Bishop Stopford's School

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Bishop Stopford's School
Motto animus noster dei gloria
Established 1967
Type Voluntary aided[1] grammar school
Religion Church of England
Headteacher Paul Woods
Lay Chaplain Jonathan Seabrook
Chairman of Governors Revd Dr Edward Dowler
Founder The Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Robert Stopford
Location Brick Lane
Local authority Enfield
DfE number 308/4702
DfE URN 102052 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Staff 100+ teaching
Students 920
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses Coventry
St. Georges
King Alfred's
Colours Black and navy blue         
Publication The Stopford Messenger
Former pupils Old Stopfordians
Website Bishop Stopford's School Website
Not to be confused with Bishop Stopford School in Kettering.

Bishop Stopford's School, commonly known as Bishop Stopford's, Bishop's at Enfield or (locally) just Bishop's, is a voluntary aided co-educational grammar school specialising in mathematics and computing, and engineering, with a sixth form. The school has strong links with the Church of England. Worship is in a relatively High Church Anglo-Catholic tradition using the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible, although modern translations are mandated for study. It is in Brick Lane, Enfield, near Enfield Lock, Greater London, England.


Bishop Stopford's has about 920[2] pupils aged 11 to 19. In 2004 the school received an award for mathematics and computing, and in 2008 engineering specialist status.

Key Stage 3[edit]

At Key Stage 3 pupils follow the same subjects for years 7-9. Pupils in Top Set German take French (in Y7), and pupils in Sets 2a, 2b and 3 continue with German up to year 9.


In Year 9 pupils can choose what subjects they wish to take for their GCSEs. All pupils take maths, science, English language and literature, religious education, physical education, engineering and ICT.

Sixth form[edit]

Entry to the sixth form is subject to a satisfactory report from the Year 11 head of house and an interview with the head of the sixth form or other relevant teacher. In the sixth form, pupils again choose what they wish to study. There are two routes which they may take. Pupils may take a 1-year BTEC course in either OCR business studies or BTEC art and design, or AS/A2 levels. The conditions for taking AS/A2 Levels are:

  • a minimum of 5 A* to C grades at GCSE level in a suitable combination of subjects, and C grades in English Language, Literature, and Maths; and
  • a recommendation from the appropriate head of department.


After almost a century of attempts by the Church to found a church secondary school in Enfield, Bishop Stopford's was founded on St. Polycarp's Day 1967 and opened its doors to its first pupils on 7 September 1967. Its founder was the then Bishop Of London, the Right Reverend Robert Stopford. The school was founded to provide a Church school for the children of Enfield, who at that time had several Church primary schools but no Church secondary school. The school was established in the buildings of the old Suffolk's Secondary Modern School.

The school hit the headlines in February 1990 when three rottweiler dogs escaped from a nearby property and entered the school premises and attacked and injured several pupils.[3] The incident became known as the 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre' among pupils at the time, and was a contributing factor in the introduction of the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991).

The five heads of Bishop Stopford's have been the late Dr Geoffrey Roberts PhD, MA, BA, JP (1967 to 1988), Brian Robin Pickard M.A. (1988 to 2001), and Mrs Bridget Sarah Evans (2001 to 2009). Mrs Evans resigned and Mrs E. Kohler became acting head (May 2008 - July 2009). In May 2009 Jim Owen was appointed Head Master and took office in September 2009, Jim Owen resigned in July 2012 to take up the role of Headteacher at Winchmore School.

Mrs Tammy Day (Current Deputy Head Mistress/Senior Mistress) was appointed as Acting Head Mistress for a term until Mr Paul Woods could take up office in January 2013. During this time Mrs Sandra Melhuish (Assistant Head) was appointed as Acting Senior Mistress/Deputy Head and Mr Russell Dean (Assistant Head) was appointed Senior Master/Deputy Head and they both have the right to sign the School Roll again.


Each pupil and member of staff belongs to one of the six 'houses':

The Four Foundation Houses

The Two New Houses

Each house has its own colour:

  • St. Georges - Red
  • Coventry - Green
  • King Alfreds - Gold
  • Temples - Turquoise
  • Waltham - Purple
  • Trinity - Royal Blue

In September 2006 the new intake, year 7, had colours added to their tie. A coloured diagonal stripe denotes their year group; below this is a stripe in the house colours (for King Alfred's this is a shade of gold). Future years will have a year colour, with their house colour below it. The new tie also features the Bishop's Crosier symbol of the school. In September 2007 the new intake, year 7, had a blue stripe added to their tie. In September 2013 the new intake, year 7, will have a grey/silver stripe embroidered on their tie.

Choir Form[edit]

The Choir Form was founded in 1973 and takes boys and girls from all six houses from the second year to the sixth form. (First-year students may volunteer for the Junior Choir.) Whilst remaining members of their houses, pupils in the Choir Form attend registration together, and sing in assembly, hymn practice, choir practice and compline together. They attend a residential singing week every year, which has been at Seasalter, Walsingham, and Winchester. In 2004-5 the Choir Form was renamed the Music Form to incorporate a wider range of musical abilities and the modernisation of school worship. The intention is to give young musicians an opportunity to practise for participation in worship.


The school has been fully modernised and now features automatic doors, lifts, ID card entry, electronic registration, smart boards in all classrooms, a 200-space parking lot, and two secure entrances.


Various parts of the school include:

  • East Wing - RE, Music, Citizenship and Food Technology lessons take place here.
  • East Wing Extension - English and Technology lessons take place here.
  • West Wing - Languages (MFL),ICT and Textiles (DT) lessons take place here. There is also an Art Department situated near the West Wing.
  • Orchard Wing - Maths, History, Geography, Business and ICT lessons take place here (Citizenship may also be studied in this wing).
  • Jubilee Wing - Science and ICT lessons take place here.
  • Sports Hall/Gym - PE lessons take place here.
  • Sixth Form - Various lessons for Years 12/13 takeplace here. There is also a Common Room situated in this area.


The school has recently been one of the few remaining schools in Britain where students as well as teachers might wear traditional gowns; however, this has declined in recent years. The uniform is a white shirt, navy blue tie, navy blue V-necked pullover and blazer bearing the school crest, with black trousers for boys and a blue pleated skirt or blue trousers for girls. The summer uniform substitutes a short-sleeved shirt. The uniform is widely available at retail outlets and hence affordable. Ties now also bear the house and year colours. In the past, pupils could also opt for shirt-sleeve order in the summer, with sleeves rolled up, pullover and tie removed, and top button undone. Now students are expected to wear the tie at all times, and may only undo the top button and remove pullovers or blazers with express permission. There are strict rules for the length of skirts and height of socks for girls.

Unusually, teachers at Stopford's are also required to comply with a strict dress code, although it is not so strictly enforced since Mrs Evans took over as head. Prior to 2001 female members of staff were forbidden to wear trouser suits and had to wear skirts. Male members of staff were asked to wear a suit. Some staff wore traditional black teaching gowns, which complemented the blue and grey gowns of the pupils. Until 2001 all staff were referred to as Masters or Mistresses rather than "teachers". As at a traditional grammar school, lessons were called "periods".

As at all traditional English schools in the past, Masters or Mistresses were always addressed as "Sir" or "Miss". However, in recent years the use of the teacher's surname preceded by his or her title has become acceptable. The use of teachers' first names is still forbidden.


Bishop Stopford's School has had three Chaplains since 1967: James Lowry, the Revd. Stephen Taylor, and since May 2006 Father Antony Homer. All have chosen to take the salutation "father".[citation needed]

As well as presiding over school religious occasions, the Chaplain coordinates the pastoral side of the school, having frequent contact with the Senior Six, Heads of House and the Senior Leadership team of the School.

Fr Antony Homer left in February 2011 to join the Ordinariate within the Roman Catholic Church and so a Lay Chaplain has been appointed, Jonathan Seabrook, who has now assumed the role of Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Religion and Worship and continues as Head of Divinity.[citation needed]


All pupils must attend one assembly a week, normally with their houses; however, the sixth form has its own assembly on Fridays.

The assembly at Bishop Stopford's School differs from most other schools. It begins with organ music during which all pupils and staff present must stand. A house prefect from one of the houses whose assembly is being held then leads in the procession of all the prefects from the two houses. Following the prefects are the senior staff, normally the Deputy Head Master and the Deputy Headmistress. Behind the deputy heads come the Chaplain. He is then followed by the Head Master's prefects, who are followed by the Headmistress. (The Head Master's Prefects retain the male prefix even when there is a female head). The current Head Mistress no longer observes the tradition of previous head masters who have carried in their academic hat; however, gowns are still worn. Assemblies are now less formal and less religious than previously.

The School Chapel[edit]

The school chapel was formerly a small room on the first floor of the West Wing of the school, but is now situated in a vestibule accessed from the corridor between the East and West Wings, opposite the great hall. The school Eucharist is said in the chapel every morning as is the Prayer For All Stopfordians. This is a special prayer for all those who have a connection with the school, living or dead.

The stage contains the great altar, said to be the largest mobile altar in the Diocese of London, which was borrowed by the Oxford Movement for use in the Royal Albert Hall in its 150th anniversary celebrations. The Altar is covered by one of four different Altar cloths of appropriate colours for the Church year, made by various teachers and pupils of the school.

School Organ[edit]

The school's pipe organ was made from the remains of a church organ salvaged from Sandylands Methodist Church in Morecambe, Lancashire. Bought for £400, the organ is now insured for several hundreds of thousands of pounds. Two new manuals and a new pedalboard were added during its installation, and additional pipes were bought and also built from wood. A new oaken enclosure was built and new wiring and electric bellows bought. The motor for the blower was purchased from Trinity College of Music. As with many cathedral organs, the dummy pipes at the front of the organ are purely decorative.

Several notable organists have given recitals on this instrument, including Carlo Curley, Peter Hurford, Stephen Darlington, Thomas Trotter, and John Scott.


The school is famous for its traditions, many of which were instituted by its first head master.

The School Pilgrimage[edit]

Every year pupils from Years 7 to 10 go on an eleven-mile (seventeen-kilometre) sponsored walk known as the School Pilgrimage along the canal tow-path of the River Lee (or Lea) Navigation from Ware to Enfield Lock. Sums raised have contributed substantially to the school foundation fund. In 2009 the route was blocked and the Pilgrimage was completed by proxy (as has always been stated on the sponsor forms) a fortnight later.[4]

The Beating Of The Bounds[edit]

Every year, on Ascension Day, a group of pupils went round the boundaries of the school whipping selected areas with special whips. This was based on the Anglo-Saxon practice of beating the bounds. This has since been modernised, but a special Ascension Day assembly is still held, remembering the practice.

With My Duty[edit]

At the top of every piece of work, pupils were asked to write the date, the title, and the words 'With My Duty', or in German lessons "Meine beste arbeit" and French lessons "C'est mon devoir" to show their acknowledgment of their duty to themselves, their parents, the school, and to God. This Is Rarely Done Now.


The school is notable as one of few educational institutions in Britain still to require its students to wear gowns (although this applies only to prefects). However, in 2003 the new Headmistress instituted blazers, with gowns now reserved for special occasions. The gowns vary in colour but all take the form of a long sleeveless robe. House Prefects wear grey gowns, School Prefects wear royal blue and Senior Prefects navy blue. House Captains also wear navy blue. The most senior rank of prefects, the Senior VI, wear navy blue Senior Prefect gowns with a coloured flashing to signify their rank. The Deputy Head Boy and Girl have a thin purple stripe and the Head Boy and Girl have thick purple stripe. The most senior and oldest rank of prefect, the Head Master's Prefects, have a thick red stripe on their gown. To wear a gown is considered a great privilege by the students.


Forgiveness was an alternative to corporal punishment. An offending pupil was offered a choice between receiving a caning and performing "forgiveness". A pupil who chose forgiveness was made to carry out arduous tasks or physical exercise for a period of approximately one hour, after which he was said to be 'forgiven'. To make the choice, the miscreant was presented with a cushion bearing a pair of blue and a pair of black shorts. If he opted to be caned, he would select the blue shorts; if he chose the black shorts he would receive forgiveness. The shorts were carried on the cushion in procession in House Assemblies.[5]

With the outlawing of corporal punishment in state schools in England in 1987, the "trial by shorts" procedure is now defunct. In recent years Forgiveness has become less and less common; however, it remains one of the strictest punishments in British schooling.

Although corporal punishment is no longer practised, the school displayed many canes in the Great Hall and the Head Master's study until very recently. These canes, along with special whips, are used in the beating of the bounds celebration.

The School Prayer and Song[edit]

The school song is the hymn Captain Of Israel's Host and Guide by Charles Wesley, set to the tune Marienlyst by J.W.David.

The School Roll[edit]

Since the school was founded, every new pupil and teacher at the school has signed his name on the School Roll. Originally a single roll of paper, kept in a leather quiver, this has now had to have additional paper added to the first roll and two new separate rolls (and quivers) made to accommodate new names. The roll was carried in the procession every morning in Assembly, but as it now comprises three quivers this has been stopped. On special occasions one of the three quivers is carried to signify the roll's importance in the life of the school.

Noteworthy teachers[edit]

The longest serving teacher currently is Mr Malcolm Chalmers, who has been at the school since a term after the founding, approximately 39 years. There are many other teachers who have been there over twenty years. These include: Miss Leverington (Ex -House Mistress of Temple's House), Mrs Hannan (Head of the Sixth Form)and Mr Jones (Head of DT). Mr Leslie Pringle, who was a pupil at both the previous Suffolks Secondary Modern School and at Bishops', returned to teach divinity, being the first of a number of pupils to return as staff.

Mr July, a very popular teacher and form tutor of 10G, died of lung cancer in 2006. A memorial service was held for him in the Great Hall.

On 16 July 2009 the school was informed that ICT, Business, BCS and Tourism teacher Mr Fashola had died. He was a much-loved teacher who will be missed by all. A memorial was held for him in October, over 800 Students attended, including ex pupils.

Other noteworthy teachers include Mr Jeeten Mistry, Mrs Helen Michaels and Mrs Tracy Amoa-Saki (the DT Department).

Eddie Baily taught PE at the school.[6]

Notable Old Stopfordians[edit]

  • Jason Banton, footballer, Crystal Palace U21
  • Anton Blackwood, footballer, Antigua and Barbuda national team
  • Jonathan Obika, footballer, Tottenham Hotspur
  • Shy FX, musician, jungle drum'n'bass pioneer
  • Ruth Symes, children's author
  • Chijindu Ujah athlete
  • Paul Barber Former Director of Communications - English FA - Former Executive Director - Tottenham Hotspur FC, Former Chief Executive - Vancouver Whitecaps - Current Chief Executive - Brighton and Hove Albion FC.


  1. ^ School web site: Governing body
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ School site charity page
  5. ^ Geoffrey Roberts (2004). Treading on the camomile: an insight into the origins, the early days and the daily life of Bishop Stopford's School at Enfield with additional material by Brian Pickard. Governors of Bishop Stopford's School at Enfield. OCLC 56655437. 
  6. ^ "Eddie Baily". Players Index. England Football Online. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°39′25″N 0°03′18″W / 51.657°N 0.055°W / 51.657; -0.055