Education & Family
by Aspect County

Academic and Co-Curricular Excellence

The co-curricular side of life at school should both complement and enhance the development of the enquiring mind. Academic excellence combined with creative activity and individual expression makes a school a thriving and highly motivated community. The King’s School, Canterbury places equal emphasis on co-curricular endeavours as it does on achieving academically. A varied and vibrant co-curricular programme provides pupils with opportunities and experiences that classroom teaching cannot offer. Learning can take place as much outside the classroom as within. Here we take a look at two former King’s pupils who are making headlines.

A Steadman Skandar cover

Children’s fantasy adventure
Annabel Steadman (The King’s School, Canterbury 2005-10) has landed what’s believed to be the world’s biggest ever book deal and a Sony Pictures movie deal for her children’s fantasy adventure series Skandar and the Unicorn Thief.

The book, which is the first instalment of a planned five-book series, sparked a bidding war amongst publishers with Annabel eventually signing with Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishing companies in the industry, for what is believed to be the biggest book advance in history. 

Since its release in April the book, which follows Skandar Smith in a world where unicorns are deadly and can only be tamed by the rider who hatches them, has been described as the single most exciting and acclaimed children’s novel since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and now finds itself on the New York Times bestseller list.

In an interview with Kent Online, Annabel reminisced about seeing her work in print as a pupil At King’s I remember I had a short story published in the school’s Cantuarian magazine and at that time it felt like such a massive achievement to get something in print. That was a real great moment when I thought people wanted to read what I’d written”.

M Stonier IMG 0552

From strength to strength
Matthew Stonier (The King’s School, Canterbury 2015 – 20) has seen his athletics career go from strength to strength over the past couple of years and represented Team England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. 

He was handed his first Team GB call-up, for the U20 European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon, whilst still at King’s and returned with a team gold medal before finishing his A Levels and gaining a place at Loughborough University. He was selected to represent Team GB again at the U23 European Cross Country Championships in 2021.

In May this year he beat a stellar line-up to win the Nike Emsley Carr Mile by a margin of just two-hundredths of a second to join an elite club of people to run a sub four-minute mile. His winning time of 3:54:89 gained him an invitation to run in the prestigious Diamond League and added his name to some of the most well-known middle-distance runners of all time who have won the title. Previous winners include Steve Ovett, Seb Coe, Haile Gebrselassie and Hicham El Geurrouj, who have all gone on to be Olympic Champions.

He has since made two appearances in the Diamond League where he has raced against no less than seven of the 1500m finalists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and having completed his first Commonwealth Games is hopeful of going one step further to represent Team GB at the Paris 2024 Olympics.