want.

Lessons finish at 3.50pm for Years 3 and 4 and at 4.00pm for Years 5 and 6. At lunch time and between 4.00pm and 5.00pm, we offer a variety of clubs. Read More

  • “The School gets boys. It’s the way the teachers talk to the boys. And if there is anything. its dealt with straight away.”
    Current parent
  • View our prospectus
    Arrange a visit

Sixth Form

The Sixth Form years are special – they are the time when teaching staff develop a particularly strong partnership with students as they take on increased responsibility and develop a rounded maturity, resilience and strength of character which equip them for the challenges of the world beyond.

Whether you are entering from another school or are an existing pupil, the Sixth Form at QEH provides the ideal environment for learning and friendships to flourish. It is an exciting time of change and self-discovery for all.

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The Performing Arts flourish at QEH

Any parent choosing a school for their child wants to know the answer to the question ‘Why here?’ I hope that the information on these pages will help you explore why you might choose QEH. We’ll give you a real insight into the warmth and friendliness of our close-kinit community, the liveliness and breadth of our curriculum, the rich co-curricular activities and the strong values we instil in our pupils.

With only 670 Senior and 100 Junior day pupils, we know every pupil. Whether they are talking to boys in Year 7 or girls in our Sixth Form, visitors comment on the friendliness and confidence of our pupils, while they in turn speak about how well they get on with each other and the staff.

Read More

Life in the Sixth Form

Your time in the Sixth Form provides the foundation for the rest of your life.

These are years when you step into adulthood, gain a better understanding of who you are as a person, and gain qualifications that will unlock doors to university and beyond.

We want you to leave QEH armed with the excellent qualifications that will help you start on your chosen career. But we also want so much more for you.

We want you to develop a strong inner confidence and self-respect – and tolerance for others too. We want you to gain the leadership skills that will enable you to thrive in the wider world –  the ability to take the initiative, learn from your mistakes and work well with others.

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Sixth Form Centre

Whether you want to do some reading, focus on that all-important essay, or relax and catch up with your friends, the purpose-built Sixth Form centre ticks all the boxes.

You’ll have your own dedicated IT suite and library area, a silent work room for maximum concentration, and communal study areas for when you want to brainstorm ideas with fellow students.

When you’re hungry or just want to put your feet up, there are comfy sofas and chairs in the Upper Common room and a café in the Lower Common Room serving a range of hot and cold food including jackets, pizza and toasties. And if you fancy a breath of fresh air and want to stretch your legs, you can head outside to the nearby cafés in Clifton.

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Currently Sixth Form students are expected to study four A-level subjects in Year 12 and then complete full A-levels by continuing with at least three of these.

You may choose to supplement your studies by taking on an Extended Project Qualification, a self-directed research task which is highly valued by universities.

Whatever subject you are considering at A-level, talk to the teachers concerned and read the course information carefully so that you make the right course decisions.

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Your success in the wider world after school depends in part on your ability to take responsibility, be proactive, learn from your mistakes, and work alongside others to make things happen.

We’ll help you develop these leadership skills through roles such as School Prefect, House Captain, and Peer Supporter where you’ll help younger students settle in and make the most of life at QEH. You can also be a Theatre Mentor, Music Prefect or Librarian, and we’ll encourage you to lead one of our weekly assemblies to build your confidence in public speaking.

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We’ll give you lots of freedom and independence but we also recognise there may be times when you need support. If you do, we’ll be there to help.

You’ll be assigned to a tutor and will meet with your tutor group every morning. Typically, these groups consist of about 13 or 14 students from your year group. Your tutor will help you adapt to the challenge of A-levels, monitor your progress and work with you to resolve any issues. They will also write a reference for university or job applications.

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Sixth Form Italian Trip 2018

The School’s co-curricular activities are an integral part of life here at QEH and we are fortunate to have staff with a wide variety of interests and enthusiasms to share.

Debating and public speaking are strengths, with teams regularly competing in and winning local and national competitions.  Performing Arts thrive and Sixth Form students are encouraged to produce their own plays and take a lead role in the popular technical club.  The Music department runs a number of choirs, orchestras and bands.

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Sport, both team and individual, remains popular in the Sixth Form at QEH. 

Often, people who stopped playing team games earlier in their school career opt to revive their interest in sport in the Sixth Form.

Currently we offer a variety of sports including: rugby; football; hockey; netball; cricket; swimming; badminton; squash; basketball; sailing; hiking and climbing, to name a few. Our Sixth Form sport options also include Nuffield Gym Packages.

In the Sixth Form you will often have the opportunity to organise, as well as to participate in, House sporting events.

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Creative Arts

In Sixth Form, there are many opportunities to be involved in Music and Drama.

As well as offering A-levels in Music and Music Tech, we have twenty one regularly rehearsed choirs and ensembles available. Among these are the Chapel Choir, performing regularly throughout the year at Council Prayers and Mayor Making Services in the Lord Mayor’s Chapel; House Choirs which are led by Sixth Form students; the Tour Choir which is formed every two years; Barbershop Quartets and Acapella Choirs that perform at various concerts including ‘Unplugged’ concerts and the Jazz Evening.

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A-level Results

Rupert Heathcote, Head at QEH, has today paid tribute to the students and staff at QEH for their hard work over the last two years.

“It has been a hugely challenging time for both young people and their teachers. But while the last eighteen months have seen more disruption to schooling than at any point since World War II, it has also been an incredibly inspiring time to be working with young people. They have been required to adapt, to learn in a variety of ways and using different tools, and to demonstrate a huge amount resilience – which they have all done admirably. I am delighted that we are able to recognise their hard work.”

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What Next?

One of the most important features of the Sixth Form at QEH is how it prepares its students for Higher Education and beyond.

As competition for places at good universities becomes more intense, the importance of this aspect of the Sixth Form has increased significantly.

Our well-qualified and experienced staff offer specialised guidance and support in this demanding process. Your tutor will help you to recognise your own skills and potential and to write a Personal Statement that presents you at your absolute best. The expertise of our Head of Sixth Form and of committed tutors, who know you really well, will be available to you on a regular one-to-one basis.

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  • “The School gets boys. It’s the way the teachers talk to the boys. And if there is anything. its dealt with straight away.”
    Current parent
  • View our prospectus
    Arrange a visit




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