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The school was founded in reaction to the decline of Anglican church music in the Victorian period. Ouseley sited it in a remote location so as to insulate it from the influence of London. Until its closure the school regularly sang 150 settings of evensong; it was the last educational establishment in England to sing the orders throughout the week. In the school chapel the choir is separated from the chancel by an ornate gilded screen topped by candles. The choir is backed by a 'Father' Willis organ, painted with a representation of St Michael defeating the dragon.

Now known as King’s Saint Michael’s College, the institution is an international boarding school with students from 25 to 30 different countries each year. The school specialises in providing education to international students by providing an intensive English language course for all students alongside the traditional curriculum of GCSEs and A Levels. The school also runs a University Foundation Course which has links to various universities across the country. During the months of July and August, Saint Michael's runs an English language summer school for students from all over the world.