Vision & History


The vision of the Trust is to ‘grow Christian environments where children can learn and flourish’. We seek to undertake this vision through the following objectives that are listed with the Charity Commission:

  1. Develop, maintain and repair the school property of four City schools
  2. Provide grants to promote the education of persons under the age of 25 years within the City of Cambridge
  3. Promote education within the City of Cambridge, according to the principles and doctrines of the Church of England by means including Sunday Schools

These objectives underpin everything we do with our Trust schools, with the wider Church School community and in our partnership working.


William WhistonThe Church Schools of Cambridge was founded as the Old Schools Trust in about 1703 by the Revd William Whiston. Whiston was the third man to hold the position of Lucasion Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, the post having previously been filled by Isaac Newton. He gathered funds and other support from senior figures in the University and the Church of England to start 7 schools for a total of 260 poor children in Cambridge. There is some evidence that Newton was among the first to sign up to Whiston’s initiative, donating £10, approximately £1500 in today’s money.

For much of its history the focus of the Church Schools of Cambridge has been on its schools, which have varied in number over the years. Today the Trust owns four school sites in Cambridge: St Luke’s, St Philip’s, St Paul’s and Park Street. In the early 1900s the Trust established an endowment fund, and in the early 2000s the Church Schools of Cambridge officially changed its name from the Old Schools Trust. In recent years, as well as providing financial support to its four schools, the Trust has been funding activities that support the general provision of RE and Collective Worship in Church and non-Church schools in the Cambridge area, conducting research into the delivery of spiritually enriching education and supporting the educational needs of young people.