William Shakespeare’s former school is set to make history by announcing plans to admit girls for the first time.
Top-performing King Edward VI School (KES) in Stratford-upon-Avon has revealed proposals to allow girls into the sixth form. It is the first time female students will be taught at the school in its 460-year history.
The move follows a “unanimous” decision by the grammar school’s board of governors.
Shakespeare, the school’s most famous former pupil, enrolled in the 1570s, during the reign of Elizabeth I.
The modern day curriculum is a far cry from the days of the Bard, who was taught Latin, rhetoric and Greek in the room above the Guildhall.
Lessons began with prayers at 6am during summer, and continued until 5pm. Boys were expected to bring their own candles in winter, though poor light meant a shorter school day.
The new school admissions code will be put before Parliament this month, and up to 25 girls will be able to join the school’s sixth form each year from September 2013.
Head master Bennet Carr said the development would “not change the character” of the school, which became an academy in August.
Mr Carr said: “Since arriving at KES a little over a year ago, I have been struck by the number of our parents who have said that they wished that their daughters could also benefit from attending the school.
“Sixth form is a transition between school and university and clearly these parents, like me, believe that there are many benefits of boys and girls working together in a structured environment prior to university life.”
“We are committed to continuing to provide boys with a first-class single sex education, but we also believe that co-educational provision is more appropriate in the sixth form.”
Previous plans to admit girls to the school in 2002 were scrapped following objections from the local authority.
The school has been rated “outstanding” by Ofsted.