old photo of boys

About Us

School History

A legacy embracing history

Pupils have walked our corridors since 1896, when our school’s illustrious journey commenced. As we explore the chronicles of Bishopsgate, our origins are intertwined with the grandeur of Windsor Great Park’s Bishop’s Gate entrance, bestowing upon us a name that resonates with the echoes of the past.

A harmonious union

In 1996, a momentous merger transpired, bringing together the Scaitcliffe and Virginia Water Prep Schools. These hallowed institutions, with a combined legacy of over 160 years in the realm of preparatory education, birthed a new chapter in our storied heritage. Scaitcliffe, rooted in tradition as a distinguished boys-only prep school, bore tribute to its owners, the Vickers family. As our glorious scholarship boards continue to attest today, academic excellence was ingrained in the very fabric of Scaitcliffe. Post-war, Scaitcliffe boys were proudly divided among four houses, each bearing the name of a British military hero: Jellicoe, Beatty, Haig, and Kitchener.

Simultaneously, whilst welcoming boys until the age of 7, Virginia Water Prep thrived as a Roman Catholic girls’ school. Nestled within the confines of a serene residential road in Virginia Water, this establishment upheld outstanding academic standards and nurtured a vibrant student body. Many of its pupils, upon reaching the next phase of their educational journey, found themselves destined for Scaitcliffe’s embrace.

Embracing a legacy

Renamed in September 1997, Bishopsgate School emerged from its chrysalis, symbolizing both its transformation into a co-educational prep but also its proximity to the illustrious Bishop’s Gate, gateway to Windsor Great Park.

Shaping the Future

At Bishopsgate, our historic tapestry weaves together the aspirations of generations past with the dreams of those yet to come. Our commitment to academic excellence, character development, and fostering a sense of community stands resolute.

Notable Alumni

Since 1896, our School has helped shape the minds of many prominent and interesting contemporary and past characters:

Sir Richard Branson

British business magnate and commercial astronaut. In the 1970s, Sir Richard founded the Virgin Group, which today controls more than 400 companies. In March 2000, Sir Richard was knighted at Buckingham Palace for ‘services to entrepreneurship’. In 2007, he was placed in the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list. On 11 July 2021, Sir Richard travelled as a passenger on board Virgin Galactic Unity 22 at the edge of space, a suborbital test flight for his spaceflight company Virgin Galactic. At 70, Sir Richard became the third oldest person to fly to space. Sir Richard also attended Stowe.

Sir Michael Holroyd CBE

British writer and editor best known for his meticulous, scholarly biographies of Lytton Strachey, Augustus John, and George Bernard Shaw. Sir Michael devotes chapters to his prep school days in his book Basil Street Blues.

Cary Elwes

Cary is known for his leading film roles as Westley in The Princess Bride, Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dr. Lawrence Gordon in the Saw film series. After prep school, Cary went on to Harrow.

Geordie Greig

Editor-in-chief of The Independent, and former editor of the Daily Mail. His 2011 book, The Kingmaker is about his grandfather, Louis Greig, who became mentor, physician and friend to Prince Albert, the future King George VI. Geordie went on to Eton College and Oxford.

James Reed

Chairman of REED – Britain’s biggest and best-known recruitment brand and the largest family-owned recruitment company in the world. James is a regular media commentator on work and labour market issues, with recent appearances including BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio 2 and The Apprentice.

Damian Elwes

British artist with studios in Los Angeles and the Colombian rainforest. His paintings explore themes such as the cycle of life and creativity.

Baron Peter Palumbo

Property developer and art collector. Baron Peter was the last Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain and a life peer. He sat in the House of Lords from 1991 to 2019.

Abhisit Vejjajiva

Former Thai Prime Minister. Abhisit also attended Eton College and the University of Oxford.

Colin Tennant

British aristocrat. Before succeeding to the peerage in 1983, he had travelled widely, especially in India and the West Indies. He was an avid socialite and a close friend of Princess Margaret, to whom his wife, the former Lady Anne Coke, was a lady-in-waiting. In 1958, he purchased the island of Mustique in The Grenadines.

Charles Philipps

Investment banker. Charles was instrumental in the formation of Amlin PLC, one of oldest branches of insurance to use technology behind virtual currency Bitcoin, of which he was Chief Executive from 1999 until 2018. He served on the Council of Lloyd’s and was President of the Insurance Institute of London. Charles also attended Eton College and is now Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Outward Bound Trust.

Abimbola Afolami

MP for Hitchin and Harpenden; After Bishopsgate, Bim went on to Eton College and Oxford, where he read Modern History.