New name revealed for last school in Bristol to remove the name of Edward Colston

Colston’s School will have a new name in September - but the crest and motto will be retained

A school founded by slave trader Edward Colston has revealed its new name - chosen from hundreds of suggestions by parents, students and staff.

Colston’s School will be the last Bristol school to shed the name of its founder when it starts using the name, Collegiate, in September. But the school will retain its crest and motto to ensure its history is explained, and not removed.

The fee-paying school was founded by Colston in 1710. The move to change the name follows Colston Primary School, now Cotham Gardens Primary School, in 2018 and Colston’s Girls’ School, now Montpelier High School, last year.

Announcing the new name today (April 26), Colston’s School’s governing board chair, Nick Baker, said the change must not be interpreted as an attempt to change or deny the school’s history.

Colston’s School in Bristol.

He said: “We believe it is important that students attending the school continue to be taught about the school’s history; specifically, Edward Colston’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

“In order to assist with this, some historical aspects of the school, for example the crest and motto, will be retained and explained, rather than removed.”

He added that the name Collegiate represents both the school’s inclusivity and highlights the collaboration between different parts of the school and its community.

He said: “Our Nursery, Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form all work together for the collective good, so too the school with our parents, former pupils and its wider community.”

The name Collegiate was chosen from hundreds of suggestions given by parents, students, staff and former students.

Collegiate was the favourite suggestion due to its significance with the school’s history in 1991 - when the school, previously just all-boys boarding school, merged with the Collegiate School in Winterbourne, and for the first time became fully co-educational.

The school was named Colston’s Collegiate School until 2005 when it was again re-named Colston’s School.

The school’s head, Jeremy McCullough, welcomed the announcement, saying: “Increasingly our student and parental body reflect the diverse nature of Bristol and we want to continue to work with our local communities in order to widen access to our school as much as possible.

“We believe that moving forwards with this new name will help us to become an ever more inclusive and welcoming community.”

From the toppling of the Colston statue in 2020 to the release of the Colston Four this year, the school’s name change is one of several Bristol incidents which are addressing Colston’s involvement in the slave trade whilst acknowledging his contribution to the city.