St Christopher School, Letchworth
|Motto||The utmost for the highest|
|Type||Independent day and boarding|
Letchworth Garden City
Blue,Gold and White
St Christopher School is a boarding and day co-educational independent school located in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire. Established in 1915 shortly after Ebenezer Howard founded Letchworth Garden City, the school is a long-time proponent of progressive education and was to be 'where members of different faiths shall be encouraged to mix together and in this way to learn a respect and tolerance for beliefs other than their own'.
St Christopher is noted for a number of distinctive characteristics. These include a lack of any formal school uniform and the freedom and encouragement to address teachers by their first names. The school has entirely vegetarian diet for both boarders and day pupils (a condition of receiving initial sponsorship from the Theosophical Society).
The school established a system of self-governance with Major Officials (the St. Christopher term for a prefect) being nominated and elected by their student peers. School meetings allow students and staff alike to propose, vote and implement new and amended rules and policy - but with the headmaster reserving the right to veto any he deems unworkable or unacceptable. The system was temporarily in turmoil during the mid-2000s (see below) but a move back towards this ethos has recently been restored under the leadership of current Head Richard Palmer who has held the post since 2006.
The school offers a number of annual trips including Ladakh, Kosovo and Rajasthan, along with some DoE (Duke of Edinburgh Award) expeditions. These are generally (but not always) taken as part of a short programme of activities at the end of the Summer Term known as the Late Summer Programme.
The school was founded in 1915 by Dr. Armstrong Smith. In 1919, Beatrice Ensor and Isabel King assumed joint headship following Smith's retirement the previous year, but both women left to found Frensham Heights in Surrey in 1925. The School in its present form developed under the guidance of Lyn and Eleanor Harris (1925–1953) and their son Nicholas (1954–1980). Following Nicholas's death in a road accident on the Maltese island of Gozo, the governors hired Colin Reid, essentially to carry on his work.
Colin Reid was Head Master from 1981 to 2004. The headmaster for the next two years was Donald Wilkinson, made many changes to the running of the school during his short spell. He announced his resignation from the post on 28 September 2006, citing personal reasons. The Chairman of Governors thanked him for his contribution to the development of the school and in particular for the raising of exam results both at GCSE and A level. The current head as at 2014 is Richard Palmer. Jenny Palmer also works in the School and Richard and Jenny have two children in the School.
Due the ethos and atmosphere at St. Christopher, the school is known for producing pupils that retain their friendships for life with many pupils continuing onto University together. The school has a recognized network for former pupils and staff known as Old Scholars.
The Old Scholars club runs an annual meeting in July open for every former St Christopher pupil and member of staff no matter what year they left the school. Richard and Jenny have been very supportive of the Old Scholars and always attend their weekend reunions. The Old Scholars club also puts on Matches Day for sports in the Spring.
- Dr Armstrong Smith (1915–1918)
- Beatrice Ensor & Isabel King (1919–1925)
- Lyn & Eleanor Harris (1925–1953)
- Nicholas King-Harris (1954–1980)
- Colin Reid (1981–2004)
- Donald Wilkinson (2004–2006)
- Richard Palmer (2006–present)
Notable former pupils
- Gavin Campbell - Actor, TV presenter and businessman
- Neil Coles - Golfer
- Jenny Diski - Author
- Ed Asafu-Adjaye - Footballer
- JJ Feild - Actor
- Sonia Friedman - Theatre producer
- A A Gill - Journalist and restaurant critic
- Paul Hamlyn - Publisher
- David Horovitch - Actor
- George Lamb - Broadcaster
- Rolf Landsberg - Academic (Physical Chemistry) and University Rector
- Prince Rupert Loewenstein - Manager of The Rolling Stones
- Olly Mann - Comedian and TV presenter
- Neil Murray - Musician
- Shawn Slovo - Writer
- Richard Walker - Angler
- Michael Winner - Film producer and director
- Bernd-Rainer Barth; Dieter Hoffmann. "Landsberg, Rolf * 28.2.1920, † 27.12.2003 Chemiker, Rektor der Technischen Hochschule für Chemie Leuna-Merseburg" (in German). Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur: Biographische Datenbanken. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Sweeting, Adam (22 May 2014). "Prince Rupert Loewenstein obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- The school's web site
- Old Scholars - The St Christopher Club
- Profile in the ISC website
- ISI Inspection Reports